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Aug 12

X-Force #22 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #22
“Cemetery Flowers”
by Benjamin Percy, Robert Gill & Guru-eFX

COVER / PAGE 1: X-Force and Man-Slaughter fight the telefloronic attackers.

PAGES 2-3. The Man with the Peacock Tattoo approaches Dr Bloodroot.

Dr Bloodroot is, shall we say, not a common name, if it exists in the wild at all. But it’s not a completely inconceivable one; a bloodroot is a kind of flower, so called because of a red fluid that comes out when you cut it. We saw Bloodroot briefly last issue, talking to the Man with the Peacock Tattoo, though he only got one line of dialogue. In Weapon Plus: World War IV #1, the one-shot that introduced Man-Slaughter, the lead scientist was identified as one Andrew Plimpton, but Man-Slaughter killed him rather emphatically at the end of the story, so this can’t be the same guy.

Bloodroot’s belief that a growing plant is a more fitting tribute than a dying flower isn’t that weird. 

Bloodroot believes that his wife became addicted to Krakoan drugs. We’ll find out later that she was just a regular drug addict who also happened to be taking Krakoan pharmaceuticals for unrelated reasons. Presumably if there was a wider issue of being becoming addicted to Krakoan drugs, we’d have heard about it by now. But Bloodroot’s mindset seems well within the parameters of real life conspiracy theories.

[As Mathias X points out in the comments, Bloodroot says his wife was taking “pollen”, which was the street drug based on Krakoan flowers that the Pale Girl was dealing with in the early issues of Percy’s Wolverine run. The Man with the Peacock Tattoo talks about it here as if it’s a Krakoan medicine, but it’s presumably meant to be the same thing.]

PAGE 4. Recap and credits.

PAGES 5-6. Sage’s briefing.

We saw all of these people doing anti-mutant things under telefloronic control last issue; Sage is explaining how they got infected.

PAGES 7-9. The Beast and Man-Slaughter.

Man-Slaughter correctly describes the way he was being manipulated in Weapon Plus: World War IV #1.

There’s absolutely no good reason for Beast not to ask permission before his experiment. Even from a completely cynical standpoint, he gains nothing by alienating Man-Slaughter.

PAGE 10. Data page. Beast’s logbook on Xeno’s floronic network.

The Warroad explosion happened last issue.

Typically of his portrayal in X-Force, the Beast disdains the arrogance of the human scientists in Weapon Plus for embarking on precisely the course of action that he himself is proposing four paragraphs later. You really have to wonder about the judgment of the people who are letting this dimwit run around unsupervised.

PAGES 11-13. Bloodroot takes over an Order of X group.

The Order of X are cultists who worship mutants; we’ve been told that they spontaneously appeared after Professor X announced Krakoa to the world by global telepathy back in House of X, and the very strong implication is that Xavier damaged them somehow. None of the mutants seem much to care. Judging from their reaction when the Order show up on Krakoa later in the issue, they don’t recognise the Order’s robes, so presumably there’s a fairly low level of knowledge (and/or interest) about these groups.

Bloodroot is able to get them through the Krakoan portal, presumably because his telefloronics allow him to hijack control of it. Hordeculture were able to do something similar through purely technological means as far back as X-Men vol 5 #3.

PAGE 14. Data page. Colossus paints.

Colossus is painting the Quarry, the sparring arena officiated by the Silver Samurai and first seen in Cable vol 4 #1.

Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) was a French artist from the generation before impressionism; in his day, his paintings were very widely reproduced and he was very well known. The description of his art here is fair enough.

The Russian text at the bottom of the page means “Scribe” or “Chronicler”. Text pages like this have popped up periodically throughout this run of X-Force. We last saw one in issue #19. The identity of the author remains a mystery.

PAGES 15-16. Man-Slaughter communes with Krakoa.

I don’t really understand how Man-Slaughter and Krakoa are somehow able to join forces and access a completely separate plant network, but let’s be very generous and say that it’s something to do with the similarity of Man-Slaughter’s make-up to the Xeno version.

Kudzu was indeed introduced in the USA in 1876 and proved to be an enormous nuisance. In its native Japan, other factors kept it under control, and it tended to die back over the winter.

PAGE 17. The Order wreak havoc on Krakoa.

On the offchance that anyone reading doesn’t know, the barman is the Blob. He’s drawn quite thin in this issue, particularly on page 22.

PAGES 18-23. Wolverine, Domino and Man-Slaughter confront Bloodroot.

Pretty much self-explanatory, really. Strains credibility a bit that X-Force can get such specific information about what Marsha Bloodroot was up to just by asking plants; it’s the sort of thing that breaks the plot if you admit it too readily.

Man-Slaughter has evidently given up on being turned back into a human (which was originally his main ambition), and seems now to be resigning himself to finding the positive in plantlife.

PAGE 24. Wolverine drops Man-Slaughter off at home.

I have no idea what Wolverine’s referring to when he says that “A plant taught me that”, unless it’s supposed to be a comment about Krakoa – though that doesn’t really make sense.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: CEREBRO SWORD, referring to the sword formed from the ruins of the Cerebro helmet that was destroyed in issue #1. The sword is currently in the possession of Mikhail Rasputin.


Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    My brain trips over every time I read the name Man-Slaughter. The hyphen has no place there. Man-Thing yes, but this guy isn’t a man and a slaughter.

    By the way, I quite liked hearing that old Belly song again, but what’s the relevance? I missed something I think.

  2. Mathias X says:

    “Pollen” was the manipulated Krakoan drug-turned-narcotic from the beginning of Percy’s Wolverine run. Understandably forgettable, but this I suppose is meant to tie Xeno to that.

    A bit weird to think that the head of Xeno personally disguised himself as a drug dealer though.

  3. Paul says:

    You’re absolutely right – I’ll add that.

  4. Luis Dantas says:

    Looks like Percy is writing Man-Slaughter as Marvel’s direct counterpart to DC’s Swamp Thing.

  5. Loz says:

    Along with Man-Thing who seems to have been changed into being more directly the same as Swamp Thing?

    Watching the cultists fight the Blob and toss him around with ease I guess his ‘nothing can move the Blob’ days are way behind him now, huh?

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