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Jun 1

Weapon X #1-3

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

So it’s this again, is it?  In the X-books’ “back-to-basics” relaunch, I can’t say I was especially enthused to see Weapon X trotted out again, with the teaser story apparently setting up the old routine of baddies forcing people onto a team.

In fact, it’s not quite so clear that the book really is heading in quite that direction.  The core group here is Lady Deathstrike, Logan, Sabretooth, Warpath and Domino.  We already saw Deathstrike getting carted off in X-Men Prime.  But now that the series is underway, what actually seems to be happening is that Weapon X want to capture these guys in order to copy their powers and use them to improve Weapon X’s own home-grown cyborgs.

And that’s a different set-up, to be sure.  It seems to be more a book about characters who are fighting Weapon X.  Quite how this fits with what we saw in X-Men Prime is less apparent; that scene, where Deathstrike was captured, did seem to be pitching her a job.  The enigmatically indestructible Carla, who was the most memorable thing about that segment, gets a couple of cameos, but her role here is relatively minor.

Instead, with a few cut-aways to what’s going on inside Weapon X, this is largely about the hunted.  It’s a strange way to open a series – I’m treating this as an opening arc because the next issue is part of “Weapons of Mutant Destruction”, a random-seeming crossover with Totally Awesome Hulk.  But relatively little is resolved by the end of these three issues – Deathstrike and Warpath are captured, Logan and Creed are at large and have joined up with Domino.  It doesn’t feel like a story that’s ready to feed into a crossover, but we’ll see how it pans out.

The trope of killer cyborgs disguised as normal people has been done before in the X-Men, and I can’t get that worked up about seeing it again.  More interesting is Greg Pak’s take on Logan and Creed, who are given a sort of love-hate relationship that sounds as if it shouldn’t work, but kind of does.  When we last saw Creed, at the tail end of Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men, his “good” persona was starting to slip.  That’s not explicitly picked up on here, but (intentionally or otherwise) his state of mind is somewhat ambiguous; he’s reasonably well behaved but also more aggressive than we’ve seen in a while.  Then again, it’s not like he isn’t being provoked.

At any rate, the basic hook is that Logan deliberately leads the pursuing cyborgs to Creed so as to force Creed to help him out, which amuses Logan and infuriates Creed.  It’s a reversal of the original relationship where Creed was always one step ahead; this time Logan has the upper hand.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about this.  Traditionally, these two guys absolutely hate one another.  But if you’re writing a version of Sabretooth who’s violent but not noticeably sadistic or vindictive, the door is somewhat open to tweak that relationship into more of an old couple.  It shouldn’t work… but for the moment Pak seems to be getting away with it.

Artist Greg Land is not a name I greet with open arms.  And certainly, when Carla does show up for a scene in issue #3, he can’t pull off the passive-aggressive smugness that we saw in X-Men Prime.  Still, this is some of his better work – there are some decent action sequences, and the vacant smiling is largely confined to disguised Weapon X agents who are meant to be slightly off-kilter anyway.

And he’s a curious choice for a Weapon X relaunch.  Previous incarnations have tended to overdose on moody grit.  But you don’t get much less grim than Greg Land.  Whatever else might be said about his work, it’s relentlessly sunny.  And in fact, there’s a lot of broad daylight and beautiful landscapes here.  It’s a strange kind of Weapon X book, where, yes, there are murder robots and suspension tanks, but the weather is nice and even the Weapon X staff are preoccupied with picking up the kids from school.  It’s backed away from a lot of the cliches that grated in earlier versions.  Somewhat to my surprise, Greg Land plays rather well into that choice.

(Except that he can’t do Carla.)

An odd book, but a better start than I was braced for.  Going straight into a crossover from here sure seems a weird call, though…

Bring on the comments

  1. Voord 99 says:

    Lady Deathstrike, Logan, Sabretooth, Warpath and Domino in a book titled Weapon X. Well, we all know what that will be like: self-consciously dark and gritty in a terribly affected way.

    What could possibly suit better than a crossover with Amadeus Cho?*

    No, this does not justify putting Greg Land on art.

    *Yes, I know that the answer to this question is “Greg Pal writes both.” But it still sounds like a tonal clash.

  2. Brendan says:

    I’m quite liking the move away from ‘mandatory’ 6 issue, self-contained arcs. As someone who prefers to read in trades, I’m more than willing to put cash down for a trade that ends on a cliffhanger, a collection of one issue stories or whatever. Anything to cut out the typical issue 3-5 padding of a story.

  3. JD says:

    Totally Awesome Hulk #19, despite being labelled as a mere “Prelude”, is totally the next part of the story and absolutely essential reading (although maybe some of it will be repeated/recapped in Weapon X #4).

    Basically, the idea is that Weapon X won’t content themselves with harvesting mutant powers, and make a go at getting some Hulk blood. Cue the inevitable team-up once Amadeus figures out what’s going on.

    As a basis for a crossover, it’s perfectly serviceable. It helps that Pak writing it all makes everyone’s voice feel consistent, and the transition from one book to the other seamless. Also, it’s not like the Hulk book was particularly busy with any kind of overarching storyline, so it can stand spending a few issues dealing with a Weapon X-driven crossover.

  4. Ben says:

    Just caught up on this.

    While I gate Land, this is better than his usual stuff at least. Even if Logan and Sabertooth are off model.

    Actually, I think this book is just totally ignoring Creed being good now and Logan being a different Logan.

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