RSS Feed
Aug 23

X-Force #43 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #43
“Friend, Farmer, Soldier, Spy”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Colour artist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. X-Force in action, with Colossus in the leadership role. For some reason the group includes Domino but not Sage.

PAGE 2. John Romita tribute.

PAGES 3-4. Colossus prepares for the Hellfire Gala.

We’re back on the night of X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023, before all the unpleasantness happens. Unlike the other X-books, this one doesn’t jump forward ten weeks to catch up with Fall of X – it’s a belated Gala tie-in.

Again, there’s some ambiguity about whether the narrator here is meant to be Chronicler (or at least reflecting the inner voice that Chronicler is writing for Colossus). The particularly odd moment is on page 3 panel 4, when Colossus briefly lashes out in frustration – Immortal X-Men #12 spent a whole issue hammering the idea  that Colossus is locked in, after all. Is Chronicler acting it out to be true to his understanding of the character? Or does Chronicler just let his guard down for a moment?

PAGES 5-6. Kid Omega shifts his mind into a younger body.

This version of Kid Omega has spent decades in an alternate timeline after vanishing in issue #29 and returning to the present day in issue #42. The bodies based on assorted other Krakoan characters were previously seen in issue #28, when we saw him try out the Juggernaut body in training. Understandably, he just goes for a version of his own body, but for whatever reason, his powers don’t seem to work properly in this form.

PAGES 7-9. Colossus briefs X-Force before the Gala.

Wolverine (Laura) refuses to take her seat at the table and sulks off at the side.

Domino, as usual, is the most emotionally perceptive person in the room, and picks up on Kid Omega’s mood; obviously he’s decided not to share his problem with his powers.

“Due to the extremely sensitive diplomatic situation we find ourselves in as a nation…” Such as the “Sins of Sinister” timeline being made known to the general public through Orchis’s machinations, over in Immortal X-Men.

“…and due to the terroristic behaviour Beast is up to on the global stage…” Covered mostly in Wolverine. X-Force showed up to help defeat Beast in Wolverine #35, but he escaped, so Colossus’ comment is reasonable.

“X-Force will stay off-site, maintaining a satellite presence only at this year’s Hellfire Gala.” As we’ll see later on, Mikhail was planning to mount his own attack on the Hellfire Gala, but Orchis got there first.

PAGE 10. Data page. Although this is marked as a “Chronicler” page, it’s actually a monologue delivered to him by Mikhail. Mikhail lectures Chronicler about how he did nothing of any importance with his powers until falling under Mikhail’s control. He’s not wrong exactly, but if Chronicler really was spending his time writing modest novels and living a quiet, if alcoholic, life despite his extremely useful powers, maybe Chronicler doesn’t actually want to do anything important.

“We have amounted an army” is surely some kind of error – “assembled”, maybe? Mikhail’s “Super Soldiers”, seen at the end of the issue, are the latest version of the “nesting dolls” lab-grown soldiers that he’s used in previous issues.

PAGE 11. Recap and credits. The title “Friend, Farmer, Soldier, Spy” is a reference to “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy” by John Le Carré.

PAGES 12-13. Colossus plants a Krakoan gate.

Presumably, the plan was for Mikhail’s forces to march through the gate. But of course, we know Orchis are about to shut them down. The narration stresses the point that this is the moment everything was meant to be working towards, for Mikhail – and of course we know it isn’t going to happen. (If it actually is a change of plans, then I think this turns it to advantage quite well.)

PAGE 14. Domino and Deadpool both wander off.

Domino. As we’ll see in a few pages, Domino is going to go and check out Colossus’ farm, as Colossus asked her to do last issue, moments before falling under Chronicler’s control again. It’s not clear what motivates her to do that now, in the middle of a job.

“Wade, as you well know, we’ve faced incursions at the Gala before.” Sage is referring to Deadpool crashing the first Krakoan Hellfire Gala in issue #20.

PAGES 15-16. Colossus at the Gala.

“ВАШЕ ЗДОРОВЬЕ”  “To your health.”

