Issue(s): X-Force #11
This issue begins with X-Force having gone to the Morlock tunnels to deposit the (seemingly) dead body of Sauron, along with Thornn and Masque's cloak.
Just a reminder that these are the good guys of the book, intimidating a group that when i started reading comics were the persecuted huddled masses of mutantkind. Obviously the depiction of the Morlocks has changed since the Mutant Massacre, but it's still jarring to see the heroes intimidating them with dead bodies. I don't necessarily think that this is a bad thing. In fact i would quite like the idea of a team of amoral outlaw protagonists, if it was done better. And if the art weren't hilarious.
Shatterstar, Siryn, and "Domino" didn't go with the rest of X-Force, so they are still at their base when Deadpool attacks. Deadpool knocks out Siryn off panel and then, against his better judgement, attacks Shatterstar in their training room.
Deadpool knocks out Shatterstar too, and then goes after Domino, who seems to be recording the character profiles that have been padding the backs of these issues recently.
Deadpool refers to Domino as "Vanessa", and as we'll learn by the end of this issue, that's not because it's Domino's civilian name.
Vanessa and Wade seem to have had a relationship prior to the mission that she's taken for Tolliver.
Deadpool beats up Vanessa and tells her to stay on mission. He then leaves.
Also in this issue, G.W. Bridge's gigantism continues to worsen.
But no one seems too worried about that. They are too excited about having formed a new team called Weapon Prime.
That's a sideways two page spread.
We already know Kane, aka the current Weapon X. We also know Rictor, formerly a new mutant. Then there's Tygerstryke, who is not worth discussing. I've always been intrigued by the final character. I thought the idea was that Department K had somehow captured the Wendigo and got him under their control, which i thought was pretty cool. And i was always frustrated when it seemed like he (and Tygerstryke) were never developed further, at least in issues that i read in realtime. There never seemed like an explanation for him. Just more chararacters that Rob Liefeld was dumping on us with no real introduction or backstory, and these aren't even drawn by Liefeld.
Anyway, we saw in the last arc that Kane saw Stryfe's face, and he now thinks that Cable is running the Mutant Liberation Front. That's why Weapon Prime has been assembled.
At the end of this issue, we get a glimpse of Tolliver and his toady, Pico. And they are talking to a captive Domino. Note that Cable's older group is referred to as the Six Pack, not the Wild Pack. I guess they got the cease and desist notice from Silver Sable.
So we see that Domino is a captive, and that therefore the "Vanessa" that appeared earlier in this story was not the real Domino (although if you were skimming this book as quickly as it deserves to be, you might have gotten confused and thought that Deadpool had captured Domino, but that's definitely not the case). What's less clear at this point is how long Domino has been captured. What we'll learn in the next arc is that this is the first we've ever seen of Domino (outside of flashback). We've never seen the real Domino in realtime. That is a bold and strange decision. This character that you've never seen outside of this series? It's not really her! What a fakeout! More on that soon. (My Historical Significance Rating is pretty low for this first appearance of Domino, even though she's an important character, because we've already been introduced to the concept of Domino and seen her in the Wild/Six Pack flashback.)
This is really a kind of transitional issue. I remember really liking it when i read it in realtime. The callous, cruel nature of the "heroes" was something new, and it makes sense in a kind of barbarian way: intimidate your enemies so that they are afraid to come after you. And i liked Wendigo/Yeti, or, rather, the idea i made up in my own head about him. And Deadpool, who really gets the focus in this issue, is already a fun character, although still not to the degree that he eventually will be. It's much more obvious to me now how awful the execution of this comic is, and it's also clear with retrospect that there wasn't really any grand planning going on, which makes the developments and revelations less noteworthy. But i can still understand why this book did so well, or, to put it another way, i can justify to myself why i liked it!
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue probably doesn't begin too long after last issue, considering that X-Force is bringing Morlock and Thornn and Masque's cloak to the Morlocks.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBoom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cannonball, Copycat, Deadpool, Domino, Feral, G.W. Bridge, Genesis, Kane, Pico, Rictor, Sauron, Shatterstar, Siryn, Tygerstryke, Warpath, Yeti (Dept K)
Wondering: is this the first time we start getting Deadpool's self-narration (probably leading eventually to the 4th Wall breaking)?
