87: X-Force # 6 - 15 (Externals, Domino, Brotherhood)

What’s Covered?

X-Force, V1 # 6 - 15 (Nov '91 - Oct '92)


Roster Watch


Synopsis


#6: The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attacks

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Rob Leifeld

Script - Fabian Niceiza

I really like this setup. We see Stryfe commenting on the biggest "Movers and Shakers" among the X-Men universe.

In case we forgot, Stryfe looks like Cable! I wonder what's up with him!?

Mortimer Toynbee, AKA Toad, makes an alliance with Masque and the Morlocks.

Sooooo in case there was any question, Cable and "Domino" are banging.

"Domino" seems to know about Cable's past and suggests that he tell Sam and Tabitha the truth. I really like this because it tracks with New Mutants. They would really only put up with so much crap from Cable, whereas the rest of the team joined in the Cable era and wouldn't know to expect anything else.

Boom-Boom doesn't hide the fact that she is pissed at Feral for cutting Sam while they were working out.

At the end of the issue, during a training exercise, some of the Brotherhood attack X-Force. And thus begins 9 more issues of fighting.


#7: More fighting

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Rob Leifeld

Script - Fabian Niceiza


Pretty cool fight scene between Shatterstar and Sauron.

Apparently Phantasia's powers work similarly to Cloak (of Cloak and Dagger) because Sam is able to fly inside of her. This actually serves to "disrupt" his blast field which will play a part soon.

Thornn and Feral are sisters and apparently hate each other. There is a pretty big fight scene between them. I don't believe Feral has a lot of staying power, but I liked the character in these issues.

Ut oh, Sam's blast field shorts out when he gets near Sauron, allowing Sauron to slice him open. This issue ends with us believing Sam is dead. Is he really? Get real.


#8: Cable's Flashback and Sam's death?!

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Mike Mignola

Script - Fabian Niceiza


While Sam is believed to be dead, most of this comic plays out as a flashback, with some terrible art. Boy I hope this Mike Mignola guy doesn't stick around as this would be a major drop in quality. The picture above was the best I could find!


We learn that Cable used to run with Domino (no surprise), Kane (Weapon X), G.W. Bridge (The SHIELD agent who is after Cable now), and Grizzly. This is also some nice setup for the Cable solo series. (Honestly, I think that's the case. I've never read a single issue of Cable, however I've seen a lot of these characters on the cover so I'm assuming?)

I think this is where we first learn officially that Cable is a time traveler. He lives on a ship with little robots tending to him named Scott, Jean, and Professor. Hints a' plentiful.

Still in the flashback, we learn that Sam is actually the reason Cable went back in time (seems like a big retcon). Apparently Sam is one of the immortal mutants named Externals (or High Lord), so Cable wants to go back in time to train and shape Sam to turn him into an asset in the future.


It's worth noting that Gideon thought Roberto was the High Lord and that's why he took him under his wing. An even bigger stretch is that this is why Cable didn't put a fight when Roberto left the New Mutants (as covered in 75: NM 98 - 100 (From New Mutants to X-Force)). I'm going to choose to believe this was done out of foresight because that scene really didn't sit well with me.

Back to the present, Cable is expecting Sam to wake back up from the dead, however that doesn't appear to be happening.

Feral is duking it out with Sauron. Pissed that he killed Cannonball.

Speaking of killing, Shatterstar totally murderizes Masque. He really does die here (which means that he goes years of staying dead, so he truly does disappear from this era, as opposed to a death like Sam's where he is brought back the next issue). This was pretty shocking considering how long Masque has been around and how much he had been showing up across all the X books (including Wolverine). He even recently joined with the Brotherhood, but oh well, I guess the dude is dead. This also means Callisto will remain ugly forever.

Oh, there's the sleepyhead.


# 9: What's Stryfe up to?

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Rob Leifeld

Script - Fabian Niceiza

Styrfe reveals his face to Kane (Weapon X), leading him to believe that Stryfe really is Cable. This sets in motion a series of events, such as Kane telling G.W. Bridge and assembling a team (Weapon: Prime) to take him down.

Cable tells Sam that he's immortal. The fight also tore away a lot of Cable's skin, showing us that he's mostly just a robot under there???

Rictor shows up, willing to fight alongside Kane in Weapon Prime due to his grudge against Cable. Rictor's back in our lives! And he needs a haircut.


#10: What are Externals?

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Mark Pacella

Script - Fabian Niceiza

The only real update worth mentioning is that we see a gathering of High Lords (Externals) named Saul, Nicodemus, Burke, Absolom, and of course Gideon. They are pissed at Gideon for picking the wrong New Mutant who would awaken as an External.


#11: Domino vs. Deadpool

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Mark Pacella

Script - Fabian Niceiza


Lol. Cable brings Masque's to the Morlock sewers and is basically like "I killed your leader. Don't fuck with us anymore." They also deposit Sauron's body here, but he won't stay dead for long so it's barely worth mentioning.

Deadpool shows up at the X-Force HQ and we learn that Domino is supposed to be a deep cover spy named Vanessa (like Morena Bacarin's character in the Deadpool movies), dating Deadpool and working for Tolliver. It appears as though she may be switching sides though and fights Deadpool.

The issue ends with the real Domino being held by Tolliver.



#12: Crule? More like Drool!

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Mark Pacella

Script - Fabian Niceiza


Gideon recruits some boring and oafy external named Krule to go hunt for Sam.

The full team becomes aware that "Domino" had betrayed them, however they don't yet know that outside of Cable, none of them have ever even met the real Domino.

