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X-Force

X-Force is a fictional Marvel Comics superhero team, one of several spin-offs of the popular X-Men franchise. Conceived by writer/illustrator Rob Liefeld, the team was formed in The New Mutants #100 (April 1991) and soon afterwards was featured in its own eponymous series.

The group was a new incarnation of the 1980s team, the New Mutants. Led by the gun-toting mutant Cable, X-Force was more militant and aggressive than the X-Men.

Although criticized for emphasizing flashy art, big muscles and guns over character development, X-Force was tremendously successful in the early 1990s. The series' popularity waned after Liefeld left, causing Marvel to implement several reforms in the title from 1995 until 2001 with varying degrees of success.

Low sales on the series prompted Marvel to revamp the title in 2001 with a new cast in the form of a group of self-interested young mutants who were gathered together by a corporation to become media stars and used the name X-Force. X-Force (vol. 1) was cancelled with #125 and relaunched as X-Statix, which featured the later incarnation of the team.

After X-Statix was cancelled with #26, Marvel reunited the original X-Force team for a six-issue 2004 miniseries plotted and drawn by Liefeld.

In 2007-2008, during the Messiah Complex crossover, a new version of X-Force was formed that had Wolverine leading a more militaristic black ops branch of the X-Men, forming the basis for a new X-Force series starting February 2008 by writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, plus Clayton Crain as the artist.

History

Liefeld period

X-Force was created by illustrator Rob Liefeld after he started penciling The New Mutants (vol. 1) comic book in 1989 with #86. The immense popularity of Liefeld’s art lead to him taking over the writing and drawing duties on the book, which allowed him to introduce Cable and several other new hard-edged characters in 1990 and 1991. With help from writer Fabian Nicieza, who provided the dialogue for Liefeld’s plots, Liefeld transformed the New Mutants into X-Force in The New Mutants (vol. 1) #100, the book's final issue. Liefeld and Nicieza launched X-Force (vol. 1) in August 1991. The original line-up of the team included:

  • Boom Boom, previous member of the New Mutants and a rebellious teenager who could produce “Time bombs”.
  • Cable, originally a mysterious gun-toting anti-hero mutant, later revealed to possess telepathy and telekinesis, although he continued to rely on firearms.
  • Cannonball, a Kentuckian and prior member of the New Mutants who flew at jet speeds and projected a force field around himself when flying. Cannonball was the team's second-in-command under Cable.
  • Domino, a world-class mercenary who possessed “luck powers,” allowing probability to turn in her favor and who was Cable’s lover. Later, it turned out that this woman was in fact the shapeshifter Copycat who had taken the place of Domino. The real Domino was still just a friend of Cable and had been imprisoned by Copycat's employers. The real Domino joined X-Force some time after her impostor was exposed.
  • Feral, a cat-like mutant with claws, fur, and enhanced senses.
  • Shatterstar, a sword wielding warrior from Mojo World who possessed superb fighting skills and limited energy-projection abilities.
  • Warpath, an Apache who, like his brother, the short-lived X-Man Thunderbird, possessed super strength and speed.

In issue #3, X-Force would be joined by:

  • Siryn, the daughter of the Irish X-Man Banshee who inherited her father’s “sonic scream” and ability to fly.

Later, in issue #15, two former New Mutants who had left before the team's evolution into X-Force joined:

  • Rictor, a Mexican who produced powerful shockwaves.
  • Sunspot, former New Mutant and citizen of Brazil who absorbed and rechanneled solar energy.

The main opponents of X-Force during its first year were the terrorist Mutant Liberation Front, led by Stryfe, a masked mutant with a mysterious link to Cable. Early issues also featured the wise-cracking mercenary Deadpool, the immortal Externals, and a new version of The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the X-Men’s oldest enemy group.

Propelled by Liefeld's art, X-Force became one of Marvel’s best-selling comic books immediately after its debut. The series rivaled The Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men in popularity, particularly with the adolescent demographic. Toy Biz responded to X-Force's popularity by introducing an X-Force action figure line alongside its X-Men action figure line.

