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Dec 17

X-Force #15 annotations

Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #15
“Trench Warfare”
by Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Force interrogate Omega Red.

PAGES 2-4: Beast and Wolverine talk while Marvel Girl interrogates Colossus.

We’re picking up here where we left off in issue #12, before “X of Swords” interrupted. X-Force were just about to start the psychic interrogation in that issue, and evidently they’ve finally got around to it.

Wolverine and Marvel Girl don’t trust Beast because of his increasingly authoritarian and manipulative behaviour of late, and you can hardly blame them. Despite his repeated miscalculations, Beast continues to believe that he is uniquely well placed to get the required answers, and that Marvel Girl will mess it up without him.

On page 3, the first few mini-panels show Colossus farming in the Savage Land with his new girlfriend Kayla, as shown in issues #11-12. The last few appear to be a flashback to his mission to Russia that went disastrously wrong just before issue #1 – we’ve still never seen the actual events. In the final panel, Colossus is apparently being helped to safety with the Marauders, who brought him back to Krakoa in issue #1. Kate Pryde is visible on the deck.

PAGE 5. Data page. Colossus’ interest in painting dates back to the 80s.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits page, in the new layout.

PAGES 7-8. Krakoa expels some sort of pod thing.

The Krakoan kids in this scene appear to be randoms.

The idea that the Krakoan landscape keeps changing has been mentioned in Percy’s stories before – see the back-up strip in Wolverine #1, for example – and seems to be much more prominent in his take on Krakoa than in anyone else’s.

In the narration, Marvel Girl is pitching to Beast the idea that although Colossus knows nothing about Mikhail Rasputin’s schemes in Russia, their family connection makes Colossus an ideal asset to X-Force’s investigation.

PAGES 9-12. X-Force interrogate Omega Red.

Wolverine learned about Omega Red’s connection with the Vampire Nation, and encountered day-walking vampires, in Wolverine #4. As Marvel Girl identifies, Omega Red is under the influence of Dracula – see, again, the backup strip in Wolverine #1.

The “carbonadium synthesizer” is a device which makes carbonadium, a substance that stops Omega Red having to kill people in order to drain their life energy. This doesn’t stop his other homicidal urges, but he prefers having the choice. Omega Red received this C-synth in Wolverine #1, and the detonator was planted inside it by Dracula, to keep him under control.

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer” is actually from The Godfather Part II, but close enough. It does sound a bit like something that Sun Tzu might say, and in fact he does make broadly similar points about the desirability of turning captured spies.

The final page shows the Thing That Was Expelled From Krakoa, apparently killing whales.

PAGES 13-15. The Beast talks to Forge.

The Krakoan symbol on Forge’s headband is “F” (obviously). The rest of Beast’s plan is explained on the next data page.

PAGE 16. Data page on the resurrection of Omega Red. Basically, Beast has killed him and intends to resurrect him with a replaced C-synth that allows the mutants to use him to spy on the vampires. Despite the extremely tolerant attitude of Krakoa to mutant villains, Beast describes Omega Red as having no rights because he’s a “national security threat”. He is a national security threat, but Beast’s attitude is still way beyond Guantanamo Bay territory, and it’s particularly striking that Professor X simply signs off on it without any concern. Admittedly, the revived Omega Red isn’t going to be any worse off than he was before – in fact, Dracula’s leverage over him will be reduced, though he doesn’t know it. But it’s a point of principle.

The Five are clearly hugely uncomfortable with all this, and put up a bit of a fight – though not to the point of insisting that it be ventilated before the whole Quiet Council. Xavier’s attitude that X-Force are above the law is obviously very troubling, particularly when in practical terms it means the Beast acting alone.

PAGES 17-18. The infected whale attacks a battleship.


PAGES 19-21. The Beast brings a gift to Colossus.

Colossus is more forgiving of his old friend than Kayla, and quite understandably. Naturally, the Beast’s gesture leads to him asking for “just one more thing”.

PAGES 22-24. Domino and Black Tom on the beach.

The crew of the battleship have been infected, and are attacking Krakoa.

Rufus, the “rescue dog”, is the pet dog of the Xeno soldier who X-Force captured in issue #5. He specifically asked X-Force to at least make sure that the dog was fed, and evidently Domino did just that.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: SEA MONSTER.

Bring on the comments

  1. The Other Michael says:

    And here we rejoin something I touched on in the previous post: the possibility is raised here that in resurrecting Omega Red, they have the potential to “fix” him so he’s no longer dependent on the synthesizer and to erase past traumas to make him “more amiable.”