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 28, 2016 3:08 PM
Yes, this does seem to be the first time Deadpool has narration panels, but it's just standard first person narration here, same as other characters have gotten in this series and elsewhere. I guess it's relatively rare in being from the perspective of a villain (although definitely not the first time that was done), but there's no fourth wall breaking yet.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 28, 2016 3:16 PM
"I guess they got the cease and desist notice from Silver Sable."
Posted by: Michael | March 28, 2016 8:13 PM
Does anyone here think that Tolliver wasn't initially planned to be Cable's son, Tyler? Tolliver means "iron-cutter"/ metalworker, so might they have initially intended him to be Magneto?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 28, 2016 8:49 PM
"That is a bold and strange decision." More like stupid and pointless. Why intorduce a new character only to find out it was an imatator the whole time?
Posted by: EHH | March 28, 2016 8:57 PM
That spread of Weapon Prime has Kane providing a rare male example of the spine-twisting "boobs and butt" pose.
Posted by: Dermie | March 28, 2016 11:51 PM
Probably because he was making it up as he went along. I believe by the last few months of Liefeld's "X-Force," he was just sending in stick-figure layouts anyway, and he was never capable of sticking with a long-term plot. It's like building a roller-coaster based on the twists and turns and loops, and never bothering to learn engineering and construction to be able to build such a thing. I won't say he came up with the idea while doing this issue - he may well have done a few issues of stick-figure layouts at a time - but I'd assume he came up with the 'what if Domino has been held prisoner all along' idea closer to this issue than to Domino's first appearance.
Like Alicia being a Skrull or Madelyne being Dark Phoenix, this isn't an idea that was a long time building. Unlike Alicia and Madelyne, we knew them and liked them long before the decision was made. Or even Jean Grey not being Phoenix in the first place. Domino has been given no character development whatsoever, so seeing the "real" Domino held prisoner by Tolliver - whom we still know nothing about other than he's evil - provides no narrative sustenance.
If Cable had been regularly saying how glad he was to have her back from Tolliver's evil clutches, that would have built up the drama. If Domino's information on Tolliver had started to be consistently-wrong and it causes friction within the team, that would have built up drama. But of course Deadpool suggests she's falling for Cable, because Cable is so awesome, or X-Force's mission is so meaningful, so that's out. If she'd started betraying Tolliver and led X-Force to destroy [whatever it is Tolliver does] and Deadpool is sent to remind her that she's an infiltrator, it would be something. If GW Bridge sent the fake Domino to join the team and manipulate them to defeating Tolliver and rescuing the real Domino, that would be something.
There actually were ways to work with these developments every step of the way - Weapon-Alpha, Cable as a legendary soldier everybody knows, Cable's son, Rictor's father, Cable as Stryfe's exact double, Christopher Summers, Sam as a Highlander, Cable as a time-traveler, Weapon-Prime, and Domino being a duplicate - but not if your plotting method comes down to 'it seemed like a good idea at the time.'
I assume Domino will get rescued and then beat the crap out of her replacement and Tolliver, and then join the team without any hesitation.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 29, 2016 1:53 AM
And with the name "Vanessa," it wouldn't surprise me if they were trying to make her the Kingpin's ex-wife. Because isn't that the last thing you'd expect?
Posted by: ChrisW | March 29, 2016 1:58 AM
It's almost like Zack Snyder wrote this.
Posted by: david banes | March 29, 2016 2:09 AM
Although I'm certain Fabian Nicieza had some conversations with Liefeld, the fact these issues read as well(which is not to say good) is wholly down to Fabian scripting like there's an actual narrative. Meanwhile, Liefeld has no idea how good Nicieza made him look and goes merrily off to do Youngblood plus 50 knockoff titles, thinking anyone can script his plots because his art will always sell. Ha!
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 29, 2016 3:27 AM
But there had been some indications that something was up- for example, in X-Force 6, it's implied that someone told the Brotherhood where X-Force's headquarters was with information they could have only gotten from a member of X-Force. (Presumably Vanessa passed the info along before having a change of heart and Tolliver told the Brotherhood.)
