RSS Feed
Aug 14

X-Force #11 annotations

Posted on Friday, August 14, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-FORCE vol 6 #11
“Red Dawn”
by Benjamin Percy & Bazaldua

COVER / PAGE 1. Colossus fights Omega Red. Omega Red does not appear in the issue, which always makes me wonder if plans changed after the cover was commissioned.

This is a “Path to X of Swords” issue. In this case, it’s fairly easy to see which element ties in to the crossover, but it still emerges from things that have happened in this book.

PAGES 2-5. The latest batch of lab-grown soldiers turn out to contain “Russian doll” assassins.

The soldiers. These are the bad guys that Wolverine and the Marauders defeated in Wolverine #3. They don’t look all that similar in the two issues, since Adam Kubert depicts them with some sort of swirly energy effect on their costumes, while Bazaldua just presents it as red armour-type stuff.

We do get a clearer view of their insignia in this issue (which, on close inspection, can also be seen on the soldiers in Wolverine #3). In a data page in that issue, the Beast described it as “the Soviet emblem – with its traditional sickle and hammer now offset by an X instead of a star”. Both Bazaldua and Kubert have drawn the opposite – the X replacing the hammer and sickle, instead of the star. I wonder if there’s been a breakdown of communications here, as the actual logo is completely unrecognisable as a twist on the Soviet emblem.

In Wolverine #3, the Beast theorised that these soldiers might be some sort of rival, Russian-sponsored mutant society.

“The last time we performed a mass autopsy…” In issue #3, with the assassins who attacked Krakoa and tried to kill Professor X in issue #1. X-Force noted their similarity to the Reavers (Donald Pierce’s cyborg outfit) at the time.

Russian nesting dolls obviously tie in to the idea that this is the Russian wing of the anti-mutant conspiracy (presumably XENO). They’re also a cute idea.

PAGES 6-7. Recap and credits.

PAGES 8-10. Colossus and Domino in the Savage Land.

The Savage Land is the hidden prehistoric jungle that’s been around in the Marvel Universe since the 60s. We’ve seen before that the X-Men have set up a flower farm here. Colossus was a farmer before joining the X-Men, so it makes sense that this is the role he’d choose when looking for the simple life. (He also has a son in the Savage Land – the mother being Nereel of the Fall People – but is so slow on the uptake that he has never figured this out.)

“After what happened to me … when I extracted the mutant refugees from Russia” He was badly injured, as seen in issue #1, but we’ve still not had the details.

“After what happened to you when we took down that mobile lab.” In issue #8. She died. Domino doesn’t remember these events, and so she doesn’t remember that she specifically asked to be brought back with her traumatic memories intact. Colossus ignored those wishes, which is presumably also part of what’s bothering him.

The plough. Hand-drawn ploughs do exist, but this one seems ridiculously large for Colossus to pull in normal human form.

Kayla. The girl in purple is new, and presumably she’s going to be significant later. Later in the issue, she seems somewhat resentful of Domino’s intrusion.

PAGE 11. Data page, with what seems to be Chapter 1 of somebody’s memoir. We’ll get Chapter 2 later in the issue, and it’s signed with the same Russian word (meaning “chronicler” or “scribe”) that appeared in issues #7 and #10. In issue #7, the Beast found it written on a piece of artisan paper in his lab; in issue #10, it signed off a data page which contained an explanation of what Jean had told the Beast. Obviously we’re going to meet this character at some point, and he seems to be some sort of mutant writer, reluctantly pressganged into working for the Russian state.

The wine list is almost certainly of no importance whatsoever, but… all three of these wines are real, and they’re all highly regarded vintages. The 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild was also the first in that winery’s tradition of getting a different artist to design each year’s label – the first one is nothing amazing, but later contributors included A-list artists like Salvador Dali.

Presumably the bad guy who shows up at the end of this chapter is the same one that’s revealed at the cliffhanger.

PAGE 12. A nesting doll kills Sage and starts looking for Professor X.

People really do drop like flies in this book, don’t they?

PAGES 13-16. Colossus returns to Krakoa and joins the fight.

A bunch of characters appear on page 15. From left to right (of the

  • The guy with the long red hair on the very far left appears to be Z-list henchman Gorgeous George, who we last saw in issue #9.
  • The guy getting zapped is hard to identify.
  • From the depths of obscurity, the guy riding a surfboard is Slipstream from X-Treme X-Men. As best as I can tell, this is his first on-panel appearance (other than as a headshot on a computer screen) since 2002.
  • Cyclops
  • Nightcrawler
  • Marvel Girl
  • A woman in green, flying, with glowing hands. No idea.
  • The Beast
  • Storm
  • A woman with claws with her back to us. It could be X-23, but she’s meant to be in the Vault over in X-Men, so it’s probably her clone Scout.
  • Jubilee
  • Domino
  • Wolverine

I don’t recognise either of the bodies on the ground in front of Colossus, though I suspect the one in purple and black is meant to be familiar.

PAGE 17. Black Tom gets Professor X to safety.

PAGE 18. A Russian doll steals Xavier’s sword.

Crossover alert. This is the Cerebro Sword, which Magneto created in issue #2 from the remains of a destroyed Cerebro. According to issue #3, it sometimes still makes flashes of light or humming noises, and it’s still full of data. Seems worth stealing.

