Sunday, 25 August 2013

X-Men Re-read: X-Force v1: Angels and Demons

comic musings

The Great X-Men Re-read

X-Force v1: Angels & Demons

Collects: X-Force #1-6
Writer(s): Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost
Penciller(s): Clayton Crain

A new X-Force book spinning out of the events of Messiah CompleX.

Quick Synopsis
Core Cast: Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23

In Messiah CompleX, the X-Men were badly hammered by many different enemies. Deciding to take a more proactive path to deal with threats Cyclops forms a black ops iteration of X-Force consisting of Wolverine, Warpath, Wolfsbane and X-23. Picking up plot threads from the creative teams' New X-Men title, the main villain of this arc is Matthew Risman and the Purifiers. We also have the first appearance of Eli Bard, presented as Risman's right hand man.

The Purifiers break into a S.H.I.E.L.D installation and steal Bastion (from X-Men: Operation Zero Tolerance). They attach the head to the Nimrod body (that Forge had, from New X-Men: Childhood's End v3) to resurrect Bastion. Bastion locates an offspring of Magus (Warlock from New Mutants dad) and uses the transmode virus to ressurect Cameron Hodge (from X-Factor, most notably in the X-Tinction Agenda story-line), Bolivar Trask (creater of the Sentinels), Graydon Creed (of Friends of Humanity, also featured in the Operation Zero Tolerance story-line), Donald Pierce (of the Hellfire Club) and also infects the Lepar Queen (from Decimation).

A particularly cool scene has Bastion's squad of mutant killers around a table and lists the number of Mutants each has killed.

X-Force raid a Purifier base, Risman takes Wolfsbane captive and threatens to kill her. X-23 decides that he's bluffing and triggers some explosives. But Risman manages to escape with Wolfsbane. After killing and torturing many Purifiers, X-Force track Wolfsbane down to a warehouse, barely alive and injected with heroin. Back at base Angel goes to get the healer, Elixir (previously of New X-Men) who promptly heals Rahne.

X-23 smells blood coming from the room with Elixir, Rahne and Angel in it, when she gets there she finds Wolfsbane has torn Angel's wings off. It turns out that Wolfsbane's father Reverend Craig had brainwashed Rahne whilst she had been caught by the Purifiers. X-23 is injured and Wolfsbane escapes back to the Purifiers with Angel's wings.

Elixir does his healing thing again, but finds he can't heal Angel's wings as they aren't organic., at this point Angel transforms back to his Archangel persona and heads after the Purifiers, sensing his old wings. It is revealed that the Purifiers have been targeting the winged mutants (like Jay Guthrie (Icarus), in the early volumes of New X-Men: Childhood's End) because their Nimrod unit had told them that they could use them to make am army. The Purifiers use samples from Angel's wings, and the techno-organic compound therin, to make a The Choir, an army of Purifier soldiers with the powers of Archangel.

X-Force tracks Archangel to the Purifier base, they find Archangel brutally (and graphically) slaughtering The Choir. X-Force clash with Risman, Eli Bard and Bastion and Risman is shot in the head by X-23. Afterwards, X-Force find Archangel unconcious, and in human form, complete with feathered wings, effectively setting up the Dark Archangel Saga in Uncanny X-Force a few years later).

Back at base, Wolverine tells Cyclops on what they have learnt and of Bastion's squad of resurrected mutant killers. Cyclops is shown with a most wanted style screen display and asks Wolverine, who is next?

Best Bit
The reveal of Archangel slaughtering The Choir.

Final Words
Absolutely brilliant, builds on the seeds of the past to an exciting future.

10 / 10

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