Kicking off the “Vendetta” crossover between X-Force titles, “Cable and X-Force” #18 opens with a nightmare and follows up with stereotypes of troubled teenaged heroines seeking comfort in ice cream and sleeping in their panties and t-shirts. Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Angel Unzueta could have avoided stereotypes with that opening scene, but it does function well enough to transition from the haunting nightmares destroying Hope’s slumber to the actual haunting reality awaiting Cable and his crew once Hope realizes that Bishop is in the present day.
Boom Boom has always been a bit of an annoying character to me, but in Hopeless’ hands, she transcends annoying and strives to become worthless. His garbled slang for the hip teenage mutant comes out stale and over the top, transforming Boom Boom into a parody of what she once was when first introduced in “Secret Wars II.” Beyond Cable, Hope and Boom Boom, Hopeless trades in the rest of Cable’s team to take a crack at Storm’s X-Force squad. Those characters are marginally less annoying, but the squabbling between Storm and Bishop seems mundane considering the characters and the circumstances. Naturally, the two squads of mutants coming together by the end of the issue sets up a throwdown for the next, which will swing over to “Uncanny X-Force” #16.
While Angel Unzueta’s art works for the story and is packed with magnificently detailed people and places, Rachelle Rosenberg’s coloring really knocked this issue out of the park for me. Her palette is unhindered by any of the scenes in “Cable and X-Force” #18, lending mood and suspense to Unzueta’s artwork. Unzueta doesn’t overdraw any of the characters, nor are any scenes overly complicated, but the world that fills the pages of this comic is detailed and real, if not spectacular.
I’m not the most dedicated supporter of either X-Force title, but that doesn’t matter to jump into the opening installment of “Vendetta.” Hopeless provides sufficient background regarding the characters and their relationships that readers new and old alike will be able to join the flow of “Cable and the X-Force” #18. There’s a misunderstanding at the heart of nearly every conflict between assemblages of heroes and this is no exception. Historically, however, we might be a little deeper into one of those conflicts by the end of the first of a four-part crossover event. From this point, however, we are all but guaranteed a fast, wild ride with plenty of explosions and fisticuffs, at least if this comic book is anything to base expectations around.