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Comic Book / X-Force (2019)

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"There is us, and there is them."
The Man with the Peacock Tattoo, X-Force #1

X-Force is a 2019 comic book series, and the sixth volume of the title focused on the titular team. It is part of the Dawn of X relaunch, written by Benjamin Percy (Wolverine: The Long Night) and drawn by Joshua Cassara (The Falcon).

After the foundation of the nation of Krakoa, it's quickly deemed necessary that the X-Men are going to need their own intelligence agency to keep up with any and all threats to their people. Enter X-Force, the group that will ensure that the mutant nation will continue to exist, free from foreign influence... And by any means necessary. Featuring Jean Grey, Wolverine, Domino, Black Tom, Beast, Colossus, Sage, and Quentin Quire.

The first issue was released November 6, 2019.

     Collected editions 
  • Volume 1 — Collects Issues 1-6.

X-Force provides the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: The stress of helping run X-Force starts getting to Sage, who turns to alcohol in order to cope.
  • Animal Motif: A peacock.
  • Anti-Hero Team: As usual for the X-Force, although this iteration of the team is different in that a number of traditionally-heroic X-Men (such as Marvel Girl and Colossus) are on the team as well.
  • Artificial Human: Issue two has the team of invading assassins dissected and it's discovered they're entirely constructed. According to Sage they're not superhumans yet but they have built in mechanisms such as blades made of bone in their forearms, explosive putty filling their teeth, and garroting wire instead of cartilage in their ears. Wolverine and Quentin discover they're being constructed in factory facilities, with pieces grown and grafted together.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Quentin is no stranger to boasting.
    Quentin Quire: I'm back! Which means this walking petri dish… is dead meat! [fires psychic bazooka into twenty-foot skinless giant]
    • Domino has one for the guy who stole her luck.
      Domino: I'm your snake eyes. I'm the bad luck you wish you could shake off.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Double Subverted. Domino still looks pretty though the right half of her body is covered in scar tissue.
  • Body Horror: The artificial humans grown in XENO labs have extensive features built in like garroting wire spooled in their ears and bone daggers sheathed in the forearms. We get a full view of them actually using this in Issue #7 when Domino's evil clone rips off her own ear and the dagger out of her arm.
  • The Bus Came Back: After not being seen in the present for several years, Mikhail Rasputin, older brother of Colossus and Magik, reappears at the end of issue #11.
  • Character Focus: Issue #17 focuses on Quentin Quire.
  • Cloning Blues: Inverted with Domino, who discusses whether the person who wished to keep her painful memories if resurrected was really her.
  • Conlang: Krakoan is perhaps used the most in this installment of Dawn of X. Though there seems to be a separate language, in many cases, it seems to be used primarily as code, as anything written in the Krakoan alphabet is implied to be gibberish to non-mutants.
    Sage's screen: (in Krakoan script) Classified do not share with humans
  • The Constant: Beast exploits this by hiding clone pods in famous landmarks confident they will never be compromised by future developments. To illustrate this is a panel of Stonehenge preserved under a dome in the midst of a futuristic metropolis.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Logan mentions Quentin having ten million thoughts a second, a fact which probably hasn't been mentioned since Grant Morrison's New Xmen.
    • Laura is missing from the Wolverine family gathering in issue #9, as she was sent to the Vault in X-men #5 and hasn't returned.
    • Quentin spends an entire issue on his own deaths. Possibly subverted in that many of said deaths haven't been shown.
    • Jean references the time she caught Scott with Emma on the astral plane.
  • Continuity Overlap: While X-Force is running parallel with the entire Krakoan Age, it's most closely intertwined with Percy's still-ongoing run on Wolverine (2020). Logan is the shared character, after all, and threads and plot points from one book frequently affect and/or get picked up in the other.
  • Crossover: The first issue contains the first crossover of the Dawn of X books, as Kitty Pryde's team of Marauders arrives with mutant refugees from Russia.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than probably all of the other Dawn of X books. The first issue has a team of assassins killing a number of mutants on Krakoa including Professor X.
  • Dying as Yourself: Inverted, as Domino will only come back if she gets to be herself, with unedited memories. Except... she comes back without them, assuming that must have been what she wanted when she died. Something's not right here...
  • Empty Shell: Issue 28 reveals that Kid Omega has asked the Five to create "husks", vacant bodies of several mutants, for him to puppet with this telepathy and telekinesis. Everyone who knows about it is rightfully disturbed.
  • Enemies Equals Greatness: A reversed example, but still prominent. When X-Force has to deal with a team of mercenaries, the one that they capture points out the fact that mutants are now a top-tier nation or as he puts it, the 1%. This means that they will end up attracting enemies and opposition regardless of anti-mutant bigotry.
  • Evil Twin: Issue #7 has heavy foreshadowing leading up to a reveal of a clone of Domino, with inverted colors, who is assassinating high profile human advocates for mutant rights.
  • Exact Words: When Quire begs him not to harm his Italian wool-and-silk jacket to stop him complaining about the tropical heat, Wolverine obliges, and merely cuts Quire's shirt and (tailored) trousers to relieve him of said heat.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The matryoshka assassins eventually get small enough to infiltrate Hank's body, and since he doesn't want to enact resurrection protocols, he opts for Black Tom to send in an equally small plant copy to eliminate it directly.
