Tuesday, April 5, 2011

X-FORCE #80 - August 1998

The Fire Within

Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Adam Pollina (penciler), Guillermo Zubiaga (background assists), Mark Morales (inker), Comicraft (letters), Gloria Vasquez (colors)

Summary: X-Force continues to fight Reignfire, and is eventually able to separate Sunspot from the protoplasmic entity by combining Siryn’s sonic scream with Dr. Joshua’s cannon. SHIELD takes Reignfire into custody, while Sunspot flies to DaCosta International’s San Francisco office. He agrees to stay out of DaCosta International affairs in exchange for a warehouse in the city. He flies the team to San Francisco, where they set up their new base. Meanwhile, Locus and Skids awaken on a mountain in Latveria. They’re neutralized by a mysterious figure.

Continuity Notes: Reignfire drops another hint about Meltdown’s past. Initially, it seems like another intimation that she used to be a prostitute (“I know what you did when you were a runaway, living on the streets of New York…scared…vulnerable”), but a new bombshell is dropped when he adds, “You don’t want to kill again, do you?”

Approved By The Comics Code Authority: DaCosta International’s secretary discusses going to a bondage club on a bad date during a telephone conversation.

I Love the 90s: Meltdown says she feels just like “those guys on Road Rules” when boarding the plane to San Francisco.

Review: The Reignfire storyline wraps up, and Moore uses the conclusion to segue into the book’s new status quo. Of course, even in 1998, an X-team moving to San Francisco wasn’t an original idea, as Chris Claremont briefly relocated the team there during his run. The circumstances that lead X-Force there are actually the highlight of the issue, as the DaCosta International board is convinced that Reignfire is coming to kill them. The reaction of the secretary to Sunspot casually walking in through the front door is priceless, and the cameo by the Heroes for Hire (the security team hired by the board to protect themselves from Reignfire) is a lot of fun.

The rest of the issue kind of drags, to be honest. Dr. Joshua’s motivation for injecting Project Nineteen with Sunspot’s blood is fleshed out a bit, and Moore gets some mileage out of Sunspot and Reignfire inhabiting the same body, but little else is going on. Moore’s also decided to include newspaper clippings that are slightly relevant to the events (like an ad for a psychic hotline as Moonstar tries to psychically disrupt Reignfire) throughout the story, which unfortunately doesn’t add anything. Moore’s plotting is already rather dense, so there’s a lot going on in each page. The added text of fake ads and news articles just makes the issue an even longer read, and often distracts from the action.

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