X-Force Vol 1 # 32 - 37, New Warriors Vol 1 # 45 - 46, Deadpool vol 2 # 1 - 4
XF # 32 - 33, NW 45 - 46: The Younghunt
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Tony Daniel
The Gamesmaster informs the Upstarts that their next targets are all of the remaining New Mutants and Hellions because...reasons? I guess Gamesmaster is an omnipath and knows that this would make for a good X-Force/New Warriors story and that's reason enough.
Good old Magma appears again, being hunted down by Fenris, who are not officially members of the Upstarts, but applying for admission or something. If you can't tell, I think the Upstarts are dumb, so I don't waste a lot of time trying to understand their inner workings. Empath was still hanging out with Magma and manages to escape, but Magma isn't as lucky.
Sienna Blaze captures Sam and Tabby (Boomer) in Kentucky while visiting the Guthrie family home. We meet Paige Guthrie, Sam's sister, who is also a mutant (eventually named Husk). She will be featured heavily in the upcoming Phalanx Covenant crossover and be a founding member of Generation X (which I've never read but can't wait to dive in to!) Fitzory goes after Dani and Rictor, but both escape. Sienna Blaze continues her search, attacking Moonstar, Karma, and Empath in Madripoor.
Shinobi Shaw is after Firestar of the New Warriors, with teammate Justice (formerly Marvel Boy AKA Vanco Astro) going deep under cover with the Hellfire Club to try to assist where possible. This culminates in the Upstarts attacking the full New Warriors in an attempt to capture Firestar.
Meanwhile, the X-Force members who weren't New Mutants (Cable, Shatterstar, Domino, and Siryn) force Bantam (the sniveling sycophant who travels with Fitzroy) to take them to the Upstarts base so they can rescue their teammates.
The Games Master tries to force the New Warriors to battle X-Force, but they mostly resist (and make light of the fact that they are robbing us of two super hero teams fighting). In the end, Paige Guthrie (who snuck through the portal after Cable and company) is able to convince the Gamesmaster to let everyone go and end the Upstarts competition to instead engage in a new game. This was really thin and a stretch...but she basically challenges him to beat the X-Men and Charles Xavier in the recruitment of mutants over the upcoming years. I'm curious if this will actually be followed up with or if it was concocted to end the Upstarts. I guess I don't care as long as the Upstarts are done.
XF # 34: Rictor Heads Home
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Tony Daniel
This is a classic slow story to give the Younghunt time to breath before moving on. We begin with Dani (yay!) taking off her mask and confirming that she is in fact Danielle Moonstar. I forgot that it hadn't officially, totally been confirmed yet. She's kind of being a bitch to her teammates and pushing back on them telling them that she has reasons for working with the MLF that she can't get into with them. I hope we see more of her!
Following the events of New Warriors # 31 (which I covered as part of 94: XM 17 - 19 (Harvest of the Innocent), Magma's name is really Allison Crestmere and she's a British girl who was taken from her family. She breaks up with Empath and decides to go find her true family. Before departing, Empath leaves on an ominous quote:
"I leave you all...but know this, Magma was my last hope for redemption and that now has been lost. It makes me wonder why I even tried!"
The largest of the subplots follows Rictor who needs to go home to Mexico to help his drug running family. There is some Maguffin here they need to chase down, but ultimately it just sets up a fun little moment with Rictor's family seeing Cable (not sure why he came with) and assuming he killed Rictor's father, start a little skirmish. Ultimately, this is just a tiny story designed to help us learn a bit more about Rictor, which I appreciate.
XF # 35 - 36: Nimrod
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Tony Daniel
This is an entire two issue story about trying to prevent Nimrod from coming back online. Domino and Shatterstar are investigating some advanced AI facilities, Rictor and Warpath are tailing some scientist, and Cable is chatting with Forge about Project Wideawake (the government program that Val Cooper was aware of where they were building Sentinels again.)
To the surprise of absolutely no one except the scientists who created him, Nimrod brings himself online and decides that both humans and mutants need to be exterminated. X-Force battles with him for a while, and in a fun little bit he's not able to land an attack on Domino. Ultimately, Cable is able to use his telepathy to communicate with Nimrod and use logic with him about being out of time that convinces him to shut himself down. I'm sure this isn't the last we'll be seeing of Nimrod.
XF # 37: The Externals are back
Writer - Fabian Nicieza
Pencils - Paul Pelletier
The Externals are freaking about two of their members falling to the Legacy Virus and a third one, Absolam, infected as well. This brings them to Sam as they hope that him being the newest member to their order can teach them something that can help. I actually loved this story because it gave us some fascinating intel about Externals. We see a flashback to Saul meeting with En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) thousands of years ago.
In addition we get confirmation that Candra (first seen in the Gambit Limited Series) and Selene are Externals as well, even though they don't "hang" with the Externals social club that Gideon, Saul, Nicodermus, and Krule belong to. We see a flashback of Gideon coming to America as a member of Christopher Columbus's crew too.
Ultimately, Absolam ends up surviving which they attribute to the Hope brought to their kind by Sam. It seems a little weird that hope would conquer the Legacy Virus, but let's go with it.
