The Xavier Institute: A Most Extreme Introduction In ‘X-Force Annual’ #2

by Tony Thornley

There is no such thing as bad characters. Sometimes it’s bad writing. Other times it’s a matter of a story getting cut short. There’s even times that a character or concept is so rooted in a time period that it’s impossible to remove them from it. And X-Force Annual #2 introduces a prime example of that from the X-Universe.

Marvel’s annuals often had a theme or an interconnecting story. It’s the idea that brought us Atlantis Attacks and Days of Future Present. In 1993 though, that theme was new character introductions. Many of those characters introduced never appeared again outside of that annual, but a few made their mark.

X-Force Annual #2 was by Fabian Nicieza, Tony Daniel, Mark Pennington, Bob Wiacek, Brad Vancata, Keith Williams, Keven Conrad, Kevin Somers, and Chris Eliopoulos. It introduced the most 1990’s character in comics history. He had a bad attitude, a backwards ballcap, was covered in blades, and went by the name X-Treme!

Adam-X was a bounty hunter, working for a man named Strong to track down mutants. However when X-Force gets involved, Adam can finally fight back against his master. That could mean that he might even learn more about his past life.

If you’re aware of Adam-X (mostly called just Adam or X-Treme here, he wouldn’t really get the name Adam-X the X-Treme until his next appearance), you probably will think of him as Mountain Dew guzzling skateboarding 90’s stereotype. And that’s somewhat there (though he never touches a Dew or a board), but there’s clearly more to the character than that. Nicieza crafts a very fun action story around Adam’s introduction, even if it does have quite a bit of cliche. 

This is a prime example of Nicieza’s X-Force actually being a lot deeper than just 90’s bombast. The conflict is interesting. The characters are well-thought out and have clear motivations. Adam himself had enough of a hook that you want to know more. It’s frankly too bad that Nicieza wasn’t able to follow through on his plans for him because we likely would have seen the character grow and mature into a much stronger character.

Daniel’s art on the issue varies based on his inker. The opening pages have more an angular feel, and the characters appear a bit more squat. Later pages though are stronger, and Daniel is able to show his action chops with both the regular cast and Adam.

Does this issue introduce what’s today a bit of a joke? Yeah, it does. But it’s clear from this issue that there was more to the X-Treme, that would have paid off down the road. Though we did get other appearances, Nicieza would quit from the line before the intended story was complete. However, it’s an issue worth checking out and a prime example of why X-Force was probably the best of the X-Men tie-ins of the day.

This story is readily available in physical single issues at many local comic stores, and via digital platforms. It’s also available as a part of X-Force: Toy Soldiers which is available in bookstores, comic stores and your favorite digital platforms.

We’d like to ask, on behalf of our friends and colleagues that own and are employed by comic shops, that you first try to get these books at your local shop. This is a very uncertain time for owners, employees, and their families. Show some love for your community and friends by buying from your regular shop when possible and safe.

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