Comic Book / X-Force

X-Force has been the name of several different Marvel Universe Super Hero teams and comics, with few common members and very little generally to link them except for being closely tied to the X-Men, with varying degrees of cooperation between the two at different times.

An X-Force team led by Deadpool makes its big screen debut in Deadpool 2.
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    Volume 1

The original X-Force was created when Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza were given control of the New Mutants book and made it Darker and Edgier. Adding several badasses and making them more of an "ends justify the means" group, they became a militant strike force very different in attitude from the X-Men. The title was at first extremely popular, with the first issue becoming the #2-selling comic of all time. Liefeld however quickly became frustrated by working with characters he didn't own, and soon left Marvel to form Image Comics in 1992. Nicieza continued to write up through the Age of Apocalypse storyline of 1995, afterwards leaving and being replaced by Jeph Loeb.

Loeb moved the team back to the Xavier Mansion and focused more on character development than fighting. After Loeb's departure in 1997, John Francis Moore took over writing duties and sent X-Force on a roadtrip to San Francisco, where they would reunite with former members Cannonball and Domino, but sales of the book began to fall. In 2000, Warren Ellis was brought in and portrayed the team as a covert group under the leadership of his character Pete Wisdom, but only made the decline worse as far as alienating more fans than before. The series lasted for 115 issues (August, 1991-June, 2001).

The First Series Provides Examples Of:

  • Aborted Arc: The infamous fate of the "Externals" story arc once Liefeld left. It was technically resolved... by killing off pretty much everyone involved within the space of a single issue.
  • All There in the Manual: Huge chunks of Cable's backstory and origin were only revealed in his ongoing book, once it was launched.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Feral as the Darker and Edgier Wolfsbane.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Freaking Shatterstar.
  • Badass Normal: Cable, who despite being a mutant, can't really use his powers on any significant scale without risking death. In lieu of reading people's thoughts and throwing them through the air with his mind, he relies on his...
  • BFG: Cable had a lot of these, and wasn't shy about using them.
  • Blessed with Suck: Cable, potentially the single most powerful telepath and telekinetic in the Marvel Universe, has to use all but a tiny smidge of those powers to keep the techno-virus infesting half his body from devouring the other half.
  • Body Horror: Cable is mostly human on his right side, mostly techno-organic on the left. And if it weren't for his powers, he'd be consumed by the TO virus and die.
    • The Marvel NOW Cable X-Force series starts off with people being poisoned with a mutagen which transforms them into horrifying mounds of flesh. One of Dr. Nemesis' attempted cures only makes it worse.
  • Briefer Than They Think: Rob Liefeld was only on the book as co-writer for the first year and only on art for the first 9 of those issues. Once he left the book quickly moved away from the three G's (guns, grimaces and grittiness) to more character-based stories culminating in John Francis Moore's Lighter and Softer run.
  • Cain and Abel: Cable and his evil clone Stryfe.
  • Code Name: Played straight, to the point where Cable and Domino's real names weren't revealed for years. Justified in Cable's case, since revealing his name would spoil a pretty juicy plot twist.
  • Covert Group: Its team was portrayed as a covert group under the leadership of his character Pete Wisdom starting in 2000.
  • Darker and Edgier: This was the defining characteristic of the comic in the beginning.
  • During the War: Virtually all of Cable's backstory relates to his battling the forces of Apocalypse a thousand years in the future.
  • Guns Akimbo: Domino was particularly fond of this.
  • Gun Fu: Domino, though her "luck" power also had a lot to do with it.
  • Gun Kata: This completes Domino's trifecta of gun-related tropes, though again, her powers really helped her out.
  • Heroic Albino: Domino is described as being an albino, even though she has black hair.
  • It's Personal: Cable's hatred for Stryfe stems only partly from the fact that Stryfe has killed everyone Cable loved; most of it is from Stryfe's raping and impregnating his wife with a son that Cable had mixed feelings towards at best.
  • Just Friends: Cable and Domino have a long history, during which they've been everything from genuinely just friends to teammates to Friends with Benefits to fully lovers; currently, they seem to be in a "just friends" phase.
  • Knight Templar: Cable was very much "ends justify the means" in the beginning; later writers softened him considerably, though it's still not a very good idea to make him mad.
  • Road Trip Plot: After Operation: Zero Tolerance the remaining members of the team decide to strike out on their own leading to a year long road trip storyline that takes them from New York to their new home in San Francisco.
  • Retcon: Cable wasn't Scott and Madelyne's son until Chris Claremont and Jim Lee came up with the idea while writing X-Factor #65-68. Executive meddling prevented Nicieza and Lobdell from revealing Stryfe was Nathan Summers and Cable a clone, as Bob Harras wanted Cable to be Nathan, since "having him be the fake would devalue him".