    1) Back to the idea of tinkering with power sets and biological functions, which has SO much potential for good and bad. Give mutants more control over their abilities. Shut down harmful ones. Alter the powers altogether. Great for mutants whose powers involve death clouds or can ignite the ozone layer or something. And presumably this leads into the concept of designer mutants (chimeras) in the future.

    2) Um… okay, so we’ve already seen the selective erasure of memories and traumas through resurrection with what happened to Domino, and presumably others. We’ve seen the idea that backups have a delay so you don’t always remember how/why you died. But this–reformatting people without their consent–isn’t as healthy a suggestion as it sounds, and doing it after they’ve been flat-out murdered, is just awful.

    We’re diving into some horribly grey territory here, and I hope that someone kills Hank McCoy and resets him all the way back to the Silver Age. (just kidding.) (not really)

    How soon before Krakoa does this with some of its real problems? A chance, once and all, to fix Sabretooth, perhaps?

  2. Thom H. says:

    Maybe consigning Sabretooth to eternal burial accomplishes more than what we thought:

    1. Deterrent to keep the more unstable element on their toes (while also using them for dangerous and questionable missions).

    2. Cover for one of resurrection’s secondary purposes, namely to control threats to Krakoa by wiping away undesirable traits, thoughts, and desires in the resurrected.

    If they didn’t use resurrection to wipe away Sabretooth’s nastier tendencies, then how can I suspect that they fiddled with my powerset or memories, etc. when I was resurrected?

    Or maybe they haven’t fully harnessed resurrection’s possibilities in that regard. I can imagine that Scott would like to control his optic beams, for example. Or that Xavier/Magneto/Moira would like for Mystique to forget about Destiny. Maybe they’re still perfecting their ability to tinker in a finer way.

  3. Chris V says:

    Maybe they are trying to perfect the process.
    When they condemned Sabretooth to hell, Xavier said he might be given one more chance sometime in the future.
    Maybe Xavier meant when they perfect behavioural modification with resurrection, they’ll kill and resurrect Sabretooth at that point.

    It makes you wonder how certain “evil mutants” will react, if this is the case.
    Shaw (among others) wouldn’t find the idea of immortality so tempting if it means he can’t be the same personality.
    That seems to be the main draw which keeps many of these mutants loyal to Krakoa.

  4. Taibak says:

    So any bets on whether or not Colossus meets his kid while he’s hanging out in the Savage Land?

  5. Daniel T says:

    Hickman of course is not going to be in charge of the X-Men forever, so the deeper we get into this status quo the more I wonder where they can go with the characters after this.

  6. The Other Michael says:

    “I wonder where they can go with the characters after this.”

    If the X-Men weren’t so ingrained into the rest of the Marvel universe, I’d almost expect a full-on ground floor, wipe the slate, start fresh reboot. No mutants, start fresh with the O5, Magneto, Xavier, etc. Just like the way they rebooted the Legion of Superheroes after Zero Hour.

    As it is, they might go with a different Legion-style reboot, and reveal that everyone we’ve seen in this status quo is a clone, and the originals have been kept in stasis under Krakoa. If they really wanted to clean house, they could reveal everyone who’s a Krakoaclone is unstable and then they melt. Pick and choose who’s an original and gets to be woken up for the new direction, and who dies and stays dead…

    Or Moira gets killed and in her next and final incarnation, it changes things yet again in new and subtle ways, and we spend 5 years learning what’s different. (Only the stories that matter… matter. AKA the New 52-style.)

    Or we learn that everyone has been mind-controlled all this time…

  7. Chris V says:

    They really need to avoid the “everything you just read was a bunch of clones” or anything similar decision.
    Marvel needs to tread very lightly and not alienate even more fans.

    Considering that there are still a couple of years of this direction, things may move in a direction where this Krakoa direction is set up as an ongoing status quo.
    Hickman wraps up his overarcing story, and leaves Krakoa as the new “mansion” with Xavier acting more normal.
    The X-Men are involved in fighting threats (like the old days) but have Krakoa as their base rather than the mansion.

    It would depend on sales. If the sales remain high, Marvel is going to want to keep things stable. They won’t want to have a new reboot until sales drop.

  8. Si says:

    Being Marvel, they almost certainly won’t write off years’ worth of comics by saying it was clones or a divergent timeline. If they decide to bail out (and they probably will even if the X-Books end up in a really good place), it will likely be handled the same way the massive destruction and loss of life from every recent crossover event, Iron Man turning evil, and Doctor Strange (the comic) rewriting the laws of magic were handled. They’ll just keep walking, and if anyone asks about what happened they’ll whistle even louder.

