Monday, October 1, 2007

X-FORCE #9 – April 1992

Underground and Over the Top
Credits: Rob Liefeld (plot), Rob Liefeld, Dan Panosian, Mark Pacella (art), Fabian Nicieza (script), Chris Eliopoulos, Dave Sharpe (letters) Steve Buccellato (colors)

X-Force continues to battle the Brotherhood and the Morlocks. Sauron follows Cable to the Medi-Lab where he attempts to revive Cannonball. As Feral attacks Sauron, Cable shoots him in the back, apparently killing him. Thornn rips Cable’s face, revealing one side to be robotic. As Masque prepares to leave the battle, Shatterstar stabs him in the back, killing him. Suddenly, Cannonball is revived from the dead. Meanwhile in Canada, Kane follows the Mutant Liberation Front through their teleportation portal and is confronted by Stryfe.

Approved By The Comics Code Authority
Shatterstar thrusts his swords all the way through Masque's body. Masque lies on the ground with black blood splattered all over his dead body.

I like the fact that such an ugly, gruesome comic has such a cheery blue sky on the cover. And what a cover it is. Let’s all take a moment to absorb Cable’s gigantic gun and the small, oddly placed hand holding it up. And Shatterstar’s gun that looks like a folded-up newspaper. He should see a doctor about the giant tumor that seems to be growing out of his thigh. Unfortunately, this is the strongest piece of art in the entire issue because the interior is actually worse. If anyone out there with a scanner and a penchant for ridiculing early ‘90s art doesn’t own X-Force #9, you’re missing out.

This is another confused, unfocused issue-long fight scene. Toad (the character who started this entire storyline) and Pyro have disappeared in-between issues and no one has noticed. Phantazia says that she’s retreating, and apparently teleports away, but is seen again just a few panels later on the same page. Feral and Thornn just kind of appear and re-appear at random. I don’t necessarily mind the idea of X-Force as an action-heavy book that’s light on plot, but the action scenes should at least be done well.

Just to make this comic ugly on every possible level, both Shatterstar and Cable kill their opponents by stabbing/shooting them in the back. Nicieza at least has Warpath comment on this, but Cable’s response is basically “they deserved it”. It seems like every issue of this book makes Cable even more unlikable, which I don’t think was the creator’s goal. I’m not quite sure what it says about my adolescent mind that this type of stuff didn’t bother me at all when I first read it.

Cable’s Terminator 2 look debuts in this issue. The movie was almost a year old by this point, but the film still had a major place in pop culture (there’s even an ad for video game in this issue). I don’t think anyone’s ever denied that the movie influenced this version of the character, which I remember lasting for quite a few issues. If he was covering up his face with fake flesh, I don’t understand why he doesn’t just cover up the rest of his body, unless he wanted people to stare at his shiny, metallic arm. I’m also not sure if the fake skin idea can be reconciled with the origin that was eventually given to Cable.

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