13: X-Force vs. Weapon Prime

Plot - Rob Leifeld

Pencils - Mark Pacella

Script - Fabian Niceiza


This pretty cool pinup shows the Weapon Prime team fighting X-Force. Rictor clearly takes it easy on his old friends, mostly focusing on Cable.

Meanwhile, now that they know Roberto isn't the High Lord, they start experimenting on him. I believe this is responsible for powering him up.

The battle actually ends with a bomb being triggered early. The rest of the team thinks Cable did it on purpose and will spend the foreseeable future apart from Cable with Sam taking on a leadership role.

#14: Will the real Domino please stand up?

Writer - Fabian Nizieza

Pencils - Terry Shoemaker

Cable escapes the blast, along with fake Domino.

The battle slowls down between XF and Weapon Prime. This is where Rictor decides to stay with the team and thus made it into this week's X-Force graphic.

Cable stumbles across the real Domino, who appears to barely have any clothes and looks hotter than the current Domino, now outed as fake.

Vanessa (who I'll no longer call Domino) says that she didn't know the real Domino was still alive. It seems as though she has grown to truly care for Cable and the team. It doesn't matter though, because Deadpool shows up and stabs her.


Don't worry though, she'll crawl away. I just did a search on her and confirmed that this character will show back up a lot after X-Cutioner's Song. I'm pretty excited about that because I have no idea what happens with this character and now I'm pretty interested.


#15: End of an era

Writer - Fabian Nizieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Remember that Krule guy? He shows up and Rictor blows him out of the plane thingy they are on (stolen SHIELD helicarrier).

Cool art, recapping the situation.

Deadpool kicks Cable's ass while Cable tries to free Domino. This further "de-skins" Cable.

Just love this. This new Domino seems like a total badass, somehow even more than Vanessa and I love it.

What do we do next, Sam? He doesn't know. Don't worry, the next X crossover will start next issue and you'll have no choice but to run and fight the other teams. Oh, the Cannonball contigent went and saved Roberto, you can see him now being carried by Warpath. So I think he officially joins the team now. I added him to the graphic assuming so. That makes ten team members, which seems like a lot. I really wonder if any of them get cut. I have a feeling it's Roberto, but I'm not sure. We'll see!

Cable and an exhausted Domnino go after Tolliver. Cable convinces real Domino to jump into the water and find his X-Force, of which Domino reminds us that she has no idea what X-Force is.

Yea, that.

Cable blows up the helicopter. I hope that isn't really the end of Tolliver as we barely got to see what his deal is. I bet he's secretly some other character of importance. Mr. Sinister, maybe? A clone of Xavier, lol? I really don't know, but I'm guessing he'll be someone.

Deadpool is still alive and sees that Vanessa got away.


My Connections


Fighting. Villains. Death. Mystery. Traitors. We get a lot of bombastic plot, but not necessarily a lot of character development. Throw in my nostalgia factor, and I'm here for it.


I fricken love this story arc and am pretty sure XF#15 will be in my next ten favorite issues list thanks almost entirely to that badass introduction to the real Domino.


Creators

From the creative perspective, we get to see a snapshot of what X-Force would have looked like if Leifeld had a long run on the series. Fate had other plans, with Leifeld leaving Marvel in the middle of this run and the series slowly passing over to Fabian Nicieza. Most of the art is spreadheaded in the Leifeldian manner with great looking posing and fight scenes, but plenty of errors like missing feet and inconsistent design. As the issues went on, Leifeld stayed on with the plot and other pencilers started to step in. By the time this arc was done, the transition is complete.


Fabian Nicieza actually had the following to say during an interview on Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men:

“I didn't really change a single thing from what X-Force was according to what Rob wanted to do, just that I was plotting and scripting now. Which really changes the kind of way you tell your story as much as everything. So I think X-Force, was X-Force, from # 1 all the way until when I was done with # 43.
“I didn’t change the dynamic of how Rob had pitched the book. Because that was a very important pitch. The New Mutants was ending, because these kids weren’t in school anymore. They were going to be a pseudo paramilitary force, but there would still be plenty of teenage soap opera.”

Character Beats


We also have the official formation of the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with Toad leading the pack. We had seen Toad pop up during the Kings of Pain crossover and assembling the squad during the X-Force launch. Toad, Blob, Pyro, and newcomer Phantasia didn't stop with recruiting Sauron. We see them partner with Masque, newcomer Thornn (Feral's sister), and the Morlocks.


We get more of Cable's double, Stryfe as him and the MLF have some run ins with Weapon X. Deadpool and his mysterios boss Tolliver not only appear again, but seem to have their story end (I hope it's not really over). We learn about a new secret group of immortal mutants named Externals (or High Lords). We even get some shocking news about Domino! This all leads the way to a break in the team with Cable separated from the rest of the youngins, leaving Cannonball as the defacto leader of a secondary group.


The biggest development that I'm excited about is the return of Roberto and Rictor to the team. I have a feeling that this was more of a Nicieza idea than anything Leifeld wanted, since he so quickly disposed of them during New Mutants. I'm here for it though! I wonder...will Dani come back!? I owned X-Force through #30, but I honestly don't remember a single thing past X-Cutioner's Song (which comes next). I'm excited to see where this goes as I've heard that X-Force got even better after Leifeld left.


My Rating - 10/10


Next up we'll check back in with X-Men (Adjectiveless) as they hang out with Ghost Rider, deal with Gambi's past, and spend some time with Mojo, Shatterstar, and Longshot.


Next Post - 88: X-Men 8 - 11 (Ghost Rider)


Previous Post - 86: UXM #288-293 (Mikhail, Morlocks, and Marriage?!)


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