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Wednesday, January 31, 2024

X-amining X-Force #65

"Lower East Side Story"
April 1997

In a Nutshell
Adam Pollina returns as Warpath & Risque are attacked by Blob & Mimic!

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inker: Mark Morales
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Separations: Team Bucce
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Risque visits Warpath at the X-Mansion, before the pair head into New York City, much to Siryn's dismay. As Warpath probes an evasive Risque for more information about her past, they arrive at a club in the East Village owned by a friend of Risque's. Inside, Warpath tries to get more info about Risque from her various acquaintances. Back at the X-Mansion, Siryn & Shatterstar practice in the Danger Room before being distracted by the sound of piano music. They follow it to find Caliban mysteriously playing like a virtuoso; as the rest of the team gathers around him, he suddenly has a seizure and collapses. Back at the club, Risque worries that she's getting too close to Warpath, just as she's approached by her mysterious boss, who tells her two others have arrived to finish the job she started. Just then, Blob and Mimic attack the club, trying to capture Warpath. He and Risque manage to fight off Blob & Mimir, but Warpath is angry about her obvious connection to them. She takes him to an apartment nearby. After Warpath assures her he'll stick by her as long as she's honest with him, she offers him a drink laced with a tranquillizer that knocks him out, thereby completing her mission. 

Firsts and Other Notables
After taking some time off to work on the Rise of Apocalypse mini, Adam Pollina returns as the book's regular artist this issue. Barring a few fill-ins, he'll stick with the series through issue #81. 

After flirting around the edges of the series for a bit, Risque is in the spotlight this issue, as Warpath probes her for more info on her background and more hints about her agenda are made. Amongst other things, we also learn her real name is Gloria Munoz. 


Blob and Mimic, last seen working with Risque in X-Force #60, return this issue, also working in their own ways to capture Warpath. 



In
X-Force #65's one subplot cutaway, the rest of X-Force is stunned to discover Caliban displaying prodigious piano skills shortly before experiencing a seizure; this is the beginning of a plotline that will culminate in his exit from the team in about six months. 


A Work in Progress
It's noted that their unique physiologies help protect mutants from the cold. 


Risque's mutant power to trigger implosions is said to not work on organic material (similar to how Gambit can't charge up organic matter).  

Human/Mutant Relations
In more  more "anti-mutant sentiment rising" material, bystanders talk about calling Operation: Zero Tolerance and blame mutants for the death of Graydon Creed in the aftermath of Blob and Mimic's attack on the nightclub. 


Austin's Analysis
After simmering along being cryptic for a few issues, Risque steps into the spotlight in X-Force #65. Warpath, channeling the readers, is growing impatient with knowing so little about the woman with whom he's become infatuated (in this, Warpath differs from readers — or, at least, from me — in terms of the infatuation). So he finally starts pressing her for answers about her whole deal, and in a pleasant change, Risque gives him some answers. Except, none of them are real answers — certainly not satisfying ones. Every answer elicits more questions, leaving Warpath — and us — wanting more. This, then, adds an additional layer of metatextuality to the story, as John Francis Moore (intentionally or not) is basically making Risque representative of the kind of writing that dominated superhero comics in this era: setup a bunch of mysteries to string readers along and occasionally give them answers, but not direct answers, answer that always prompts more questions, to keep them reading without ever really revealing anything of substance, until the last possible minute. 

Is that enough to make Risque interesting? Not really. At least not here, where the real interesting thing is the return of Adam Pollina. Picking up where he left off with his mildly distorted figures with evocative body language and facial expressions, Pollina brings a ton of energy back to the book after a series of fair but unexciting fill-in artists. His Blob, in particular, is a marvel to behold, even moreso than in his earlier Pollina-drawn appearance, a slovenly pile of grinning fat that always seems eminently pleased with himself. He's a character Pollina seems born to draw, and he's easily the most memorable thing about the issue.  

Next Issue
The Dragons of the Crimson Dawn target Captain Britain in Excalibur #108!

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3 comments:

  1. "the kind of writing that dominated superhero comics in this era: setup a bunch of mysteries to string readers along and occasionally give them answers, but not direct answers, answer that always prompts more questions, to keep them reading without ever really revealing anything of substance, until the last possible minute."

    So...basically Lost but it's a comic book.

    "Is that enough to make Risque interesting?"

    Remember how Loeb dropped a few hints about her possibly being another refuge from the future? I'm not sure if that would have helped the character be more interesting...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I dont keep up with comics anymore, but did Warpath and Siryn ever become romantically involved?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that plotline fizzled fairly quickly and hasn't been touched since.

      Delete

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