Friday, September 16, 2011

X-FORCE #84 - December 1998

…By the Sword

Credits: John Francis Moore (plot), Jay Faerber (script), Jim Cheung (penciler), Ray McCarthy (inker), Marie Javins (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Argos’ fellow members of the Sword arrive to abduct Arcadia. Using her ability to shape reality, Arcadia senses Cannonball’s connection to X-Force and summons them to help in the fight. The team defeats the Sword, but objects to Arcadia’s attempts to kill their captives. When Moonstar grabs her arm, Arcadia briefly transforms her into what appears to be a cosmic form. Ulysses sedates Arcadia, and explains that their opponents are a group of Deviants who want to use her as a weapon.

Continuity Notes: The members of Sword consist of Argos, Stranglehold, Zone, and Pyre. They claim that Ulysses was once a member of the Sword. According to Ulysses, they’re working for someone named Indigo.

Review: It’s another issue that slowly advances the Deviants plot, which is still several months away from any resolution. This ordinarily wouldn’t work, but Moore so far has been using the storyline as a setup for the action scenes, instead of merely having mystery characters make cryptic comments in dark rooms, and incorporating it into the team’s ongoing cast changes. This issue, Cannonball officially rejoins, after realizing that X-Force is more of a “family” to him than the X-Men could ever be. Like I’ve said before, it’s another excuse to turn the book into New Mutants II, but I’m okay with that. The villains the team faces don’t display much personality, but I do like Cheung’s designs, and the fight scene is choreographed well. Ulysses and Arcadia are better defined as characters, so they work as more than just faceless victims in the story. Arcadia is portrayed as quite a brat, potentially a murderous one, and the revelation that Ulysses is protecting the world from her and not the other way around adds another layer to their story. I seem to recall many complaints about the Deviants storyline as it concluded, but so far it still seems to be working.

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