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Why X-Force?

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  • Posted on 17th Sep, 2022 00:18 AM
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Not unlike like Linus in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Brett steps into the spotlight this week to explain to us all what X-Force is really all about.

After 22 columns of totally dodging the question that has undoubtedly been on everyone's mind, I'm now addressing the heavily-armed and needlessly shoulder-padded elephant that is half in the room and half body-sliding to a dystopian time period.

"Why X-Force?"

Seeing as how the very name of this column is derived from a bombastic string of words neatly placed on the top of credit boxes of comics that sold a million copies without the help of a big budget tie-in, one would think I owed my readership an answer to that question well before I crept up on my six month of publication. Here it is: I firmly believe "X-Force" was the most consistent Marvel comic of the '90s. And yes, I firmly acknowledge that there are much better runs and storylines and single issues; I'm arguing that month-in and month-out, issue by issue, "X-Force" hardly faltered with the 99 issues put out in that notorious decade.

CBR VIDEO OF THE DAY

The series began as mediocre as you inaccurately assume the series always was. The first issues were a nearly incoherent '90s mess saved only by Fabian Nicieza's subversive dialogue. The dude was given new models of machismo on every other page; G.W. Bridge and Kane showed up with character designs that proved that teeth weren't the only thing that could be gritted. What was he supposed to do, write serious dialogue? Instead he wrote in "X-Force #4":

DOMINO: What kind of strategy are you guys employing?

WARPATH: Uhm...strategy--?

DOMINO: Forget I asked.

Minimates!

I get that the young-adult-superheroes theme isn't for everyone, but I'm hard-pressed to think of another series that feels, on the whole, as earnest an exploration of this theme as "X-Force." The fact that this was accomplished by a who's-who of notable comic book talent, most likely with no communication between creative teams, just baffles me. The team makes it through to the end of the decade feeling like a mostly-uninterrupted (Shatterstar's origin two-parter did not happen) emotional evolution of the team that existed in the very first issue. Nowadays when relaunches seemingly dictate a harsh about-face of status quos, I look to "X-Force" as an example of how successful a comic can be without hitting the reset button.

"Why X-Force?" Because it's a part of me.

Brett White is a comedian living in New York City. He co-hosts the podcast Matt & Brett Love Comics and is a writer for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre show Left Handed Radio: The Sequel Machine. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).

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