Quentin Quire has been a weird character in the Hickman era, an Omega level mutant who keeps dying over and over despite his immense power. X-Force #17 examines Quentin’s place on Krakoa and does some character work into discovering the inner workings of his mind.
The opening pages are dedicated to Quentin’s constant resurrections –and considering that he’s an Omega level mutant and the frequency of his deaths, it’ll be interesting to see the long-term effects of his resurrections. The strongest parts of this issue are, by far, the examinations of Quentin’s character and the idea that on some level, he wants to die. On Krakoa, there is a game where children want to die just to be resurrected, adding a dark layer to this “utopia” –but Quentin’s issue is much more on a subconscious level, born from guilt.
Phoebe/Quentin is still the weakest point of this story and it doesn’t seem as though either of these characters are being fully utilized or explored. It highlights a huge problem with the Krakoa era overall: character dynamics and relationships just happen without exploration as to how these relationships came to be. In something like the X-Men, which is famous for being a superhero soap opera, these developments feel wholly disappointing. In X-Force #17, Phoebe actually does mention that she and her sisters used to hate Quentin, which, to be fair, is a massive roadblock into this relationship’s believability. Just browsing through years of X comics, you’ll easily find instances of the Cuckoos calling him “dorkus” or saying he has “BO” and they hate him, so it tracks.
However, the Cuckoos’ hatred of him goes far beyond Quentin’s general annoying exterior, which X-Force #17 has Phoebe declare is all an act. The most unbelievable part of this relationship simply involves Sophie Cuckoo’s death, which was an event that defined stories for the Cuckoos and Quentin for years. When Sophie almost comes back in Endsong it’s clear Kid Omega blames himself as Quire laments that he only wanted Sophie to like him, reveling in his own guilt. As recently as Generation X Vol. 2, Phoebe was still thinking about the moment Emma walked out of the school holding her sister’s corpse. It seems odd then, that not only Quentin has gotten over Sophie since she’s back, but that Phoebe has not spoken to him about it. Is she “over it” because Sophie is alive? Has Quentin finally forgiven himself because Sophie was resurrected? Have they spoken about Esme’s involvement in Sophie’s death and Quentin’s prevailing guilt despite that fact? Have they healed together? What made Quentin get over Sophie and move to Phoebe? With all the work the recent years have spent individualizing the Cuckoos, each girl is wholly different from the other. These are important questions that inevitably lead towards important character development for both parties, but whether X-Force realizes it or not has yet to be seen.
One of the most interesting things about X-Force #17 is how Quentin modifies himself when he resurrects. It’s played for laughs, but it also reveals how taxing these processes are for The Five, who have to resurrect him and abide by all his requests no matter how small. X-Men #7 hinted that people would be making requests to come back differently, obviously pointing at the possibility of non-Omega mutants wanting to become Omega, but this seems like the first real exploration of the idea of modifying oneself upon resurrection (even if it is on a small scale).
Throughout the recent line, changes between mutant culture and human culture are exaggerated. In Marauders, nods to mutant fashion and human fashion are made, though the characters are eating lobster and dressing the same as always. The only difference is the bagels they eat grow on trees now, which is weird, but doesn’t feel unique enough to be considered “mutant food.” In X-Force #17, Joshua Cassara shows us what mutant fashion really is, creating a new and unique outfit for Quentin Quire.
Cassara knocks it out of the park every issue of X-Force, and everything about this look is unique. It’s totally believable that this is considered mutant fashion, a unique design that travels all the way to Quentin’s pink, glowing glasses. It looks awesome. Truly, it’s the highlight of this issue.
Quentin’s new lease on life is an interesting read, and seeing Percy dig into his subconscious to find out what makes Quentin tick is some good character work — probably the best in the X-Force series thus far. The final pages include a revelation involving a familiar face for those who have been keeping up with the series thus far. On its own, X-Force #17 is good, but it does the threadwork for far more exciting things to come.
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