Wednesday, June 24, 2009

X-Force #16 Review

X-FORCE #16
Written by Craig Kyle & Chris Yost
Art by Clayton Crain

Okay, what the hell is going on with this crossover? How can a two book event be so disconnected from each other that the simplest of concepts, such as character costumes or serious injuries to characters, can be completely ignored from one issue to the next? Do I review this book, the final part of an event, as a separate entity or should it be lambasted for not being able to reflect events from the previous chapter in the crossover?

For instance, Wolverine was injured to such a degree that he had regressed to a mindless animal and was lashing out at anyone that came near him. He also had no facemask on. This issue he starts off speaking and completely coherent with his mask back on no worse for wear fighting back against Stryfe.

Another one was with Domino. She criticized Vanisher over his suggestion to just kill Kiden so they could return home and told him it's tough for everyone else to have to kill their friends and then Domino just shoots her in the head as X-23 is having a moment with her friend. It made no sense to me to go from last issue's portrayal to this one.

Yet another inconsistency is Bishop's mechanical arm, which was reduced to a stub by Stryfe in Cable, yet is, while slightly damaged, a fully functional arm in this issue, even having a still working time travel device and a visibly working hand. Hell, even the damn epilogue has Bishop looking different than in the issue (the epilogue is by the Cable writer and artist). He was stabbed across the side of the head by Wolverine in the issue, yet is missing an eye in the epilogue and has no other scarring from three adamantium claws across the side of his head. His arm is also nearly fully developed, even moreso than in the early parts of the issue.

My question is, how can you mess up fairly simple concepts like this? It's not like it's just cosmetic things (well, the Wolverine mask bit was). These are all major plot points that are just plain wrong from one issue to the next and pulled me out of an otherwise action packed issue. All I could do, literally, was pick up on mistake after mistake instead of sit down and enjoy the issue.

In fact, the only really part of the book I could sit down and enjoy was the Apocalypse related parts and that's because he had barely appeared in any other book outside of the odd one page cameo. This made it almost impossible to mess him up. Add Clayton Crain's stunning rendition of him (there's one splashpage of him in Death/Angel that I would kill to have a poster of) and Apocalypse stole the issue. He even narrated most of it, adding more impact to his revenge on Stryfe.

Looking back on the event, it amounted to little more than a bunch of mindless gore with little plot and a really broken concept of time travel that I have never seen used in any other time related story. The ending actually has everyone scrambling to get to different locations so they when they return, they return to the exact spots their friends were kidnapped and being held at prior to this event. It also seems like they will be saving Boom Boom, who died when they were shunted to the future, which I assume means they expect to either come back to the exact moment they left.

Verdict - Check It. Taken on its own, I think this is probably the strongest issue of the entire event, but it's also the most disconnected from everything that came before and, as a concluding chapter, should reflect the various plots from previous issues. The fact it didn't made for a jarring and disconnected reading experience.


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