Monday, August 25, 2008

X-FORCE #45 – August 1995

Under One Roof

Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Adam Pollina (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Marie Javins & Electric Crayon (colors)


Summary

When Boomer tries to give Sabretooth a bowl of milk, she discovers the Danger Room has been trashed. Caliban is attacking Sabretooth as retribution for his earlier role in the Morlock Massacre. Cable appears and repairs the controls enough to create an illusion of the Morlock Tunnels. Cable mentally speaks to Caliban and tries to explain that Sabretooth is as defenseless now as the Morlocks were years ago. Caliban decides not to kill Sabretooth until he’s recovered. Cable firmly orders Boomer to stop bringing Sabretooth milk. Later, Beast examines Shatterstar while he’s recovering from his injuries. He tells Cable that he’d like a few days to run tests on him. Boomer plays sick to avoid a new mission in order to spend time with Cannonball, but he has to quickly leave on X-Men business. The rest of X-Force travel to a Siberian tracking station as a favor to Professor Xavier. They discover a giant crater in the snow, surrounded by bodies. One of the injured men tells Cable that they trusted Xavier, and now this happened. Cable looks up to discover the Mimic standing over him.


Continuity Notes

Cable tells Boomer that he knows about the “original designs” of the Danger Room. I think it’s later revealed (or at least, Loeb wanted to reveal) that Cable gave this technology to Xavier years in the past, or some similar terrible idea (hey, I wonder if Cable knew that the Danger Room was an enslaved sentient being?). Beast comments that no one’s ever actually examined Shatterstar’s body before, which is a hint towards his upcoming origin story, another plotline that’s not exactly remembered well.


The continuity between the titles continues to be extremely tight. Shatterstar was injured in this month’s Cable. Cannonball’s appearance is supposed to take place in-between the pages of Uncanny X-Men #323, a stunt that drove me nuts as a kid because I had no idea whether or not to file that issue before or after this one.


Review

This is a very traditional X-comic, with an opening fight in the Danger Room, some conversation scenes, some training scenes, the introduction of a new mystery, and the setup for next issue’s story. None of it’s poorly done, but this is definitely material we’ve seen a thousand times before (which I suspect was intentional on Loeb’s part). He does at least get some use out of Caliban in this issue, with an opening fight scene that’s handled effectively by Pollina. Remembering that Caliban hates Sabretooth is a nice use of continuity and a sign that Caliban isn’t being totally rewritten. Marvel was still trying to sell the idea that all of their titles were telling the continuing stories of the characters, so seeing a reference to a 1987 crossover wasn’t that unusual (Bob Harras even helpfully points out which individual issues of each series the Morlock Massacre took place in, even though those comics had been out of print for eight years at this point). Having cynical, bratty Boomer turn into a little girl around Sabretooth never worked for me, but at least Loeb is trying to take advantage of the new surroundings. Pollina’s art does bring some excitement to a pedestrian story, even if some of his faces are wonky (Xavier practically looks like a corpse during his scenes). Out of all of the characters in the book, Pollina’s strongest work appears on his rendition of Boomer, which is a little odd. His unique art at least keeps this from being totally bland.

2 comments:

Isaac said...

That cover totally makes my eyes hurt.

Teebore said...

"a stunt that drove me nuts as a kid because I had no idea whether or not to file that issue before or after this one."

Me too! That kind of "between pages" stuff drove me nuts when I was a kid, trying to get all my titles organized so that I could read that ongoing Marvel Universe narrative in order.

Man, remember when Marvel used to embrace the idea that each comics was another chapter in a decades long narrative instead of downplaying it? I miss that. But I digress...

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