Characters Appearing: Cloak, Dagger, Father Delgado, Marked Man, Mayhem, Rebecca 'Rusty' Nales
Cloak and Dagger #10
Issue(s): Cloak and Dagger #10
Actually, per the cover, this is Uncanny X-Force, so we're actually decades ahead of our time.
This story begins when Dagger decides to visit Father Delgado in the hospital. She threatens to recite the info she learned during her mobility training, which we've painfully sat through in past issues.
Yes! Take the teleportation! Please!
Father Delgado is still nutty, but Dagger is unaware.
While Cloak is waiting for Dagger in the hospital, he hears the ruckus caused by X-Force.
Note that they're referring to themselves by the X-Men's code names, and seem to have similar powers.
Cloak and Dagger separate the X-Force team and the female doctor from the soldiers, and learn their story. X-Force is part of a secret government program to create a super-hero police force. It's said that recent activities during Acts of Vengeance have caused the government to doubt the reliability of Freedom Force.
Note that Avengers #312 is cited, which is when Blob, Avalanche, and Pyro (but not Mystique) briefly went rogue. I've adjusted placement so that last issue, which shows the X-Force program already in progress, after Avengers #312. But even though i've done that, it doesn't seem like there wouldn't be enough time for this entire program to get kicked off in that short period of time (both are Acts of Vengeance issues). So i think it's more likely that the program was accelerated after Blob & company's actions.
Continuing with the origin:
Don't bother taking notes. These characters won't be appearing again.
One of their members, Rogue, betrays them to the military, but Cloak & Dagger help the surviving members escape again, and then Dagger is able to cure them of the drug addiction and radiation in their cells.
The characters then take on new names (Storm: Tempest, Havok: Bedlam, Colossus: The Wall)
They then take their leave, but it's said that "The hunted and betrayed X-Force will return!". And that is true. They return in Marvel Age #102, to be made fun of by Fred Hembeck.
Also in this issue, Mayhem's eyepatch is talking to her.
And the Marked Man, who we first saw last issue, takes another victim.
The idea is that his victim's most guilty secret appears on their forehead. Man, i sure hope "secretly thought Backstreet's Back by the Backstreet Boys was a pretty cool song" is too long to fit, or i'm going to be mortified when he gets me.
It's worth mentioning that Excalibur #19 and She-Hulk #12 also have fake X-Men of different sorts in their issues. All three of these issues have Feb 90 cover dates. I guess it's a good demonstration that we've reached the point not only where the X-Men name is a mega-seller, but where it's so obvious that the books can joke about it while still using the name to sell issues. That's more true of Excalibur and She-Hulk, anyway. This issue actually seems to play it straight (especially when combined with the "Mutant Misadventures" banner), like this would actually be of interest to X-Men fans. Or anyone.
Look, even if there were nothing crass about X-Force, there is nothing to recommend here. The art is stiff and lifeless, the plotting is dreary, the scripting bland. At the start of his run, Austin at least took a weird and whimsical approach to this book, and i don't think that was a good fit but it was better than this. Having Cloak & Dagger separated for so long (and then the AoV issue) only to do this when they get back together, it shows how directionless the book is in every sense.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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