X-Force (2018) No. 2 review: The team battles on several fronts


The actions of Cable and X-Force have led to Transia being placed under martial law. The new president is rounding up mutants in his country, and he has help from an X-Men nemesis.

X-Force (2018) No. 2

Writer: Ed Brisson

Artist: Dylan Burnett

Cover Artist: Pepe Larraz, Marte Garcia

X-Force No. 2 cover (Credit: Marvel Comics)

Commandant Constantin assassinated his president and framed Cable and Deathlok for the murder. Once Constantin took control of Transia, his first act was to declare martial law and exterminate all mutants. Now, X-Force, Kid Cable and Deathlok are fighting to save mutantkind in the country, while also trying to get to the bottom of the mystery – how does Transia have technology from the future? The answers are unsettling in X-Force No. 2.

Transian soldiers aren’t the only ones X-Force need to battle though; the team don’t trust Kid Cable, especially not after he killed his older self. This Cable doesn’t act anything like the man X-Force were close to, can they trust him?

With enemies within and without, the team are in luck when one of the local mutants has a way to infiltrate Constantin’s facility. Unknown to them, however, Constantin is in cahoots with yet another villain and is more powerful than anyone can imagine. How are X-Force going to save the mutant refugees?

What an exciting, gripping tale! Ed Brisson’s pacing keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Constantin is a quintessential X-Men villain – a mutant-hating bigot with personal history fueling his anger. He is vile beyond compare, but it makes him a coherent and apt villain for this arc of the series. Admittedly, some aspects of Constantin’s characterization feel derivative of other X-Men properties, but he still makes for a compelling antagonist. One could argue that Constantin and Cable are far more arresting figures in this series than the titular team.

There are lots of plot threads in this series with multiple characters and dynamics to work through. It makes one wonder if four issues are enough to examine all these elements, unless some of the story aspects spill over to the rest of the series.

Unlike X-Force No. 1, this issue did not have an epilogue featuring Boom Boom. That is possibly because of what went down in Uncanny X-Men No. 10. Without Boom Boom’s antics, most of this issue is quite dark and humorless.

X-Force No. 2 (Credit: Marvel Comics)

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X-Force No. 2 rides completely on the strength of Brisson’s writing and the central plot, because Dylan Burnett’s art continues to be an issue. It is hard to take the characters seriously when they are drawn in such a comedic fashion. The expressions are exaggerated and occasionally the characters look older than they are. Jesus Aburtov’s colors, on the other hand, are splendid – the splashes of color for the costumes and mutations are a welcome change from the dreary landscapes.

What has worked in X-Force’s favor in these first two issues is how grounded the material feels, which seems an impossible task since there are so many fantastical elements thrown in the mix – time travel, robots, and mutants – but throughout the series so far, an undercurrent of real-world machinations runs parallel to the story.

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Whether or not you’re an X-Men or X-Force fan, this tense tale feels like it could possibly belong in the annals of science-fiction history. Even though the art isn’t up to par, it is not detrimental to the power of the story at its center.