  9. K says:

    The only thing they actually need to walk back is the OP-ness of resurrections, and everything seems to be leading there anyway.

    For everything else, just remember: this is a nation, not a utopia (or even Utopia, as the case might be). Utopias are moral parables made to be torn down or undone.

    Tearing down or undoing a nation is not a good story to tell.

  10. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Didn’t they immediately undo most of Hickman’s Avengers run?

  11. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    That was Hickman himself – Secret Wars ends with T’Challa back in the main universe in the same scene je first appears in Hickman’s New Avengers.

    AFAIK it was never made clear what from the whole run, if anything, happened for anybody who wasn’t Doom and the FF.

  12. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    *he first appears

  13. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    That’s how I understand it as well.

    Hickman/Marvel already has an out for all if this in Moira, should they want to use it.

  14. Adam says:

    I’m perfectly comfortable with the whole era ending with Moira dying and fixing everything in piecemeal fashion. Krakoa’s revival of the big mutant pops is something I’d like to keep, for example.

  15. GN says:

    If I were to guess, I think that the ‘pod thing’ is related to the No-Place habitat idea introduced in House of X 1. There has been some follow-up on this thread before, in the form of the No-Place Asteroid K in Moira’s ninth life and the No-Place habitat that Moira currently lives in her tenth life.

    Things we do know:

    House of X 1: A No-Place exists outside of the collective consciousness of Krakoa. A place within the island ecosystem that Krakoa does not know exists. A Krakoan tumor. No-Place habitats can be produced through non-naturally occurring flowers.

    House of X 6: Krakoa should be classified as fauna, not flora.

    X-Men 3: The pre-nation state Krakoa was a winter version (it was small because it had no mutant energy to feed on). The current Krakoa feeds on the psychic energies of millions of mutants and is at maximum growth rate.


    Due to Krakoa’s high growth rate (growth here meaning the rate of ‘cell’ production and not necessarily an increase in body size), perhaps exacerbated by the arrival of millions of Arakkii mutants, cancerous lumps are formed in areas with uncontrolled ‘cell’ division. These tumors are either an example of or behave similarly to the No-Place habitats. One of these tumors (the black pod) got dislodged as the island shifted and fell into the ocean trenches. Independent of Krakoa’s control, it became malignant and began to attack other life forms. Black Tom Cassidy and Krakoa cannot sense this because it is cut off from their collective consciousness.

  16. Chris V says:

    Moira isn’t the obvious get-out-of-jail-free card that people seem to believe.

    If Moira dies, it rewrites all of reality back to when Moira is first born again. That’s the entirety of the modern Marvel Universe history.
    Marvel might allow it if it were done in a way similar to Secret Wars, where almost nothing in past continuity is changed. Otherwise, Marvel won’t allow it. They refused to even undo the horrible decisions of Secret Empire, even though using the Cosmic Cube was a very easy escape option.
    The longer this series goes and the more involved in large events, the harder that will become. So, how does revising of the Krakoa era fit with Empyre featuring the mutant-nation of Krakoa?

    The end-game needs to feature Moira succeeding and ending the threat of the Phalanx and the “machine gods” and doing it in a way where her death doesn’t lead to the recreation of the threat again.
    Otherwise, the entire point of Hickman’s revamp is meaningless.
    Marvel really needs to deliver on this run after promising that it would be one of the most important stories in X-Men history.

    If Moira dies and is reborn, it creates the problem that something needs to happen in Moira’s eleventh life to make sure that her mutant powers won’t manifest again, because every time she dies, she restarts reality.
    She either has to die in life eleven before her mutant powers become active or she needs to lose her mutant powers.
    That would have to be explained away before Hickman were to finish.

    Something that could happen is that Hickman eventually moves thousands of years in the future to finish his story. Moira succeeds and ends the threat. She finds a way to restart reality and maintain her victory. The Marvel Universe is restarted with Moira’s life eleven, but it won’t happen for over one thousand years, so no one at Marvel needs to worry about it. The current Marvel Universe can go on as before, maintaining continuity, because there are a few thousand years worth of stories they can tell before Moira’s death will happen.

    Hickman’s Avengers run was self-contained. The only Marvel history that was deleted was the fact that Tony Stark had become a genocidal monster. Something obviously wanted to ignore.
    Also with Hickman’s Avengers, the events did happen. The Marvel Multiverse was destroyed and is slowly rebuilding. The Ultimate Universe was still destroyed. There were still ramifications of his run. It’s more a matter of what is remembered and by whom.