    Volume 2 / X-Statix

The second major incarnation of X-Force began in 2001, continuing the same issue numbering. The new creative team of writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred, after the previous creative team ended their run with the team caught in an explosion that led to the media declaring the team dead, created a new team of X-Forcers who were shockingly killed at the end of the first issue. The series continued, with a famously rapid turnover of characters, as a satirical superhero series based around the idea of second-division superheroes as vapid and self-centered celebrities out for fame, fortune and kicks. The series explained the change-over with the notion of a millionaire software king creating his own team of super-heroes, with the X-Force name being taken from the previous team without permission. As X-Force, the team appeared in 14 issues (July, 2001- August, 2002).

Around a third of the way through the run, the title was changed to X-Statix when team owner Spike Freeman decided to change it since he had to pay royalties on it to the founding members of the original X-Force to use the name. (In truth however, the revamp was a huge hit and Marvel wanted to cash in on it via a relaunch.) Unfortunately, the relaunch came with the killing off of the book's most popular character (U-Go Girl), which became a topic of fairly frequent discussion within the story itself. Further complications involved a planned storyline involving the resurrection of Princess Di, who was changed into a pop idol when Marvel chickened out at the last minute. Sales tanked and led to the book's cancellation in late 2004. The series lasted for 26 issues (September, 2002- October, 2004).

Despite the deaths of all the surviving characters in the last issue, there was a later Dead Girl Spin-Off mini-series that had many of the dead team members involved in an adventure in the afterlife (exploring versions of Heaven and Hell) with Doctor Strange, satirizing the Death Is Cheap nature of the Marvel Universe. It lasted for 5 issues (March-July, 2006).

Also in 2004, Marvel brought Liefeld and Nicieza back for a six-issue X-Force miniseries (October, 2004-March, 2005), returning to the original characters, which posted decent sales despite a critical drubbing and Liefeld's using some of his previously unused art for other titles in the book. A four-issue Shatterstar miniseries (April-July, 2005) followed, but neither was extended.

The Second Series / X-Statix Provides Examples Of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Inverted, in that this was pretty much the only series that showed how rich, hot teenagers with cool superpowers would be showered with adoration rather than shunned.
  • Anyone Can Die: The first issue killed off the entire team except for Tike and U-Go Girl. Then new recruits Bloke and Saint Anna, then the Spike, then U-Go Girl, then the Mysterious Fanboy, then Phat, then El Guapo, until the surviving members were all killed in the last issue of X-Statix.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The first arc both subverts then plays it straight twice over. Edie intends to go rescue Guy from his daily russian roulette game (which had been rigged so that all chambers had a bullet in them. ), only to be paralyized by the Coach. Guy then arrives to save her from the Coach, revealing he felt the gun was heavier. Finally, after The Coach's two personal goons jump guy, Wolverine shows up on a favor from Doop to rescue him.
    • The first arc of X-Statix has Venus Dee Milo gathering the team to pull this towards the end of it, and then pulling it off pages later.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • One of the later issues revealed that U-Go Girl, who had been portrayed basically as The Paragon up to that point, was complicit in Spike Freeman selling WMDs to Saddam Hussein.
    • When Arnie Lundberg was on the team as the Mysterious Fanboy, the rest of the group had to grit their teeth and pretend to like each other and care about helping people so temperamental Reality Warper Arnie wouldn't see them for what they really are.
  • Captain Ethnic: Parodied with EuroTrash, Spike Freeman's side project superteam that he deliberately designed to follow this mold. Also La Nuit, one of the members killed in the first issue, a French mutant with green skin and blemishes that make him look rather amphibian. And Bloke, who was an amalgamation of every gay stereotype you've ever heard. A pink (formerly rainbow) skinned gym rat who lives in San Francisco and has great taste in soft furnishings... yeah.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: There's actually a character named "Surrender Monkey," leader of a team of supervillains whose entire gimmick is being horrible ethnic stereotypes. He has the amazing mutant ability to know exactly the right moment to run away from a fight. Subverted when he comes back later on and is revealed to not be French at all but rather an American Francophile.
  • Companion Cube: El Guapo's skateboard may genuinely have a mind of its own, though.
  • Dead Star Walking: Literally with Dead Girl, but more traditionally with the entire cast in the first issue.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Zeitgeist; later issues would posthumously reveal him to be a huge Jerkass who had deliberately set up several of his teammates to die.
  • Dirty Old Man: A running gag has Professor Xavier being depicted, whenever he appears, as having a creepy interest in younger mutants' sex lives.
  • Doorstopper: The 2011 omnibus collecting the entire series in a single volume is 1200 pages long, making it at the time the longest book Marvel had ever printed (beating out the Walt Simonson Thor omnibus by a mere eight pages). It also weighs nearly eight pounds, cementing its status as a true doorstopper.
  • Drunken Master: Gin Genie's seismic powers were fueled by her alcoholic consumption.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Edie, both in-universe and out.
  • Executive Meddling: Done frequently In-Universe as well, with Spike constantly trying to get the team to act in the ways that would be the most profitable.
  • Foreshadowing: Guy threatening to break Spike's neck shortly after Edie dies.
  • I Have No Son: Vivisector's father, Edward Alfred. When his wife pleaded with him to consider letting Myles back into their house and insisting he's your son!, he responded with "That is a matter of opinion."
  • Kill 'em All: The way Milligan ended the title, killing off the entire team.
    • It's worth noting that Doop has since returned, and that Edie has a way by which she might some day (she was in the casino in The Incredible Hercules).
  • Lampshade Hanging: The source of much of the humour.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In the first issue Zeitgeist repeatedly brushes off Battering Ram's attempts to talk to him about his role in the group. And no, he doesn't get heard out before everybody dies.
  • Only Sane Man: The Orphan, who's probably the most grounded member of the cast. Spike Freeman lampshades this by saying he's saner than all of them put together (not that it's saying much)
  • One Steve Limit: Averted as X-Force, when the team featured the Spike and Spike Freeman. That said, Freeman didn't get half as much screentime as he would later back then.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Early on, Guy tries to be a moral influence on the rest of the team. Near the end, he quite happily joins in the plan to kill Henrietta just because she's too popular.
  • Power Incontinence: Zeitgeist's powers first manifested during an underaged drunken beach make-out session; his acid vomit maimed the girl. (He wonders whether "the doctors ever managed to give her back her pretty face.")
  • Rock Beats Laser: The first stage of the Orphan/Iron Man fight showed the peak of modern technology falling to the peak of smithing equipment, as seen in the page picture.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The entire team barring The Anarchist and U-Go-Girl in the first issue.
  • Satire: Milligan loved making fun of comicbook storytelling.
  • Straight Gay: Both Phat and Vivisector eventually realize they are this, though they also realize they are not attracted to each other like they thought.
  • Sixth Ranger: Quite a few given the team's high turnover rate, though Venus Dee Milo and Dead Girl are the streightst examples.
  • Token Minority Couple: The execs behind the X-Statix movie feel it's more appropriate for Venus Dee Milo to be paired with the Anarchist instead of the Orphan.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Played with for all it's worth in one storyline with the entire team worried about a prophecy to this effect. U-Go Girl dies.
  • The Unreveal: Twice. When both Mister Code and the Pitiful One are unmasked, the characters see them and recognise them as someone they know, but the knowledge is never passed on to the reader.
  • Wing Ding Lish: Doop's dialog.

