Thursday, April 3, 2008

X-FORCE #34 – May 1994

Guns and Poses
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Tony Daniel (penciler), Holdredge/La Rosa/Candelario (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist)

Following the events of the Upstarts’ “Younghunt”, Dani Moonstar asks X-Force to trust what she’s doing with the MLF, Paige Guthrie tells Cable that she wants Professor Xavier to train her, and Magma leaves Empath. Shatterstar tells Rictor about a newscast involving his family. According to the report, Rictor’s uncle and cousin were injured in a gunfight with the police. Rictor reluctantly goes home to visit his family, years after leaving to get away from their arms dealing business. Rictor flashes back to the day Stryfe killed his father after an arms deal went bad. Rictor’s family recognizes Cable’s face as he’s waiting outside their home. Thinking that he’s Stryfe, they attack, but Rictor uses his powers to stop them. Rictor leaves, telling his mother that he hates his father for selling guns, and that he might even hate her for following in his footsteps. He visits his cousin in the hospital and tells him that he has to go to jail. As he leaves Mexico, he encourages a group of young boys to use their brain as a weapon.

Continuity Note
Shatterstar tells Rictor that he has no parents, “save for a fertilization chamber.”

It’s another character driven issue, although it has too much action to really qualify as a “quiet” issue. Rictor is used as the vehicle for an anti-violence story, which mostly works but starts to fall apart at the end. As he uses his powers to stop his family, Rictor begins to compare his mutant power to guns and reflect on the fact that he also uses violence. This might’ve worked during the original, hyper-violent issues of this series, but it seems overly melodramatic now. X-Force doesn’t behave any differently than most other superhero teams at this point, and Rictor was never one of the bloodthirsty members like Shatterstar or Feral. His family is group of gunrunners; he works as a superhero to protect innocent people. Trying to connect the two is kind of ridiculous. There have been cases of heroes questioning the use of violence that have worked rather well (I’m thinking of Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run), but this story doesn’t get into the issue deep enough to pull the idea off. I will give the book credit for evolving to the point where it can attempt an issue like this, though. The early issues of X-Force certainly wouldn’t lead you to believe that you would ever see an issue with an anti-violence message.

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