We’ve known that one of the 90’s most notorious villains was returning to X-Force for a while now, so that was no surprise. However, exactly how and why was up in the air, and even better, that comes with a whole new set of motivations.
Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro, Erick Arciniega, and Cory Petit shift from last issue’s Cable origin to give Stryfe the same treatment.
In the wake of the timeline changes seen in last issue, Stryfe sets out to stop Cable’s mission in its tracks. This leads him to Transia, several weeks before the series began, leading him to a willing army and bringing him face to face with an unexpected mutant. Can Cable stop Stryfe from conquering the world, and even more important, rescue his sister Rachel from his clutches?
Stryfe has been a character with fairly nebulous motivations – he hates his family, so he wants them to suffer, and beyond that mutant supremacy. Brisson is able to give him a lot more depth here – keeping his megalomaniacal and narcissistic nature, but adding a layer of self-doubt that humanizes him greatly. He also makes a point of not making him sympathetic, which I think is important as this is not a character we should like or care for.
Couceiro’s work this issue is stronger, with a bit smoother line than in last issue. He never hesitates to show how despicable Stryfe is in big and small moments, adding inset panels with silent sneers and pauses that help paint the portrait that Brission wrote. Arciniega’s colors are bright here, especially using reds to set the villain apart, adding and deepening his evil.
All the pieces are in place for a time spanning epic in the great X-Men tradition. I’m excited to see what happens next.
X-Force #6 is available now from Marvel Comics.