Wednesday, October 17, 2012

X-FORCE #96 - November 1999

Family Secrets
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Anthony Williams (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Marie Javins (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)

Summary: Cannonball breaks his uncle Lucas Guthrie out of prison in order to learn the truth behind the images he saw in Genosha. Lucas reveals that he was duped into stealing a Celestial Golem from a warehouse. When Lucas realized he was in trouble, he asked Cannonball’s father for help, which lead to the eleven-year-old Cannonball sneaking into the back of his truck. They delivered the Golem to a Deviant facility, shortly before Sledge suddenly appeared and destroyed the Golem. The Deviants killed during the melee were buried by the Guthrie brothers, and Cannonball’s memory was erased by one of Sledge’s devices. With Domino’s help, Cannonball returns Lucas to jail. Meanwhile, Meltdown is being stalked by Triune Understanding followers, Selene reveals to Sunspot that a SHIELD agent is actually a plant for the Damocles Foundation, Moonstar sees an image of the Demon Bear, and the remains of Reignfire are delivered to Indigo.

I Love the '90s: Jesse Bedlam tells Meltdown that her powers are literally “da bomb.”

Creative Differences:  Kurt Busiek revealed on Usenet that John Francis Moore's portrayal of the Triune Understanding openly breaking the law did not match the instructions he gave to Marvel editors at the time.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership lists average sales for the year as 76,034, with the most recent issue selling 61,372 copies. It’s not hard to guess why Marvel began considering a relaunch around this time.

Review: Yes, more Deviants. Moore does handle Cannonball’s relationship with his criminal uncle fairly well, and there are a few nice moments that center on Cannonball’s embarrassment when Lucas takes him to a strip club, but…will this ever end? If Moore wanted to do a story with the Deviants in X-Force, fine, but I don’t think he needed two to three years to set the idea up. I also don’t understand why it’s necessary to drag Cannonball’s past into the story, going so far as to reveal that he had a secret adventure with the Deviants that was erased by Sledge, of all people. Isn’t Cannonball’s past much more effective if he simply had a normal life in Kentucky before discovering he had mutant powers? What are the odds that he would’ve run into the creations of the Celestials, the cosmic beings responsible for human mutation in the first place? And that his life would be saved by Sledge, a mystery character his future teammate Proudstar will one day encounter following an X-Force adventure? There’s no obvious point to this; it needlessly complicates Cannonball’s past and doesn’t offer any significant advancement of the Deviant storyline. To Moore’s credit, he’s still keeping numerous subplots alive, but it’s not a good sign when the main story is much less appealing than all of the subplots.


Teebore said...

Yeah, complicating Cannonball's past is the thing that always bugged me about this story. I'm okay with the idea of tweaking a character's backstory if it's in the service of a good idea or story, but this Deviant business is neither. I'm not sure what Moore was hoping to gain by revealing young Cannonball had a memory-erased adventure involving Deviants and Celestials.

Matt said...

Huh, I had no idea the Triune Understanding ever appeared anyplace outside of Kurt Busiek's Avengers.

And I agree about the unnecessary complications to Cannonball's past. It's almost Claremontian!

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