Writer Mark Waid and painter Alex Ross parodied X-Force and other anti-hero groups from the early 1990s in the 1996 DC Comics miniseries Kingdom Come, which portrayed a future where a generation of violent anti-heroes had replaced the familiar DC characters. Their leader Magog bore an intentional resemblance to Shatterstar and Cable.

Liefeld illustrated the series up to #9 and stopped plotting it after #12 as Liefeld had become increasingly frustrated that he did not own the characters he created and that his art was being used on a variety of merchandise while he received little royalties. Along with six other popular Marvel artists, Liefeld left Marvel Comics along with six other Marvel artists in 1992 to form Image Comics.

Mid-1990s: Nicieza and Loeb

X-Force continued with Nicieza writing and Greg Capullo illustrating. Nicieza, who also wrote X-Men (vol. 2), helped plot the X-Cutioner's Song storyline that overlapped into most X-Men related books in the fall of 1992. In that story, Stryfe frames Cable for an assassination attempt on the X-Men’s founder Professor X, leading to a clash between the X-Men and X-Force. The crossover boosted Cable's popularity, despite the character's apparent death in X-Force #18, leading to his own solo series being launched in 1993.

After X-Cutioner’s Song, X-Force continued under Nicieza and Capullo, and later pencilled Tony Daniel. Having temporarily lost their leader, X-Force attempted to develop an identity of their own. The team gradually developed into a dysfunctional family after Cable's return in #25, and the title regularly combined soap opera plot threads, such as romance and Siryn's alcoholism, with violent action. Nicieza fleshed out previously unknown elements of each character's history, including Siryn's family in Ireland , Rictor's in Mexico, and Cannonball's in Kentucky, as well as the mysterious origins of Shatterstar. This period also saw the reintroduction of characters from the group's New Mutants days, such as Rusty and Skids, Danielle Moonstar, and Cypher and Wolfsbane. A long-simmering sub-plot about Reignfire and the disappearance of Sunspot came to a climax just as the book went on hiatus for the Age of Apocalypse crossover event in 1995.

Due to falling sales, X-Force emerged from the Age of Apocalypse event with a new creative team of writer Jeph Loeb and illustrator Adam Pollina, who significantly revised the team with issue #43. Loeb introduced new team uniforms, had the team move in with the X-Men at the X-Mansion, and placed emphasis on character-driven stories with fewer fight scenes. Rictor quit the team and Cannonball joined the X-Men. Caliban, a super-strong albino mutant who possessed the mind of a child, joined the team. Loeb's stories included revelations about Shatterstar’s origin and the transformation of Boomer (formerly Boom Boom) into the more aggressive Meltdown. Fan response was generally positive.

Post-Cable period

In 1997, writer John Francis Moore, portrayed the team has carefree walkers exploring the open road and had X-Force brake away from Cable and the X-Men. The roster of that incarnation was Meltdown, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath, and Danielle Moonstar. This was one of most acclaimed eras of the series, with warm reaction from fans and critics alike.

In 1998, Moore and new artist Jim Cheung had X-Force move to a new headquarters in San Francisco, returned Cannonball and later Domino to the team, and added Bedlam, a mutant who could disrupt electronic equipment. However, towards the end of this run, sales on the title began to fall drastically.

Writer Warren Ellis, who was known for his dark, cynical style, revamped three books, (X-Force, Generation X, and X-Man), as part of the Revolution revamp of the X-Men series of titles in 2000. Ellis' stint on X-Force, co-written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Whilce Portacio, saw Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown, and Warpath become a covert ops superhero team under the leadership of Pete Wisdom, a British mutant and former intelligence agent who could shoot burning blades of energy from his fingers. Sales remained about the same despite the changes in creators.