Posted by: Michael | March 29, 2016 7:59 AM
@ChrisW: You need to do a guest post for my blog on "How Would You Fix... the introduction of X-Force?":)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | March 29, 2016 8:07 AM
@Nathan: I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tolliver-is-Tyler was something Nicieza came up with well after Tolliver's introduction. That could just be the timing of it influencing me - the Tolliver reveal comes well after Liefeld (and any of his lingering plots) is gone, so it reads like something Nicieza came up with on his own. And it kinda works, if we ignore some of the later stuff that happens to Tyler, which, of course, Nicieza didn't know about at the time.
But I'm dubious on the idea that Tolliver was meant to be Magneto, despite the word origins of his name. For one thing, the Image guys, even Lee, seemed determined to introduce and develop their own villains. UXM #281 is pretty much one big statement of "so long lame bad guys, hello my cool new bad guys!" so I question if someone like Liefeld would even want to use/bring back Magneto.
And while I haven't read much behind-the-scenes stuff about the decision to kill off Magneto, it sure seems like it was meant to be permanent, at least for awhile. I doubt Harras would have been okay with killing him off in one book while another series was already teasing his return via a character who was mentioned before Magneto was even killed, even if said series was Rob Liefeld's pet project.
As for who Liefeld might have intended Tolliver to be? Given his tendencies and the characters he's talked about featuring in these kinds of mysteries, maybe a third iteration of Cable (he is something of a metal worker, given that he has a metal arm) or Future Cannonball (metalworker = miner?).
Posted by: Austin Gorton | March 29, 2016 9:56 AM
While I still do doubt that Liefeld/Nicieza had any plan for Tolliver's identity -- and, until this issue, I don't think he was even supposed to have a double identity -- ChrisW's idea is a lot more intriguing than I was going to give it credit for when I saw it in the new comment list. It never remotely crossed my mind, but he does look like Magneto here, right down to having a diminutive mutant "toady" as fnord fortuitously put it. This angle does run into some weird problems -- does Deadpool not know what the most famous mutant on earth looks like, and if he does, why is he playing along -- but it actually would be totally in character for early Deadpool to, upon the reveal happening, saying, preposterously, "Uh... who's Magneto?"
So, I'm with Nathan. Let's let ChrisW write X-Force Forever. :)
But on to my my embarrassed admission: I've always loved the Domino reveal. Don't get me wrong, I understand that it was probably motivated by the creative team liking the character design, and realizing that giving Cable someone to talk to was useful, but not liking some of her early characterization. But even given that ignoble origin, it's endearingly, I don't know, gutsy in how preposterous it is to reveal that you've NEVER MET THIS CHARACTER THAT WAS INTRODUCED A YEAR AGO -- it's just satisfyingly comic-booky to me.
And part of it is that I've always been sort of let down by Mystique, I think. With the exception of the Valerie Cooper incident, I don't think Mystique has ever lived up to her potential for WTF reveals in anything I've read. This is the kind of bullshit she should pull. (In the 2000s, there's a period when Rogue loses her powers, and I thought for sure that it was an extended con-job to reveal that batshit crazy Mystique had replaced her at some point and then forgotten that she wasn't actually Rogue. But it wasn't meant to be.)
FWIW, I also think that they should have went with the Liefeld plan for Stryfe, and have made him either earlier or later Cable, but not resolving which it was. That's an idea rich with the potential for tension. Man, Liefeld was like a tornado of spitballs: some of his ideas really did stick, if you could just get close enough to avoid being covered in Rob Liefeld spit.
Or, even more heretically, following fnord's criticisms on this site: Liefeld was like a young Chris Claremont, without Jim Shooter or John Byrne, and without that admirable trait of /trying/ to work with other people. Put another way: Liefeld was Claremont as written by Liefeld, for the dark and gritty 90s.
Posted by: FF3 | March 29, 2016 12:22 PM
Scripting over Rob Liefeld's plots & pencils sounds sort of like attempting to assemble a jigsaw puzzle where you don't have the box that shows the completed image. And a bunch of the puzzle pieces have gone missing. And some random pieces from several other completely different jigsaw puzzles have gotten mixed in. And it's dark outside and the lights in your house are turned off.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 29, 2016 1:31 PM
Thanks for the compliments guys. Nathan, I have some ideas, but I don't remotely have the resources or knowledge for to research anything but the simple explanations.