It’s still not entirely clear why telepaths such as Professor X can’t sense what’s up with Chronicler, but presumably it’s something to do with the way Chronicler’s reality-warping powers work.

PAGE 17. Domino visits Colossus’ farm.

As expected, Colossus was trying to get Domino to look at the paintings that he’s been using to try and express himself. The line about Mikhail being “clearly on your mind” is obviously a play on words. Kayla, shown dead in a painting, was Colossus’ girlfriend. He murdered her under Chronicler’s influence in issue #24, after she saw his paintings.

PAGES 18-19. Orchis attack.

Nimrod’s attack is shown in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023. Since this is completely outside Chronicler’s storyline, Colossus is apparently unable to react by anything more than stalling until Chronicler gives him some new directions.

PAGES 20-21. Domino finds Kayla’s body.

Colossus buried it here in issue #24.

PAGE 22. Data page – basically just more recapping of Hellfire Gala for any readers who skipped it.

PAGES 23-25. Colossus leads X-Force to his army.

Basically, Colossus/Chronicler comes up with the fallback plan of bailing from Krakoa and leading X-Force to Russia, which at least gets them to safety. Note that Domino is still in the Savage Land, and Sage gets her warning in time to avoid following too. We’re clearly told that this is not something that Mikhail asked for, which suggests that it’s something Chronicler did on his own initiative. Is he trying to give X-Force an opportunity to rescue him, now that a deniable opportunity has presented itself?

PAGE 26. Trailers. The Krakoan reads THE CHRONICLES OF COLOSSUS.

Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    Well, now we got an answer as to why X-Force wasn’t covering security at the Gala and why security at the Gala was so poor. All though it is kind of funny how Orchis’s plan only succeeded as well as it did because Mikhail was sabotaging security for his own plan.

  2. Si says:

    Why does anyone in the general community care that there could be a long dark future, except now it can’t happen? Is Joe Public really going to say “oh in a thousand years a clone of that guy on TV might have turned into a giant planet, the bastard!” People don’t even care about climate change predictions.

  3. Michael says:

    @Si- as they explained in Immortal X-Men 13, the X-Men can’t say with confidence that Sinister can’t control the humans the Phoenix Foundation resurrected. And yes, Sinister is currently trapped in the Pit but every other villain got out of there.

  4. Mike Loughlin says:

    I guess X-Force is going to be in Mikhail’s dimension for the Fall of X? If so, that’s two storylines in a row that takes the team out of the main timeline/universe. At least this one will conclude a story arc, hopefully.

    Even if X-Force was at the Gala, I don’t know how any of them could have effected the outcome of Nimrod’s attack. Sage might have detected the incoming cyborg, but if it was traveling too fast and couldn’t be stopped by telepathy, her warning would have been in vain.

  5. ylU says:


    It wouldn’t just be in a thousand years. The corrupted Sinisterized clones were up to their dastardly deeds pretty much from the word go.

  6. Si says:

    Yes, but none of that actually happened. It’s like being angry at someone because of what they did in a dream a third person told you about.

    And yes, a potential security breach was exposed, and patched by Forge. Maybe it can be exploited again one day, but that’s small risk next to having a dead loved one back.

  7. Orogogus says:

    I stopped watching Terminator media after not enjoying the third movie, but I think the idea was that most people would be broadly against Skynet and Cyberdyne if they knew about (and believed) the future timeline. Sabotaging Cyberdyne was understood to be a reasonable action. It seems analogous, except that “Military AI network” isn’t as PR-friendly as life-extending, antibiotic and anti-dementia medications, and while Linda Connor has trouble convincing people about her dystopian future timeline, Krakoan leadership is dealing with people living in the Marvel universe who see this kind of thing in the news every year or two.

  8. ylU says:

    I think there’s a meaningful difference between a dream, which is pure fiction someone’s mind made up, and something that would’ve genuinely happened — and could still happen. It’s the difference between dreaming you had a heart attack and knowing you’re actually at serious risk for a heart attack.

  9. neutrino says:

    Humans resurrected should be safe since they didn’t use Sinister’s genetic database.