    Volume 3

In early 2006, former X-Men: Evolution writing team Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost took over the teen team New X-Men, bringing with them their creation Laura "X-23" Kinney. They took that team through the aftermath of the House of M storyline and introduced The Purifiers, Reverand William Stryker's fanatical mutant-hating army of followers. After the cancellation of New X-Men, Kyle and Yost launched a third incarnation of X-Force as a black ops team sanctioned by Cyclops to combat The Purifiers in a way that the X-Men — who are trying to re-establish themselves as a respectable, law-abiding superhero team - never could. He puts Wolverine in charge of the new group, with members James "Warpath" Proudstar, X-23 and Rahne "Wolfsbane" Sinclair, and the team is soon joined by Warren "Angel/Archangel" Worthington, Neena "Domino" Thurman and Josh "Elixir" Foley. Reaction to this series was extremely mixed, with the book consistently rating in the top 30 for monthly sales, but many critics seeing it as an example of Darker and Edgier taken to self-parodic lengths. The series lasted for 28 issues (April, 2008-September, 2010).

The Third Series Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Not only do Wolverine and X-23 have their adamantium claws, Warpath carries several knives and Archangel is fond of shooting metal "feathers" through the air.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Wolverine and Wolfsbane.
  • Badass Crew: With the addition of Domino, six out of seven members of the team have at least double-digit body counts.
  • Bare Your Midriff: X-23 exemplifies this trope. When she joined X-Force, hers was the only uniform that showed off her abs.
  • Berserk Button: Wolverine and Warpath both have a couple, though they're metaphorical. X-23, Archangel, and Wolfsbane have literal berserk buttons.
  • Big Bad: The Purifiers, especially now that they have a high council of techno-organically revived X-Men enemies working with them.
  • Biomanipulation: Elixir has this as his mutant ability. With touch, he can manipulate another person's cells. He primarily uses it to heal his teammates, but sometimes he can also use it offensively such as giving his enemies tumors.
  • Black and Grey Morality: X-Force is doing what needs to be done to prevent racial genocide, but they're still killing people left, right and center.
  • Boxed Crook: The Vanisher. How does one keep a high-end teleporter under control, you ask? Have the guy with Healing Hands give him an inoperable brain tumor.
  • Carnival of Killers: Inverted; X-Force are the heroes, yet they rack up quite the body count.
  • Cartwright Curse: Logan's never had a lasting romantic relationship, because someone always kills his lovers. James' entire tribe is dead, and Laura unwillingly killed her surrogate mother and literally put her her aunt and cousin on a bus to keep them safe. This has led to them each having some... issues.
  • Cassandra Truth: After Warren has his wings ripped off by a conditioned Wolfsbane and reverts back to his Archangel persona, Laura (who didn't quite like him from the start) continually tries to warn Logan that his current instability and unpredictability makes him a dangerous liability in the field. However Logan dismisses her concerns. When Warren later loses control and nearly tanks a mission as a result, Logan immediately snaps at her not to say "I told you so" while the rest of the team rushes to fix it.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Domino has probability altering powers, but she mainly relies on her marksmanship and hand-to-hand abilities.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Warpath learns the mystic Ghost Dance from Ghost Rider in the finale for Necrosha he teaches it to the rest of X-Force so they can attack a now godlike Selene
  • Church Militant: Reverand Stryker's(and later Bastion's) Purifiers.
  • Darker and Edgier: As per usual. Also as literal as possible, since the outfits are black and there are a lot of bladed weapons.
  • Deadpan Snarker: This is one of Wolverine's defining traits, though on the whole he's more serious in this book.
  • Death by Irony: Reverand Craig falls victim to the psychological conditioning The Purifiers put Wolfsbane through, when they were only able to capture her because she was trying to "save" him.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Inverted; X-Force are technically "good guys", but their new outfits are grey on black with glowing red-eyed black masks. Just in case you somehow failed to notice that this series is Darker and Edgier. Special points go to Archangel's costume: In this series, Angel can sort of Henshin into Archangel, though it comes with violent personality changes. As Archangel, he has his original, Apocalypse-given costume, which spontaneously manifests when he changes (meaning he really, really shouldn't be able to change its color.)
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Of the most twisted sort during Necrosha: Many of the dead mutants brought back to life by Bard and Selene were X-Men, their friends and allies, or even just civilians, who are now under Selene's power. Their actual loyalties to Selene vary, however. Some, like Caliban and Banshee, suggest Selene have complete control over them. Others, however, such as Thunderbird, are visibly acting against their will but are unable to fight back directly (though Thunderbird was able to warn Warpath how Selene can be defeated). To twist the knife further, those who are aware of what is happening to them are often seen begging and pleading for their friends to either kill them or to run. In a tie-in with the New Mutants, Doug Ramsey is also resurrected and enslaved, but is able to break Selene's control with the help of Warlock. Somehow, Destiny is able to escape Selene's control on her own.
    • More traditionally, Wither, who was once one of the New X-Men until fleeing the mansion after accidentally hurting Wallflower. He willingly joins Selene in the interim and becomes her right hand and lover.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit of it. Notably, many major plot elements for Necrosha are hinted at in a private encounter between Warpath and Ghost Rider. Particularly the importance of the dagger which turned the spirit animals of Warpath's people into a rampaging demon bear, and the importance of the Ghost Dance.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Purifiers consider themselves to be on a holy quest to kill all mutants. And of course Reverend Craig.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Wolverine and X-23 are often shown recovering from flat-out horrific injuries. X-23 gets the worst of it, though, since her healing factor is better than Wolverine's.
