Benjamin Percy and Stephen Segovia transpose cloak and dagger American interventionism to gain a sphere of influence in Latin American countries to the key of mutantdom and Warren Ellis-style high concept-meets-absolutely bonkers. plotting in X-Force #6. The issue starts in a beautiful way with Beast conducting his “symphony” of X-Force operatives with Segovia’s very direct artwork working in tandem with Percy’s descriptive prose for each member’s role on the team. (Wolverine is percussion, and Percy takes a page out of early Claremont X-Men and uses him for action and gruffness instead of the star of the show.)
Beast is the POV character throughout X-Force #6, and what follows is a peek behind the curtain of the mutant CIA. Hank McCoy is his more recently characterized master manipulator self (No timelines were harmed in the making of this issue.) rather than the affable, occasionally flirty fuzzball that was tailor made to be played Kelsey Grammer. Throughout the issue, he doesn’t doubt or waver once immediately giving kill orders for the “telefloronic” organisms created by the country of Terra Verde that could rival Krakoa, its products, and taking away the current mutant leverage on the world. There’s only room for one plant-based tech producing country, and Percy and Segovia craft immediate uncertainty when Black Tom Cassidy, who can manipulate the plant matter of Krakoa, is assaulted by similar plant manner.
And what made X-Force such an interesting read other than its continued use of the body horror aesthetic (Segovia has a much smoother art style than Joshua Cassara though.) is that Beast is sugarcoated to become some kind of heroic or anti-heroic figure. He’s just a powerful mutant, who uses his intellect and occasionally, brute strength and athletic ability to protect Krakoa’s interest. He’s a wetwork operation or a secret war wrapped up in blue fur and glasses.
Beast is as skilled with words and metaphors as he is with positioning operatives and mutant abilities as he compares the telefloronic organisms to Omega sentinels to assuage Jean Grey’s ethical dilemma. There’s a great contrast between the innocence of the classic “Marvel Girl” costume and the dark implications of her action as Stephen Segovia draws her in intense profile with some shading. Also, it’s cathartic when she gets to give Beast a piece of her mind. She’s the most traditionally heroic of the X-Force team, but the dark palette used by Guru e-FX undercuts every “good thing” she seems to do. For example, when she rescues Terra Verde’s president Cocom from the telefloronic organisms, Stephen Segovia and Guru e-FX frame her as an angel of death, not a helping hand.
Since the establishment of Krakoa in House of X/Powers of X, Jonathan Hickman and his fellow X-scribes have couched what would be usual superhero team action into the visual and verbal language of warfare. Marauders is naval conflict, Excalibur is a wild and woolly border dispute with a side of a state-sanctioned puppet ruler, New Mutants is a diplomatic mission gone wrong, X-Men is literally a summit, and X-Force, as I’ve mentioned earlier and keeping with its black ops team roots, is off the books warfare. Throughout the issue, Beast makes sure there are no witnesses to his and his team’s actions so Krakoa keeps its leverage on human nations via the pharmaceutical market and is positioned as the victim, not aggressor. (See the amazing text piece on how he set up Professor X as a martyr figure.)
Benjamin Percy’s choice to filter the story through Beast’s POV and showing behind the hood of his orchestration of the “mutant CIA” gives X-Force #6 incredible narrative focus to go with Stephen Segovia and Guru e-FX’s precise, powerful visuals. It’s a memorable addition to the Dawn of X books’ ongoing saga of a presumably utopian society uses decidedly non-utopian methods to maintain it with X-Force definitely getting to explore the non-utopian part in a creative way with a fantastic ensemble cast.
Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Stephen Segovia
Colors: Guru e-FX Letters: Joe Caramagna
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review