  10. Zoomy says:

    Announcing, in explicit detail, that the mutants have the potential to take over the world and kill everyone, but that they’re not going to do it now (honest) is clearly going to have a negative public relations impact, isn’t it?

  11. Miyamoris says:

    @Si, as I understand the big issue with the Sinister infection is not only contaminating the mutants with typical Sinister solipsism, but that already present character flaws end up being extrapolated by that. It makes the whole thing much more personal to the infectees. Plus the whole insecurity fostered by “are we *really* clean” means they cannot confidently reassure anyone about the state of things at the island.

    @neutrino: was it explicitly expressed they’re not getting the human genetic samples from Sinister at any point? And even if they didn’t, for the common person the procedure might not be transparent enough.

  12. Chris V says:

    This is the Marvel Universe. People have an unreasonable level of hatred for mutants on a regular basis. Krakoa is giving drugs to humanity. Suddenly, humanity hears about tainted DNA and mutants conquering the world in a possible future. Basically, everything they feared as a worst case scenario is proven true. Why would they trust the drugs or anything else?

  13. Chris V says:

    Miyamoris-In the pages of Immortal X-Men, a mother asks Emma if she can assure her that her child is not infected. Emma tells her she cannot assure her. This is certainly not a time for Emma to be flippant. Emma knows how the Sinister DNA infection occurs, so there must be a reason for Emma to have doubts as to whether the child could be infected. That makes it sound as if Sinister had access to the human genetics as well. It sounds as if Krakoa might have added the human samples to Sinister’s DNA database.

  14. Miyamoris says:

    @Chris V: the first thing that came to me was this Emma scene, yeah, but I got that she was genuine when she said she wasn’t sure.

    (In retrospect, it’s a shame we didn’t get to dig more into the Phoenix Foundation, but Jean was under Duggan and we all know he’s not the writer for this kind of stuff.)

  15. Jon R says:

    I’d also assumed that some of the videos that they’d been looking at in Immortal were released to the public as part of that infodump. Alternate timelines might be over the public’s head, but “here’s video of the Krakoan government being evil supervillains” is probably gonna leave a mark. Especially when half of them are actual former evil supervillains.

    For that matter, I wonder if the details of how they planted blame on Orchis before destroying them in that timeline got out. That would give Orchis a huge win on any debates. “These mutants *said* they didn’t taint their drug supply and that we did it, but by their own admission they like to blame us for things we didn’t do.” Of course most of the propaganda plotline is under Duggan and he doesn’t seem to want to focus on the details there.

  16. Josie says:

    I know the x-books have been rather intertwined for the past four years, but it really feels like in this Fall of X era that we’ve entered ’90s Superman numbered shield territory. Well done, X-editors, on releasing a more-than-weekly ongoing title.

  17. Pseu42 says:

    Isn’t it weird that Omega Red has zero lines of dialogue and performs zero actions of import in this entire issue? It’s like Ben Percy forgot he existed and Robert Gill just drew him into the background like a piece of furniture.

  18. Alastair says:

    It feels that they are intertwined because they are all using the same jumping off point of a large status quo change, but I expect a set of self contained arcs till the end of the year before linking up in new event in Jan

  19. neutrino says:

    @Miyamoris: They were using it on people like children with terminal illnesses, so they would take the genetic sample at the same time they recorded their minds. Sinister would have no interest in getting a sample from them.They taking samples from resurrected mutants so they could eventually stop using Sinister’s.

    @Chris V: It seems more like bad writing on Duggan’s part.

  20. […] #43. (Annotations here.) Unlike most of the “Fall of X” books, we’re jumping back to the Gala itself here, […]

  21. ylU says:


    Those DNA samples still had to be stored somewhere until it was time to resurrect the child. And the same database they were storing all the other DNA (Sinister’s archive) probably seemed as good a place as any.

  22. neutrino says:

    @ylU: No, they were building a separate database to avoid using Sinister’s and eventually make him obsolete.

  23. ylU says:


    What comic was that?

Leave a Reply