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Feb 2

X-Force #37 annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #37
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Colourist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Design: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1: The Man with the Peacock Tattoo removes his mask, which must have been terribly itchy with X-Force inside. Wolverine is shown with X-Force here, but he’s not in the issue – presumably, this takes place while he’s still missing over in his own title, thanks to the Beast imprisoning him.

PAGE 2. Carlos Pacheco obituary.

PAGES 3-5. Deadpool annoys his teammates.

Omega Red threw Deadpool off the waterfall before, in issue #30. But aside from that, what is he doing, staring at the wall? Is he meditating? Does he suspect that something is behind there, maybe to do with one of Beast’s schemes?

PAGE 6. Oh look, they’ve lost the egg.

The Beast’s big plan last issue was to let Legacy House auction off a Krakoan egg, presumably to track whoever wound up buying it. As usual in this series, he was terribly confident that nothing could possibly go wrong, and as usual, it immediately has. Leave aside the fact that he’s evil – have we actually seen any sign in years that Beast is even competent enough to do the job?

At any rate, he refuses to concede that he’s screwed up yet again, and immediately starts to blame Sage for getting something wrong.

PAGE 7. Domino suggests that she should get her memories back.

Domino says that her luck leads her to believe that recovering her memories of her torture at the hands of XENO would allow her to track them down. Although she doesn’t mention it, she received a painting last issue – presumably from Colossus – actively prompting her to recover these memories.

As she says, these memories were excised when she was resurrected in issue #8. Contrary to what she says here, she didn’t ask Colossus to have them removed – she specifically asked for them to stay – but Colossus lied to the Five about it, and then lied to Domino about what she had asked for. In the short term, at least, it did seem to make her much happier.

Do we really trust Beast with access to “the memory files of all mutants”?

Sage goes out of her way to stress X-Force as a source of support for Domino, possibly because she remembers how traumatising Domino found these memories the first time round.

PAGE 8. Recap and credits.

PAGES 9-10. The Man with the Peacock Tattoo and Max.

As we established at the end of last issue, the Man with the Peacock Tattoo has got hold of the Beast’s egg. As in the previous issue, we’re clearly shown that there’s a fully formed body in that egg, though it’s not recognisable as any mutant in particular.

The clones in tubes around him are all based on X-Force members (plus former member Colossus), and his botched chimera appears to be a hybrid of Beast and Wolverine.

Max is revealed as the baby who was stolen from Krakoa by evil surfers way back in issue #25. In that issue, he was said to have vaguely defined psychic powers (as in, even the other characters didn’t know exactly what his powers were). We’re told on the following data page that a “growth serum” was used to accelerate his ageing. His identical costume seems intended to imply that he’s a clone of the Man, but I don’t think that’s actually stated, and it doesn’t really fit with the fact that he has mutant powers. It’s also possible that the Man is literally just Max’s father.

PAGE 11. Data page: a logbook by the Man with the Peacock Tattoo.

He basically tells us that he’s struggled to make lab-grown mutants, but now he can do it because he has the egg and he has Max.

This… doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, honestly. It’s not obvious how acquiring an egg “allows [him] access to the mutant biological factor” or, really, what that even means. After all, the eggs normally need the combined efforts of the Five, or at least someone who can simulate their powers. He tells us that Max “permits me to properly fertilize and hatch the egg” but… how? What does being a telepath have to do with that? None of the Five are telepaths, unless you count Hope being able to copy it from others.

He also seems to suggest that he kidnapped Max in order to use him for this purpose, but Max was kidnapped in issue #25 and he didn’t get the egg until issue #36.

At any rate… I don’t really understand what most of this page means, and the bits I do understand don’t make sense.

We’ll come back to the last couple of lines.

PAGES 12-13. Max demands to know about the Man with the Peacock Tattoo’s father.

This version of events is entirely false, as Max immediately picks up on. The basic point of all this is that the MwtPT was created as an expendable clone by his “father”, and if nothing else, he seems genuinely determined to behave better towards Max. Plainly that’s at least in part for pragmatic reasons – he wants to keep the kid on side – but I think it’s also at least partly genuine.

