Writer: Ben Percy
Art: Garry Brown, GURU-eFX, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Tom Muller, Dean White, and Joshua Cassara
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 17th, 2021
Someone or something is lurking in the shadows of Krakoa. However, while Krakoa appears to be under siege from an unknown entity, the last issue discovered a murder mystery involving Kid Omega… and the victim was none other than himself! Nevertheless, Quentin and Phoebe are on a mission to uncover the memories right before his death only to unearth that Kid Omega may be connected a bit deeper to this mess than originally anticipated. What does Quentin have to do with all of this? And, is he somehow being controlled by one of the X-MEN’S many newfound villainous foes? Let’s dive into X-FORCE #18 by Ben Percy and find out.
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This week’s installment of X-FORCE is a bit harder to explain than prior issues. However, if I was to be so bold as to summarize without giving away too much detail, someone is psychically attacking the team to gain information about Krakoa and all its inner workings. And what readers discover is that Kid Omega is at the dead center of it all… unknowingly of course. Now, looking at the larger picture, the concept is rather intriguing: Psychic Espionage. It’s highly untraceable and doesn’t need Krakoan gates for infiltration.
Additionally, the concept is pretty creative because this type of mental onslaught can quickly get the facts needed while also crippling the individual involved. It’s a package deal. Still, the biggest problem with this week’s X-FORCE is that the first read-through is rather confusing until the puzzle pieces connect as the story wraps up. Sure, Percy brings the narrative together before the issue is done. Nevertheless, I felt almost as if I was wandering through a fog until that point.
Now, in Percy’s defense, I think the extra layers of confusion came in conjunction with the illustrations. Looking back on the second read, fans will be able to better clarify what’s more cerebral and what’s physically happening. However, Gary Brown’s art made the distinction a bit more challenging to decipher. Once “Little School Boy” Beast enters the picture, things become clear as to what’s more a dream/ astral projection versus what’s reality. Nevertheless, conveying a dreamscape through still panel art is quite a challenge.
X-FORCE #18 is mainly a revealing issue. Percy unfolds what’s been happening with Quentin, who’s controlling these psychic attacks, and provides strong clues as to who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes. Percy’s tale is more enlightening and clarifying than anything else. That said, that transparency doesn’t hit home until the issue is almost at a close causing a bit of difficulty until that point. Therefore, I would highly recommend a second read-through almost immediately to get a better appreciation for the issue.
Overall, this week’s X-FORCE isn’t as strong as it’s been in the past. Maybe it’s because Kid Omega isn’t as strong of a main character to take center stage? Maybe it was the lack of clarity on the first read? Maybe the focus away from the X-FORCE team itself is what hindered the issue? Either way you slice the pie, the book just didn’t feel the same this week. Yet, the payoff is on the horizon and Percy took us where we need to be to wrap this arc up. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!