Deadpool Vol 2 # 1 - 4
Writer - Mark Waid
Pencils - Ian Churchill
Even though this was pretty low stakes, it certainly was a fun one starring Deadpool, Siryn, Banshee, and Black Tom.
We begin with Juggernaut breaking his "friend" Black Tom out of prison. Black Tom is still "dying" from his plant like infection which is spreading over his body. Juggernaut is working with a doctor (the same Doctor who created Deadpool) who thinks that Deadpool's DNA is the only thing that can cure Tom.
As Black Tom's thugs are failing to capture Deadpool, Siryn and Banshee show up. They are keeping tabs on their BT since he's family and assume he's up to something. Siryn ends up pairing up with DP throughout this series and develops a close bond with him. Their relationship is primarily composed of him coming on to her and her playfully turning him down, but I'm left wondering if this is a relationship that's being set up for the future.
Eventually it all comes to a head and DP's DNA (namely his chopped off hand) is able to help Tom and he finally comes face to face with Siryn and Banshee, headed back to jail where he started.
I didn't love the New Mutants comics, but since I read them all, I love this New Mutants connection. As you've heard me talk about countless times, I stopped reading before this point and now I'm kicking myself because I gave up when I was younger before the return of Dani, Magma, and Karma. I don't believe Karma or Magma will stick around, but I get the feeling Dani will, which is awesome since she was one of my favorite characters. Hooray!
I see lots of chatter online about how people hated the Externals and the concept of Sam being immortal. To be honest, I love it. Maybe it's because I was a big Highlander fan growing up. Or maybe because I used to be a History teacher and so to see the characters being alive throughout history is extra fun to me. Regardless, I want to spend more time with the Externals.
Mark Waid takes over on the Deadpool series and I have to give him credit...I think he nailed Deadpool's voice. Or at least, the voice I'm familiar with from the movies. The first Deadpool series, written by Fabian Nicieza, didn't really nail Deadpool. It seemed like he was trying to seem edgy, but just kind of falling flat. That's probably attributed to other critiques I've had of Nicieza about him being solid with plot, but sloppy with characterization. Regardless, Waid was truly cracking me up. At one point the Juggernaut is talking about how he needs to capture DP to access the healing power of his DNA, to which DP responds:
"How about instead he takes two Wolverine's and calls me in the morning."
I also loved the Ian Churchill art on the series. I've seen Churchill's art before and didn't wow me, but I thought it was perfect for this series.
Fabian Nicieza is the author on both X-Force and New Warriors (and Adjectiveless X-Men) so he found an opportunity here to bring his two books together in a fun way.
A quick note here on Cable as he is officially the team leader again. It could be easy to lose track of this thread, but it wasn't too long ago that Cable was portrayed as an arrogant asshole and Sam had filled in admirably as team leader. Ever since his return following X-Cutioner's song, he's been more a far more sympathetic character and Sam has stayed strong, but faded out of the leadership role. I think it's time to officially close the case on my question about who will take over as leader. Case closed, moving on.
Everyone seems to be paired off. Cable and Domino are clearly a team (even though Cable was romantic with Vanessa and it's unclear of his status with real Domino). Warpath and Siryn are always together (even though Siryn seems to be resistant to actually dating him). Sam and Boomer are dating. So maybe the two left are just close cuz the team's out of girls. But...there's something interesting going on between Rictor and Shatterstar. Shatterstar learns Spanish because he "thought it would allow us them to communicate if necessary, in ways that others would not understand..." Hmmmm, why do they need to talk about things that others wouldn't understand. He goes on: "Or our friends, when the topics of a conversation are of a highly-personal-nature." What are they hiding? I'll definitely be checking back in with this topic in the next X-Force blog.
Speaking of Siryn, she certainly isn't starting anything with Warpath yet, but maybe she's more into Deadpool. He spends the entire miniseries flirting with her. Actually, I shouldn't call it flirting, it's more like propositioning her. She turns him down, but you can tell she cares for him. This is another topic to watch closely. Will this get picked up on in the future or was this one writer flirting with an idea that other writer's don't run with? Only time will tell.
Paige Guthrie is still hanging around and talks about needing to be trained. After Cable says he doesn't think he's up to it, she says "Uhm...no offense meant, or nothin' but ah was talkin' about Charles Xavier!" Ooooooh burn! Also, this is clearly Generation X setup. I'm ready to start that comic (I'm ahead in my reading but haven't got there yet. Almost there though!)
Sam and Tabby admit that they love each other for the first time. Somehow, I both like these two together while also not buying it. Tabby used to flirt with everyone and she doesn't seem like Sam's type. However, he did date Lila Cheney before this so what do I know!?
A few other quick hitters. The Upstarts seem to be officially dissolved as of this story. Hooray! Moonstar was officially revealed as Dani. That's awesome since I love Dani, but not really "news." As Domino is dancing away from Nimrod, it's referenced that she is quite lucky. I think this is the first time that her mutant "luck" powers are referenced. I wonder if that will be called out straight forward soon.
My Rating - 8/10
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