Author(s): Benjamin Percy
Artist(s): Chris Allen
Colorist(s): Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Genre: Action, Drama, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Space, Superhero, Thriller, War
Published Date: 12/07/2022
Solem has incited a prison riot in Beast’s illicit gulag. Can X-Force stop him before their fearless leader is brutally executed? More importantly, do they want to stop him? Maybe it’s time for Sage to get a shaggy new rug.
Over the last few months, readers have leveled a great deal of criticism against Benjamin Percy for the methodical way he builds his plots, but this construction (firmly cemented by excellent character writing) enables him to build much higher, more believable stakes for his books.
Because we’ve had to deal with the slow, eroding drip of Sage’s burgeoning alcoholism, we are deeply invested in seeing her conquer it. Because Percy is a novelist at heart, he is able to capture the essential nature of PTSD-driven alcoholism in a manner that is far more believable and far more human, than any mainstream comics writer has managed before.
Beast’s journey into Josef Mengele territory has been almost excruciatingly slow. His ethical grip has been slipping for years, edging him ever closer to the plummet and the snap at the end of the rope, and now we are privy to an explosive revelation of exactly how far he has fallen. And it, too, is both believable and real. One picture is torture scenes from the American war in Iraq. One pictures soldiers (who surely thought themselves good) hooking car engines onto the nipples of prisoners. This is hard reading, a story that threatens to imperil the soul. It’s also, easily, some of the strongest writing currently being released by the X-Office.
A payoff of this quality and force requires adequate buildup, and both factors have been more than sufficiently delivered.
Chris Allen’s excellent line art is darker and sketchier than Robert Gill’s sure, clear lines, but the story requires a certain level of messiness. Allen was perfectly suited for the task. Carlos Lopez’s colors were dark and vicious without ever devolving into muddiness. They work together exceptionally well as a creative team.
A bomb this large requires a long, slow fuse. Expect no easy, black and white moralities here. Be prepared for pyrotechnic, nation-shaking explosions.
Bethany W Pope is an award-winning poet and novelist. She was named one of Huffington Post’s expat poets to look out for in 2016 and her work was described as ‘poetry as salvation’ in The Guardian. She is an avid fencer and a comic book enthusiast.
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