Review by: comicBOOKchris

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Avg Rating: 3.9
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Price: 2.99

It’s hard to fault X-Force, as it delivers to the audience exactly what it initially promised: violent and bloody exploitation of established X-Men characters. I’m not trying to say that all criticisms of this title should be moot because of this fact, and is additionally not the whole reason why I enjoy reading this. What I feel separates this title from other books that deliver a similar premise (like Jeph Loeb’s Hulk or Ultimatum) is that X-Force doesn’t sacrifice the story for the violent action, but instead tried to have the two exist together. I feel that the latest issue, X-Force #20, is a good example of this co-existance.

X-Force #20 is the conclusion to the arc that continues the saga of X-23 and her former handlers. As I enjoyed this overall story when it was told in X-23’s mini-series and in New X-Men, I was happy to see that the story was being continued, as I highly enjoy this character. I find she’s a tragic figure, since not only does she always feel terrible about her killer instincts, but it’s next to impossible for her to shed them with all the crap that’s going on in her life. Not only do The Facility and their raging she-bitch Kimura keep pestering her and pushing her to the edge, but Cyclops sees fit to constantly use her for her assassin abilities, which puts her in a bad state of confusion about her identity. It’s really good drama, so naturally, I love reading it. The conclusion to this arc, however, is pretty open ended and lacks the closure of previous X-23 arcs, so I was a little dissappointed when it was all over. Besides X-23 escaping, not much is really accomplished in the script plot-wise. We do, though, get some great character moments from X-23, plus some great and gory action scenes depicted by the always amazing Mike Choi, so luckily there were some redeeming qualities about this issue.

So X-23 marches on through her tragic yet exciting life in the X-Men world. Everytime that she is the focus of a story, I immediatly take notice since her inclusion is ment for some great drama. So despite an open ended conclusion to this arc, X-Force #20 provideds some great X-23 moments, and I hope we get back to her story sooner than later.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 4 - Very Good


  1. >’It’s hard to fault X-Force.

    You’re totally baiting me there, aren’t you?  (And yes, I can fault it, because the consequences of things that happen in this idiotic and offensive title spill over into books  I want to read.)

  2. @ohcaroline

    That reminds me of something I should have added…if you didn’t like the previous issues of this title, then you most likely won’t care for this issue, as it continues with full steam with the initial concept mentioned above. This may be good for fans of the title, but non fans should definitely steer clear.

  3. Does X-Force spill over into the other books?  I haven’t really noticed

  4. @cutty  The whole ‘Cyclops is lying to Emma’ dynamic in Uncanny is based on what happens in this book.  Any attempts to portray him as heroic on other books are undercut by him being a psycho terrorist who exploits children, in this one. 

  5. So I take it your main problem (outside of the gore) is Scott using X-23 for these missions? You know, that’s never occured to me, but I agree that its kind of out-of-character when you put it into the context that she’s just a kid.  I do like the fact that Logan has been protective of her from the start though, he never wanted her (or anyone else for that matter) to be on this team to begin with

    As far as the X-Force concept goes, I think it makes sense.  Given that his duty is to protect what’s left of the mutant race, having a black ops team to "get rid of" the Bastions and Purifiers of the world is a logical next step for Scott.  I guess in this context, he’s just using X-23 as one of the best assets he has to get the job done.

  6. @cutty:

    I think that’s what makes X-23 such a great and tragic character though. She wants to live a normal life but doesn’t know how, since not only is she constantly pestered by the bad guys to use her assassin abilities, but by the good guys as well. She’s stuck in a really tough rut.

  7. @chris – I’m glad Kyle/Yost are bringing that back.  That was a big theme in their New X-Men run.

    Isn’t it amazing that she’s a great character?  A teenaged Wolverine clone in a hot body sounds like a disaster

  8. And yeah shes just a kid, but keep in mind that since the day she was born, shes been programmed to be this killing machine. It wasnt until she was a teenager that she tried to break away.

  9. @cutty  X-23, and Elixir, and Boom-Boom. . .etc, etc.  I won’t say that I could *never* see Scott behaving this way, it’s just that it’s 180 degrees different from how he presents himself in the other books, which makes him a terrible hypocrite.

  10. @ohcaroline – well to be fair Elixir is basically there as a medic, and they went to rescue Boom-Boom, she was never part of the team. 

    I know what you mean though, but I think that’s just the "new Scott".  He’s doing things his way, he doesn’t care what people think, and a lot of his decisions are based on his back being against the wall.  He’s a little more Magneto than Xavier

    I think you’ve been a little hard on the book – outside of Messiah War, its been a pretty compelling story

  11. @cutty  I get that it’s "new" but I hate it because I find it revolting.  Is there a way I can make that clearer?

  12. @ohcaroline:

     I get why you dont like the concept, and how you see x-force as psycho terrorists. While I agree that the "Cyclops lying to Emma" plotpoint is contrived (and unnecessary after reading the retarted X-Men: The Confession), what has X-Force really done that labels them as soulless terrorists? I refuse to believe that them killing Purifiers and Maurader clones labels them as bad people or terrorists.

  13. @comicbookchris  Oh, come on, you know I don’t read the damn thing. 🙂  My objection is to the premise and to the way it’s reflected in other books.  If what they’re doing isn’t any worse than what heroes do in other titles, then what is the big deal for them to be constantly whining about?

  14. (to clarify, I have read it, I just don’t read it regularly).

  15. poor X-Force, so misunderstood…

    I think most of the shit that’s going down these days in the x-universe is taking place in X-Force.  The major crossover coming up in 2010 is heavily based on the threads that have been running through this book since issue 1

  16. @cutty I really don’t think I’m misunderstanding it.  I think I disagree with the premise of the book on an extremely basic level.  All the things that you are saying about it — that it’s a new direction for the characters and that events in this book are driving the rest of the X-Men universe — are among the reasons that I dislike it.  I’m really not sure what you are trying to convince me of.

  17. I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to convince you at all.  I was just trying to be funny or witty or something

    I know this book isn’t for everyone, and more importantly, you don’t have to read it to enjoy all the other stuff.

    I understand where you’re coming from, different strokes

  18. Ahh, sorry, I got a little humor-impaired there.

    This book just bugs me, but I didn’t mean to get on anybody’s case for liking it.  I just know Chris was baiting me (in good fun, we’ve joked about it) in the review so I responded and it went from there.

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