  • Healing Factor: Wolverine and X-23, of course. Hers works faster because Wolverine's is compromised by his adamantium-laced skeleton, but the tradeoff is that she doesn't have unbreakable bones.
  • Healing Hands: Elixir, a power that is largely redundant when half the team has a Healing Factor or is Made of Iron. Subverted in that he can kill you with those very same hands.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Played semi-straight with Laura; she'd like to be normal but doesn't know how. Inverted in that Logan is fine with his life, but wants a more normal one for Laura. He's not at all happy about Cyclops recruiting her for the team.
  • Just Friends: Wolverine and Domino have had an on and off thing for years, even before this incarnation of the team was formed. Kinda funny when you realized that Dom had the same thing with Cable.
  • Love Makes You Evil: You know Eli Bard? The enigmatic chessmaster that is using both Bastion and the Purifiers for his purposes? It seems there is this chick who dumped him some time ago that he is trying to get back into the good graces of....
  • Kill 'em All: If there's a group standing in X-Force's way, it's a pretty sure bet that none of them are going to see another sunrise.
  • Knife Nut: The initial members either had blades built into their bodies or used knives as their primary weapons.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Wolfsbane, who is able to turn into a WolfWoman or a full Were Wolf, but in this series is usually more along the lines of a Woman-Wolf.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Wolverine looks 40ish, but is around 120.
    • Selene even has him beat; she looks like a woman in her physical prime, but is in truth over 17,000 years old.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: It is hinted by Thunderbird that this is what Selene will eventually become once she becomes a goddess.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Selene's servant Eli Bard and apparently her new protegé Wither are vampires in the sense that they've been gifted with eternal life by Selene giving them a vampire like state complete with fangs and a "game face." However, there's never any mention of any need for blood.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The mutants who are "resurrected" by Eli Bard's corrupted Techno-Organic Virus.
  • Painted-On Pants: In full effect, with both Mr. Fanservice and Ms. Fanservice versions.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Neither Wolverine, X-23 or Wolfsbane are especially tall, but angering any of them will probably be the last thing you do.
  • Pregnant Badass: Wolfsbane appears to be shaping up into one of these; being that her child is half Asgardian wolf-spirit, Elixir had to alter her DNA to be more like the baby just to keep the pregnancy from killing her. This has given her superhuman strength, bulletproof skin, and more acute senses than Wolverine or X-23.
  • Professional Killer: This is what X-23 was raised to be. Not wanting to let that define her life, she's since changed her approach to be more in line with X-family ideals, but her complete ruthlessness makes her at times a more efficient killer than even Wolverine.
  • Really 700 Years Old: As noted above, Wolverine is just older than he looks. But he seems like an embryo next to Selene, who physically looks to be in her mid-to-late 30's at the most. Turns out she's really 17,000.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: The entire original group (Wolverine, X-23, Warpath and Wolfsbane) have heightened senses, and Warpath is also an Apache indian.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The mysterious Eli Bard manipulates The Purifiers into recreating genocidal maniac Bastion, then into finding a fragment of the old New Mutants techno-organic enemy Magus, and after Bastion uses it to bring a group of the X-Mens's old mutant-killing human enemies back to life, Bard combines with the entity. Not good.
  • Sinister Minister: Reverand William Stryker, then Matthew Risman. The restored Bastion too, though he prefers to stay in the shadows.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Rahne and Hrimhari. They originally met back when Rahne first joined the New Mutants, and though they fell in love, had to part ways. Now they meet again, finally consummate their relationship, Rahne gets pregnant... and Hrimhari has to give up his own life to save Rahne's and their baby's. These two just can't catch a break.
  • The Stoic: X-23. Unless it's a threat to someone she cares about, she tends to be very matter-of-fact about any given situation.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Wolfsbane, when she kills and eats her father. And Selene and her inner circle embody this trope. Each and every one of them are essentially death in human (well, mutant) form.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Inverted comically. You start off thinking this about Wolverine and the others. Then you remember that what they're doing isn't really that different from what they've done in the past. Then you remember that they're only together because of Scott "Mr. By-The-Book" Summers. Wolverine calls him on it more than once, and it's insinuated that Wolverine only agreed to do it because he cares for Laura, James and Rahne; and he also realized that if he refused, Scott would just find someone else to lead the team, and that person might not be as concerned as Wolverine would be with keeping them safe (or sane).
    • Cyclops has to perpetually keep X-Force a secret from fellow X-Men founders Beast and Iceman because he knows he'll get this reaction from them.
  • Wolverine Claws: Wolverine and X-23.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Wolverine and X-23, though fans seem to be getting more fond of Laura now that she's being used more sparingly.
    • The book has lately been subject to some "Deadpool Publicity" as well.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Most of Selene's Inner Circle, excepting Senyaka and Selene herself.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Averted, while Eli Bard does raise an army of dead mutants using the Techno-Organic Virus, he only does so to provide mutant souls for Selene to feast on and become a goddess.