  17. Chris V says:

    In fact, that idea makes the most sense.
    We don’t really know the exact purpose for Krakoa in Moira’s plan.
    Perhaps the most important purpose is to create gateways to different planets (with Krakoa, itself, expanding) in space and find a way to indefinitely extend Moira’s lifespan.
    After all, Moira dying at age sixty of a heart attack right when mutants are winning would be quite inconvenient.
    Krakoa accomplishes these goals during Hickman’s tenure on the present-day X-titles.

    Afterwards, things go horribly wrong.
    Krakoa is being destroyed.
    Moira says that she’s going to leave Earth and pick up her plans for mutants in space on other worlds.
    She says she’ll come back for Xavier at a later point and to not give up.
    Mind-wipes aplenty.
    Things basically return to normal on Earth for mutants.

    Hickman’s final story shows the far future with Moira succeeding in her plan.
    Life eleven serves as a happy ending.
    After spending life after life struggling and dying, she is able to finally lead a happy life again.
    In life eleven, with the threat of post-humanity put in the past, Xavier’s dream becomes a reality. Human and mutants are able to live peacefully in coexistence.
    Moira and Xavier get the happiness they deserve, in another world.
    Krakoa is breaking up.

  18. Chris V says:

    That’s so weird. I have no idea why that last sentence is there. It must have copied and pasted from before I made an edit. Weird.

  19. Thom H. says:

    A lot has been made of power combining during this run (which is awesome). Maybe a combination of Moira’s and someone else’s powers could reset the clock just for mutants? Weirder things have happened in the X-books.

  20. Chris V says:

    Do Krakoa’s drugs work for mutants, or is it that they can only be taken by humans?
    I forgot the details.
    Maybe Moira is taking the drugs in order to extend her lifespan and prevent her from dying of most diseases.

    If those drugs don’t work for mutants, I wonder if there is a way that Moira’s life could be indefinitely extended using a mutant power combination.

  21. SanityOrMadness says:

    Eh, just find a time machine or time traveller and chuck Moira forward a few million years.

    Or hit her with the power suppressor Frost used on Shaw and kill her while she’s depowered.

  22. Chris V says:

    …I’m not sure why they’d be interested in killing Moira.
    Outside of Mystique, who is being portrayed more as a villain.

  23. Michael Post says:

    Marvel history happened in every one of Moira’s first ten lives, presumably, especially for those she has had little interaction with, so if it resets again at the end of Hickman’s run, it’s fine. The FF still get in a rocket, PP still gets bit by a spider, etc.

    Every comic ever could have actually taken place in one of her other lives this whole time anyway. 1st, 4th, 10th.

  24. Chris V says:

    We actually don’t know how much Marvel history changed in her past lives.
    Yes, some things happened exactly the same, but it’s based on age. Moira is in her mid-50s, so you have to figure it takes time for her to effect changes on the timeline.

    For example, we know that she formed an alliance with Apocalypse in life nine and killed all of the Marvel superheroes.
    That’s obviously a huge change.

    Her 10th life IS the current Marvel Universe. Everything happened exactly the same as we know it because it is the timeline we have been following since 1961.

  25. Matt says:

    I feel like very little is being made of Beast casually murdering a captive in cold blood, which seems like a pretty significant moral line to cross?

  26. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    It is and it isn’t. As we’ve repeatedly seen, the vast majority of characters see the Krakoa resurrections as straight up ‘continuing from a saved state’. There are exceptions that explore this further (like Domino’s resurrection), but it seems that for most of them it’s barely worth mentioning and doesn’t really count as dying.

    So from Beast’s perspective he’s not actually doing Omega Red any harm… And since we, the readers, are asked to treat the cloned copies not as cloned copies, but as the real versions of the characters – as they think of themselves, as everyone thinks of them – then what Beast did amounts to rendering Red unconscious for a short time.

  27. Allan M says:

    We’ve also seen Beast beating human prisoners bloody in this series. And implanting another with floronic technology that was designed to eat his brain and render him invalid for life. And when that backfired and killed or mutated the population of an entire country, Beast seemed more concerned about being caught than, say, killing millions of people.

    So by the moral standards of Beast in this series, killing someone who can be resurrected easily barely registers. He’s a moral vacuum. The only notable detail is that he’s already murdered Omega Red before he checks with Forge or the Five to see if his plan is feasible. Which is a signal of how confident he’s become that he gets to work outside the rules without question or consequence. And he’s right… for now.

