I have long raised a questioning eyebrow to Marvel Comics’ plan over the past year to publish two separate X-Force titles: Uncanny X-Force and Cable and X-Force. Both are about a team of renegade X-Men fighting evil on the fringes of superherodom, and both feature a random assortment of characters, many of whom didn’t necessarily have anything to do with X-Force. It seemed that Marvel was only concerned with wringing as much money out of the brand name as they could.
Well now it seems that grand experiment is coming to an end. Marvel is cancelling both titles and combining only some of the characters into a new adjectiveless X-Force, launching in February.
What went wrong? Who can say. Were the titles selling well? Did Marvel wise up and realize the world doesn’t need two separate X-Force titles? Was nobody enjoying Puck?
These are questions that only those in the know can properly answer, and Marvel isn’t returning my calls. I tried reading both comics but gave up after an issue or two because I just didn’t see the point. On the one hand, they were both made well enough. But I didn’t care about the characters or the plots. That’s on me, not on them.
Well Marvel and USA Today are all manner of excited to tell you about the new series, which will be written by new writer Simon Spurrier, with art by Rock He-Kim. Based on the interview, Spurrier is going to take X-Force back to basics so that they’re simply a black-ops mutant team doing black-ops type things.
“What I’ve taken from those early X-Force episodes is a take-no-prisoners attitude towards action,” Spurrier says. “But I like to think I’ve injected a little post-millennial sophistication, too. “This isn’t a steroidal macho-fest: It’s a slick, nasty, oh-so-grim beast that’ll cut your throat and blow up your headquarters before you even know it’s there.”
Of the more than a dozen characters in Uncanny X-Force and Cable and X-Force, only three are going to make this new team: Cable, Psylocke and Fantomex. Though Spurrier does suggest that other characters will probably pop in from time to time.
Of special note is a new member: Marrow! And since I once proclaimed Marrow my second favorite X-Woman of all time, you better believe I’m going to pick up this book just for her.
On Marrow, Spurrier compared her to Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, and said:
“She’s a fighter too damaged by own experiences to ever really fit in,” Spurrier says. “She’s one of those brilliant characters which the X-books handle so well who can’t rightly be described as a hero or a villain: a product of her own tragedy.”
So because of Marrow, I’ll definitely be buying this book. What does everybody else think?
Robin Week comes to a close with my official review of Batman Incorporated #8. It’s actually a very good comic, so it’s great to see Damian go out at the height of his awesomeness and popularity; kind of like Seinfeld or Calvin & Hobbes. I would even be tempted to give Damian’s demise the Comic Book of the Week, but that award has to go to Hawkeye #8. Writer Matt Fraction had an amazing week, delivering the one-two romantic punch of Hawkeye and FF, two amazing comics that reinforce why I love the medium in the first place. If you’re not reading either book then you’re definitely missing out.
Who would have thought that coming out of the big The Avengers movie last summer, the two characters with the best comics would be Hawkeye and Thor? Speaking of which, why doesn’t the Black Widow have her own comic series? That seems like it would be a no-brainer, especially for Marvel NOW! Oh well, this is why Marvel is not paying me the big bucks.
Comic Reviews: Aquaman #17, Batman Incorporated #8, FF #4, Hawkeye #8, Talon #5, Uncanny Avengers #4, Uncanny X-Force #2, Uncanny X-Men #2 and Young Avengers #2.
Why is Marvel putting out two separate but incredibly similar X-Force comics these days? Alright, stupid question. The answer is to make more money, obviously. That’s why there are so many different X-Men titles. But from a creative standpoint, what the heck is Marvel thinking? I have read both Cable and X-Force and Uncanny X-Force, as well as various creator interviews, and it looks to me like the two books might as well be mirror images of one another. Both are about a random assortment of X-characters randomly banding together to fight a random threat. What happened to the days of yore, when the name ‘X-Force’ actually stood for something? When the title was used to tell new, off-kilter stories that were different from the normal X-Men?
Cable and X-Force is about Cable, Domino, Forge, Hope, Colossus and Dr. Nemesis battling the techno-organic virus. Uncanny X-Force is about Storm, Psylocke, Puck, Spiral and Fantomex battling a new designer drug, and possibly Bishop. If you don’t read comics regularly, then it’s possible that those two sentences don’t make a lick of sense. But even if you do read comics, it’s like the Marvel writers just threw darts at a wall of character names to decide who was going to appear in their version of X-Force.
And that sounds like an awesome game! So being the creative guy that I am, I’ve decided to play it as well. If Marvel suddenly decides to give me the reigns to create my own random X-Force team – let’s call it ‘X-Treme X-Force’ – then these are the 6 characters I would use.
What a week, what a week, what a week. Good thing there’s always comics to keep us entertained and excited. And another busy week brings us several different Avengers and X-Men comics – including the second X-Force title – as well as the penultimate chapters of the Third Army story in Green Lantern. Is it living up to all the previous Green Lantern sagas? No…not yet. But it’s still fun! As is the new Young Avengers series, and the latest issue of FF, but then we always knew that series was going to be fun.
Seriously, people, there are a ton of new comics this week. But the coveted Comic Book of the Week has to go to Wolverine and the X-Men #24. It’s cute, it’s fun and it reminds me why I loved this series so much in the beginning.
Comic Reviews: Avengers #3, Batwoman #16, FF #3, Green Lantern #16, Green Lantern: New Guardians #16, Justice League #16, Nightwing #16, Red Hood and the Outlaws #16, Uncanny Avengers #3, Uncanny X-Force #1, Wolverine and the X-Men #24, Wonder Woman #16, Young Avengers #1.
What the hell, Marvel!? Some of us still have Christmas shopping to do, yet you hit us the week before Christmas with a massive pile of new comics to buy? Jeez louise! Bad enough this is also my heavy DC Comics week too! So let’s just say I bought a ton of comics this week, all so Marvel can be all fancy and only release Amazing Spider-Man #700 next week. Their big marketing scheme is hell on my wallet. At least most of the comics that came out this week were pretty good.
Everything under the sun seemed to come out this week, giving us a wide range of different titles. We’ve got major releases for the Avengers, X-Men and the Fantastic Four, not to mention both X-Force titles. If you’re more into Batman and the Death of the Family story, there are both the Nightwing and Red Hood tie-ins, one of which was good and the other quite bad. So very busy week. And though there were a lot of great titles, I think FF #2 pulls away with Comic Book of the Week. I really think that title is going to live up to its awesome potential.
Comic Reviews: All-New X-Men #4, Avengers #2, Batwoman #15, Cable and X-Force #2, Captain Marvel #8, FF #2, Green Lantern #15, Green Lantern: New Guardians #15, Hawkeye #6, Indestructible Hulk #2, Nightwing #15, Red Hood and the Outlaws #15, Thor: God of Thunder #3, Thunderbolts #2, Uncanny X-Force #35, Wolverine and the X-Men #22, Wonder Woman #15.