"Such as?" I hear you asking. You shouldn't talk to your computer like that. It's weird.
Tolliver is either Mr. Sinister-in-disguise or another of his pawns, and Vanessa is another clone intended to get access to the Summers DNA. It's all Comics Code-Approved, but it's clear she's gotten plenty of that lately. To age the clone enough to fool Cable and anyone else who's ever met her, the clone was sent back in time to roughly the date of Domino's birth so that she would age appropriately.
During "Inferno," Kang mentioned that Earth would be entering a 'time bubble' between 2005 and 2020, which puts the events of "Days of Futures Past" squarely in the middle. Rather than splitting off into alternate universes the way time travel traditionally works in the Marvel Universe, sending Kitty's mind back to change the future - and later Rachel and Nimrod physically - the "Futures Past" diverged from 616, but not in a traditional way.
In the case of Kitty's trip back in time this may have been because she was soon to be soul-bound with the ruler of Limbo, magic not working on a scientific cause-and-effect basis, so the effect came before the cause. Her relationship to Ogun may also have played a role. In Rachel's case, she would bind with the Phoenix Force, and she was also the child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, exactly like Cable.
Baby Christopher Summers was infected with the transmode virus (or something like it) suggesting it originated from Warlock and Magus' world, and the fundamental programming of parents killing or being killed by their children. I would suggest that Christopher's being taken into the future (I think that's where he went) by some alternate future version of the Summers clan/X-Men represents a counterpoint to Kitty/Rachel/Nimrod's original point of distinction between Earth 616 and the failed divergence.
This also has its roots in Kulan Gath's attempt to take over the world - prefiguring "Inferno" - and the spell Dr. Strange cast to reset everything at the end of that adventure. This created a loop in time which was closed by Nimrod's arrival. Strange tapped into Illyana's power to cast the spell, and she can shift through time as well as space. This could be how the clone-Domino was sent back in time, or it may have involved Doom's time machine or Kang or any number of ways.
The failed divergence also explains why Cable and Stryfe are duplicates. They are the same person coexisting on the same Earth. One of them is supposed to be the Cable of 616 (Christopher Summers travelling back in time) and the other is supposed to be the Cable of "Days of Futures Past" travelling back in time, and Ahab is the older version of the "Days of Futures Past" one. Why do you think he and Rachel got on so well? They're brother and sister.
As for Weapon-Alpha and the Weapon-Prime team, well I doubt Apocalypse would have given up his resources in Canada just to create Weapon X, so why not continue to create super-soldiers that will help weed out those who are unfit to survive? Sometimes the simple solution is the best. I'll have to wait for "X-Tinction Agenda" to see if he had any similar designs on Summers DNA, but getting Cable on the Wildpack would solve that, or at least stymie his rival Sinister.
I also don't remember if Apocalypse had any knowledge or plans for "The Twelve," but the Master Mold did. And notice how Sentinels keep popping up at crucial points in the overarching story. Steven Lang's bunch were what led Shaw to take over the Hellfire Club and eventually start creating his own Sentinel model, which is what led to Nimrod. Lang's model was also crucial in what led Jean Grey to become Phoenix. Nimrod's arrival on 616's past led to the slaughter of multiple members of the Hellfire Club and Magneto joining the team.
Nimrod merging with Master Mold and going through the Seige Perilous was probably the opposite end of this time loop, a blatant contradiction in terms but indicative of the stresses this failed divergence was putting on the space-time continuum. The Upstarts would create a new batch of Sentinels to wipe out the rest of the Hellfire Club and the Reavers, and X-Force themselves would take up residence in Bolivar Trask's original Sentinel factory where Master Mold was constructed.
Sam as a Highlander might be a fluke of this failed divergence. He was supposed to die at Sauron's hands, but he also was supposed to survive to "Days of Futures Past." The universe couldn't make up its mind, so he did both. No wonder he latched onto Cable so readily. They're both trapped in worlds they never made.
