Sometimes superheroes stare into the void. Sometimes that void is literal. For X-Force though, the void is in the deep ocean, it’s staring back and it’s terrifying.
X-Force continues to defend Krakoa in this issue, but this time the danger has come to them. It’s an intense underwater adventure by Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, Guru eFx, and Joe Caramagna.
Krakoa is under attack from beneath. However, despite first appearances, it seems that the attacker might be Krakoa itself- a cancerous tumor that the island expelled. That means it’s time for Wolverine, Kid Omega, and Forge to dive into the deep blue sea!
Percy made this story a lot of fun, and created a story that’s a fantastic showcase for his artistic collaborators. His characterization of Beast continues to build on the character’s descent into unethical activity, a war criminal in the making. It’s a lens that the story needs a bit because these characters are doing good things, but how they’re doing it is pushing boundaries that they shouldn’t be pushing.
There are a couple weird things in the issue though. Percy’s Wolverine plot point, with Logan seeing an undersea leviathan and thinking “I’ve got to kill it”, feels out of character for Logan. Meanwhile, his Namor dialogue is a bit too over the top and bombastic for the haughty sea king (though admittedly it was exciting to see the character in the vicinity of Krakoa).
Cassara and the Guru team put in one of the best performances of their collective careers here though. The opening scenes are tense thanks to how Cassara paces them, both in his layouts and the perspectives and POVs he frames in the panels. Then, as Logan, Forge and Quire dive into the trench, it just blows up.
Cassara’s tech design has been a big highlight so far in the series in general, and here the deep sea suit and the weapons look great. But the breathtaking moment of the issue is when Quire lights up the trench (with a fantastic psychic pink glow by Guru), and he’s surrounded by sea monsters. The reveal is done perfectly by both Cassara and Guru, and leads to a fight scene that is just a lot of fun to read (even if the physics of the team moving underwater are a bit off).
X-Force continues to be an exciting read each month, and asks some of the darker questions about building a nation that the Krakoan era of X-Men needs.
X-Force #16 is available now from Marvel Comics.
A couple small rough patches are overshadowed by interesting moral quandaries and absolutely stellar art.