Mutant Genocide Continues as Mini-Cable Plans His Attack in X-FORCE #2

X-FORCE #2 by Ed Brisson, Jake Burnett, and Jesus Aburtov
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
X-FORCE #2 doesn't bring the sophistication that the new X-Men series promised. The blatant lack of characterization and the predictable plot abase an issue that could've been much better.
64 %
One Too Many Guns
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X-Force #2

Writer Ed Brisson and artist Dylan Burnett deliver a story in X-FORCE #2 that sounds (almost) like something you’d find in a modern newspaper. That may sound like a good thing, but I’m not so sure it is. Very little character development, an overabundance of action, and political schemes that have little to no nuance don’t make for a read-worthy issue. The allusions to illegal gun trading and state-mandated hate policies lack the emotional bite that a series like UNCANNY X-MEN continues to bring. They’re realistic, but comics aren’t newspapers or even editorial columns — they’re comics. Add some okay art, and the issue just doesn’t live up to its potential.  

X-Force #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Little Cable is on a Mission

Cable died in EXTERMINATION but, to no one’s surprise, he isn’t really dead. In a bid to copy Bendis’ lackluster ALL-NEW X-MEN series, Marvel decided to bring in a younger Cable. Why they felt the need to do this, we will never understand.

Anyway, mini-Cable is off trying to uncover who exactly is trading illegal futuristic weapons with the country of Transia. We see a quick glimpse of the shadowy figure in this issue, but Brisson doesn’t give us much. We do learn that the gross Commandant Constantin who physically embodies all things terrible is working with (drum roll please) Ahab! Who would have guessed that two people who enjoy hunting mutants would make a great partnership?

X-Force #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Domino and her team spend most of the issue trying to save Transian mutants from Constantin’s regime of hate. They save a few, but the numbers of dead mutants in Transia continue to rise.  

Where is Domino?

I had a hard time finding the characters who are on the cover in this issue. Domino, Shatterstar, Warpath, and Cannonball all get very little panel time and Boom-Boom, who’s supposed to be a part of the team, gets none. The cover should’ve just shown little Cable and Constantin because that’s who actually appear multiple times throughout X-FORCE #2. I know that making villains three-dimensional is super important in comics, but this is the second issue of a series that needed real revamping. Bite-sized bubbles of Domino arguing with Cable over his “real identity” don’t cut it. 

Some quality character development between team members could’ve really elevated this issue. It still wouldn’t have been perfect, but having some dialogue between characters of the X-Force team would’ve made more sense than giving this Constantin guy half of the issue.

X-Force #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Perhaps the worst part about not having the X-Force in X-FORCE #2 is the notable absence of Domino and Boom-Boom. Without them, this issue is a strict boys’ club. All the stereotypically “masculine” visuals of guns and explosives don’t help.

Where X-FORCE Could Go

X-FORCE #2 isn’t a great issue, but that doesn’t mean X-FORCE can’t be a good series. The storyline of a weapons dealer is a little overused, plus it’s the kind of thing that people hear about in the real world all the time. There’s nothing for the reader to unpack. The country of Transia and the many stereotypes Brisson brings with it are borderline offensive and just generally unsavory. Scratch all that and you still have a dynamite team of characters that a lot of fans really love. I even believe that Brisson can transform Cable into a character readers can get behind. This series just needs a new direction.

Since his first series, Cable’s always been leading a team, so I definitely think some other character, maybe Domino or Cannonball should take the lead. X-Force operates in darkened corners, which is partially why they’re so cool. I’d like to see them go down a darker path that’s a little less on-the-nose. Something that will leave readers with a lot of questions at the end of each issue. Something that will leave them wishing and waiting for the next installment.

X-Force #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Explosives and Gunpowder

Dylan Burnett’s style brings me back to Saturday morning cartoons. Personally, that’s not a positive thing since that’s not what I like to see in the comics I read. But, I know for a lot of readers, it’s a desirable look. The elongated faces and simplistic forms really work sometimes (especially in scenes with really grotesque subjects), but often times this technique falls flat. Burnett is, however, excellently skilled at drawing explosions and gnarly wounds which, for X-FORCE #2, take up a majority of the issue.

Colorist Jesus Aburtov is a shining star in X-FORCE #2. His excellent use of color makes this whole issue feel like a cinematic masterpiece, full of complex lighting and saturated tones. He really helps to bring the art of the issue up a level.

X-Force #2
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Final Thoughts on X-FORCE #2

While not my favorite, X-FORCE #2 has good roots. With a change of direction, I firmly believe that in a few weeks, I could be writing a five-star review for this series. In order for that to happen, Brisson needs to move the series away from the land of predictable, action-packed thriller and into the land of complex, nuanced storylines that aren’t afraid to leave some of the work up to the reader. Will that ever happen? At this point, we can only hope.

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