Wednesday, September 5, 2007

X-FORCE #3 - October 1991

Credits: Rob Liefeld (Plot); Fabian Nicieza (Script), Rob Liefeld (Pencils), Rob Liefeld (Inks), Joe Rosas (Colors), Chris Eliopoulos (Letters).

X-Force battles Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut at the World Trade Center. Siryn teams up with X-Force to stop her uncle, Black Tom Cassidy. As Spider-Man swings by to help, Black Tom detonates a bomb and destroys one of the Twin Towers.

Miscellaneous Notes
The Siryn figure on page one looks as if it was inked by Todd McFarlane. The way her eyes and lips are drawn especially remind me of McFarlane. Pages eleven and nineteen look like more pages ghost-inked by Erik Larsen.
Warpath’s infamously large shoulder pads debut in this issue. The tassels attached to them are especially stylish. Cable also appears in new, shiny armor that only lasts a few issues.

While the previous issue focused almost exclusively on Liefeld’s new creations, this issue has the team fighting long established villains, and the return of the rather obscure character Siryn. Former New Mutant Sunspot also gets involved with the action. I wonder if there was a conscious effort at the time to alternate between using new characters and older ones. Focusing too much on either can alienate fans, so there is a certain amount of sense in alternating back and forth.

Siryn was initially introduced in pages of Spider-Woman as the daughter of the X-Man Banshee. She made occasional appearances in various X-titles over the years, but this issue marks the start of her run as a regular cast member. Ever since then, she’s had a surprisingly stable role in the franchise. She’s currently appearing in the relaunched X-Factor series. Bringing her into this story is a nice use of continuity since she already has a connection to one of the villains.

The story is, not surprisingly, a collection of action scenes. No subplots or mysteries are introduced in this issue, just a lot of fighting. If kids only want fights and explosions out of their comics, this issue certainly delivers on that much. Nicieza writes a lot of self-conscious “tough guy” dialogue, which is probably the best way to script an issue-long fight scene. It’s impossible to read this issue and not point out that blowing up one of the Twin Towers now seems tasteless. But at the time, who knew?

A letter in the letters page compliments the art for never using a “boring grid layout”. It’s worth remembering that at this time, mainstream comics were only just beginning to move away from grid layouts. It seems as if they only return now for specific storytelling purposes. I will say that I haven't had any problem so far following Liefeld's panel-to-panel storytelling.

I don’t want to be the five hundredth guy with a blog pointing out Rob Liefeld’s artistic shortcomings, but there are some things I have to bring up. I believe standard comic book anatomy is that the human body is around seven heads tall. Siryn’s hair on page three stands three heads high over her head. Her hair is as tall as a circus midget.


Isaac said...

I know you don't want to turn your blog into a big pile of anti-Liefeld snark, but it'd be great if you could post one or two exemplary distorted figures from each of the issues you review. There's so much in that image of Siryn to be awed by—the giant hair is just the beginning.

Paul O'Brien said...

"Pages eleven and nineteen look like more pages ghost-inked by Erik Larsen."

I don't have the issue to hand, but if they're completely different in style from the pages around them, then as I recall, they're ghosted by Marat Mychaels.

G. Kendall said...

Larsen says that he inked a few pages of the second issue, and these look like the same style.
There are some pages in #4 that don't look exactly like Liefeld but it's hard to pick out who it is. Michaels might have showed by then.

Anyone interested in what I'm doing should check out Paul's excellent site:

snowkatt said...

ever read the sensational she hulk 42 ?

the first 3 pages are swiped from x force 3 and drawn in a faux liefeld style before the editor calls byrne out on this and demands that he does the story proper

the sensational she hulk was a bit fourth wall breaking ...okay a bit much
it was dead pool before dead pool

byrne was poking fun at liefeld who was infamous at the time for swiping panels and poses whole sale

juggernaut punching syrin is actually a swipe of byrne's hulk punching doc samson from the incredible hulk 319

so the she hulk panel of that is a swipe of a swipe iof the orginal artist

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