Review: X-Force #4

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It was not only a big step for Scott Summers, but a similarly big step for Marvel to set up X-Force with their own book. Now, four issues in, from my side of the fence, I think their decision has been rewarded by four well done books.

Granted, give me a series on Wolverine and my biases may not necessarily allow me to see clearly.

XFORCE004.jpgX-FORCE #4
COVER BY: CLAYTON CRAIN
WRITER: CHRISTOPHER YOST
CRAIG KYLE
PENCILS: CLAYTON CRAIN
INKS: CLAYTON CRAIN
COLORED BY: CLAYTON CRAIN
LETTERED BY: VC – CORY PETIT

X-Force #4, written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, follows the exploits of X-Force, under the leadership of Wolverine. Their mission was to “take down the Purifiers, with extreme prejudice,” but thanks to Rahne Sinclair, aka Wolfsbane, their mission turned in to a rescue mission.

Rahne was left for X-Force to find in the last issue, with a massive overdose of heroin, and near death. The team immediately took her to Angel who in turn brought in Elixir to try and heal her; for Angel and Elixir, this was not a move they will look back on happily.

But before any of the shit hits the fan, there is a nice moment between Logan an X-23, for a given value of “nice”. X-23, in her brash and innocent way, sets Logan off in to a rant where he once again shows a side of him normally kept very hidden.

We also see a few pages later an interesting scene focusing solely on X-23 that I really liked. The young girl has never been fully indoctrinated in to human society, or even mutant society for that matter; this leaves her a little out of it. Four upright panels depict her simply repeating “I do not understand”; the fourth panel closing in on her cutting her left arm. It is a scene that cuts to the heart of her feeling out of place, even if it does smell a little to “emo” for me.

The truth to why Wolfsbane was left alive is simultaneously revealed to us, as she attacks Elixir and mutilates Angel. Apparently all along her goal was to get to Angel, aka Warren Worthington, and remove his wings. Needless to say, “bloody” is a good way to describe a few of these interlacing pages.

But it once again allows us to see some character development for X-23, who takes to heart what Logan says and allows herself to be attacked without defending herself.

Now there comes a time for me these days when I’m just not certain what everyone else knows and what is new information. For example, has it been revealed to us that Angel’s wings aren’t human, mutant or even organic? This not only prevents Elixir from regrowing Angels wings, but it is also the reason for Rahne’s attack on Angel.

A lot of what occurs in this book will need to be explained in issue #5, so I will withhold a lot of my comments for then. I either don’t know enough, or we all don’t know enough, about what is happening to say any more, and thus I’ll leave you all to read the last pages of issue #4 for yourselves.

In the meantime, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the art again in this book. Clayton Crain, known for his digital painting style, is definitely becoming a favorite artist of mine. The first panel we see of Rahne, is a testament to his skill and attention to detail. The beads of sweat, the pain in her face as she screams is visceral, and really cuts through to the pain caused by a drug overdose.

In addition, the bloody attention to detail in the fight scenes, and the scenes following a fight, are just brilliant. The dirtiness of a fight scene is not glossed over like in many comics, which attempt to stylize and glorify them; Crain manages to cut right through to the horror of the blood bath that Wolfsbane leaves behind her.

All in all, I’ll give this a 5 out of 5 for the art, because I really do like it (but personal preference is everything when it comes to art), and 4 for the story, because I am still a bit confused about what we know, and what I’m missing out on having not read every X-Men comic in existence. Either way, make sure you make an effort to get your hands on these books!

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