“An island not so different from Krakoa.” We’ll find out later that this is mutate-era Genosha, which was indeed a paradise of sorts if you weren’t a mutant. By describing it as “not so different from Krakoa”, the Man may be making a point about mutant exceptionalism, or may simply be referring to the fact that it was a paradise built on mutant powers (if involuntarily).

Labradorite. The Man with the Peacock Tattoo’s mask was identified as labradorite back in issue #8. It’s a genuine iridescent mineral that Beast described in that issue as “said to be a stone with a magic connection to transformation and protection”. Beast did identify Genosha as one source of labradorite in that issue (along with several others, one of which was Russia).

“My father kept a menagerie of what he considered superior animals.” As explained later, the Man’s father is David Moreau, the original Genegineer, who was responsible for the technology that enslaved mutants as a Genoshan slave labour force. Presumably, the “menagerie” is standing in for a collection of particularly interesting mutants.

The Genegineer wasn’t a very long running character – he was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #236 (1988) and died in New Mutants #97 (1990). He was killed helping to fight Cameron Hodge.

PAGES 14-16. Domino’s memories are restored.

Apparently it’s possible to restore individual memories without the involvement of a psychic. Domino says she’s doing it this way in order to avoid traumatising the psychic would have to be involved, but it’s possible that she just wants privacy – as noted, she was already prompted to think about this in the previous issue.

The flashbacks on page 15 show Domino being captured and tortured by XENO in issues #1-2, and Domino fighting XENO soldiers with her powers, and dying in Colossus’s arms, both in issue #8. She clearly becomes aware here that Colossus lied about her wishes, but she doesn’t mention that to anyone else just yet. You have to suspect that it didn’t come as a surprise to her.

The flashback on page 16 is an original scene of the Man with the Peacock Tattoo trying to sell his services to Mikhail Rasputin. Mikhail is understandably sceptical that his monstrous creations can sensibly be classified as mutants, but we know that they did go on to work together – for a bit, anyway. Mikhail lost patience with him and imprisoned him in a pocket dimension in issue #23. We never did find out how he got out.

PAGES 17-20. The Man with the Peacock Tattoo’s origin story.

Basically, he’s one of many abused clones of the Genegineer. Since Max doesn’t object to this account, we can probably take it as accurate.

His scars appear to come from an accident, but many of his fellow clones also have scars – or possibly just flaws in their cloning.

Philip and Thomas Moreau are both existing characters. Philip debuted in Uncanny X-Men #236 as part of the original Genoshan storyline – basically, he’s the privileged kid who discovers that his life is built on exploitation and becomes an activist. He’s still out there somewhere, though he obviously hasn’t had much to campaign about Genoshan got razed. Thomas Moreau is much more obscure; he’s the mutant son of the Genegineer who showed up to challenge Magneto’s rule of Genosha in the 1999 miniseries Magneto Rex and got swiftly killed. It’s understandable that Thomas gets used as the callous son here – honestly, if Philip knows anything substantial about what his father was up to during this period, it screws up his arc.

PAGE 21. Data page. More from the Man with the Peacock Tattoo’s logbook. From the look of it, his motivation in experimenting on mutants is not so much anti-mutant prejudice but a desire to outdo his hated father by mastering mutant biology in a way that the Genegineer failed to do. Of course, at the same time, he’s inherited the Genegineer’s tendency to view mutants as subhuman.

PAGES 22-23. X-Force arrive on Genosha.

Genosha is looking in remarkably good shape here compared to how it’s normally shown, but to be fair, we are out of the main cities, and it’s been long enough that the plants have had time to regrow. It’s rather bizarre for the footnote to attribute Genosha’s dilapidated state to the alien invasion in Empyre: X-Men rather than, you know, the mass slaughter by giant robots thing.

And… the “electrical grid is dumping 300,000 kilowatt hours into this location a month”? The “electrical grid”? In Genosha? It’s an uninhabited graveyard! It has been for 20 years! What electrical grid?

PAGES 24-25. Max runs away, and the Man’s chimera emerges.

It’s a mix of all the members of x-Force, basically. Not sure how he’s copying the claws without Proteus around, but okay.

