X-Force Annual #1 Review: Disarmed

Hey, everyone, jrpbsp here… Only have a couple of reviews this week so starting with ‘X-Force’. Hope you enjoy it.

X-Force Annual #1 (preview | thread)
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Jason Pearson


RECAP: The issue opens with Wolverine doing a solo jump from a plane to a Hydra base while the rest of X-Force looks on. He crashes through the roof and surprises a pair of Hydra troopers and takes them out quickly.  He questions one about the location of his target and is told Section Seventeen. Logan sneaks off and disables another guard while trying to keep quiet and avoid killing.

A few more surprises show up and he is forced to pop his claws and then in the next room is kills a trooper. Luckily not his target but the man he is looking for shows up a moment later and Logan knocks him cold. He starts hauling the Hydra man to the elevators but they are blocked by a hoard of goons. They refuse to shoot, due to the prisoner, so Logan charges and uses the unconscious man as a weapon to knock his foes from the catwalk.

Wolverine starts to head up but the elevator opens and he is blasted by gunfire. Logan follows the Hyrda troopers down and massacres the whole group and goes back to retrieve his prisoner. He makes it to the roof where the rest of X-Force extracts him and they fly to a San Francisco hospital. There we find out that the Hydra man is named Tod Kaufman and he was kidnapped at the request of his ex-wife because their daughter is dying and needs a bone marrow transplant. He is a compatible match. The X-Men as involved because the child is a mutant.

Tod did not even know he had a child but he hesitates to offer his marrow. Hydra soon catches up and the X-Men find out that Kaufman is a Hydra general. Wolverine is not going to let him go but Kaufman offers an arm to use to get the marrow for his daughter. Logan slices it off cleanly. The rest of Tod leaves with his Hydra buddies as his ex-wife kisses their daughter and tells her everything will be okay now.

Writer: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Penciler: Carlo Barberi
Inker: Sandu Florea

The second tale starts with a flashback to Magneto’s days with the Hellfire Club and how he helped Emma consolidate of power of queen from Selene. In the present Deadpool is in a room on Utopia playing with Fantastic Four action figures. He hears a scream and goes out to the hall and finds Loa injured and being pursued by three resurrected Acolytes, Delgado, Cortez and Mellencamp. They are trying to find Magneto for their queen.

Deadpool is confused and calls Cyclops for an explanation. He is told to help out but not to kill anyone since some of them are friends. He cuts off Delgado’s arm and the Acolyte reattaches it so Deadpool stabs him through the head and even that fails to slay the attacker. Instead of despairing, Deadpool goes to the room and grabs his arsenal to use against them.

But after twenty minutes he still has not managed to stop the three dead mutants and Wade is pretty much out of steam. Alani steps and and jumps through Mellencamp and her power destroys his body. She is shocked but Deadpool sees the potential and uses her as a weapon to finish the others while telling Cyclops that he did not kill anyone but that Loa is out of control.

MY TAKE: This is a decent if unremarkable annual with a pair of entertaining stories that are ultimately irrelevant. I had hoped that the issue would be used to give some more background and expansion for the Necrosha event but instead we have only one story that even touches on it and that only slightly. It is doubtful that either tale will be referenced again in the future.

The Hydra story is the better of the two with some good action and Wolverine moments and a villain that for once is not a cold-blooded fiend. I did enjoy reading it and it was better then most of the one-off stories I have seen recently. It would have been nice to see a bit more participation from the rest of the group but giving Logan a chance to shine is never a bad thing. Plus it is a plot we do not see very often, the X-Men actually doing a mission of mercy. That is a big change from their usual goals and it was nice to see X-Force having something to do besides wet work.

The best part was the Hydra trooper who was actually a feeling human being willing to sacrifice for his child. It was a pleasant surprise to have some real human emotion and feelings in the story. But in the end it was still just a meaningless, if well told, little plot that really has no bearing on the main part of the title.I doubt the mutant girl will ever surface again much less her parents.

The Deadpool tale was even worse. It is a vaguely amusing little snippet that really just serves to take him and Loa out of play for the core crossover. There is nothing new here and although Wade is fun to read I would have liked it better to see something a little more meaningful. Still it was not bad for a backup and at least we get to an acknowledgment of Deadpool as part of Utopia in general. His trials against the Techno-zombies were well done but still futile in the end. Using Loa was a clever way to actually kill the zombies and it would be nice to see that in the main title and some point.

Overall this was a pretty good read but I do think they missed out on an opportunity to do something bigger and better with the annual. These annuals really only have meaning and a purpose when they tie directly into the main title and with a crossover going on it was a perfect time to do so. What is more there is an actual one shot being sent out this month, the Gathering, which could have been integrated here and tied everything together. The comic we have is a pretty good read but it missed the chance to be something more important to the series and that is a shame. Annuals are already a hard enough sale to the comic buying public, they should be given every chance to be meaningful.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

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14 years ago

I’m actually excited to read the hydra story..issue has yet to arrive in my lcs, i’m just a little bothered as to why x-force is drawn so pale..

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