Cable's son/Rictor's father and Cable's own 'legendary' exploits might in fact be legends. They never actually happened. People remember them as symptoms of the failed divergence and/or Dr. Strange's reset spell. For the people affected by this, it's like Marty waking up at the end of "Back to the Future." They think they know what the Cable and the Wild Pack did, but in actuality, no one's ever heard of the Wild Pack. Most-if-not all records to the contrary were spontaneously generated when Kitty infected the Pentagon's computer with a program to erase all records of the X-Men's existence. This program found and merged with a pre-existing program to vanish when Cable finally re-entered the timestream and hooked up with the mutant teams. Alex, Lorna and Rhane would certainly never have been allowed to join X-Factor if Val Cooper couldn't see their records, and I assume Pietro was affiliated with the Avengers at some point after Kitty's program was uploaded, so it obviously wasn't a very-effective program on its own. [She probably wouldn't have counted Pietro anyway, but she certainly didn't include Cable and look what happened there!]
I can't guess who would have set up this earlier program. Mr. Sinister? Apocalypse? Bolivar Trask and son? Steven Lang? The Hellfire Club? Mystique? Farouk? Douglock? Fred Duncan? Michael Rossi? Just to confine these speculations to the mutant titles.
And FF3, don't feel embarrassed. For what it is, the reveal of Domino is actually handled pretty well, better than most of these plot twists. I don't think it's "gutsy" so much as it is just not as bad of an idea as the rest of them.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 29, 2016 6:57 PM
A bit more esoteric, but perhaps Counter-Earth would serve as the failed divergence. This is where I don't have the knowledge or resources to do research, but it could be tied in with the High Evolutionary and whichever Infinity Gem Adam Warlock was carrying. I assume it was *THE* Soul Gem, but this starts down a path which lead to the Infinity Gauntlet and Nebula resetting the universe similar to the way Dr. Strange finally stopped Kulan Gath.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 29, 2016 11:14 PM
Now I'm going through Adam Warlock appearances, a character that I have little knowledge of and less interest, and notice that if we continue on with the Counter-Earth theory, there's a parallel to what I'm suggesting with Cable and Stryfe with the way Warlock fights Magus. No, not *that* Warlock and Magus - and what the hell was Chris Claremont thinking when he came up with those names? - but Adam Warlock and his future self.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 29, 2016 11:32 PM
Claremont was just doing what every good mythologist does -- he was weaving his tale into the myths that he thought were worthy. He's a sly dog: I sure as hell wanted/want to know why it's the case that the weird Jungian Magus/Warlock patricidal pattern is one that manifests in multiple ways in the Marvel canon. And, damn it, even though I know that there's an element of salesmanship in it, I like it. I think Claremont was at his best when he was hinting at "deep" 1970s occulty mysticism -- that there were big things going on that no characters in universe could perceive, but that we, as readers, could only sort of see the outlines of -- and he was at his worst when he was forced to try to explain it.
That being said, I'd love to know if Starlin ever said anything about Claremont co-opting him. Did they ever work together?
And this isn't the only time that Claremont played this game. While everyone plotting in a shared universe is going to do it a little, I sorta feel like Chris was more shameless than most, especially after he left and was sort of struggling to regain relevance. At times, frankly, later on, it's a little pathetic. There's a particular exchange in Xtreme X-Men, which he's writing at the same time as Grant Morrison was doing New X-Men, where he has Storm desperately trying to insinuate that there's a connection between Cassandra Nova and (cough) Vargas. Ha. Un-likely.
Posted by: FF3 | March 30, 2016 8:42 AM
BTW, does anyone else think it's weird that the X-fans on this site all love the An Age Undreamed Of arc? Until I came here, I thought I was the only one! I think I'm going to go back and write something on fnord's review for it in preperation for my vlog on it. But I whole-heartedly support the place of importance you place upon Kulan Gath!
Posted by: FF3 | March 30, 2016 8:53 AM
Yeah, I love An Age Undreamed Of as well, and for a long time, thought I was the only one too!