  • Four-Leaf Clover: Domino notes at one point that naturally she finds them all the time, and in fact they have a greater chance of occurring in her presence. This leads to a "Eureka!" Moment to find the mobile lab creating her clones by searching for a train whose tracks have four leaf clovers growing alongside it.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Residents of Terra Verde pepper their dialogue with Spanish. It is uncertain if it's meant to imply that they speak English to each other when their English is not in brackets.
  • Human Resources: XENO used the samples they flayed off of Domino to enhance the artificial assassins they grow in their flesh factories. At first they used skin grafts to bypass Krakoan security, then they advance to a color inverted clone.
  • Human Sacrifice: Issue 9 details the cultural history of Terra Verde. They have many legends of ritualistic human sacrifice in part or in whole to what is described as a rather horrifying looking deity in exchange for fertility of the Earth. Hank compares this directly to Krakoa's need to consume the equivalent of at least two mutants a year to maintain its health by taking a little from each inhabitant (something mitigated by the sheer abundance of mutants on the island).
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Beast's entire view on his job. The result is that nobody on the team likes him anymore.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Justified. According to his resurrection requests, Quentin has naturally pink hair. He once got them to tweak his genetic make-up to make it rose gold, but immediately wanted it back to pink.
  • Ironic Echo: A journalist unwittingly asks Storm's question to the newly resurrected of Xavier.
  • Irony: Colossus tells Domino he's seen enough blood, right before they break into a railroad car filled with blood.
  • It's Raining Men: The first issue has four assassins (called "the Reavers" in the script) parachuting into Krakoa from a hijacked plane.
  • Kick the Dog: Poor Rufus. Though Domino re-rescued him after capturing his original rescuer, he is implied to have been eaten by a seamonster.
  • Last of Its Kind: Meta example as of early 2023 and the mid-Destiny of X era. Not only is X-Force currently the last of the inaugural six Dawn of X launches still being published (and without reverting to a volume relaunch like X-Men and Marauders), but Percy is also the last of the original Dawn of X creators still on their original book (in contrast to Tini Howard, who's Excalibur/Betsy Braddock narrative's continued through various sequel mini-series.).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The thing about Colossus being written by an author who makes him do things and say things that drive the plot forwards.
  • Lensman Arms Race: The subtext of the series is fringe human groups directly warring with Krakoa in technological advancement. The first five issues introduced a clandestine group engineering living weapons to assassinate Xavier and later stealing the technologies Krakoa is developing. Issue six has terrorist action in a small country to prevent a treaty signing because they were on the verge of developing organic technology for themselves and don't want the economic opportunity lost to Krakoa.
  • Literal-Minded: Apocalypse has a tendency to answer sarcasms like they were real requests for information.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Jean feels that not having to worry about her own continued survival frees her to concentrate on others.
  • Manchurian Agent: X-Force #24 reveals Pitor has unknowingly been one for XENO and the Russians for at least a good chunk of the run.
  • Matryoshka Object: Some of the engineered assassins sent by XENO are engineered to have ever tinier assassins nested within, which makes defeating them a problem as each corpse is essentially a Trojan horse. It's to the point of eventually spawning one small enough to freely travel through someone's bloodstream, destroying them from within.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The country that is covered in rainforest and focuses its scientific efforts on programming plants is named Terra Verde, "green earth".
    • Cocom was the name of a Maya dynasty.
  • Me's a Crowd:
    • In the moving genetics lab, Domino runs into a small army of clones of herself.
    • Discussed by Quentin, who thinks Krakoa would be a better place if more resurrectees had his brain plugged into them.
  • Mind Control: In issue 24, it’s revealed that Peter has been under the influence of the Chronicler, potentially for some time, just as he makes poor Colossus snap his lover’s neck.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Domino came back without her traumatic memories, nor remembering her dying request to Peter.
    • Jean discusses this when teaching Quentin and Phoebe.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Beast tried to secure Krakoa's future by hacking Terra Verde's telefloronics to kill their prince, but he also ended up making them dominant and in control of people's bodies, which at the least nearly resulted in a genocide of the whole country.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: As far as Wolverine is concerned, humans and mutants aren't "better" or "worse" than each other, they're both equally capable of the very best and the very worst. He believes Xavier knows this which is why he believes in coexistence.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Downplayed with Quentin's reveal that he does not in fact need glasses, he just thinks he looks good in them. His resurrection requests mention that he used to need them, but had his eyesight genetically tweaked to 20/20.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: This is Quentin's reaction after being impaled with the Cerebro sword by one of the Russian bio-soldiers.
  • Organic Technology: Forge is able to run wild with Krakoa's biological functions and create gear and weaponry from it, which he shows to the nascent field team in issue 4. The cover of issue five displays some of the arsenal he developed.
    • Issue six shows a small country developing its own based on botany called Telefloronics. It goes out of their control and possesses the scientists developing it, turning them into plant monsters.
