Thursday, October 18, 2007

X-FORCE #15 – October 1992


To The Pain
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Joe Rosas (colors)

Summary
X-Force defeats Crule and receives a message from Gideon. If Cannonball promises not to interfere with the Externals, he will tell him where to find Sunspot. Cannonball agrees, and the team travels to New Mexico to rescue him. Meanwhile, the real Domino is freed during Cable’s fight with Deadpool. Cable and Domino chase Tolliver to his helicopter, and Cable makes her promise to leave him and find X-Force. Cable blows up the helicopter and teleports away.

Continuity Notes
Crule’s battle with X-Force doesn’t match up with the events of the last issue. Previously, Crule busted into their ship and grabbed Cannonball. In this issue, he busts into the ship, fights the team, and never comes close to Cannonball.

Crule wants to sever Cannonball’s “five branches” before he becomes a threat to all of the Externals. More vague gibberish that I don’t think was ever resolved.

Cable says that he’s faced Deadpool “too many times”, even though this is only the second time they’ve met (Deadpool introduces himself to Cable in his first New Mutants appearance). Apparently, Nicieza now wants to incorporate Deadpool into Cable and Domino’s shared backstory (Deadpool even calls Cable “Nate”).

Cable shoots laser blasts out of his fingers. That never caught on, did it? He is wearing gloves in the scene, so that gives you a No-Prize explanation. Cable also tells his computer to repair his face (which is still in the Terminator 2 look). The exact dialogue is “set synthskin repair mode – patchwork only.”

I Love the ‘90s
Warner Music has an ad selling a series of VHS tapes with ten music videos for $2.98 a month. The acts being advertised include Kyuss, Body Count, Pantera, Tori Amos, and Sonic Youth. Just a few months earlier, Marvel was running ads for a music service offering Paula Abdul, Warrant, Color Me Badd, and Enuff Z’Nuff albums. It’s really amazing how quickly pop culture can change.


Approved By The Comics Code Authority
Some of the phrases in that ad include “purring winsomely about crucifixion and violation,” “ecstasy-stained club attraction,” and “a fresh bong load…of musical salvation”.

Review
This issue is Greg Capullo’s debut as artist, and it was also one of my favorite comics during this era. I mostly liked it for the artwork, but I was also into the Cable/Deadpool fight, and I liked the way it concluded some of the subplots and set up events for a new direction. I was afraid that this issue wouldn’t hold up at all, but I was relieved to see that it’s pretty good. After languishing for several months, the title now feels like it’s going somewhere. With Cable and Domino gone, and now that Rictor and Sunspot have joined the team, the focus moves away from the mystery characters and goes back to more relatable characters.

Greg Capullo remains one of my favorite artists from this time. His work is stylized and exaggerated, but it remains nice to look at, and he understands the basics like pacing, acting, and storytelling. He started out with a kind of generic ’80s Marvel look before being influenced by the Image style. Bringing in that influence hurt some traditional artists, like Herb Trimpe and Alex Saviuk, but Capullo was usually able to pull it off very well.

He seemed to figure out what worked and didn’t work in that style and incorporated into what he was already doing. Years later, he would become the regular artist on Spawn, and develop a cartoonier look that moved even further away from his original influences. He left Spawn in the late ‘90s and hasn’t done a lot of comics work since. The last time I saw anything McFarlane published, it looked the artists were still drawing in the sort-of Capullo house style that was developed in the ‘90s. The last time I saw Capullo draw anything was that bizarre Spider-Man/Jay Leno back-up that ran in some of Marvel’s books. His style was so exaggerated that it was unrecognizable to me at that point. I still consider his X-Force run to be some of the best-looking comics of this era (even if there is some wacky anatomy in this issue), so I’m looking forward to reading these issues again.

7 comments:

Paul said...

Crule wants to sever Cannonball’s “five branches” before he becomes a threat to all of the Externals. More vague gibberish that I don’t think was ever resolved.

I remember that line and I took it to mean that Crule wanted to cut Sam's arms, legs and head off... a bit more X-treme than just the decapitation needed in Highlander.

Cove West said...

I'm with you about Capullo. Compared to contemporary X-artists JRJr. and the Kuberts, Capullo by far had the cleanest style and clearest storytelling (Romita was phoning it in, I guess, and the Kuberts were still doing bad mimics of Lee and Silvestri). To think that he only lasted 11 issues and had the privelege (coughcough) to draw such iconic characters like the Externals, the MLF, the Dark Riders, the Friends of Humanity, the Six Pack, and about two panels of full-glory Magneto. Poor sap.

Nicieza does start dialing it up, though. It's like it took him a couple months to get Liefeld out of his head and start thinking of X-FORCE as his own title. Bringing Deadpool back certainly helped -- Nicieza needs a character with an energetic personality to drive his action, something that Cable sorely lacked, otherwise his plots tend to sag. Likewise, bringing in Rictor upped the team's snappy-banter quotient, and Bobby gave Sam an excuse to display a personality.

Funny catch on that music ad. No wonder X-FORCE sucked for so long: too much Paula Abdul!

G. Kendall said...

I remember that line and I took it to mean that Crule wanted to cut Sam's arms, legs and head off... a bit more X-treme than just the decapitation needed in Highlander.

There's a mental image...Cannonball as a stump.

draw such iconic characters like the Externals, the MLF, the Dark Riders, the Friends of Humanity, the Six Pack, and about two panels of full-glory Magneto. Poor sap.

You're right, I forgot that he got stuck with so much of that stuff. He can definitely pull off things that a lot of artists can't -- even the Liefeld costumes in this issue don't look that bad.

Fnord Serious said...

I loved Capullo's run on Quasar, but I didn't follow him to X-Force. I'd read the first 3 issues and didn't care to read any more. This gives me a reason to pick up some X-Force issues next time I run across the ones he did in a quarter bin. I really wish he had never got the Spawn gig and had kept working in his earlier, cleaner style.

Brett said...

I whole heartedly agree with everything you wrote about Capullo. I would put Nicieza/Capullo as maybe the best run that ever happened on X-Force (the only real competition is Pollina's issues with Loeb and Moore).

Anonymous said...

"Cannonball as a stump"

Well, I guess his powers would still allow him to get around.

Zach Althoff said...

This post is 5 years old, but I'll comment anyway. I guess everyone knows Capullo's doing New 52 Batman now. It's not bad but there are things I still prefer about his style in these X-Force issues.

Back in the day he also briefly took over Wizard's Brutes & Babes (how to draw comics) column from Bart Sears.

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