Thursday, November 29, 2007

X-FORCE #23- June 1993

Compromising Positions
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Harry Candelario (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist)

X-Force kidnaps the External Crule in order to learn the location of Gideon and Saul. While the rest of the team is away, Cannonball consults Professor Xavier about the Externals. Cannonball is conflicted because he promised not to interfere with their affairs in exchange for Sunspot’s life months earlier. X-Force crashes into Gideon’s home, attacking so quickly Gideon and Saul can’t use their powers against them. Because Cannonball isn’t joining them, he’s technically kept his word. X-Force rescues their teammates, but Saul tells them that without studying Cannonball’s genetic make-up, the Externals may die. Meanwhile, Domino and Grizzly escape from Weapon PRIME with Hammer’s help. They soon travel to Massachusetts and save Vanessa from Deadpool and Sluggo. Vanessa tells Domino she knows where to find X-Force.

After last issue’s cliffhangers, neither the Externals nor Weapon PRIME confrontations amount to anything. Weapon PRIME were laughably feeble opponents in their first appearance, and don’t fare any better in this issue. Grizzly and Domino shoot at them for a few pages and then run away, which isn’t very exciting. Capullo does at least make this version of the team look a lot better, and I’ve noticed that “Tygerstryke” is now spelled “Tigerstryke”, so he's slightly less embarrassing. New members Double Trouble and Killjoy debut. Double Trouble are a pair of “symbiotic plasma discharging” twins, while Killjoy is a generic ‘90s guy with claws. His design is really something; his dreadlocks with tiny lightning bolts on the end must’ve been the hottest fashion trend of 1993.
The External plotline also fizzles out. The fight scene between X-Force and these powerful immortal mutants lasts exactly one page. We’re supposed to believe that these guys have been secretly ruling the world for thousands of years? They can't even handle Rictor and Sunspot! I don't know why these characters are treated so lightly, unless someone has already decided to bury the Externals storyline. Cannonball’s dilemma about getting involved is also given a very obvious and unsatisfying out. I don’t know if there were any last minute plot changes on this issue, but I doubt that Nicieza intended on such an anticlimactic conclusion when he started this arc. As always, Capullo’s art is excellent (making even characters like Grizzly look cool), but it can’t save a disappointing issue.


Teebore said...

I've always wondered what the ultimate point of that Externals story was meant to be originally (if there even was one). It seemed like such a big thing, and then...not. I know later creators did their best to sweep it away, but I still wonder where it was intended to go.

Seeing that shot of Killjoy reminded me he had a toy in the X-Men action figure line which in turn reminded me of all the bizarre one note "90s" characters that appeared in that line: Killjoy, Slayback, Senyaka. I'm surprised Tygerstryke didn't get one...

Chad said...

I remember reading somewhere that Marvel put pressure on the editors to axe the Externals, because for whatever reason there was cause to think that the concept was a rip-off of the premise of "Highlander." I'm not sure if it was the reason for this anti-climax, but I do remember a much later issue of "X-Force" where Selene kills all the Externals being attributed to it.

James said...

"Comic Book Urban Legends," a column from the Comic Book Resources website, tackled this one. Marvel didn't pressure the creative team on X-Force to drop the Externals due to a resemblance to the Highlander franchise. Mark Powers, the editor of the X-books at the time, told CBUL that the creative team didn't like the concept and quietly phased it out.

You can read the full story here:

Anonymous said...

Heh. I loved this cover as a kid. I traced it on transparency and then blew it up all huge on the wall so i could make a pretty shitty poster out of it.

I always liked Domino.

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