99: XF 19 - 24 (No Cable)

What’s Covered?


This blog features X-Force # 19 - 24. This shows the team looking so much more like New Mutants 2.0 with Cable not appearing at all, Domino on the side, and Cannonball growing into a Cyclops-level leader. The team will deal with the aftermath of X-Cutioner's Song, try to salvage Cable's ship (Graymalkin), and have a battle with some Externals.


Roster Watch



Synopsis


# 19: Recovering from the X-Cutioner's Song

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Boomer chats with Lila about Sam. Lila claims her and Sam are just friends and Tabby is relieved.

Roberto is chatting with Stevie Hunter about how Gideon experimented on him and his power level has been increased. I vaguely recall something about him being able to fly and I wonder if that will happen soon?

Feral, Shatty, and Rictor work out in the Danger Room.

Siryn and Warpath (who may or may not be starting a romantic relationship) break into Professor X's office to steal some intel on Cable.

Sam has a long conversation with Professor X where they argue about morals and tactics. Sam uses an iconic metaphor of the open vs. closed hand. At one point he holds a mouse in a closed fist, showing that the closed fist can also be used to help others, if used properly. I'm not sure how effective it is, but just the fact that these two are having this conversation is wonderful to me.

Sam and Roberto are conflicted about who they should become.

The team is technically under house arrest, but they are deciding whether they are going to stick around or not.

They decide to leave, new outfits and all.

Sam shows even more respect to the Professor.


# 20 - 22: Graymalkin Blues

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Cable's orbital, time-traveling ship Graymalkin appears in the atmosphere and both SHIELD and X-Force have their eyes on it. Cannon ball really wants to access it because he feels that they are owed a piece of Cable's legacy.

Lila, who is still hanging out with the team, teleports X-Force directly on board.

They run into some opposition, named GW Bridge, Nicky Fury, and other operatives. A fight breaks out.

Sam and Roberto sneak away and discover that Professor, the AI within Graymalkin, is actually Ship! The very same Ship that served as the home base for X-Factor prior to the re-launch and blew up when baby Nathan was sent into the future to save his life from the techno-organic virus.

War Machine (sometimes just called Iron Man for some reason) shows up and fights X-Force.

Meanwhile, the 3 members who stayed behind (Boomer, Siryn, Warpath) are kidnapped by Saul and Gideon of the Externals. Prior to this, Saul learned that one of their ranks, Nicodermus, died of the Legacy Virus. This freaks him out so he decides that he needs to study their newest member, Sam.

As Graymalkin is blowing up due to the fight which took place within, Roberto corrects suggests that Cable may have assigned Sam the ability to give orders to Professor. Sam orders the ship to send it's time travel compartment to the bottom of the ocean, which explains why Cable and Kane were trapped in the bottom of the Ocean in Cable # 3 (as covered in 95: Cable's Solo Comic Begins. Sam also asks for several munition compartments, vehicles, and more to be sent to Camp Verde. Finally, Professor helps Sam and Roberto peace out in an escape pod.

Graymalkin officially blows up.

Lila teleported the rest of the team, plus the Shield agents back onto the Shield vessel before disappearing herself.

Sam and Roberto learn that Professor will become inert once they reach the planet's surface. I'm really not sure if this will stick or not, but we'll see.

The three captures soldiers.

Sam and the team land at Camp Verde and have now received all the materials they will ever need via Cable.

Lila takes off.

Uh oh Shaggy. Is that Magneto playing around with the remains of Graymalkin!?


#23: The Externals are still around

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

X-Force learns that Gideon and Saul have captured 3 of their team-mates and want to trade them for Sam. Everyone is looking sexy in bondage, of course.

The team finds Crule, who was in a full body cast from their last run-in, and gets him to tell them about their location in return from promising to take them down.

Sam consults with the Professor before deciding what to do. Sam is mostly conflicted by a promise he made to Gideon that he would stay out of their affairs if they stayed out of his. I don't really understand though why he feels like honoring that...I mean they literally abducted his friends.

Saul talking about how the Externals were once the most feared people on the planet, now they are obscure.

X-Force, minus Sam and the 3 captured members, go with a "hit hard and fast" strategy.

I'm glad this story didn't drag out for multiple issues, but this wasn't much of a conclusion. They literally burst in and apprehended Gideon and Saul immediately. I'm not really sure what this arc served, other than to challenge Sam's leadership and to remind us that he is an External, which is surprising because I'm pretty sure this gets retconned out eventually.


# 24: Rusty and Skids

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Greg Capullo

Rusty and Skids, captured during X-Cutioner's Song were being transfered to the X-Men mansion when they were intercepted by the Friends of Humanity.

X-Force sets out to save their former team-mates. In a funny exchange, Ferals says something about "They aren't my friends..."