     Volume 4 / Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1
Don't mess with them

Written by Rick Remender, the title underwent another, albeit smaller, relaunch as the Uncanny X-Force, continuing on the work done by the previous team but with a slightly different roster consisting of Wolverine, Archangel (the only members retained from the last team) and initially adding Fantomex, Psylocke and Deadpool. Later members include Deathlok, the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler, and EVA. The previous team was disbanded by Cyclops, who decided they are no longer needed, this one is a result of Wolverine and Archangel thinking otherwise. As Logan states, it has only one rule: no one can know about them. While reaction to X-Force vol. 3 was decidedly mixed, Uncanny X-Force has been hailed as a modern classic. The series lasted for 35 issues (December, 2010-February, 2013). Some of its dangling plot threads carried over to Remender's next series, Uncanny Avengers

The Fourth Series Provides Examples Of:

  • The Atoner: You can say it's Wade's primary motivation for joining X-Force.
    If he can lay down his life for someone he loves there's hope for all of us.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Deadpool cuts off "Father's" head moments before Fantomex is sliced into ribbons.
  • Bittersweet Ending: So, the Uncanny X-Force was able to save the world, a bunch of AoA X-Men, and Warren (well, a clone), as well as get Kid!Apocalypse to fight for the good guys. However, all Archangel's followers have fled, there is a new heir to Apocalypse, a bunch of the AoA X-Men were killed, including Warren.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • The series is a never ending Trauma Conga Line for Psylocke.
    • They also want to break down Evan/Genesis so that he becomes evil. Back to being Apocalypse.
  • Central Theme:
    • Is it ever right to murder, even when it would prevent further murder?
    • Determinism vs. free will.
    • Nature vs nurture.
  • Character Development: Psylocke. She's grows the most throughout the series and is the only member to carry over into the next Uncanny X-Force series.
  • Cloning Blues: Of a sort. A.o.A!Nightcrawler is rather annoyed that he keeps being compared to 616!Nightcrawler, as they have totally different personalities.
    A.o.A!Nightcrawler: Do not call me Elf. I find it... effeminate.
  • Cool Ship: E.V.A., which doubles as Fantomex's external nervous system.
  • Cursed with Awesome:Psylocke "sacrificed" her ability to feel sorrow to save Fantomex. She even points out she never would've had what it takes to save the multiverse without making the deal.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • It doesn't get grimmer than issue 16. The end of the world is nigh and Archangel is poised to wipe the earth clean and kill everyone on the planet. Deadpool lies in a puddle, Deathlok is mind-controlled, Betsy is being transformed into Death and Fantomex has promptly turned tail. It all falls to Logan, who's facing a high-powered alternate version of Iceman who's several hundred feet tall.
    • Issue 27 is pretty bad.Fantomex, dead. Gateway, dead. Ultimaton, out of control. Kid!Apocalypse, captured. The newest Brotherhood of Evil Mutants(The Omega Clan, Mystique, Daken, Sabertooth, Weapon III/Skinless Man, Shadow King, and A.o.A.!Blob) is bent on exposing the Force, and destroying them.]]
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mainly Fantomex, but Deadpool and Wolverine have their moments too.
  • The Determinator: Wade shrugs off his cancer and lack of healing factor in order to protect Evan.
  • Dream Sequence: In issue #18 (February, 2012), Archangel is dying and Psylocke uses her telepathy to give him an elaborate dream. In it, the two are a married couple, raising two daughters in Colorado. They grow old together, and Warren dies of natural causes.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: It's pretty obvious that the rest of the team views Deadpool as either a clown, or a psychotic mercenary who's only in it for the money. Deadpool even wonders why he's brought up as the pariah, when it was Fantomex who shot a kid, something nobody was comfortable with.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The team manages to resurrect Fantomex, Wade actually gets to be called a hero and Psylocked and Jean-Philippe get a much needed vacation. It's not a happy ending for everyone though: Wolverine needed to kill Daken, or else he would have killed all the students at the Jean Grey Institute. There's also the matter of the evil Fantomex clone gone missing...
  • Erased From Existence: What the Captain Britain Corps planned to do to Fantomex.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Really not surprising, given three members' involvement in Weapon Plus, but Fantomex gets hit with this in Otherworld.His incredibly unique sentient bullets were never given a proper explanation until he meets up with the man whose skin was used to make them, Weapon III. And guess what, he wants revenge.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe:
