Comics I Shouldn't Own, Part 2:
X-Force #26: Shadow on the Rock(!?)
This comic practically makes me ashamed to have enjoyed Darko Macan and Igor Kordey's intelligent and snarky — if stupidly named — "Soldier X" series. If there's a (male) character that's been through more ridiculous, redundant, contradictory bullshit than Cable, I'll eat this comic. Oh, shit, Hawkman! Never mind.
X-FORCE #26 COVER ROLE-CALL! REIGNFIRE! ROLLERGIRL! FOURARM! KNIFEY McSTICKERSON! None of whom show up until page 20! And that guy's real name, the one I called "Fourarm"? His name is... Forearm. God, fuck you, Rob Liefeld. I know you left this book 3 issues in, just like Jim Lee left X-Men and Todd MacFarlane left Spider-Man, the titles Marvel was nice (i.e. stupid) enough to create just for you guys, but fuck you for doing this to the world.
Fabian Nicieza, though, he stuck around. And as affable a guy as Fabe is, he wrote some shitty comics "back in the day." Shitty, shitty comics that, no foolin', paid for a huge mansion in South America. And I'm sitting in my underwear making fun of crappy comics. You win this round, Fabian! BUT I'LL BE BACK!
Cable got his ass handed to him by Magneto last issue, so this — according to the credits box — "X-FORCE IN YOUR BRAIN JAM" (tasty, tasty brain jam*) recounts his recovery, replete with bickering between the members of X-Force. And, making sure everyone knows this is a book based on Rob Liefeld characters, exactly one panel of Cable's three-page-long recovery features Cable with an awesome gay-rodeo moustache.
The intervening pages concern themselves with Cable blaming himself for fucking these kids up, blaming himself for picking emotionally unstable kids for his team, and basically whining about hopping through time and never stopping to get to know anyone. And these are the kids he stops to fraternize with?
X-FORCE ROLE-CALL! WARPATH! SIRYN! SHATTERSTAR! FERAL! BOOMER! RICTOR! CANNONBALL! SUNSPOT! CUBBY!
[Editor's note: all these characters have powers. Just assume their powers relate retardedly close to their names, and you'll be Rob Liefeld. I mean... fine. You'll be fine.]
Native American Warpath likes Irish Siryn, who's a secret-drunk who hits on long-braid-sporting alien-type Shatterstar, who likes nobody 'cause he's too busy being aloof and asexual, trying to "perfect his body" for no good reason. That makes catgirl Feral feel like a dumbass for swooning over him from afar. White girl Boomer, who changed her name from Boom-Boom because that was too stupid, likes white boy Cannonball, who's just found out he's immortal. That keeps him from getting too close, though vaguely Hispanic Rictor — whose real last name is... Richter — has no problem laying a big kiss on her. Cannonball is busy being both immortal and southern, speaking in a labored drawl where I = "Ah" and "y'all" is used when anyone who really uses it would just say "you." Oh, and Sunspot is from South America. It's your typical soap-operatic 1990s X-Men book, a typical "team slows down and argues after a big event" issue.
Some of the team then leave for Asia to tell a former teammate that Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik, aka sister of X-Man Colossus, aka dead girl, is dead. I think she got better three or four times in the intervening years, though her brother now is very much dead. And then, with four pages to go — dunt dunt daaaaah! — a mysterious figure assaults a prison!
Reignfire, in the X-traditional end-of-the-issue-villain-cameo appearance (See also: Apocalypse; Mr. Sinister), shows up to break out of jail former Mutant Liberation Front members Rollergirl, Fourarm, Knifey McStickerson, and, not pictured on the cover, Wildside, who is... wild. And also savage. And he's got the tall white hair to prove it! In the middle of a whole page of dialogue, Reignfire namedrops Stryfe, former leader of the MLF and clone of X-Force leader Cable. Really. This page of dialogue is kicked off by Wildside asking Reignfire who he is. Reignfire responds: "I AM THE STORM ON THE HORIZON. I AM THE SWELTERING TEMPEST WAITING TO ERUPT. I AM REIGNFIRE." Then I punch Fabian Nicieza in the nuts, and the issue is over.
I'm pretty sure by the time X-Force #26 rolled around the world was, like, SO over X-Force. They should've shitcanned it as soon as Liefeld left, or at least played it off as a 12-issue limited series. Peter Milligan still could have created the ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT X-FORCE. It just would've been met with a plaintive "Hey, wasn't that a Rob Liefeld thing in the early 90s?" Just where all Liefeld creations should have been left. "Forearm." Fuck.
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That's... some mighty fine grimacing and sweating you've got going on there, Frank. C'mon, give us a little grunt.