Posted by: Austin Gorton | March 30, 2016 9:44 AM
The Age Undreamed Of issues were what Age of Apocalypse spent mini-series after mini-series trying to be. It should have had a BattleRealm.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 30, 2016 10:11 AM
Is Age Undreamed Of the time Kulan Gath turned New York City all Conan? [raises hand] Didn't like it; nosir, I didn't like it at all.
Posted by: BU | March 31, 2016 2:24 PM
In principle, I like anything that treats the Hyborian and 616 universes as an integrated whole. Even though I hardly read any Conan (or Howard stuff in general).
Posted by: cullen | March 31, 2016 6:54 PM
Since our celebrity CEO friend isn't here, I guess I'll step in to defend Rob Liefeld by arguing that the Tolliver/Tyler reveal was planned all along.
First, Tolliver and Tyler are first mentioned within a couple of months of each other. If Rob and the gang were planning ahead--and I'll explain in a minute why I think they were -- making the two characters the same would mean there's only one back story to figure out, not two. I don't think Rob separately thought out a story about Cable's son and a story about a European crime lord. The really simplistic design of Tolliver -- a nondescript guy in a trench coat -- also suggests that only superficial thought went into what was really a disguise for a more important character, Cable's lost son.
Second, the "clue" that Tolliver and Tyler have similar names is really dumb, and that sounds like Liefeld to me: he's surely more likely to think a name is important because of how it sounds than because of its etymology. He's no Roy Thomas.
Third, there does seem to have been some thought going into the basic concepts of the antagonists the Image crew created for the X-books. Note the way Liefeld's "High Lords" are connected to the Upstarts (through Selene) and Jim Lee's backstory for Gambit (through Candrs, who admittedly hasn't shown up yet). My guess is that the crossover that became X-ecutioner's Song was originally going to reveal Cable's backstory by also revealing the origins of the Upstarts and the nature of the High Lord struggle, basically pulling all the Lee, Portacio, and Liefeld threads together into one awful tapestry. Even Tyler/Tolliver may have fit into that.
Lastly, the rather hasty revelation of who Tolliver was in the first year of Cable's solo ongoing, and the little use that anyone made of Tolliver in the meantime, suggests this wasn't one of Nicieza's own ideas. It was an idea he seemed only too glad to get rid of as quickly as possible. Tyler/Tolliver wasn't a character he wanted to keep in circulation.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 1, 2016 10:23 PM
Who is Tyler? Has he been introduced or will he be coming up in a few issues? I'm not being facetious, I really don't recognize the name. ["Rex Tyler? Isn't he a DC character?" And then I google to find out which DC character.]
I quite agree with your third point that there was thought going into these basic concepts. That's why I used the analogy above about designing a roller-coaster based on twists and turns and loops and tunnels and whatnot, and assuming the basic structure would simply fall into place whenever the story gets to that point.
As a writer, I can testify [Amen! Sing it!] that this does happen, and it's a wonderful experience, to the point where it feels dishonest to take full credit for the results. And I don't even have to collaborate with someone else. But this is where knowing how to tell a story comes into play.
Even at his worst and most self-indulgent, Claremont knew how to tell a story, and knew how to build up the structure to give the audience those twists and turns and loops. The best example would be Moira Mactaggert. She's introduced as a widow-woman come to be the X-Men's housekeeper, but can be trusted with their secrets. And a few pages later, she's running in her nightdress to shoot a demon with an automatic rifle. The following issue, Jean smiles at the thought of Moira and Banshee together, suggesting that Jean actually knows something about Moira. There are regular blatant hints about her past history with Xavier.
Several issues after that, we learn Moira is a super-scientist with her own island. Well duh! How could it be otherwise? She's not even a widow, as we meet her husband, the final victim of her son Proteus. Now remember, the first victim of Proteus we ever saw was Angus McWhirter, the guy who ran the hoverboard shop and got into an argument with the X-Men, so he sought revenge.
This is how a long-term story is built. We haven't even met Gabby, Legion, Siryn or Rhane yet, and won't for a long time, but Moira is introduced and starts becoming an important part of the series. And I doubt Claremont had more than a few initial ideas when he introduced her.