    • Deadpool makes it quite clear to Dark Beast that he doesn't give a shit about his "stupid fake world".
    • AoA!Nightcrawler will cheerfully trade the future of the mainstream Marvel Universe for revenge against the man who killed his wife.
  • Face–Heel Turn: There's a reason a major story arc is called the Dark Angel Saga. Also, The Sinister A.o.A. Iceman.
  • The Faceless: Fantomex. He wears his mask like it's part of him. Justified in that the psychic dampening plates protect him from harm. This later becomes very literal when Skinless Man cuts his face off.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Deadpool and Fantomex seem to be going this route.
    Fantomex: If there was ever a time to set aside my feelings about you and give a motivational speech, it would be now.
    Deadpool: Go on.
    Fantomex: No, well. It was just the thought that I should do it. I'm not capable of telling you that you're a tremendous fighter, and that we'll halt whatever mischief Worthington has devised.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Hero: Wolverine, team leader and resident Cool Old Guy. Pretty disciplined when you get right down to it.
    • The Lancer: Deadpool. Motor mouth, nowhere near as disciplined, but damn funny in contrast to Wolverine's seriousness. Also not seen with the team until the very end of issue #1.
      • He's also the one who calls the team out on Fantomex killing Kid!Apocalypse
    • The Smart Guy: Fantomex. His teammates opt more for bladed weapons while he's more of a gunslinger. He does also have multiple brains.
    • The Big Guy: ArchAngel. His "you go, I'll handle this" moment in issue #1 pretty much puts him right here.
    • The Chick: Psylocke, of the Lady of War variety.
    • Sixth Ranger: Apparently Deathlok, and now AoA!Nightcrawler.
      • Sixth Ranger Traitor: AoA!Nightcrawler betrays the team after Mystique gives him the opportunity to kill AoA!Blob, the man who murdered his wife.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Wolverine thinks Fantomex is quoting Hemingway in the first issue. In issue ten, Wolverine is seen reading The Old Man and the Sea.
    • When Archangel and Genesis are fighting in The World, three statues can be seen of various Weapon Plus subjects. Dr. Mindbubble, Skinless Man, and a woman whose name is obscured. Since Skinless Man is Weapon III, the other two are likely Weapons II and Weapon IV, though they could also be Weapons V, VI, VIII, or IX. Remender, in an interview, admitted to having plans for Dr. Mindbubble.
    • When Future!Punisher is tempted to kill Deadpool, he asks Future!Giant-Man just how important he is in the timeline. He responds with "Remember the zombie Nixon thing?", which refers to the first arc in Deadpool's Marvel NOW! relaunch.
  • Funny Schizophrenia: Very averted with this incarnation of Deadpool. While he is still pretty funny, Remender explicitly states that he views Deadpool's mental problems as caused by very traumatic things in his life, like many real mental disorders, instead of just using it to make Deadpool funny.
  • Gentleman Thief: Fantomex
    • In the first issue, he races Wolverine to the British crown jewels simply for the thrill. Upon being beaten by Logan, he then agrees to pay him by giving him a case of the world most expensive cognac.
  • The Heart: Deadpool takes on this role after Fantomex killed Kid!Apocalypse.
    • He's also the only one to even consider the fact that using the life seed on Warren may kill him.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Apparently, Deadpool thinks people have this. Too bad soda and pop rocks don't help Angel any...
    • So Deadpool had to feed him pieces of his own flesh.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Fantomex points out how the Captain Britain Corps find the shooting of one kid "evil", regardless of the work he's done to raise Genesis as a savior. Yet, they're perfectly OK with skinning a man alive and erasing another from existence.
    • Deathlok. During Final Execution, he shows the X-Force a possible future created by them, which involves killing people before they even have the opportunity to commit crimes. Wolverine refuses to stop killing, citing the need to kill the few in order to save the many. Seeing no way to convince them to give up killing peacefully, Deathlok hands over the controls to his human host, in order to kill the X-Force to stop them from creating a fascist future. That's right, he tries to preemptively murder the X-Force because they won't stop preemptively killing threats to prevent the future where the preemptively kill future threats. Deadpool calls him out on this too.
