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Preview: X-Force #22

X-Force #22

(W) Ben Percy (A) Robert Gill (CA) Joshua Cassara
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Aug 11, 2021
SRP: $3.99

FATAL FLORA!
The material makeup of MAN-SLAUGHTER has been used to infect and control an army of unwilling agents! Can X-FORCE get to the root of the problem before DR. BLOODROOT kills again?

X-Force #22

Underrated: X-Cutioner’s Song

The cover of the trade I don’t own.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the multi-part crossover event X-Cutioner’s Song.


The first chapter of X-Cutioner’s Song was published in November 1992 in Uncanny X-Men #294, with subsequent eleven parts coming in issues of X-Factor, X-Men, X-Force and Uncanny X-Men. With the series being billed as revealing the origin of Cable (it didn’t – that came in 1994), there was significant hype and buzz around the comics when they were hitting the shelves nearly thirty years ago, but because I wasn’t into comics at the time, I never heard any of it.

Instead, I noticed a cover when restocking the boxes at my LCS and decided to pick up the arc after the shop owner gave it a quick recommendation. Fortunately, we had a full set (or seven) in stock, so I grabbed the individual issues rather than hunting down a collected edition (partly because I am also building an X-Men and Uncanny X-Men collection, but also because I wanted to read it as it was originally presented in comic form. Complete with the polybags still sealed for some off the comics (I won’t lie, I was tempted to leave them sealed, but at only a couple bucks a comic it didn’t seem worth it.

Plus, I wanted the feeling of cracking those bags and getting to be the first person reading these comics.

I forget sometimes how much dialogue and text there used to be on pages in comics.

Without question, comics from this era were technically published before I started buying single issues, but that doesn’t mean that these issues didn’t kickstart a sense of nostalgia for the old UK reprint magazines that I first came across this arc in. The first issue felt oddly familiar, but beyond that…? It was pure 90’s joy.

After all, 90’s comics aren’t bad. There’s just a huge number of them in longboxes across the country because so many were printed. That just makes them worth less than the comics from the 70’s and 80’s, but it doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading.

“If mankind waited for the ‘right time’ to address the winds of change it’s unlikely we’d ever have crawled from the primordial ooze.”

Scott Lobdell, Uncanny X-Men #294

I don’t know if I had forgotten about the amount of times characters within X-Men comics in the 90’s spouted pearls of wisdom, but I was less than halfway through this first part of X-Cutioners Song and I already had enough one liners to make me sound like I a semi professional couch philosopher thanks entirely to the less than subtle messaging. Messaging that seems just as relevant today as it ever did (and I’m sure we’d all hoped that would be different).

The main plot of X-Cutioner’s Song isn’t fully revealed in the first issue, but there is more than enough information here to reel you in hook line and sinker. The crossover cost me less than $20 to put together, and it was worth every penny to do so – not only because of the nostalgia factor, but primarily because this is a damn good story that holds up today (even the funky fashion choices for the street clothes the X-Men wear don’t detract too much).

With any story crossing over four series, the creative team is, as expected, pretty hefty. There are names that at the time were relatively new faces to the X-Men, but now… well now we consider them as creators who have made significant contributions to the comicsphere, frequently drawing large crowds at conventions;

  • Writers: Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza and Peter David.
  • Pencillers: Brandon Peterson, Andy Kubert, Jae Lee and Greg Capullo
  • Inkers: Terry Austin, Mark Pennington, Al Milgrom and Harry Candelario
  • Colorists: Mike Thomas, Marie Javins, Glynis Oliver, Joe Rosas and Steve Buccellato.

But despite the big names, the characters and import associated with the story, it’s an arc that can easily get overlooked when when you’re looking in the longboxes because the story came in the early 90’s, before the big bust in the comics market. Despite having heard a little about it over the years, largely through comments in UK reprints, I had never actually read the book before. Something I was more than happy to do with a story that is far more Underrated than I ever expected.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Joe Jusko’s Marvel Masterpieces Grace New Marvel Covers

Acclaimed artist Joe Jusko’s iconic Marvel Masterpieces trading card illustrations are cemented into the hearts of every Marvel fan who grew up in the 90s, and now readers can treasure them all over again in a brand-new collection of variant covers!

Jusko’s beautiful depictions of your favorite Marvel characters will grace the covers of your favorite titles throughout the month of October. Masterfully capturing the power of the Avengers, the horror of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, and the allure of the X-Men, Jusko’s painted artwork has mesmerized fans for decades and ushered in the trading card boom of the 90s. Now, the Marvel Masterpieces Variant Cover series will give fans a chance to own a piece of Marvel Comics history in an exciting new way!

Check out all 23 of Joe Jusko’s Marvel Masterpieces covers now, and collect them all beginning on October 6th!

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #75 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL #33 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • EXCALIBUR #24 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • HELLIONS #16 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #76 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • AVENGERS #49 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • IMMORTAL HULK #50 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • IRON MAN #13 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • X-FORCE #24 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • X-MEN #4 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #2 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #37 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • S.W.O.R.D. #9 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • THOR #18 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • WOLVERINE #17 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • X-MEN: THE TRIAL OF MAGNETO #3MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #77 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • BLACK WIDOW #12 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • DAREDEVIL #35 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • INFERNO #2 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO
  • MARAUDERS #25 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER A by JOE JUSKO
  • MARAUDERS #25 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER B by JOE JUSKO
  • BLACK PANTHER #3 MARVEL MASTERPIECES VARIANT COVER by JOE JUSKO

Rob Liefeld Celebrates 30 Years of X-Force

On this day 30 years ago, X-Force #1 debuted and took the comic book industry by storm! Created by Rob Liefeld, X-Force #1 was a blockbuster success, selling over 5 million copies to become one of the best-selling single issues in Marvel history. Commemorating the anniversary of this groundbreaking issue, Rob Liefeld will return to the X-Force saga this November with a new chapter in X-Force: Killshot!

