X-Force #1 (Comics Review)

Another new week of comics, and that means another new week with a new book launching from Marvel, as part of its brand-new All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, under which the publisher is either relaunching some series, or launching new ones with characters old and new alike. One of this week’s big highlight is X-Force, which already existed under the Marvel Now banner, but not quite in this form, I’m given to believe. I’ve never read any X-Force or related comic, and neither have I read anything with any of the characters featured here, except for Psylocke, who has had some good moments in Brian Wood’s X-Men of late.

Being my first X-Force comic, and with these characters in particular, the transition is a bit rough. I barely know any of them, and Si Spurrier’s writing isn’t very comfortable in that regard either. But, I think the series has a really interesting premise all the same, with the X-Force team being mutantkind’s self-appointed black ops team, and that’s the charm, certainly. Rock-He Kim’s art on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired and is definitely one of the weaker points of this issue. It has neither the substance nor the charm that I expected.

X-Force 01To start off with, I gotta say that I find the team-makeup here to be really interesting. The novelty lies in the fact that I hardly know any of the characters and in many ways, this is like reading a Justice League or Avengers comic for the first time, except that I am going in with almost no knowledge about either of them. I’ll admit that this is one of the reasons that I kept on going with this issue, even though the story itself didn’t quite grip me. I wanted to find out more about every one of them, and we do find out a little bit. I would have liked to know more, but I suppose there’s the consideration to be made that perhaps Si Spurrier will handle that in the later issues, once he’s done establishing this particular team together and established why they are together.

One of the reasons that I didn’t quite like this issue so much is that the story jumps around a fair bit, between past and present, showing the team in an active mission while also showing how they got to that point, and then later showing the results of their first mission together. Without a clear mark-up between the jumps, the story was a bit hard to follow with the transitions, although not exceedingly so. Another is that the character Marrow’s internal monologue was utterly confusing. I had no idea what she was talking about with all of that. Perhaps it was meant to be some deep psychological commentary on who she is, what she is and who her team-mates, but I didn’t really understand it fully, and that’s a shame. Because I think that she is one of the more interesting characters on the team.

Still, that all is balanced by how utterly fun Fantomex is. He is French, he is hilarious, he is kick-ass, and he is just generally awesome. Psylocke also, while she sadly doesn’t get much in the way of dialogue, she makes her scenes count, especially whenever she is talking back and forth with Fantomex, who seems to have a wee bit of a crush on her. The two of them have some really great chemistry I think, and there are hints aplenty that they’ve had a relationship before, an angle that I’ keen to see more of with Spurrier’s writing.

As far as the art is concerned, I have to say that I am disappointed. It all feels very computerised, as if the artist played around with 3D models in photoshop or some equivalent hi-skills software. And the colours definitely lend themselves to that feel, none of which really helped me. It also didn’t help that a lot of the time the characters had some really weird expressions. Mostly, they were exaggerated to an unflattering degree. The underlying grit and roughness of the team that Spurrier goes for is reflected in the art, but it doesn’t really count for a whole lot because of the way that the panels are set up, and how light is reflected off the characters in the panels.

So there’s all that. Decent writing, below-average art, but still a decent enough read in the final count. Aside from the premise of the series, the story here is a decent one, and features a bit of a standard mission, but it gives the characters an opportunity to each show off their skills, and that does have value in the end.

Rating: 7.5/10

Posted on February 13, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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