Now that the big story of the first year of this book is over, Dennis Hopeless can move forward, and deliver some lighter, more self-contained stories. This issue features X-Force split into two groups on two missions that are a lot of fun, and it’s all tied together by an interesting story involving the team-member who’s probably had the least to do so far, Forge.
Cable and Hope are in the Australian Outback, to take down a bunch of Reavers before they can arm a bomb, and these aren’t the Reavers you remember, they are drunken losers. At the same time, Colossus and Domino are in snowy Colorado, to stop a break-in at a Trask facility that would unleash a Sentinel. These two gigs are seemingly very easy. Hope can just walk straight past the idiotic Reavers, and Domino and Colossus have time to fuck each other before they dot he mission. I must admit, I am enjoying the relationship between these two characters, so much of Colossus’ romantic history in comics has been so fraught and emo, so it’s fun to see him just hook up with someone and have fun.
Of course, things don’t turn out simply for our heroes, as something’s wrong with Forge, and it’s not just the constant arguments with Doctor Nemesis. He’s got a splitting headache, and, as Nemesis and Boom-Boom explore his brain, it turns out there’s some kind of weird Native American spirit inside his head, and it bursts out, leaving him a twitching mess on the floor. This means that he’s not able to use his ‘hacking skillz’ to deactivate the bomb and the Sentinel, and everything goes to shit for the team. I thought this was a clever ending, throughout this run, both the characters and readers have kind of taken it for granted that Forge was in the back, helping out, so what happens when he’s out of it? And what’s the deal with the Ghost Chief? It’s the Adversary right? How are Nemesis and Boom-Boom supposed to fight that?
Gerardo Sandoval once again steps in to provide the art for this issue, and whilst I do still think his style is a bit too cartoonish for this book, this issue was lighter than his previous ones, so it fit better, and there was one page where he delivered something that always steals my heart… a cut-out of a secret superhero base. I love that shit.