An obvious question is how XENO know that it’s there to be stolen, given that it was created on Krakoa and has never been taken anywhere else. Beast picks up on this surprising amount of knowledge in the next scene, in relation to the invaders’ tactics more generally – so it’s clearly intentional.

PAGE 19. The second part of the data page.

PAGES 20-21. Colossus helps to win the fight, then goes home.

PAGES 22-24. Kid Omega gets run through with the sword.

Phoebe Cuckoo is seeing Kid Omega in secret. She claims that she’s just being possessive, but you suspect there’s more to it than that. It’s not mentioned here, but the Cuckoos – all five of them – are supposed to be dating Cable, as seen in Cable #2. This doesn’t seem to be a secret – Nightcrawler mentions it in his letter to Kate in this week’s Marauders – but Quentin doesn’t seem to know that.

In Cable #2, one of the Cuckoos was noticeably less interested in Cable than the others, and told her sisters that “there are other telepaths that might be more interesting on the island, right?” Presumably that was Phoebe and she was referring to Kid Omega (even though the same piece of art was used in Cable #2’s intro page to represent her sister Celeste).

The villain who appears in the cliffhanger is Mikhail Rasputin, Colossus’s brother. Mikhail is very powerful and not very stable. We last saw him in the 2006 miniseries X-Men: Colossus – Bloodline, where he appeared to commit suicide by hurling himself into an interdimensional void. That presumably explains why he wasn’t resurrected on Krakoa (hard to prove he was dead), but was also left off the list of Omega Level mutants in House of X #1.

PAGES 25-26. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: MOTHER RUSSIA (though with the T and H characters instead of the one that represents TH).

Bring on the comments

  1. The Other Michael says:

    “Boy, I hope they bring back Slipstream on Krakoa,” said no X-fan ever.

    “Boy, I hope they kill off Quentin Quire as a running joke every chance they get,” said a whole lot more people.

    I really hope that, somewhere down the line, this new tendency for mutants to get killed off at the slightest provocation is actually addressed. It’s downright ridiculous how characters who spent decades -not- dying are now racking up the deaths like they get a free toaster with every 5th cloming.

  2. Dave White says:

    Man, it’s so weird to hear someone use Scout’s code name instead of just saying “Gabby.”

  3. CJ says:

    Oh man. Slipstream. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get Freakshow and Wicked.

    Even though death is reversible for the X-Men, I’m not sure we get a lot out of the relatively-cheap ones. Even if this timeline gets rebooted, *we* will remember that it’s possible, so death no longer has a narrative “catch” to it.

    The nested dolls _are_ cute!

  4. Ben says:

    So I guess Cecilia Reyes force field that works automatically got missed by the writer and editors huh?

  5. ASV says:

    Incredible how Colossus becomes twice Domino’s height on page 8.

  6. Jim says:

    “A woman in green, flying, with glowing hands.”
    Dragoness, perhaps? We’ve seen Wildside and the MLF over in New Mutants.

  7. Jeff says:

    Yeah, I’m with everyone who thinks the constant deaths in this one really make the X-Men seem like idiots. Especially since they don’t seem to be treating death as something to shrug off in most of the other books. The characters in Marauders seem to still be recognizably the same characters as before, if reacting to a crazy new status quo. They just seem weird here.

  8. Milici says:

    The woman in green is Abigail Brand.

  9. Evilgus says:

    I’m sure Slipstream had a random appearance in one of the Secret Wars alternate universe tie ins… Nicieza’s Age of Apocalypse? Or the X-Men ’92 series which was full of cameos? Man I feel sad for thinking of this.

  10. Aaron says:

    What even is this book anymore? It’s a conspiracy and killing its characters every month. This is getting dropped.

  11. Karl_H says:

    Quibble quibble. I think if I shoot a bullet through a real Russian nesting doll, it’s going to go through all the interior ones. It’s very convenient that the main fight is taking place right next to the gate to the Savage Land when Colossus emerges. Beast and Sage sure are dumb to run off leaving the other corpses alone to hatch new critters. Gate placement convenience #2: Quentin and Phoebe picking their rendezvous right by the gate to Moscow where Mikael is. Quibble quibble. But I still enjoyed reading it.

  12. neutrino says:

    Colossus shouldn’t be that much bigger than Domino in his unarmored form.

    Mikhail Rasputin is officially an Alpha mutant. He exiled himself to an interdimensional void that he couldn’t escape from or die in to prevent his ancestor from attacking the other Rasputins.

  13. Joseph S. says:

    Lifeguard was at the Tiki Bar in X-Force #9, so no surprise that her brother would show up eventually. Surprised he’s not in the Tiki Bar actually. Maybe the blond guy carrying a pineapple cocktail?

  14. Evilgus says:

    Remember when they killed all the teleporters (second coming?). Even non character Ariel had a moment. Brazen that they forgot to kill of Slipstream! 🙂

  15. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Wasn’t he off in another dimension after X-Treme X-Men? Hanging around some blue slaver people for some reason… or is that from X-Men: The End?

  16. Alastair says:

    Reading through on unlimited so not at this point yet. But Mikhail’s return and link to the Russian incident is hinted at in issue 7 where Pitor has painted his picture after awaking from a nightmare

  17. Al says:

    It feels super weird to me that Phoebe is interested in Quire when he started the riot that got her sister killed.

  18. Jpw says:

    My 18-year letter-writing campaign to Marvel editorial has FINALLY paid off!


Leave a Reply