Everyone has their limit, which seems to be the subject of Nadia Shammas and Rafael T. Pimentel’s X-Force Annual #1. The special one-shot–which you can read more about in Shammas’ X-Men Monday–features Wolverine, Beast, Quentin Quire, and Domino on a mission that may just be a trap. The mission ends up going sideways, as many do, but it also proves to be a lesson in how much one can take when your enemies are allowed to get too close.
X-Force Annual #1 is a well-written issue, serving to explore Emma Frost and Beast’s relationship to some extent while Wolverine, Domino, and Quentin head out doing what X-Force does. Shammas has a good handle on each character with their voices coming through loud and clear and a good understanding of X-Men history. In one scene, for instance, Quentin is surprised to learn he doesn’t die for once, which is a running gag in Benjamin Percy’s run.
The general approach to the mission is not too different from a good arcade adventure. The heroes enter a location they’re unfamiliar with, think they have things under control, and each is split up to face off against threats made personally to them. There are clever approaches here that Shammas clearly put some thought into.
The meatier part of the issue resides in Beast and Emma’s conversation. If you’ve enjoyed the immoral nature of Beast in X-Force you’ll enjoy the conversation. Emma pushes Beast more than anyone has before and she asks good questions. Whether or not she finds a conclusion remains to be seen, but it does allow readers to take from it what they want. Shammas ends the issue in an interesting way by having the action scenes build towards a potential new tool for Beast to exploit.
Art by Pimentel and colors by Carlos Lopez get the job done. The story moves forward well and there are some good highlight moments like when Quentin gets pulled into a room by strange purple hands, or how the trap Domino falls into looks. Beast and Emma look great in their scene too. There are some less great panels though, with Wolverine’s trap looking stiff and awkward. The stabs he takes are also awkward and the wounds are more splatters than detailed wounds. When Wolverine jumps into a pile of robots he looks great, though, especially with how stocky and thick he looks.
There’s also a great data page fans of Wolverine, Domino, and Quentin should check out. Shammas details each mutant from a villain’s perspective quite well. It also builds up the anticipation of their true target.
X-Force Annual #1 is a good adventure thanks to the mix of action and building on what X-Men comics of the last year have done. It’s a little thin in parts, but generally, it’s a good time and fits right in with the X-line of titles.
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