This book might best be described by the sound effects used in between the covers, from the first “FWASH!!” to a round of “BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!” through some “SNIKT! SNIKT!” on over to an explosion so earth-shattering that it defies to be labeled by mere sound effects. There is no shortage of action in this issue, and for the start of a new story arc, it sure is wrapping up a lot of threads.
The cast of characters continues to grow, with some characters flowing out of this title in this very issue. I’m sworn to secrecy (or at least spoiler-free secrecy) but suffice it to say that some characters die here. The who would certainly be telling, but I suppose it is safe to tell you that Wolverine isn’t one of them. Kyle and Yost have taken advantage of both time travel and the wide range of characters in this title to truly make it feel as though anything can happen to anyone.
That translates to a lot of violence with very few “survivors” of said violence; at least as sheer numbers go. Choi’s line art provides a traditional feel to the story and layouts, anatomy and panel structure, but Oback takes those lines and fills them with her painterly style, effectively making the finished art a true partnership between the two. The end product is visually striking and looks more like a well-executed small press comic than a Marvel comic. The painterly effects feel out of place, however, with some of the violence that is so boldly sprayed throughout this book like the blood of the task force matched up against Wolverine and pals.
The multiple storylines at play here offer visual breaks from the intensely high action, as scenes are switched just as the action seems to ramp up. Rahne gets to spend some quiet time with Hrimhari, but that is interrupted by a visit from some of his former countrymen in the form of Frost Giants. Logan and Warren get to team up like the old days, except more bloody. Personally, I’m not sure Wolverine needs to be in this book, but he is starting to show a calming influence over some o the other characters. X-23 has some things to say and do, as does Domino.
In this issue of “X-Force,” the entire team is scattered far and wide, but the calamity at the end of the issue is sure to draw them back together once more. How this calamity affects the team remains to be seen, but rest assured there will be more blood. This is the first of four parts, with much blood, violence, and explosiveness. This isn’t your daddy’s X-team, and if you’re picking it up for the characterization, you might want to look at a different X-title. Want some mutants with your violent comics? Then this is the right place.