Thursday, January 16, 2020
X-amining X-Force #45
In a Nutshell
Caliban battles Sabretooth before X-Force heads out on a mission.
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inker: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras
Caliban attacks the now-docile Sabretooth, intent of gaining his revenge for the Morlock Massacre. A horrified Boomer tries to stop him, but it takes Cable to talk Caliban down, pointing out that killing Sabretooth in his current state would be dishonorable. Later, as Warpath & Caliban train together & Beast examines the recently injured Shatterstar, Cable meets with Professor X, who asks Cable to go on a mission for him. Cable proceeds to gather the team, but Beast holds back Shatterstar, and Boomer begs off, telling Cable she isn't feeling well in the hopes of spending some time with Cannonball. The rest of the team heads out for Siberia, to check on a relay station that has gone offline. They find the station destroyed and most of the crew dead, seemingly at the hands of Mimic.
Firsts and Other Notables
This issue features the return of Mimic (popping up on the final page to serve as the cliffhanger lead-in to next issue), the not-quite-a-mutant with the ability to mimic the powers of other mutants who represents the first non-original five member of the X-Men. He was last seen battling Hulk & Wolverine in a Marvel Comics Presents story, and will hang around after this re-introductory story for a bit to serve as a lackey of Onslaught.
Shatterstar is recovering from his injuries sustained in Cable #22, leading to him be treated by Beast, who casts doubt on his alien origins (which is presumably Loeb planting a seed for his later story about Shatterstar's "origins"), but does confirm his physiology is closest to that of Longshot’s (which is interesting in as much Beast, who was with the original X-Factor during Longshot's tenure with the X-Men, shouldn't be all that familiar with Longshot's physiology anyway. Presumably, he's looking at old medical records or something).
Cable says he knows something about the original design of the Danger Room; I believe a later flashback story will establish that he contributed to the design of the room somehow, though for now, this is just one of those cage Cable teases that occasionally gets thrown out.
A Work in Progress
Caliban, now living under the same roof as the man who helped slaughter the Morlocks and personally fought Caliban in X-Factor & New Mutants, attacks the now-docile Sabretooth.
Cable & Xavier discuss Cable’s ongoing desire to use his telepathy more.
Boomer fakes sick to get out of a mission in the hopes of getting some alone time with Cannonball, but he is busy with X-Men stuff (specifically, heading into the city for the events of Uncanny X-Men #323-324).
Loeb continues to explore the new team dynamics, before sending the post-AoA, newly mansion-fied group out on their first mission (though with Shatterstar injured, Boomer calling in "sick", and Domino nowhere to be found, it still doesn't quite represent the first mission for the full team). For the most part, the character work here is on point: Boomer's infatuation with Sabretooth is still a work-in-progress (and it'll ultimate turn out to be somewhat problematic), but her begging off a mission to make time with Cannonball is very on-point for a character who has consistently flaunted authority. And Loeb deserves credit for quickly addressing the potential conflict in having Sabretooth & Caliban living under the same roof: it suggests he's done his homework, to some extent, and their history together, while not the deepest cut of X-lore, it isn't exactly well-remembered or frequently referenced (basically, I'm a sucker for anyone referencing Simonson's X-Factor). Loeb is still finding his way on the series, with the new status quo not yet shaken out, but there's evidence here that he's not just ignoring everything that's come before.
Tomorrow, Wolverine takes a test in Wolverine #92. Next week, Generation X #7 and Excalibur #89!
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