Issue(s): X-Force #4
Well, ok, not "good" exactly.
Also, a reminder that this issue is in widescreen or sideways mode, hence the odd scans.
Shatterstar continues to be the one person that can really hurt the Juggernaut...
...although it isn't really presented that way and all of X-Force and Spider-man continue to fight him. Meanwhile, Cable hunts down Black Tom (Gideon and Sunspot seem to have withdrawn).
Both this and the last X-Force issue seem to be about drawing a contrast between X-Force and other heroes, hence the idea last issue that they're doing what the Avengers are "unwilling" to do, and Cable telling Black Tom that he doesn't "play that game" before shooting him. There's no examination of the fact that X-Force rushing into a hostage situation is what caused Black Tom to detonate the bomb that destroyed one of the World Trade Center towers. This contrast, it does not show what you want it to show, Liefeld.
Deadpool shows up to retrieve Black Tom.
Meanwhile, X-Force fall into Juggernaut Fallacy #1, the idea that taking off his helmet makes him weaker to anything except telepathy.
That's also the scene where we learn that Shatterstar can hurt the Juggernaut because his swords are magic.
Cable then shows up to utter Juggernaut Fallacy #2, the idea that Juggernaut is a mutant.
Cable talks like he's going to kill Juggernaut, which i maintain is impossible (barring a resurgence of his not-yet-revealed telepathic powers), but before we can call Cable's bluff, Deadpool shows up and teleports him away too.
So that's how this conflict ends, with the World Trade Center destroyed and the bad guys getting away.
Spider-Man doesn't mind that, though, because he needs to get home to his wife (compare to him telling Beast in Spider-Man #15 not to tell anyone that he is married. Granted he is just joking, but you can learn a lot about the person based on what they joke about.).
Then SHIELD show up, and X-Force get the hell out of there.
I have no idea what Spider-Man is dangling off of.
Well, that was a total bust, huh?
I have to say, this series continues to get by based on sheer momentum. We've had a ton of changes since the New Mutants days, and here we have a crossover with Spider-Man and a fight with the Juggernaut. Mysterious stuff like Deadpool teleporting the bad guys away. X-Force on the run from SHIELD. It all feels pretty exciting. Just don't think about it for more than a second.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from Spider-Man #16.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showBlack Tom, Boom Boom, Cable (Adult), Cannonball, Copycat, Deadpool, Feral, G.W. Bridge, Juggernaut, Shatterstar, Siryn, Spider-Man, Warpath
Spidey's hanging off the floating nothing Batman's grappling gun latches on to, of course.
Posted by: MegaSpiderMan | November 5, 2015 5:07 PM
I've read this issue (along with X-Force #3 and Spider-Man #16) when I was about 15 years old. Even back then, I thought that this was a disappointing story with some very awkward art. It was actually the first time I was exposed to the supposedly-famous Liefeld and I thought: "Huh? What's the hype about?".
BTW. What's the point of Cable's armour? What was Liefeld thinking here?
Posted by: Piotr W | November 5, 2015 5:28 PM
Cable's cold-blooded murder (and that's what Liefeld intended) of a surrendering foe should have branded him a criminal to all MU heroes for good.
Ditto for the rest of the team for aiding and abetting him.
Instead, we get the X-Men happily working alongside him, with no problem, for years to com, when he should have been detained and turned in for trial.
This could have been a chance for a writer to show what happens when a "hero" goes to far, and a good story could have been written dealing with the fall-out.
Instead it's presented as "Duuuuude! Isn't Cable EXTREME? He totally means business! (air guitar)"
It was at this point that I realized the mutant books and the MU I loved were in serious, serious trouble.
Posted by: Bob | November 5, 2015 5:50 PM
Well, considering that the Punisher has been treated by various MU heroes as a fellow superhero (even if a somewhat... wild one), it's not that surprising that Cable is being accepted, too...
Posted by: Piotr W | November 5, 2015 6:31 PM
Note that the ending of this issue confirms Domino is a mutant.
Posted by: Michael | November 5, 2015 8:32 PM
Ugh four issues just for one battle!? It wasn't even a big climatic battle for a year long story or something! God I hate 90s Marvel.
Posted by: davidbanes | November 5, 2015 10:15 PM
Fnord, question and comment:
Question: why the separate posts for this issue and Spider-Man 15? Do you foresee a book in between these issues? Just curious.
Comment: Kudos to you to talk about the "momentum" in this series. In hindsight, we can all admit this time period, and this story in particular, stunk. But, there was indeed an energy at this time regarding Liefeld's Xforce. I can't really explain it for younger people, or smart people at the time that had standards to know this all was drivel.
