Monday, March 30, 2009

X-FORCE #68 – August 1997

Girl Talk
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Pop Mahn (penciler), Mark Morales & Al Milgrom (inkers), Comicraft (letters), Marie Javins (colors)

Summary: X-Force and the MLF join forces against Bastion’s Prime Sentinels. Domino sacrifices herself and sets off an explosion, enabling X-Force to escape with Moonstar and Forearm. The team escapes from the rest of the Zero Tolerance soldiers, as Domino’s unconscious body is recovered by Commander Ekatarina Gryaznova. Through a video-link, she lies to Bastion and tells him that Domino is missing. Later, Domino is awakened by Gryaznova, who blames Domino for nearly killing her years earlier. Gryaznova’s body was repaired by Zero Tolerance, turning her into a Prime Sentinel without her knowledge. She straps Domino to a table and prepares her for an operation. Elsewhere, Forearm rejects Moonstar’s offer to team up with X-Force, while Sledge sends Warpath on a mission into an alternate reality.

Continuity Notes: Sledge says that Warpath is ideal for this mission because of his enhanced senses (which appeared in Loeb’s run for no readily apparent reason), and superhuman strength. He wants Warpath to rescue a friend of his, who is apparently one of the few people to learn of alternate realities from Reed Richards.

According to Ekatarina Gryaznova, Domino rescued Dr. Rebecca Schuyler, a “neuro-cybernetic specialist” from a rogue CIA operation three years ago in El Salvador. Domino set off an electromagnetic pulse to stop a combat droid, which inadvertently put Ekatarina Gryaznova, who was mentally controlling the droid, in a coma.

Review: The OZT crossover continues, and Moore manages to integrate it smoothly into the ongoing storylines he had just begun. The Zero Tolerance troops fill the role of villains for an action scene, while the addition of Ekatarina Gryaznova is used to actually connect a cast member to the larger story. I think some level of backlash against crossovers must’ve begun by this point, since it seems like Marvel is really trying to make the books as independent as possible while a larger story plays in the background. This is my personal preference for crossovers, since it enables each title to continue with its own storylines while still playing into the “shared universe” concept that so many readers enjoy. I like the way Moore uses OZT as a way to segue into a story about Domino’s past. There’s still a lot of room in her backstory to fill in at this point, so watching Gryaznova unveil a montage of stories that may or may not be true about her is kind of interesting. Pop Mahn, a manga-style artist who began doing work for Marvel after Joe Mad became hot, shows up as fill-in artist. It’s not as distracting as the previous manga-style fill-ins, but it’s still a jarring transition. Some of the pages look really nice, but many of the faces fall into the stereotypical “everyone’s ten-years-old” manga look.

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