Cancellation and replacement

In early 2001, X-Force was completely reimagined by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred, who replaced the existing incarnation of the team with an entirely different group of mutants using the X-Force name. In X-Force (vol. 1) #115, Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown, and Warpath all appeared to die in an explosion, though all later subsequently returned. The next issue, #116, saw the introduction of a new, sardonically-toned X-Force consisting of colorfully dressed and emotionally immature young mutants put together and marketed to be media superstars. X-Force was canceled with #129 in late 2002 and replaced with retitled X-Statix in late 2002.

For more details on this version of X-Force, see X-Statix.

Although all members of the final version of the first X-Force were apparently killed in an explosion, it was later revealed that they survived but had disbanded.

In 2001, New X-Men writer Grant Morrison introduced X-Corporation, a global mutant rescue mission. Since then, many former members of X-Force have been seen in various X-Men related books as X-Corp operatives: Sunspot in Los Angeles, Domino and Risque in Hong Kong, Cannonball, Rictor and Siryn in Paris, and Feral and Warpath in Mumbai. More recently, Cannonball has been an X-Men member and Domino joined the new Six Pack in Cable & Deadpool.

In 2004, Marvel released a new six-issue X-Force mini-series, once again plotted and illustrated by Liefeld, with dialogue by Nicieza, that gathered many of the characters featured in the first X-Force, to critical panning yet decent sales. Some controversy arose from Liefeld's insertion of over ten pages from previous unpublished comic books (Wolverine and Cable: First Contact) with word balloons edited to make them fit the X-Force storyline. It was subsequently followed with a 4-issue prequel X-Force: Shatterstar miniseries.

As of late 2007, Cannonball, Caliban and Warpath are members of separate teams of X-Men; Caliban recently sacrificed himself to save Warpath. Rictor and Siryn have joined X-Factor Investigations, and Boom-Boom/Meltdown is in the superhero comedy series Nextwave. Not all members have moved on to other teams; Feral and Moonstar are no longer mutants, having lost their powers due to the events of "M-Day". Feral was later seen repowered in Wolverine (vol. 2) #54 and killed by a Weapon X-influenced Sabretooth. Moonstar is now an instructor for The Initiative at Camp Hammond. Shatterstar and Domino recently appeared in Civil War: X-Men when they attempted to free The 198, operating as X-Force.

In the Messiah Complex storyline, specifically Uncanny X-Men #493, Cyclops orders Wolverine to form a new version of X-Force and hunt down Cable. Wolverine selects the X-Men's best trackers, Warpath, Caliban, Hepzibah, Wolfsbane, and X-23.

The new X-Force eventually locate Cable and defend him from an attack from Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers, a battle in which X-23 all but kills Lady Deathstrike and Caliban is shot dead by a Reaver.

2008 ongoing series

Marvel Comics revealed at the Baltimore Comic-Con on September 10 2007 that a new X-Force ongoing series will be launched in the aftermath of the Messiah Complex crossover in February 2008, written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and drawn by Clayton Crain. The team's lineup consists of Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, and X-23. The team's enemies include the Purifiers and their leader Matthew Risman, the reassembled Bastion, as well as a team of anti-mutant humans composed of Donald Pierce, the Leper Queen, and the resurrected Graydon Creed, Bolivar Trask, Stephen Lang and Cameron Hodge.

Cast

Volume 1

Issues Characters
#1-2 Boomer, Cable, Cannonball, Copycat (as Domino), Feral, Shatterstar, Warpath
#3-14 Boomer, Cable, Cannonball, Copycat, Feral, Shatterstar, Siryn, Warpath
#15-18 Boomer, Cannonball, Feral, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#19-23 Boomer, Cannonball, Feral, Lila Cheney, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#24 Boomer, Cannonball, Feral, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#25-28 Boomer, Cable, Cannonball, Feral, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#29-43 Boomer, Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Warpath
#44-50 Boomer, Cable, Caliban, Domino, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#51-69 Cable, Caliban, Domino, Meltdown (formerly Boomer), Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#70-81 Meltdown, Moonstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#83-86 Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown, Moonstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#87-91 Bedlam, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Moonstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath
#92-101 Bedlam, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Moonstar, Warpath
#102-106 Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown, Warpath, Wisdom
#102-115 Bedlam, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Warpath
#116 Anarchist, Battering Ram, Doop, Gin Genie, Plazm, U-Go Girl, Zeitgeist
#117-118 Anarchist, Bloke, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Saint Anna, U-Go Girl, Vivisector
#119 Anarchist, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Saint Anna, U-Go Girl, Vivisector
#120 Anarchist, Doop, Orphan, Phat, U-Go Girl, Vivisector
#121-124 Anarchist, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Spike, U-Go Girl, Vivisector
#125-128 Anarchist, Dead Girl, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Spike, U-Go Girl, Vivisector
#129 Anarchist, Dead Girl, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Vivisector