You just had to be there to understand the buzz.
Posted by: Tabe8 | November 6, 2015 1:03 AM
I usually don't cover books from separate series in a single entry. You'll find that most crossovers that i've covered are like that, and i note in the Considerations that the issues follow directly. The exceptions are when i have all the issues collected in a trade or something like that. I definitely don't think anything else will need to go in between.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 6, 2015 7:56 AM
I enjoyed (and still enjoy) McFarlane's and Liefeld's art from this period because of their sheer level of energy rather than for their sometimes admittedly shaky level of craft.
I reject a lot of the criticisms Liefeld's stylized anatomy because the same can be said of all comic artists who don't draw in a photo realistic style. I find a lot of the people who hate Liefeld only do so because they're "supposed" to hate him rather than having actually read his work.
Posted by: Red Comet | November 6, 2015 1:49 PM
This is fun in the same way a precocious teenager's homemade comic in high school can be fun. Unfortunately, it lacks the same level of professionalism. I would say the quality here shows Liefeld is maybe 6 years away from turning in professional quality work once he's been too art school and gotten Shooter's storytelling lessons. Unfortunately, Liefeld seems to be even worse than 6 years after this story was published.
A good editor would have taken the basic structure of the story, and helped Liefeld craft it into something professional.
Posted by: Chris | November 8, 2015 11:51 PM
Chris, I think the fact he drew like a teenager was the appeal to teenage readers. It was as if anyone of them could do it. I believe that Liefeld's problem was that he drew studied comic book characters rather than real life.
Posted by: JSfan | November 9, 2015 8:09 AM
Red Comet, what about those of us who have actually read his work, and were repulsed by it on the spot ["X-Men" #247] and then kept reading his work through "New Mutants" and "X-Force" until after he left the title?
The way Fnord has been reviewing these books, fine, no disagreement that Liefeld, McFarlane and Lee provided a massive amount of energy to series that were seriously treading water. If they had been good, there would be no problem. But they weren't good, and the rest of Marvel followed their example.
Like the art you want to like. If it strikes a gong with you, that's all the justification you need, and if it's enough to keep Liefeld drawing comics [which it is; is it just me or does the guy have a good work ethic when he's working for Marvel or DC?] then my opinion or anyone else's should be irrelevant. I may think your preferences suck, but other than a joke here or there, I won't say you can't have them.
But I really have read enough Rob Liefeld comics to think he sucks. Just my opinion. I actually buy Liefeld comics that he's written, if they're below cover price, because I find the 'so bad it's good' factor worthwhile. And I'm old enough to have nostalgia for those early days on "New Mutants" when we didn't know how bad he would get. Sometimes you just want a Sal Buscema who can properly draw a story.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 9, 2015 10:32 PM
Liefeld would set up books with enough tension to give an exciting premise but ultimately not follow through on any of it. X-Force started as a mutant strike team that would strike first and ask questions later but instead of making that the focus, Liefeld was introducing more and more characters and each issue became a spotlight of sorts for these new characters. Giving the new characters a voice is one thing but you cannot just derail a series like this, you have to advance the plot. I can't even begin to tell you what X-Force's first arc was about because the book became focused on introducing new members. Kane, G.W. Bridge, Feral etc. They werent even good characters, they didnt have any pathos just a basic traits, Feral is Feral, Kane is the mysterious new Weapon X and everyone but the reader seems to know him and nothing is done to catch us up on him, he's an attempt to be the next Wolverine and G.W. Bridge is like Luke Cage except boring.
The artwork was just horrendous, everyone became human pretzels and frankly half the stuff going on defied logic or science. Costume designs were mediocre to plain dumb. Shirtless Cable with big honking shoulder pad/vest thing, pouches and leg bandoleers on many other characters, dumb gimmicks like launching hands. It was almost as if Liefeld was desigining gimmicks for a toyline (which actually came to fruition the next year with the X-Force line.) than comic book characters to be introduced in the rich,
Posted by: Darren | November 9, 2015 11:55 PM
I keep waiting for Regina to pop up and and shout, "Rob, stop trying to make "Shatterstar" happen. He's NOT going to happen." (At least not until Peter David gets a hold on him.)
But seriously, "Creators Pet" syndrome is running rampantly here.
And of course for all of X-Force's supposed "kewlness", they don't really achieve a whole heck of a lot. I mean what's the point of of going to such "XTREMENESS" if you're gonna fail at half of your missions?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 21, 2015 1:29 AM
I swear, Marvel’s colorists discovered pink for the early X-Force issues. So much pink...
Posted by: DW | February 9, 2018 12:52 AM
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