There are two general types of X-Force – the mercenary type led by Cable, or the murder type generally led by Wolverine. The former has long been defunct since the closing days of the original pre-X-Statix run ended over a decade ago, and really by that point it had become more of a grown-up New Mutants title, having long since moved on from Cable. If I’m not mistaken, his last appearance in the title was issue #100, and even that was well after the team booted him. Since then, a Cable-led X-Force has been limited to the brief nostalgia mini or tie-in.
Cable himself was killed off during the Second Coming X-over, one of the several deaths and maimings featured throughout. But in true X-fashion, he “got better”, returning for a not-very good mini series before hanging in the shadows during AvX. But back he came to create a new squad, featuring Forge, Domino, Colossus, Dr. Nemesis, and Boom Boom.
How’s that for a motley crew?
Domino and Boom Boom are longtime Cable allies, while Forge was seemingly killed off during Warren Ellis’s run on Astonishing X-Men, only to be revealed to have survived the experience and have his crazy-ass brain healed with some guidance from Cable. And I’m all for that – Forge is one of my longtime favorites and he hasn’t gotten any kind of decent story since his time in X-Factor. Dr. Nemesis was one of the trio of X-Club scientists, and the only one to make it out of AvX with any kind of storyline prominence. And he deserves it – he’s an awesome character.
Colossus’s presence is a big deal, as he was one of the Phoenix Five, though he was also the one least guilty of any real horror during the event, as he mainly just wandered along next to his sister as she did her demon stuff. If you weren’t watching, he also was cured of his Juggernaut possession in the epilogue mini-series that followed up AvX, which some felt cheated by but I didn’t think there was much left to do with the whole thing.
But that’s the characters – what about the premise?
Cable’s been getting visions of future calamities and he and his squad set off to go stop them before they take place. However, thus far, the missions have not been simply “we saved the day” but rather “we caused a lot of havoc we’re now getting blamed for but it’s better than what the calamity would have been”. And that’s something that rings true to the earliest days of the original X-Force leading into X-Cutioner’s Song when X-Force was on the run from the government because of their ties to Cable. And that’s well and good. Cable and this cast are fine being at odds with the authorities.
The book has also been the home of Hope Summers who is now looking for something to do now that her destiny of saving mutantkind has been accomplished. With Cable back amongst the living, she of course wants to go back with him, and he being the dutiful father wants her nowhere near the troubled group of X-Force. So instead, she’s off on her own trying to help him by seeking out what’s getting him into trouble to begin with.
Before this and Avengers Arena, I wasn’t familiar with writer Dennis Hopeless, but I like his work here. He seems to have a solid enough grasp on the characters, though there are some moments that leave me squinting a bit. His Dr. Nemesis doesn’t have a lot to do. Boom Boom has gone from flaky to chaotic. I do like his story of Colossus as well as his veteran take on Domino who he treats as a professional when doing her job rather than some of the odder takes we’ve seen from her in other places.
Certainly not the best book out there, but good enough for what it is. If you like Cable, you’ll like this one fine.
Next up: Gambit