  • I Choose to Stay: Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler stays behind to ensure that Dark Beast gets what's coming to him.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted when Fantomex shoots Kid!Apocalypse.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Both Deadpool and Psylocke wield katanas. The latter's is psionically charged.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Angel, after the Life Seed is used on him.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Fantomex actually creates a clone of Kid!Apocalypse to see if someone with his power could grow up to be a good person, rather than a dictator bent on cleansing the world of humanity.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the members of the Black Legion is Orange Hulk.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Psylocke. She sacrificed her ability to feel sorrow in order to save Fantomex.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: AoA!Nightcrawler makes it clear that he's here purely for revenge against Dark Beast.
  • Offing the Offspring: Wolverine kills Daken by drowning him. Sabertooth then reveals that he manipulated Daken into causing the entire mess just to force Wolverine to kill his own son. Sabertooth knew this would hurt Wolverine worse than anything else Sabertooth could do to him.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Captain Britain. In a massive way. From wanting to wipe someone from existence to completely forgiving his slave-trading older brother, you have to wonder if the writer knows the character is one of the good guys.
  • Pungeon Master: Deadpool, natch.
    Deadpool: Why did the nickel jump of the building but the dime didn't? Because the dime had more cents.
    How do you kill a circus? Go for the juggler.
    Why was the little shoe unhappy? Because his father was a loafer.
    What kind of soldier doesn't need bullets? The kind that's always shooting his mouth off.
  • Put on a Bus: Angel, along with Deathlok, go along with Genesis to the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Deadpool is red, while Fantomex is blue.
  • Robotic Psychopath: Inverted with Deathlok. The AI recognizes the value of human life, but when it's time for a bit of the old hyperviolence, he switches control of the body back to it's original human host.
    Fantomex: Our cyborg's gone all "Ted Bundy" on us.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In one of the chapters of Dark Angel Saga, Deadpool was fighting against the giant Sinister Iceman (the Age of Apocalypse version who betrayed his teammates by cowardly running away) when he was apparently frozen to death and he was absent throughout the arc until he got better in the epilogue.
  • Shout-Out: Genesis is raised in a small, out in the sticks farm town, raised by "Ma and Pa"? Fantomex has been reading too much Superman. He even says he wanted to teach Genesis how to be "super".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: How Deadpool releases himself from Father's control.
  • Split Personality: Fantomex has three different brains, likely a hold-over from his status as Weapon XIII. It's said this is why he could act as a hero, and then murder a child. Captain Britain, who hated his guts before, even said it was a testament to his character that he was able to function at all with his different personalities. They are described by Shadow King as noble, a trouble-maker, and a vile place. In the last issue, each brain gets a separate body. One identical to the old body, another with a mostly-black suit, described as not very nice, and a final, female body, with a white suit, who claims to be "the nicest".
  • Stepford Smiler: Deadpool just wants to be loved...
  • Threatening Shark: Nightcrawler ends up murdering AOA!Blob by teleporting a shark (!) into his stomach that eats him from the insight out. It's both gruesome and hilarious.
  • Those Two Guys: Deadpool and Fantomex are definitely the odd men out in the main roster. Neither technically count as mutants, and they rarely, if ever, appear in any big X-Events. Both of them had to be hired for the team, and they interact with each other on a fairly regular basis. In the context of the Uncanny X-Force series, however, they're just as important as everyone else.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Psylocke. She goes from not being able to kill Warren, despite his death being the only way to save the world, to forcing one of her brothers to kill her other brother to save the multiverse.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Deadpool and Fantomex. Each has a very low opinion of the other until the end of Deathlok Nation, where Deadpool saves Fantomex's life at the last second. During Final Execution, Fantomex admits that Deadpool's grown on him. Later, Deadpoolavenges Fantomex by stabbing Skinless Man through the throat.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: AoA Blob, unfortunately.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Weapon Omega (Age of Apocalypse Wolverine) became the successor to Apocalypse and began oppressing baseline humans because the Celestials would've destroyed the entire planet if he hadn't.
  • Winged Humanoid: Archangel, the only member retained from the previous team (not counting team leader Wolverine).
  • Wolverine Claws:
    • Wolverine as is his usual MO.
    • Deathlok sports some lightsaber variants.

