Written by Chris Yost & Craig Kyle
Art by Clayton Crain
I was hoping a new story arc and the return of Clayton Crain would mark a renewed interest in X-Force. I still like the characters and concept, but the execution is starting to wear on me a little.
Where Yost and Kyle mixed their killings with a proper mix of character moments, which showed an obvious love for the characters, in New X-Men, the characters in X-Force seem less like people and more like vehicles for bloodshed and violence. When the characters stop being relatable, it's hard to retain a vested interest in what they do, regardless of what spectacle or shocking event you introduce every month.
So, as much as I enjoy both writers collaborations and love for certain characters, such as Domino and X-23, my future with this title doesn't look so good.
For example, this issue's main plot consists of show casing the Leper Queen and how Bastion is using her to pump random mutants full of the Legacy Virus and then unleashing them on Friends of Humanity rallies that he's set up. The Legacy Virus causes the mutant's powers to go haywire and, as is the case in this issue, kills a whole lot of humans. The comic actually begins and ends on two such massacres, which only serves to undermine the shock value of each.
With so little actual character moments in this book, I actually found the Leper Queen scenes, in which she laments the forced servitude and inability to break free of Bastion's control, to be the most compelling. She even wishes for death as she is forced to carry out her duties by Bastion's will. The fact that I care more about the Leper Queen than our heroes shows just how detached I've become to the mere tools of destruction Yost and Kyle have turned the X-Force team into.
While I'm sure that is the intended effect, as they are literally a team of killers now, there needs to be a middle ground for these issues. We don't see any remorse or guilt or even joy at their successes and failures. It's just a simple recurring string of, "Who do we kill next?", type reactions and the occasional comedy scene, such as X-23 cutting off Vanisher's ear in this issue, which is still quite a dark bit of humour.
Verdict - Check It. It's a well crafted book and I did enjoy the return of Crane's unique art style, but I think the entire concept of the book is just wearing thin on me. Add the upcoming crossover with the much maligned Cable and I'm thinking I may just drop the title at the end of this arc.