Volume 2

Issues Characters
#1-6 Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Shatterstar, Sunspot, Warpath

Volume 3

Issues Characters
#1-3 Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23
#4-8 Archangel, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23
#9-onward Archangel, Domino, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23

Creators

Writers

  • Rob Liefeld & Fabian Nicieza - X-Force (vol. 1) #1-12 & (vol. 2) #1-6 (August 1991 - July 1992 & October 2004 - March 2005)
  • Fabian Nicieza - X-Force (vol. 1) #1-43, Annuals #1-3 & (vol. 2) #1-6 (August 1991 - February 1995 & October 2004 - March 2005)
  • Jeph Loeb - X-Force (vol. 1) #44-61 (July 1995 - December 1996)
  • John Dokes - X-Force (vol. 1) #62 (January 1997)
  • John Francis Moore - X-Force (vol. 1) #63 - 76, #78-100 (February 1997 - April 1998, June 1998 - March 2000)
  • Joseph Harris - X-Force (vol. 1) #77 101 (May 1998, April 2000)
  • Warren Ellis & Ian Edginton - X-Force (vol. 1) #102-105 (May 2000 - August 2000)
  • Ian Edginton - X-Force (vol. 1) #102-115 (May 2000 - June 2001)
  • Peter Milligan - X-Force (vol. 1) #116-129 (July 2001 - August 2002)
  • Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle - X-Force (vol.3) #1 onwards (February 2008-present)

Art

Cover art

  • Rob Liefeld - X-Force (vol. 1) #1-9, #11, #50 & #100 variants (August 1991 - January 1996)
  • Greg Capullo - X-Force (vol. 1) #15-27 (October 1992 - October 1993)
  • Whilce Portacio - X-Force (vol. 1) #102-109 (May 2000 - December 2000)
  • Mike Allred - X-Force (vol. 1) #116-128 (July 2001 - August 2002)
  • Clayton Crain - X-Force (vol. 3) #1-6 (February 2008 - August 2008)
  • Mike Choi - X-Force (vol. 3) #7-10 (September 2008 - December 2008)

Bibliography

  • X-Force (vol. 1) #1-129 (August 1991 - August 2002, Marvel Comics)
    • Counter X Volume 1: X-Force (July 2008) (TPB; reprints #102-109)
    • X-Force: New Beginnings (November 2001) (TPB; reprints #116-120)
    • X-Force: The Final Chapter (December 2002) (TPB; reprints #121-129)
  • X-Force Annual #1-3, 1995-1999 (March 1992 - 1999, Marvel Comics)
  • X-Force (vol. 2) #1-6 (October 2004 - March 2005, Marvel Comics)
    • X-Force & Cable: The Legend Returns (March 2005) (TPB; reprints (vol. 2) #1-6)
  • X-Force (vol. 3) #1- onwards (February 2008 - present, Marvel Comics)

Awards

Issues #57 and #58 of the first series were part of the Onslaught storyline which was a top vote-getter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Comic-Book Story for 1997.

The original X-Force

Before the team best known as X-Force debuted, Marvel introduced an unrelated, little-known group also called X-Force. It was a short-lived group that was designed to replace Freedom Force. The members were not mutants, but received their powers artificially and were named after the X-Men. This group was organized by a government agency known as M Branch and only appeared in the pages of Cloak and Dagger #9-10 (1990).

Notes

References

External links

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