PAGE 26. Trailers.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    This whole clone thing is getting ridiculous. What reader still gets excited by the idea of clones in the Marvel comics? It was one thing when there was one clone of Spider-Man, one of Jean Grey, one of each Marauder kept on ice until needed, and that was about it. But now there’s dozens of Wizards, a whole bunch of Emma Frosts, entire populations of Sinisters, who knows how many Spider-Mans both classic and Morales, clones of clones of Wolverine, a few Red Skulls, pens full of Genegineers now, and so-on ad infinitum. Who cares about individuals any more? Who cares if their favourite team fights Asbestos Lady? It’s probably just one of 57 clones of her, not the real Victoria Murdock, there’s no actual stakes, blow her head off and it’s not even murder.

  2. Tristan says:

    My personal take on exactly how Percy is botching his primary throughline of this run – Hank McCoy’s corruption – has for some time been this: he wants to tell a story of Beast’s moral philosophy vs. Wolverine’s, but he fundamentally sympathizes with Wolverine’s tough guy cowboy ronin bullshit too much to ever grant that there’s a question of validity between them. He can’t bring himself to ever give McCoy a win on this contest, so his characterization is less ‘power corrupts’ then it is ‘this fat nerd thinks he’s so smart but he’s not’.

    The specific Beast fuck up in this one feels particularly revealing precisely because there isn’t a moral dimension to it for once. He just does a dumb thing that is immediately shown to be dumb; there’s not even a stray line from peacock about how he almost failed to counter the tracking, or nearly destroyed the egg on his first effort. Hank basically gives him a lock with the key still in it.

  3. Nu-D says:


    Not to mention, y’know, the whole of mutantdom can/is/will be resurrected via clones. Including Moira.

  4. Chris V says:

    2020s Marvel is truly the heyday for everyone who loved “The Clone Saga” and felt it didn’t go far enough.

    I wish The Man with the Peacock Tattoo’s son would have been called George or Curious Max.

  5. Michael says:

    I always assumed Philip Moreau died in Genosha with Kitty’s father. IIRC, he hasn’t been seen since Cassandra Nova destroyed Genosha.

  6. The Other Michael says:

    Well, Genosha was slightly less uninhabited in that one run of Excalibur with Xavier and Magneto trying to do… stuff there.

    But of course then we had the Necrosha event which you think would have made things even worse. So yeah, it’s not exactly been prime real estate. I’m surprised Krakoa hasn’t tried to annex it on some vague claim or another based on it being a former mutant homeland, or the mutant equivalent to a concentration camp given how many died there or even just out of pettiness.

  7. Jenny says:

    Obviously Percy isn’t as bad of a writer but I’m getting the same sort of whiplash from this book as like, mid to late period Chuck Austen X-Men where some random new thing is dumped every other issue.

  8. Si says:

    Wait, isn’t Genosha full of Scarlet Witch’s zombies?

  9. Moonstar Dynasty says:

    This issue was terrible.

  10. Michael says:

    @Si- No, Strange cast a spell that would cause the zombies to disintegrate in 30 days.

  11. wwk5d says:

    This title is really starting to lose me…

    I mean, if the cast isn’t going to call out Beast on any moral red lines he is crossing, you’d think they’d at least be calling out his inept decisions?

  12. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Given that Claremont was going for a ‘banality of evil’ approach with Genosha – the Genengineer had a suburban white picket fence house and was a generally alright bloke who just couldn’t see his victims as humans, giving him a basement full of child clones of himself he’s regularly mushing into paste to feed other clones of himself…

    To me, it kinda (completely) misses the point?

  13. Thom H. says:

    Re: everybody’s got clones: let’s not forget that alternate reality versions of everyone can be brought to 616, too. Off the top of my head: Storm, Blink, Beast, Reed Richards, Wolverine (twice!), Spider-man.

    And presumably, at least some alternate reality characters are also producing clones of themselves. It’s a real Rick and Morty out there these days.

  14. Mike Loughlin says:

    Is there any part of the Man with the Peacock Tattoo’s story and role in the comic that necessitated his identity being withheld for so long? I’m fine with the reveal- I didn’t actually care- but why bother? If he was revealed as a character living on Krakoa or a well-known X-Men ally or unseen villain, the secrecy would have made sense. “A guy cloned from a forgotten character who was killed off decades ago” isn’t the most compelling secret identity.

