Writer: Benjamin Percy
Art: Joshua Cassara, Robert Gill, Guru-eFX, VC’s Joe Caramagna, Tom Muller, and Dean White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 11th, 2021
Sage has discovered what appears to be telefloronic control of numerous human hosts. These hosts have been compelled to butcher, extort, and eliminate mutants all over the world. Luckily, Sage has been able to investigate and garner evidence from these crime scenes, which promoted genetic similarities between these hosts and the Weapon Plus Program. Let’s dive into X-FORCE #22 by Ben Percy to see if X-FORCE can obtain Man-Slaughter for inquiry and answers before this destructive telefloronics stretches its vines any deeper.
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TELEFLORONICS AND THE BEAST
Percy unravels an interesting development with Man-Slaughter this issue while continuing to mold Beast into this evil, almost sinister version of himself. Somehow, the more I read X-FORCE, the more this reviewer sees glimpses of Dark Beast resurfacing. Now, I’m not entirely sure if that’s Percy’s intent. Nevertheless, I sort of hope that’s his motive. Admittedly, at first, I wasn’t digging this twisted version of the character until I realized how flat Beast has been in recent years.
Sure, Percy’s take makes him more of a “Mad Scientist”. But, time and time again, Beast continues to fail to see the humanity in people and is almost playing God at some points. X-FORCE #22 is no different from Beast’s remarks at the beginning of the issue to Sage, his logbook entries, as well as his treatment of Man-Slaughter. Percy is certainly picking at something with Beast and it’s only a matter of time before it explodes. Is Dark Beast on the horizon? I hope so! It will add some emotion and depth to the character that’s been missing for quite some time.
Tom Muller’s prose pages helped to fortify the setting in this week’s X-FORCE more so than prior issues. They set the stage well and incorporated the reader’s imagination into the narrative while simultaneously providing background for the story. Furthermore, Percy’s nature analogies and information on specific American timber/ plant life showed the depth of his research in preparing for this story arc that added an extra layer fortifying this narrative.
Moreover, I loved the “floronic network” premise that Percy cultivated this issue. It’s reminiscent of SWAMP THING at DC COMICS. Now, I’m not entirely sure if MAN-THING had the capabilities to talk to “The Green”. However, Man-Slaughter and the Island of Krakoa certainly appear to after this issue. And, I hope that Percy continues to nurture that intriguing angle throughout future X-FORCE installments.
COVERS AND CULTS
This reviewer is not a huge fan of misleading covers. Now, this cover isn’t overly deceptive, however, it does incorporate two extra people into this issue that never show up once. Sure, it’s more a pet peeve of mine BUT it still adds a layer of frustration since it oftentimes raises my excitement and expectations for an issue simply by checking out the cover. So, when it’s different or disingenuous, I feel a bit betrayed.
Another takeaway I had with X-FORCE #22 was with the infiltration of the island. I assume that these telefloronics can alter Krakoan gates with ease. Sure. I can buy that. Yet, why were the mutants so welcoming to these strange visitors in hoods with X’s on their faces? That just seemed ridiculous. I think I wouldn’t be as welcoming to strangers dressed in cult attire knocking at my front door. It just came across odd and forced to add weight to the story. However, it ultimately felt unnatural and weird.
Overall, X-FORCE #22 takes root with just enough action and excitement to captivate readers and conclude the arc naturally. Moreover, Percy continues to provoke Beast in directions that see a darker and more eccentric persona that may soon see the character completely transform like never before. Underneath the surface, some things are not right with Beast… and that’s good news for the character and his depth. He’s been steady and straight-laced for too long.
Additionally, I loved the in-depth analysis of the prose pages and log entries, as well as the connection to “The Green” that Percy elevates throughout the issue. This wasn’t the best X-FORCE arc by any stretch but it was still a solid story that held his reviewer’s attention. If you’re an X-FORCE fan, this is right up your alley. SWAMP THING fans looking for a parallel at Marvel, may also enjoy this issue, as well as this arc. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!