X-Force was my most anticipated comic of the week on the AIPT Comics podcast last Sunday simply because Wolverine is fighting surfers with guns. Full stop. How does that not sell every reader who pops into the comics shop? There’s a purpose behind those surfers, though, and this issue aims to reveal that and more.
This issue’s main story is about Wolverine getting a surfboard from Forge and hitting the incredibly huge waves that crash on Krakoa’s shores. It’s a rather kooky plot since to my knowledge Wolverine has never been interested in surfing, but it adds up since surfing big waves is incredibly dangerous. Of course, a healing factor would make surfing those waves common practice. Percy does well to integrate surf lingo (I should know, I grew up with surfer parents), further cementing the theme of the issue.
The larger purpose of that surfing may be the strangers who join Wolverine. Robert Gill does a good job showing Wolverine and the others surfing, from getting tubed to wiping out. In general, the art is detailed and colored well by GURU-eFX. It’s not easy drawing waves and Gill does an admirable job capturing their energy and form.
Wolverine gets to know a blonde leader of the group, though it’s odd Wolverine doesn’t seem to care who they really are. Sure, a bunch of surfers can show up to hit some waves, but on Krakoa you’d think there would need to be safe passage granted. In fact, you wouldn’t even know they were bad guys unless the cover spoiled that for readers. We’ll learn more soon — this seems to be a two-parter — but it’s a head-scratcher that Wolverine would be chill with them. I suppose you could argue he’s a romantic and fell in love with folks who appreciate surfing as much as he does.
You gather that romanticism in the way Percy writes the captions as Wolverine looks at the huge waves crashing on the shore. In one caption, Wolverine thinks, “You do your best living when you can taste the dying.” If that’s not a romanticism of life I don’t know what is, and that leads to him falling for a strange surfer girl. If what I’m describing sounds peculiar for an X-Men comic, you’re not wrong. But in a way, that’s part of the issue’s charm.
The B-plot involves Kid Omega aka Quentin and Phoebe Cuckoo on a date of sorts as we learn about a job Quentin does on the island to help babies. Percy continues to show the sweeter side of Quentin while also revealing how the island deals with babies who gain their powers and can’t control them. Quentin remains a tragic character in the Krakoa era and you’ll feel for him.
X-Force #25 is not your usual superhero comic by any means. It balances an impactful and emotional subplot and a surfer story that generally works. This issue isn’t so much about surfing as it is Wolverine’s romantic nature of loving life, danger, waves, and mysterious women. It’s just odd he didn’t question some stranger coming to Krakoa simply to surf.
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