X-Force is a book which catches you off guard compared to some of the other X-Books. In a mutant haven we still need a team like this that does the dirty work? Or maybe there is more to this considering they have described this iteration of X-Force to be the CIA of the mutant world? Either way, I was excited for this one because these are not even the mutants that you would put together ordinarily if you were thinking of a team being one half intelligence branch, one half special ops.
Unlike the other books, X-Force is a book where I would more strongly recommend that you make yourself aware of everything that happened through the events of House of X and Powers of X. You may not actually have to read it, but it will make a big difference to understand some of the workings of Krakoa and where this need for security comes from. This isn’t to say that you couldn’t possibly figure things out on your own as you read through this first issue, but this also isn’t one of those that will hold your hand through the first experiences on this island. Instead we pretty much jump straight into laying the foundation of where this team comes in. We only further benefited from our immersion into this world through a better grasp of how their new systems work. As in their communications, proximity alerts, first line of defenses.
That also means knowing the kind of new enemies the Krakoans have now created through their declaration of sovereignty, on top of getting to know the normal process of maintaining safety on the island. This new enemy does not have a name, but all the same they met the expectations for what would require the need of X-Force. Well not really X-Force yet, but the attention that a peaceful nation needed to wake up to. I only found it just a bit hard to believe that it was already possible for the island to be found, but it is also safe to assume that it is fairly difficult to hide a whole island this size.
Now for anyone who didn’t heed the words? They were not doing a play on words when saying that this book would show us the high price of a new dawn. There was no better time than now to show us that Krakoa is not the end game for the mutants. We already know that sometime in the future, this will all collapse, but that is neither here or now. Right now, we are establishing the idea that these mutants have not escaped the war. Violence can still come to their doorstep and this creative team pulled no punches to send that message by the end of the issue. I was even impressed by the emotional weight they were able to give the events of this issue for the fact that one would also assume that the regenerative protocols would make dying something that didn’t phase us. It was good that they wasted little time to also show that death still matters. Especially when there is still no preparing yourself for the where, when, and how.
This week was a great one for the kind of artwork we have gotten from both X-Force and New Mutants. Its refreshing when you can pick up one of these books and jump into a completely different art style from the others. This art team was fitting for the darkness they had to pull us readers into. Joshua Cassara breaks from the rest when his pencils have more of a rough touch to them. Not only that, he gets a bit wild with them too. Overall, his pencils bring out a primal atmosphere to this story. Especially when he is working with characters who are both more feral and connected to nature. Characters like Wolverine and Beast looked incredible because it takes some attention to detail to make every hair hang and flow so naturally. Characters like Black Tom stand out because connecting to Krakoa means keeping a piece of it on his self. I loved the way it gives him this Davey Jones appearance. That said, with this being X-Force the big things is seeing just how brutal the action can get. To that extent they did not disappoint. People get clawed, gunned down, and massacred. The good thing was that they also didn’t go overboard. There was blood, but nothing over the top. Beyond that, Dean White did an excellent job giving this story a set tone through his color choice. And even then, you still got colors which popped in the action scenes and grabbed your attention for the natural beauty of the island.
Menace and mayhem don’t just await you in this debut issue of X-Force for the Dawn of X, it slaps you in the face with the reality that there is still a world out there to protect themselves from. X-Force exists because Orchis is the least of mutantkind’s problems. Not every danger will be one that the X-Men can fly out and take care of, they can be like this new enemy who made the bold decision to take the fight to Krakoa. X-Force #1 lived up to the hype where there had to be that one X-Book which took us to that dark place.