  15. Jon R says:

    Krzysiek: I haven’t read the issue (dropped X-Force early on), but that was my biggest reaction to the review. That just.. didn’t sound like the Genegineer’s jam. And it’s a pity because he was a pretty effective character. I don’t have full context, but this seems to just turn him into a full-on mad scientist generic villain rather than an almost-normal cog in a monstrous machine.

  16. Chris V says:

    That seems to be Percy’s specialty on the X-books. There’s no nuance to any of his villains. Percy also decided to have Moira skin her ex-lover and wear his skin because that’s obviously Writer’s 101 for showing that someone is very evil.

  17. The Other Michael says:

    I will admit, I didn’t have “clone of the Genegineer” on my Bingo card. And yet, I remain underwhelmed. I’m surprised Sugar Man wasn’t involved simply because he was (retroactively) behind the whole Genosha mutate thing in the first place. And there’s a character without nuance or subtlety–perfect for Percy.

    I hope Sugar Man is at the very back of the queue for resurrection… though given that Krakoa has tried to rehabilitate literally every other monster, I’m also surprised they didn’t have him up and working in a lab.

    Why is Percy still writing multiple books when his stuff is such nonsense?

  18. Michael says:

    We saw a Sugar Man chimera in Sins of Sinister but that takes place in the future.
    (And yes, a Sugar Man who somehow managed to make himself look human would have been a better choice for the Man than the Genegineer.)

  19. Mathias X says:

    >> We saw a Sugar Man chimera in Sins of Sinister but that takes place in the future.
    (And yes, a Sugar Man who somehow managed to make himself look human would have been a better choice for the Man than the Genegineer.)

    Don’t speak loud enough that Percy hears you, or we’ll find out that Sugar Man is shrunk real small & piloting the Genegineer like a flesh Gundam.

  20. wwk5d says:

    Funny enough, that could make Sugar Man more interesting than he has ever been.

  21. The Other Michael says:

    And again, Percy would be all over “small man piloting big man like a flesh mecha.”

  22. Pseu42 says:

    Re: Domino’s previous-life memories on pg 15.

    How does Cerebro have a stored copy of the memory of Domino dying in Colossus’s arms? Domino wasn’t being continuously uploaded then (in the way that Kurt *was* near the end of AXE). That seems like a mistake to me.

  23. Pseu42 says:

    My No Prize attempt at explaining the metal claws on the last page: It ain’t actually adamantium, it’s just the combo-creature using its Colossus powers to turn the bone claws into metal.

  24. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Oh, so somebody hunted down Jimmy Hudson for his DNA after all.

  25. Trevor says:

    I’ve been Re-reading X-Force and have concluded that Beast is being kind controlled/influenced by some teleflouronic parasite from Terra Verde since issue 6. Before that issue, Beast is much more his normal self, even getting chastised for being too reliant on civilization by Wolverine in the first issue. He doesn’t do any of this over the top villainous crap until issue 6, where he seems to suddenly turn. There’s little on the page to signify he’s been taken over, but while in Terra Verde there’s an extended sequence where he fiddles with his glasses while thinking about how the plants can weapon use people and turn them into the equivalent of Omega Sentinels. I believe something similar happens to him here and he’s taken over just enough to suppress his morality and judgment moving forward, perhaps to subtly chip away at Krakoa’s defneses over time.
    Another clue is that unless I missed it Beast has not been resurrected yet – he even makes a point out of not resurrecting to fix his eye. I believe that’s the parasite keeping him from rebooting back without it and leaving the parasite to die in the infected body. So in the end all that will need to happen is for Beast to die and be brought back, and he’ll be back to normal but able to see how awful he could go without a moral compass and will resultantly dedicate himself to honoring his morality even more than before, reversing all of the slow degradation we’ve seen since Bendis’ run but not ignoring it.
    I really hope this is what Percy is planning.

  26. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    That would be nice. (I’m doubtful)

    We haven’t heard anything about those evil plants since the first Hellfire Gala, have we?

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