Monday, December 31, 2007

X-FORCE #24 – July 1993

Prisoners of Fate
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Richard Bennett (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Marie Javins (colors)

While on their way to Xavier’s to be deprogrammed, Rusty and Skids are kidnapped by the Friends of Humanity. With the X-Men away on various missions, and fearing bad publicity for X-Factor, Xavier asks X-Force to rescue the pair. X-Force easily defeat the Friends of Humanity’s men and save Rusty and Skids. Meanwhile, Vanessa agrees to help Domino find X-Force.

Continuity Notes
Val Cooper says the government has a mole inside the Friends of Humanity. I don’t remember if anything ever came of this.

Rusty and Skids are two former members of the New Mutants who were brainwashed into joining the Mutant Liberation Front. Since this issue is almost entirely devoted to X-Force rescuing them, you would think that there were future plans for the characters, but they’re barely seen after this.

It’s surprising to look back on this issue and remember that I was totally satisfied when I first read it. It’s not that there’s a gaping plot hole, inconsistent characterizations, lazy plot coincidences or anything like that…there’s just no drama whatsoever. In the 20 years I’ve been reading comics, I don’t think I’ve read another superhero comic where the villains offer absolutely no resistance at all. X-Force bursts into the FoH headquarters, smack them around for two panels, and that’s it. No one fights back -- no one has to dodge a laser blast or block a punch or anything. Plus, the FoH goons are just guys in black bodysuits. Can’t they at least rent a mecha-robot or something?

It’s amazing that I didn’t pick up on this at all as a thirteen year old. I still think the art’s nice, and that carries a lot in a bland story, but you’d think I would have noticed the world’s dullest climax. Actually, I guess it’s possible that younger readers really do want this type of comic; just a group of supreme heroes who easily beat up on the bad guys without any opposition. X-Force is so awesome the villains can’t even get a punch in! I guess to add some relevance to this issue, Cannonball gives a “why can’t humans and mutants get along?” speech, with a slight twist at the end (acknowledging that humans might have a legitimate reason to fear mutants). The rest of this issue -- the setup, the characterizations, the artwork, the use of past continuity -- is fine, but there’s really nothing that can save such a lackluster climax.

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