In the last issue, Cable’s X-Force team was forced to kill a bunch of warehouse workers in order to stop a plague from spreading. Now they’re wanted as terrorists all around the world. This issue focuses primarily on the aftermath of the last issue’s events, and for the most part it’s very good. That said, I didn’t enjoy it as much on my second reading.
Despite what the cover suggests, this comic doesn’t focus all that much on Hope Summers; she gets a grand total of three pages. Cable has a lot of panel time, but no more than any other member of his X-Force team. The real highlight of this issue is the friendly rivalry between Forge and Dr. Nemesis as they blow off steam. Their interactions are amusing and perfectly fitting for their skills. The scenes with Colossus and Domino are also very good. They emphasise how the massacre affected him (he worked at the warehouse for a while, and actually got to know those that X-Force had to kill). Their first scene is very touching, although their later scenes might be a bit polarizing for Colossus fans.
In my first impressions video I praised the scene between Hope and Cable, and that might have been a mistake. While I still think it’s well written, it’s also way too short for its own good. There isn’t enough room for what is supposed to be an important conversation. It feels as if it ends before they truly start to argue. Hope also doesn’t seem as angry as she should be, yet she also doesn’t feel the least bit thankful that Cable kept her out of a mission that would hopelessly ruin her reputation. The scenes with Cable driving around on a motorcycle could have easily been removed to focus more time on their interaction, as they feel quite pointless and dull. That is with the exception of Cable’s new precognition.
The art is very good. Every character in this issue is wearing a different outfit than usual, and yet they’re all immediately recognizable. The environmental detail is also good. In one scene, there’s a wooden panel floor that almost looks like real wood. But perhaps the real art highlight is the facial expressions – there’s such a wide range of expressions here and they all help convey characters’ moods.
Besides the unfortunate miss-prioritizing of Cable’s scenes, this is a very good comic. The characterization is dead-on, and there’s a good mix of entertaining and emotional scenes. It’s a much needed break from the dark nature of the massacre storyline from the first four issues. If you’re interested in an outlaw team of mutants who are still trying to do the world good, this series is definitely worth checking out.