I agree with you about the thought going into these new characters and their backstories, but it reads like "Calvin and Hobbes" on a sugar rush. Introduce this character with a hidden backstory and then introduce these characters with a hidden backstory and then more characters that sew doubt on part of that backstory, and then connect it to something the readers have actually known about for years, and then more backstory but it turns out to be brain implants, or an excuse to introduce more characters with hidden backstories.
The potential for doing interesting things with these characters was off with the Peter Alan Davids [did you see what I did there? Haw!] As much thought as Lee and Liefeld put into these concepts, all they had to work with was the Claremont-built structure they were undermining, with Bob Harras' help. Once they left for Image, they didn't even have that much structure.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 2, 2016 12:54 AM
@Walter: Jim Lee's backstory for Gambit did not include Candra. She was created by Howard Mackie for his Gambit miniseries which came two years later.
Re: X-Cutioner's Song being a completely different beast if under Lee, Portacio and Liefeld, I'd love to see you map out your own version based on their work until that point as opposed to what we got afterward.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 2, 2016 1:49 AM
Tyler was introduced in a flashback(well, flashforward) wherein Cable explicitly and repeatedly assures Cannonball that Tyler wasn't his son, just "like a son" to him. That was in X-Force #1. Mr. Tolliver was established as a character in New Mutants #98 although he doesn't appear until X-Force #11 in shadow. When I read X-Force #1 in real time, I thought it was about making sure the Summers line wasn't extended into in infinity since the then-current scuttlebutt was Cable was Cyclops' son. Honestly, I can't bring myself to credit Liefeld any further than to put that scene in at editorial's insistence. However, it's likely that Fabian and Bob probably saw the potential to make Tolliver and Tyler the same. Inasmuch as Tolliver had no real physical design(shadowy guy with hat and trench-coat, pink word balloons), he was such a zero, he had to be somebody.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 2, 2016 1:59 AM
Ok, I just reread "X-Force" #1 [the sacrifices I make for you people] and Tyler looks like another one of those backstories that went nowhere. I don't see any hint that he would become Tolliver. At least Tolliver was regularly mentioned every issue or so. I'm not saying it would be a bad idea if Tolliver and Tyler turned out to be the same person, and a good creative team could have done a good job with it, but that wasn't going to happen here. It reads more like Liefeld/etc. are trying to cast doubt on the long-standing Rictor/Cable grudge than actually go anywhere. Which could work, except Rictor left without any explanation and all we have is Cable's word that any of this ever happened.
I won't deny there's potential there, but what we see is shallow like the Platte River, a mile wide and an inch deep. Illyana Rasputin was a cute little girl who loved her big brother and liked fairy tales, and then got sucked into an extended storyline. But at least parts of her life resonates with basic human experience. Here, there's nothing.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 2, 2016 2:32 AM
I know this isn't Liefeld's fault, but every time I see "MLF" my brain reads "MILF" and this comic gets more unintentionally hilarious.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 14, 2016 11:56 AM
@Eric Beck -- My friends and I play a lot of the Marvel Legendary deck-building game, and we call the MLF the MILF. pretty much every time they come up. The Hand Ninjas are also affectionately referred to as "The Fap Ninjas."
Posted by: TCP | April 14, 2016 12:03 PM
There was an Filipino terrorist group in 1989 called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. In 1989, that sounded like a decent name for a terrorist group. It's possible that's where Liefeld got the name for the MLF from. (The group still exists today, and they never changed their name.)
Posted by: Michael | April 14, 2016 7:50 PM
Possible, Michael - but the "Liberation Front" title for revolutionary organizations goes at least as far back as the Algerian FLN and the Vietnamese NLF in the mid-20th century, and in the early 90s you had the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front both active.
(A few years later Ross and Waid would riff on this in Kingdom Come, with Luthor's Mankind Liberation Front)
Posted by: cullen | April 15, 2016 11:10 AM
Far from being great, it's good to finally X-Force characters drawn in realistic-ish proportions and have some backgrounds on an X-Force comic.
Bye Liefeld, see you in a couple of years, in a Twelve saga Cable comic (dunno if he pops back earlier than that)
Posted by: Bibs | March 14, 2018 4:41 AM
Heroes Reborn Captain America?
Posted by: Berend | March 14, 2018 8:10 AM
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