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Thursday, November 10, 2016

X-amining X-Force #13

"Everything Hits the Fan"
August 1992

In a Nutshell
Weapon: Prime attacks X-Force

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Mark Pacella
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Edits: Bob Harras
Fan Cleaner: Tom DeFalco

Weapon: Prime attacks X-Force, taking them by surprise, but as Cable scrambles to remove his technology from the base and re-set the charges intended to fakeout Tolliver, his team manages to overcome Weapon: Prime. Meanwhile, Gideon meets with Dr. Joshua, who is conducting painful experiments on Sunspot. Back at X-Force's base, Cable puts in a call to SHIELD medivac to retrieve the injured members of Weapon: Prime, then prepares to blow up the base and go after Tolliver. Just then, the charges go off, seemingly of their own accord, with Cable & Domino getting separated from the rest of X-Force and Weapon: Prime. As the base comes down around them, Cannonball shouts for everyone to get near him. Later, in Sicily, Tolliver gloats to the real Domino over reports of an explosion in the Adirondacks, revealing that Vanessa's override trigger worked, before toasting the death of Cable.

Firsts and Other Notables
Professor, Cable's sentient computer program, "appears" in the present day for the first time (after first appearing in issue #8's flashback), as Cable has his equipment teleported out of X-Force's base.

A Work in Progress
"Wendigo" is back to being Yeti this issue.

Cable notes that X-Force isn't as good at combat in close quarters, though in the end, they wipe the floor with Weapon: Prime pretty handily.

Sunspot is now being subjected to some kind of experimentation by Gideon, who isn't overly concerned about Sunspot's survival.

Cable repeats the crystal ball spoken by both him and Stryfe in earlier issues.

501 Genes
The opening salvo between Weapon: Prime & X-Force is depicted via a pair of double-page splashes, with each team on either side.

In this panel, Rictor has aged forty years for some reason.

After Cable has his stuff teleported out of the base, Boom-Boom comments on its disappearance, which is good, because there's nothing in the art to really indicate it.

To the EXTREME! 
Feral seemingly eviscerates Yeti, though it's not clear if she killed him or not.

Austin's Analysis
The fight nobody asked for, X-Force vs. Weapon: Prime, drawn by Mark Pacella, the artist nobody asked for. It takes all of about five minutes to read this issue, thanks in part to a pair of double-page splashes presumably trying to mimic the effect of a foldout (it doesn't really work). Thankfully, while tying off dangling plots leftover from Liefeld, Nicieza is putting pieces into play for his own take on the series, a lot of which begins here, with the team being forcibly separated from Cable at the end (which happens this issue but becomes clearer in the next). Rictor is already back in the fold (and his past relationship with Cannoball & Boom-Boom referenced here), and Sunspot is being moved into position for his return as well. And in and amongst all the fighting, Nicieza also returns to the ongoing question, between  Cannonball & Boom-Boom, off how far they're willing to follow Cable and what kind of team X-Force is, all of which will continue to factor into the immediate post-Liefeld makeup of the series, to its benefit.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, X-Factor vs. Cyber in X-Factor #81.. Next week, X-Men #11 and Excalibur #53.

Collected Editions


  1. If Bridge is a SHIELD agent, why is he dressed like Space Ranger?

    // Cable notes that X-Force isn't as good at combat in close quarters //

    You wouldn’t be either if your creator always drew you in cavernous rooms with objects constantly shifting relative spatial positions and perspectives…

    // Sunspot is now being subjected to some kind of experimentation by Gideon //

    I have zero recollection of when or how Gideon abandoned his ruse of friendship/mentorship and instead made Roberto his captive.

    1. I've never understood G.W. Bridge's outfit. Years later, around the time of "Onslaught", he was put in a proper SHIELD jumpsuit and he looked pretty good in it.

    2. The cynic in me wants to blame the merchandice royalties as the reason.

  2. "If Bridge is a SHIELD agent, why is he dressed like Space Ranger?"

    This was the era when even the ancient, mystical, secret ninja clan The Hand dressed like techno ravers. (see X-Men 4-7.)

  3. "...thanks in part to a pair of double-page splashes presumably trying to mimic the effect of a foldout (it doesn't really work)."

    Jim Steranko did this in a SHIELD story in the sixties, complete with an editorial note telling readers to buy two copies of the issue so they could lay them side-by-side for the full effect. Of course it worked there because it was Steranko, not Mark Pacella, drawing it. (Though I still think, for the most part, that Pacella's faces look more like human beings than Rob Liefeld's faces.)

    1. The lack of 72 teeth has such a humanizing effect.

  4. I'm reading through my X-Force omnibus and was dreading the Mark Pacella issues (more than the typical Liefeld ones) but now that it's over... I think I actually prefer Pacella's art over Rob's. As Mark's 3-4 issue run went on, he got further away from just trying to mimic Liefeld and ended up having some pretty nice panels here and there. For example, the opening double-splash pages of K/Crule in the prior issue to this one. I'd still place him with Jim Fern as artists I prefer not to have in my books, but Pacella isn't as bad as I remember.

    I was dumbfounded when X-Force wiped the floor with Weapon:Prime... thought it would be the opposite. Also chuckled a bit when the fight began and Cable immediately ran off to "take care of some things" -- how many times does Cable abandon his team right as battles begin?! I believe 2-3 times in this short X-Force run so far.


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