     Volume 5 / Uncanny X-Force Vol 2
The Mutant Nation's Dirty Tricks Team
With the 2012 Marvel NOW! relaunch the X-Force brand was used for two different titles. The first is Cable and X-Force, set in the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men which sees a recently revived Cable leading a team consisting of Forge, Domino, Colossus, and Doctor Nemesis on mysterious world threatening missions of great importance, driven by visions that are also slowly killing him while being hunted as fugitives. The series lasted for 19 issues (February, 2013-March, 2014).

The second Uncanny X-Force series sees Psylocke leading a new group of operatives consisting of Storm, Puck, Spiral, and a new character, Cluster/Lady Fantomex. Continuing some of the story points from the previous volume while crafting its own new stories and using other aspects of X-Men Lore. The series lasted for 17 issues (March, 2013-March, 2014).

Both of these stories came to an end with the crossover "Vendetta" and spun out into a new X-Force series in 2014, featuring Cable, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Marrow. The team has assembled in order to keep the Mutant Nation ahead of the curve in the Shadow Game of the world, despite having no borders or government. The series lasted for 15 issues (April, 2014-April, 2015).

Following Secret Wars (2015), the series has something of a Spiritual Successor in the form of Uncanny X-Men (2015).

The Fifth Series Provides Examples Of:

  • The Atoner: Psylocke is trying not to kill anymore, since it has become like an addiction to her.
  • Blood Knight: Both Fantomex and Marrow really love the action of combat.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Happens a lot with Marrow.
  • Convenient Coma: Hope somehow ended up being only "theoretically alive" between the end of Vendetta and the beginning of the new series. She's piggybacking on Meme's power and acting in her places since she's been Brain Dead ever since.
  • Covert Group: According to Cable most nations on Earth have their own super powered covert operation units, his intention for X-force is to keep mutantkind in the game against those.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Volga and his super powered goons deliver one on X-force in issue 5. First Volga completely mentaly destroys Marrow by taking away her will for revenge, then the rest of his goons quickly make short process with the rest of the team.
    • X-force later returns the favor.
  • Demonic Possession: A target tried this on Cable. It failed because the body is that of a clone and would explode in a few hours anyway.
  • Dirty Business: Cable assembles them for this reason, calling them the Mutant Nation's Dirty Tricks Team.
  • Gratuitous French: Fantomex is throwing a lot of it around, however he admits that he can't actually speak french, he just loves the accent.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: When Marrow is reminded that she lost her child while pregnant because of the process that gave her powers again, she slumps into this.
  • Klingon Promotion: Fiqh becomes the head of his department after having Cable kill his boss.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Marrow's memories are suppressed by her Power Limiter to prevent her from going berzerk.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The team's plan to steal a special cargo from a plane in issue 1, ends up with the total destruction of said plane. This also had the effect of leaving said cargo brain dead, so Hope uses her powers in place of her.
  • Send in the Clones: Cable has survived because his original body is in stasis while he makes a clone everyday with the current memories that die in a day.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Polaris refers to Cable and his team as "Metal Gear types".
    • Volga got his most important technology from the dimension Earth 1287. The official designation of Marvel for the universe of Strikeforce: Morituri.
  • Power Limiter: Marrow's headband seems to be one. It's actually a memory supressor.
  • Verbal Tic: Almost every instance of Marrow's narration in the first issue has her say "baby". Turns out this was because she lost her baby as a result of regaining her powers.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: As a result of regaining her powers, Marrow has less than a year left to live. Cable was given a similar treatment for some reason and should have less than a day. He cheats with clones.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Marrow, as it turns out, was released by Volga once he had been finished with her and sent to die in Alexandria.