Wednesday, March 4, 2009

X-FORCE #64 – March 1997

The Haunting of Castle Doom!
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Anthony Castrillo & Mark Pajarillo (pencilers), Jon Holdredge & Marlo Alquiza (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Marie Javins (colors)

Summary: After the Time Platform malfunctions, X-Force is transported with Doom’s castle to 1941. Because the castle already existed in 1941, the castle and everyone inside exist as ghost-like apparitions. Dimitri Fortunov overhears Baron von Strucker making plans to kill his grandfather, who objects to an experimental machine Strucker is building. X-Force agrees to help Dimitri stop Strucker’s men, even though they’re not sure if they’re damaging the timeline. After X-Force destroys Strucker’s “storm-catcher” machine, Nathaniel Richards manages to repair the Time Platform and return everyone to the present day. Cable destroys the Time Platform, and talks G. W. Bridge out of arresting him. Nathaniel Richards says goodbye, while mentally declaring that he won’t be on Cable’s side for long.

Review: I wonder if Moore wrote these issues as fill-ins, not knowing that he would be taking over the title. It’s unusual to see a new writer not introducing any new plot threads or touching on any ongoing story arcs during his first two issues. Jeph Loeb managed to move the location of the series and alter the cast within a few pages during his first issue. Moore has simply plugged the team into a generic story that probably could’ve starred any other superhero team. The plot itself is mostly unobjectionable, although I do have to wonder about the decision to make the team “ghosts” during the time travel sequence. The story keeps reminding us that they’re intangible, yet they’re able to physically assault Strucker’s men, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. The art is a combination of Castrillo’s blatant Byrne imitation (which is odd, since he backed off of the aping in the previous issue), and Pajarillo’s blatant “Image circa 1993” impression. Neither one is particularly good, and both help to reinforce the idea that this storyline was thrown together at the last minute to kill time.

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