  • Pet the Dog: The merc they capture claims to have a rescue dog waiting for him to come home.
  • Plausible Deniability: Issue #39 has the Quiet Council decide to let Beast do his own thing after he defects, as he will go against Krakoa's enemies in ways that Krakoa itself can't without causing a political incident.
  • Portal Cut: Issue #4 ends with thieves blowing up a Krakoan gate just as Logan and Quentin are using it. This beheads Quentin and bisects Logan at the waist.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Gradually becoming a recurring problem with Beast, who keeps making decisions unilaterally without consulting anyone else, leaving them to confront him when they find out after it blows up in their faces.
  • Power Incontinence: Black Tom Cassidy uses his powers to meld with Krakoa's environment for surveillance but finds himself transported to different places in his sleep. He once woke up in the bay.
  • Prestige Peril: The series opens with a successful assassination attempt on Xavier in retaliation for establishing the mutant nation. Magneto reforms the shattered remains of the Cerebro helmet into a sword that he gives to Xavier upon resurrection, who keeps it in understanding of having his own Sword of Damocles now.
    • As the mercenary explains to them in issue #5, Krakoa isn't being targeted now just because they're mutants but because they also have something valuable worth stealing.
  • Pun-Based Title: Issue seven is titled "Domino is falling".
  • Realpolitik: What the series is functionally about. You can't just have a new global superpower appear overnight without having to get your hands dirty to ensure that it can continue existing as a state.
    • Also subverted, as mutants now belong to the "1%" and as the mercenaries puts it, would make them targeted by thieves. Double subverted as it turns out Xeno was behind that, too.
  • Reality Warper: In addition to controlling the mind of the individual he writes about, the Chronicler is also capable of warping the environment and minds of other characters in the individual’s vicinity to suit their “narrative”.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After being dissected and treated like a piece of meat (again), Domino is pissed after being rescued and jumps at the first mission that comes up. She slaughters the mercenaries in retribution for her treatment, and has to be talked down by Beast from finishing them all off because they still need someone alive to interrogate for information.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Old Man Omega sometimes forgets things or falls asleep in the middle of a conversation.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Wolverine is so fed up after the Quiet Council decide to let Beast’s schemes slide, he bails from the team and Krakoa as a whole.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Xavier had one.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Beast quotes Napoleon.
    • After the cat's out of the bag regarding resurrection, there are human protestors angry that they're not bringing back Elvis Presley and J. R. R. Tolkien (presumably so he can finish his works).
  • Slasher Smile: Wolverine. Standing on his fallen enemy. His legs cut off above the hip.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Old Man Omega dragging Colossus into the future had the side effect of freeing him from the Chronicler's control. Unfortunately, once they get back, he's back under Chronicler's control before he has a chance to reveal this to anyone.
    • Orchis attacking during the third Hellfire Gala ended up ruining Mikhail's own plan to attack the Gala, leading to the Chronicler deciding to have Colossus bring the majority of X-Force to Mikhail's forces instead of helping Mikhail's invasion force.
  • Spin the Bottle: A drinking game even Gabrielle can participate in. Whoever it stops on has to stab him/herself in the head.
  • Story Arc: Two long-running plotlines are: the mystery behind the anti-mutant faction XENO and the "Man with the Peacock Tattoo", and Colossus's status as a hidden asset to his older brother Mikhail Rasputin and the Russian agents.
  • Take That!: Irish Black Tom claims that he always felt Beast was too English to connect with.
  • Tasty Tears: Phoebe from the Stepford Cuckoos playfully tastes one of tears of Quentin Quire after putting him through a mental therapy session to hash out his issues.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Taking full advantage of the revival capabilities of the mutants in Krakoa, all but two have been killed at least once during the run. Quentin Quire has been killed the most, and it really annoys him.
  • Third-Person Person: Black Tom affects this.
  • War Refugees: The first issue has Krakoa taking on a bunch of mutant refugees from Russia, as seen in Marauders. A lot of them are suffering, especially because it appears Russia was using chemical weapons on them.
  • Wham Episode: Prior to release, the first issue was said to have an event that will reverberate across the other Dawn of X titles. This turned out to be the assassination of Professor X, and the destruction of Cerebro.
    • In issue 24, it’s revealed that Peter has been under the influence of the Chronicler, potentially for some time, just as he makes poor Colossus snap his lover’s neck.
    • Issue 37: XENO has been operating out of Genosha, and the Man with the Peacock Tattoo is the son/clone of the Genegineer
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At the conclusion of the Terra Verde arc Jean calls out Hank on keeping secrets within X-Force, as they nearly ruined a whole country and made a threat to Krakoa.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Black Tom gets a massive boost to his powers when he discovers his ability to symbiotically manipulate Krakoa. He can monitor and manipulate every part of it down to grains of pollen and is thus employed as Krakoa's chief of security. However that amount of awareness and information streaming through his brain has a detrimental effect on his sanity, making him paranoid of his connection to the island under the belief his identity is being consumed by it.
  • You Did the Right Thing: Jean finds it condescending when Beast tells her this.