Siryn asks Sam why she wasn't put in charge. Putting a flag in the theme that Siryn wants to be a leader. I want to keep my eye on this in future issues.

Once again, employing the "hit hard and fast" strategy, the team blasts in and takes out the Friends of Humanity Resistance.

Rusty and Skids are freed. I have very conflicting thoughts on this because Nicieza is making it clear that they are both brainwashed. That seems like a lazy retcon to me. It could actually be interesting if two heroes had changed their philosophy...but not it was just brainwashing. A lazy way to clear the table and allow them to be brought back into the fold.


I'm really curious about this. I have never read past this point, but I don't recall these two ever being part of X-Force. Maybe I just don't know? What's going to happen with them!? If we are bringing the gang back together, will Dani come back soon!?

So are Sam and Tabby a couple? They never come out and say if they are or not. We know she likes him. Let's track this!

The Domino's fall into place

Domino finds Grizzly to be her partner and help her track down "Cable's Brat Pack."

The duo meets up with Hammer, who we first met in 95: Cable's Solo Comic Begins.

After breaking in to get more intel on X-Force, a new version of Weapon:PRIME appears. The team is lacking Rictor (who defected to X-Force), Grizzly (who is with Domino), and Kane (who is in the future with Cable). I'm not going to even try to namecheck these characters. If they show up again, I promise I will, but I have a feeling this might be the least time we see them so it's not worth the effort. They do look cool though. Very 90's.

A firefight breaks out. If you didn't know, Domino is a real badass.

They escape!


The shape of Vanessa's story

Vanessa Carlisle, AKA Copycat, AKA the one who was impersonating Domino, is hiding out at her friends apartment.

She takes the form of her friend.

Deadpool tracks down his ex.

Vanessa's friend is killed by one of Deadpool's associates, Sluggo. We'll see more of all three of these characters in the Deadpool mini series which I already covered here.

Deadpool and Sluggo catch back up with Vanessa at her apartment, before she is saved by two unlikely allies.

Domino, Grizzly, and Hammer show up, thinking that Vanessa may help them find X-Force.

Domino is...not happy with Vanessa. For obvious reasons.

Vanessa agrees to help them find X-Force.

Before leaving, Vanessa takes Domino's gun and fills both Sluggo and Deadpool with lead. We know Deadpool can heal, but I guess Sluggo can as well. Regardless, she's a badass.


My Connections

We're officially in brand new territory for me! With Rictor and Sunspot settling in with the team and this arc ending with Rusty and Skids coming back, it makes me wonder if Dani will ever come back!


I'm also fascinated by the Domino and Vanessa storyline. I had read the original 15 issues several times, but I never got further than that, so I can't wait to see where these characters go in the future.


As much as I love Cable, I have to admit that I'm really enjoying seeing Sam in charge and having the entire group be filled with young guns.


Creators


Fabian Niceiza and Grep Capullo continue with the story here. The jury is still out for me regarding Nicieza. I think his writing is clearly better than Liefeld's was, but I'm not completely sold yet. I'm really enjoying Capullo's pencils as well. Everyone got new costumes this issue which is exciting because these are the costumes from the action figures of them I had as a kid.


Character Beats

I am absolutely loving Sam's character arc. He is developing into a Cyclops-level team leader which is a big accomplishment considering how aloof he seemed during most of New Mutants. I love that he is making his own bold (X-Force friendly) decisions, but trying to do it while communicating with and showing respect to Professor Xavier. Also great that he keeps his word to Gideon, via a technicality.


We see that Sam feels most comfortable deferring to his buddies, Rictor and Sunspot, as field commanders. Rictor specifically seems to be really be taking to it.


Speaking of team leaders, Siryn has a special conversation with Sam showing her displeasure with not being picked as a field leader, pointing out that Cable had no problem using her in that role. I recall Cable talking to her during the recruitment phase about her experience (which I'm not sure where she got this supposed experience), but I don't recall her being put in charge of any field ops.


Tabitha officially changes her name from Boom-Boom to Boomer, making me realize that I have erroneously be calling her Boomer this whole time. Oops. I love that she even puts the new name on the leg of her costume. There is also a fun scene where she goes head to head with Lila for Sam, but is relieved when Lila tells Tabby that they are just friends. Does Sam know that?


Domino and Vanessa get a LOT of panels, further developing them. I'm VERY curious to see Vanessa's role in the series moving forward.


Unfortunately, Feral, Shatterstar, and Warpath don't seem to be getting too much character development. With such a large team, this is to be expected. I wonder if any of them will leave the team or die of the Legacy Virus (I genuinely don't know).


My Rating and Review


7/10


I'm giving this one a 7 out of 10. I had a lot of fun reading this, but there wasn't anything too memorable about these stories.


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