Monday, March 2, 2009

X-FORCE #63 – February 1997

Wish You Were Here
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Anthony Castrillo (penciler), Mark Morales w/Chad Hunt (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Lee Ann Clark & Graphic Color Works (colors)

Summary: Meltdown wakes up in Liddleville, and soon discovers Dimitri Fortunov. She flashes back to the events that lead her inside Dr. Doom’s castle. Cable lead X-Force on a mission to ensure that Doom’s Time Platform doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Nathaniel Richards joined the team and helped them break into the castle. After facing a group of Doom’s robots, Meltdown was abducted and her consciousness was placed inside Liddleville. Fortunov explains that Doom’s castle once belonged to his family, and that he broke into the castle to arm himself while fighting to unite Latveria. Soon, X-Force manages to free Meltdown and Fortunov and return them to their proper bodies. The group locates Doom’s Time Platform, as G. W. Bridge and two SHIELD agents arrive. Bridge claims that the UN has jurisdiction over everything in Doom’s castle. Fortunov declares that no one outside of Latveria has the right to the technology, and throws a grenade. A SHIELD agent blasts Fortunov into the control panel, activating the Time Platform. Meanwhile, Sunspot, Warpath, and Caliban act as backup and hide amongst the gypsies. One gypsy touches Warpath’s hand and has a horrific vision of the future. Seconds later, the gypsies receive word that Doom’s castle has disappeared.

Continuity Notes: Dr. Doom is believed dead at this time, after the events of Onslaught: Marvel Universe. Liddleville is the miniature town Dr. Doom created with the Puppet Master to imprison the Fantastic Four in FF #236. The gimmick is that a person stays in a dream state as his thoughts are animated by the tiny synthetic doppelganger in the town. Fortunov has a companion, Sergei, who was apparently killed when his mind was placed into his Liddleville doppelganger. Who exactly was making tiny replicas of Meltdown and the others isn’t explained.

We Get Letters: Actual editorial responses to reader comments on the recent “Origin of Shatterstar” debacle: “We hope you enjoyed the solution, even if it was a tad bit complicated.” “Star’s life has certainly changed, and it’s been way too complicated for Star or his fans to follow.” “Needless to say, evidence regarding the truth about our man Star does appear to contradict itself, doesn’t it?” And finally, “We have to admit that the final explanation for Shatterstar’s origin ended up being a wee bit complicated and pretty confusing. Although we may tell you more somewhere down the road, we will make sure that whatever we add will only clarify what has become somewhat of a temporally challenged origin story”. I wonder if Jason Liebig, the assistant editor, wrote these responses. In one interview, he claimed that he told Bob Harras during his job interview that he considered the buildup to Onslaught to be bad storytelling, so this sounds like something he might’ve written.

Review: This is John Francis Moore’s debut on X-Force, although it still feels like the series is in fill-in mode. This is a plot-heavy issue that isn’t outright terrible, but manages to be extremely dull. I’m not sure why so much of the issue is dedicated to Liddleville, since it doesn’t appear to add anything to the story and forces many other plot details to get cramped into too few pages. It seems like Moore assumes we’re already familiar with the town’s first appearance in an early ‘80s FF issue and the gimmick is amusing enough to justify such a lengthy digression. It isn’t. The rest of the issue consists of getting the characters where they’re supposed to be and setting the Time Platform up for whatever Moore wants to use it for in the next issue. Again, it’s not necessarily a bad setup for a story, but it all feels pretty generic and dull.

5 comments:

kerry said...

I actually rather liked John Francis Moore's run on this title, though Warren Ellis, years later, would rightly state that Moore's vision of the team was as a reactive, rather than pro-active, force. I seem to remember a prolonged road trip as part of this run, but my fond memories are hazy at best.

wwk5d said...

I loved the road trip! Very good stuff. This story isn't all bad, but it seems like Moore was writing non-X-force stories and using them anyway. I'm not sure if it was mandated to have the X-titles interact more with the rest of the Marvel Universe, or he was stuck with using X-force in the stories he wanted to tell.

And while Ellis was right, X-force was easily the weakest of the Counter-X relaunches...

Anonymous said...

FINALLY we get to the Moore issues.

Matt said...

Wow, that Jason Liebig interview is fascinating! I never thought it could be possible for me to dislike Quesada and (especially) Jemas more than I already did, but that just made it happen!

PeterCSM said...

In the interview it's interesting that he says Bob Harras stated that an editor writing could have disastrous results and yet that's what Bob Harras did do while editor. Considering all the negative stories I hear about Harras from other sources not so closely attached to him as Liebig and and the stories included in the interview (and other places) about Quesada and Jemas, I'm just going to assume being an EIC means you ain't got time to worry about being likable.
It's an odd interview. If I told my boss what he told Quesada I don't think I'd be really hurt and surprised to find myself jobless. There's telling your true feelings and then there's doing the same thing with tact. And yet Liebig seems to feel very betrayed by it. And yet in the other examples it seems like he does use tact in his disagreement with Jemas and still gets burned.
He mentions the Generation X Underground Special a few time. I never cared for Jim Mahfood's art. I found it.. irritating. But Allred on Fantastic Four would've been fun. And Liebig's views on The Ultimates is wrong (which he begrudgingly admits) but his view on "saving comics" by targeting kids seems like a very important idea to me. Thanks for posting the link to this interview!

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