Throughout this book’s run, the one thing Cable and his team could depend on was that Forge was in the back, helping them out and saving their bacon, and even after that, he was underappreciated. However, in this issue, we see what happens when Forge is out of commission, and just how much X-Force need him. Because of the Adversary taking over Forge’s mind, he was not able to help, and now Colossus and Domino are being attacked by a Sentinel and Cable and Hope have been hit by a nuke. Luckily, they are able to survive, but it was great to see X-Force out of their comfort zone, and to see Hopeless balancing 3 plots very well.
In terms of Domino and Colossus, they are actually able to take out the Sentinel fairly easily, as Colossus uses a ‘Plasma Torch’ to create a sword and lop it’s head off. However, the impact of the Sentinel falling on the snow creates an Avalanche, headed straight towards civilisation. That’s one of the best things about this title, one thing always leads to the next, and the actions of the team always have unforeseen consequences.
We see that here with Cable, as we learn that, because of the events at the end of the last big story, Cable has lost his telekinetic powers, but Hope seems to have absorbed them, if not permanently, then for longer than normal. It was Hope, and not Cable, who protected them from the bomb blast, and it’s Hope who takes out the Reavers. But then, the actual leaders of the Reavers return, and they don’t just fight Cable and Hope, they combine all of the other Reavers that were knocked out, into some kind of giant monster with a robot mouth. It’s pretty great.
Of course, the main story here is back at the base, with Forge, as Boom Boom and Dr Nemesis try and save his mind. I loved the visual of the nightclub in Forge’s mind that the Adversary had created, and how it was populated by loads of versions of Storm that the Adversary was flirting with, super-creepy. Dr Nemesis finds Forge inside his mind, and after some of their usual entertaining back and forth, Forge helpfully fills him (and me) in on who the Adversary is, and how important it is that they stop him. The issue ends with the revelation that, the mind Forge and Nemesis are in isn’t Forge’s anymore, it’s the Adversary’s. That last page would seem to indicate that the Reaver-Mouth-Monster was The Adversary, but I don’t think that’s right, they do look similar however.
I think that’s my main issue with this book at the moment, that Gerardo Sandoval’s cartoonish art doesn’t fit the tone of Hopeless’ story, Larroca was a much better fit. However, the story, characters and dialogue make up for it somewhat. With the news that the two X-Force books are set to merge in the New Year, I’m interested to see just how Hopeless will wrap things up. Certainly things look grim for this team at the moment, can they get worse?