If you’re just joining X-Force, you might need to brush up on your biology. Beast has something inside him and the only way to get it out is to send Black Tom into his body to kill the mini-agents inside him. The last issue leaned into some horror elements right in time for Halloween, and this second issue takes things further. If that sounds weird, you don’t know half of it as Ben Percy goes full-body horror with Martin Coccolo on art in an issue filled with shocking moments.
This issue opens on Mikhail Rasputin and Chronicler arguing over storytelling. Yes, that’s right, Percy is writing a story featuring a writer with powers to control reality, or at least one person’s control over themselves. It’s an interesting concept that’s given enough attention to make it interesting, but not so much that it feels distracting. The mutants in this story, especially Colossus, are the targets of these two characters and the reluctance of Chronicler makes for interesting development.
The main plot kicks into gear after the opening credits with Black Tom and Beast working together to get the mini-agents out of his blood and organs. It’s a fun couple of scenes with some fleshy baddies not reminiscent of Cenobites from Hellraiser. Once again, Percy shows Beast’s true colors the moment he’s able to and he continues to be a problematic hero, to say the least.
While Beast is puking his guts out, Colossus suffers the most in the issue, building off the Chronicler’s forced actions. Using captions straight from his page we witness some truly horrific moments that put even the worst body horror to shame. Percy puts you in Colossus’s shoes in what has to be one of the most tragic moments any mutant has suffered.
Art by Coccolo with colors by GURU-eFX keeps things interesting with good attention to detail, be it Beast’s muscly shoulders or the gross insides of his body. The action is easy to follow inside Beast while the tension builds well as we anticipate the worst for Colossus. There’s also a very cool disorientating panel revealing Beast’s perspective that gets a very tricky idea across. It not only makes you feel a bit queasy as Beast does, but reveals what he sees is not right at all. The art can look a bit simplistic and stiff at times, but overall it works.
X-Force #24 is a good example of how multiple plots can come together to raise the stakes, action, and horror in a variety of ways. This is a book about weaponizing people in different ways and the horrors that come with it.
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