Published on November 10th, 2023 | by Matt Fischer
X-Force #46 Review
Summary: With 4 years of storylines coalescing, this should have been explosive. Instead, we get what amounts to a little electrical fire.
Background – We FINALLY get Peter vs. Mikhail!
Writing – Peter and his brother fight. As they fight, Mikhail’s world dissipates around them. In the real world, Sage and Domino have enlisted the help of Doctor Strange to open a portal so they can rescue the rest of the team. Sage winds up at Omega Red’s “cell” and we get a nice moment where Sage (who is normally tech support) cuts loose and shows just how deadly she really can be. The panels of her dismantling the guards are violent and hilarious, alternating between a nut shot and shocking a guard in the neck with a car battery clamp.
Domino winds up in in Laura’s (X-23 or Wolverine) “cell” and proceeds to blow all the guards away… until mini guards spout from the dead bodies of the big guards. These aren’t just guards. These are Russian nesting doll guards. They fight valiantly but it becomes apparent that there are way too many of these little guys with guns… and that’s when Deadpool shows up with his big “Han Solo Redemption arc” (no, seriously. That’s what he calls it.) Deadpool blows everyone up and then the world continues to vanish and everybody falls.
The writer and his Orchis agent that was recently kidnapped fall into Quentin’s “Cell”. He barely has a chance to figure out who’s there to rescue who before they fall.
While all of this has been going on, Colossus has been fighting his brother. He’s begging his brother to stop and Mikhail asks him to join him. Colossus then rips his brothers heart out of his chest and the team winds up back at Doctor Strange’s Sanctum. Colossus then asks X-Force to take him in for his crimes.
All of this felt limp and rushed. We’ve spent the last 3 or so years building to this one moment. The moment where Colossus finally gets to fight his brother and it pretty much consists of Peter getting his butt kicked and then killing his brother. There was absolutely zero catharsis when the time came. It honestly felt like Percy realized he was now 4 issues away from 50 and had to wrap this storyline up. Almost as annoying is the Writer’s lack of comeuppance. After controlling Colossus for God knows how many issues and years, we don’t even see what happens to him. He just lands in the Sanctum Santorum and then we get a one page letter saying that he was offered a spot in X-force, declined and moved to Paris and doesn’t feel like writing anymore. WHAT THE HECK!? What happened to the Orchis agent? Where did she go? They wiped her mind and sent her back to Orchis? OK then
Where the writing does excel is with all the other members of the team. We’ve seen Sage slowly start caring about Omega Red and her saving him only feels appropriate, considering she’s the one who recruited him to the team. Domino finally gets her vindication against he man with The Peacock Tattoo (yes, technically that happened ages ago, but she ends up killing the last remains of his soldiers, so I still count that as another win).
Quentin has very little to do in this issue but he does have one of the better lines in the book when the Writer and the Orchis agent fall into his cell, asking them
“Uhh, Who the @#$% are you guys? Are you here to rescue me? Or do I need to rescue you?”
Finally there’s Deadpool. I’m going to be honest: I find Deadpool in his own book to be INCREDIBLY ANNOYING and has been since he shot Coulson like 8 years ago. That being said he has been an absolute delight whenever he shows up in another book and as a member of X-force has been the gold standard of comedy. He’s hilarious, mentioning Stars wars and Oprah in the same sentence. He truly does earn his big “Han Solo redemption arc”. With the main story getting such meh treatment, the writing gets a 3 out of 5.
Artwork – No matter the writing has been like, the art has been superb and continues to be so. A large majority of this book was our colorful characters against a black background, which means everybody pops. The facial expressions are as clear as always and Doctor Strange’s face when they all fall back into his living room is hilarious.
The ONE nitpick I have is this single frame where Laura suddenly becomes purple. Like entirely purple. This isn’t the Contest that Agatha Harkness has been running to make a new Darkhold. The random coloring is jarring and weird.
Score 4 ½ out of 5
Final Thoughts – With 4 years of storylines coalescing, this should have been explosive. Instead, we get what amounts to a little electrical fire. Colossus kills his brother, X-force is saved, and the Writer decides to go drink tea and have croissants in Europe. It’s just an odd mishmash.
Final score: 3 and ½ out of 5.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Color artist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Daniel Acuna
Release Date: 11/08/2023