The special one-shot will feature an explosive adventure starring Cable and his mighty militant mutant squad, taking readers back to the beloved 90s heyday of the X-Men franchise. Cable and his counterparts will assemble five separate X-Force squadrons – from various points in time – to converge on Asteroid S for an all-out assault to defeat Stryfe once and for all.

Return to one of the most iconic runs in the X-Men mythos this November in X-Force: Killshot!

Preview: X-Force #20

X-Force #20

(W) Ben Percy (A/CA) Joshua Cassara
32 PGS./Parental Advisory
In Shops: Jun 02, 2021
SRP: $3.99

INVITE-ONLY TO THE HELLFIRE GALA!
It’s party time, but somebody’s got to work it. And when invited guests (and a few crashers) prove to be planted antagonistic agents, X-FORCE will need to get their hands dirty and keep this all under wraps…before anyone catches wind!

X-Force #20

Early Preview: X-Force #20

X-Force #20

(W) Ben Percy (A/CA) Joshua Cassara (VCA) Joshua Cassara, Russell Dauterman
32 PGS./Parental Advisory
In Shops: Jun 02, 2021
SRP: $3.99

INVITE-ONLY TO THE HELLFIRE GALA!
It’s party time, but somebody’s got to work it. And when invited guests (and a few crashers) prove to be planted antagonistic agents, X-FORCE will need to get their hands dirty and keep this all under wraps…before anyone catches wind!

X-Force #20

Early Preview: X-Force #20

X-Force #20

(W) Ben Percy (A/CA) Joshua Cassara (VCA) Joshua Cassara, Russell Dauterman
32 PGS./Parental Advisory
In Shops: Jun 02, 2021
SRP: $3.99

INVITE-ONLY TO THE HELLFIRE GALA!
It’s party time, but somebody’s got to work it. And when invited guests (and a few crashers) prove to be planted antagonistic agents, X-FORCE will need to get their hands dirty and keep this all under wraps…before anyone catches wind!

X-Force #20

Find Avengers, Blade, X-Force, and More New Comics on comiXology

There are five new comics available now on comiXology. There’s four comics from Marvel and one from Harlequin. You can get shopping now or check out the individual issues below.

Avengers: Once An Invader

Written by Chuck Austen, Allan Jacobsen
Art by Scott Kolins, C.P. Smith
Cover by Scott Kolins
Purchase

Collects Avengers (1998) #82-84, New Invaders (2004) #0, Avengers (1963) #71, Invaders Annual (1977) #1.

Who is the mysterious figure that claims to be Captain America, and what mission is he recruiting the super-soldiers of past wars to accomplish? As the new Invaders hit the battlefield, Namor the Sub-Mariner marshals his forces against a crucial island nation! But whose side will the Avengers come down on?

Avengers: Once An Invader

Blade: Black & White

Written by Chris Claremont, Marv Wolfman
Art by Gene Colan, Tony DeZuniga
Cover by Gene Colan
Purchase

Collects Vampire Tales #8-9, Marvel Preview #3, 6, Blade: Crescent City Blues #1, Marvel Shadows And Light #1.

A war is raging, and he has a job to do; for Blade the Vampire Hunter, there are no shades of gray! Now, for the first time ever, the House of Ideas reprints the best of Blade in bold black and white from its legendary ’70s-era horror magazines – including VAMPIRE TALES and MARVEL PREVIEW!

Blade: Black & White

Identity Disc

Written by Robert Rodi
Art by John Higgins
Cover by Tony Harris
Purchase

Collects Identity Disc #1-5.

Six of Marvel’s most violent and cunning villains – Sabretooth, Bullseye, the Juggernaut, Deadpool, Sandman and the Vulture – are forced to work together by a mysterious agent who somehow knows every dark and dirty secret in their violent lives. Their mission: to retrieve the nearly priceless Identity Disc – purported to contain the true identities, the home addresses and even the credit reports of every hero in the Marvel Universe!

Identity Disc

Rider On Fire

Written by Sharon Sala
Art by Matsuri Akino
Purchase

Sonora is a DEA agent. While on a mission, she shoots a mafia boss. They’re now out for her life after what she’s done. In order to escape her pursuant, Sonora continues on her journey and ends up arriving at a small village. It is there that a man named Adam Two Eagles is waiting for her. It should be their first time ever meeting, but Sonora recognizes his eyes… He was the mysterious man who would appear in Sonora’s dreams every single night! Sonora and Adam are guided by a mysterious power as their fates become intertwined and begin to move as one!

Rider On Fire

X-Force: Famous, Mutant And Mortal

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Mike Allred
Cover by Mike Allred
Purchase

Collects X-Force (1991) #116-129.

What happens when mutants become celebrities? Peter Milligan and Mike Allred offer this insightful, irreverent and wickedly entertaining deconstruction of the human/mutant dynamic – spiced with sex, drugs and death!

X-Force: Famous, Mutant And Mortal

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