  28. Chris V says:

    The funny thing is that we have an island full of once-and-potential homicidal maniacs, yet it’s a former X-Man who is used to portray the immorality of the X-Force concept.

    Even if Beast was already morally compromised, it’s still strange that someone portrayed as nominally a hero before the Krakoa era is chosen to represent the author’s point over the multitude of former X-villains.
    Why make that overt choice?

    Basically, Sinister is the only character who has been shown to be more immoral than Beast, and I might just be basing that on assumptions as to what Sinister has planned for Krakoa. Although, he did just kill his team in order to hide his secret.

    If Sinister didn’t have such a negative history with Dark Beast, you might assume that Sinister switched Beast’s DNA with Dark Beast as part of his plan.
    Although Earth-616 Beast was at about the same moral level as Dark Beast before the Krakoa era started anyway.

  29. SanityOrMadness says:

    Krzysiek Ceran> So from Beast’s perspective he’s not actually doing Omega Red any harm… And since we, the readers, are asked to treat the cloned copies not as cloned copies, but as the real versions of the characters – as they think of themselves, as everyone thinks of them – then what Beast did amounts to rendering Red unconscious for a short time.

    Moreover, if we take the “resurrected character is still the same character, not just a clone” thing at face value… he actually did him a favour in a sense, since he no longer has a bomb in his chest.

    Question is whether you DO take it at face value.

  30. Taibak says:

    Potentially stupid question:

    How do we know this isn’t the Dark Beast?

  31. Allan M says:

    Dark Beast was cut in half by Magik during Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men run. Very dead.

    So if this is Dark Beast, then Dark Beast has been resurrected, and Xavier did it (since nobody except Xavier had done the post-resurrection mind transfer until X-Force #4), which means that Xavier killed or disappeared original Hank. Also, Dark Beast didn’t look anything like current Beast, so it’d be a physical clone of current Beast with Dark Beast’s mind.

    Conversely, normal Beast’s been trending amoral/ends-justify-the-means since M-Day, especially during Hickman’s New Avengers and Bendis’ X-Men. He gets told off by the Watcher for being trash, even. Not to mention his arrangement with HYDRA during Secret Empire.

    In my heart, I agree with The Other Michael in the first comment wishing that we’ll get a mental rollback to earlier versions of Beast (he says Silver Age, I’m going with Avengers-era Beast). But realistically, this is the path the character’s been on for 15 years.

  32. Chris V says:

    How do the mind transfers work though?
    Does Xavier actually have control over it or does the Cerebro technology do the work? I mean outside of Xavier powering Cerebro.

    What I mean is, if Dark Beast was resurrected but Xavier tried to upload Beast’s mind, would that occur, or does Cerebro automatically match the mind with the DNA?
    So, Sinister switches DNA samples, Xavier has no idea, thinks he is uploading Beast’s mind, but it’s really Dark Beast being resurrected, so Dark Beast’s mind is being uploaded by Xavier without his knowledge.

    Conversely, what about the problem with more than one version of a character as part of Krakoa?
    If Beast and Dark Beast share the same DNA but have different life experiences, what if Cerebro cannot differentiate between the two?
    It’s been downloading both Dark Beast and Beast’s memories in one file. So, Beast gets resurrected with both Beast and Dark Beast’s mind uploaded.

    I’m not saying that I think that this is anything other than Hickman writing heroes as morally compromised, willing to use any means if they think the ends are for the greater good.
    I’m just hypothesizing.

    There is a question about what Sinister might have done over the years.
    Remember, we know that Xavier and Magneto think that Sinister believes it was his own obsession to create a database of every mutant’s DNA, because Xavier tampered with Sinister’s mind. However, the Sinister Xavier mindwiped was immediately killed and replaced by another Sinister who knew that this was all part of Xavier and Magneto’s plan. So, there’s a question about what Sinister did with that knowledge all those years.

  33. SanityOrMadness says:

    @Chris V

    If any of that is the case, then Jean should be a Jean/Madelyne hybrid, since she’s died TWICE in the Krakoa era, in HoXPoX and Wolverine.

    (There would also be questions about Wolverine – even notwithstanding clones and semi-clones, Old Man Logan was running around more than long enough to get backed up, and Wolverine was also one of the HoXPoX deaths/resurrectees. Or how about Kitty/Kate – what if DoFP Kate, either from when she possessed Kitty or as Widget, got mixed in?)

  34. Chris V says:

    Jean already has all of Madelyne’s memories from the end of Inferno though.

    That would also assume that Cerebro would have picked up anything from future Kate.

    Fair point about Wolverine.

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