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Sep 13

X-Force #44 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-FORCE vol 6 #44
“The Chronicles of Colossus”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Colourist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Domino, Deadpool and Sage fight Orchis’ X-Sentinels in an alleyway. There’s what looks to be a poster of Colossus’s face on the right-hand wall. Astute readers will note that Deadpool isn’t actually in this issue. He wandered off on page 14 of the previous issue, and wasn’t with the X-Force members who followed Colossus through the portal to Mikhail’s base.

However, the solicitation for this issue refers to X-Force being captured, with “Sage, Deadpool and Domino” trying to reach them before the Sentinels do. Evidently Deadpool got cut from the plot, perhaps because it didn’t make sense for him to be in this book and Uncanny Avengers at the same time.

PAGES 2-3. Domino watches an Orchis checkpoint in Moscow.

Are we… are we seriously just going with the idea that Orchis are openly operating, with the blessing of the authorities, in both the USA and Russia, and that no further explanation is required for that? That’s…. um, well, gosh, that’s quite a choice we’ve made there, isn’t it?

The X-Sentinels. We saw Orchis working on these things in X-Men #22. They’re based around the abandoned adamantium skeletons that Orchis got from the X-Force squadrons (including Wolverine) who got killed in repeated attacks on the Orchis space station, as seen in Inferno #1.

PAGES 4-6. Domino confronts Boba Golubev.

Спужебное помещение. “Utility Room.”

Boba Golubev is a new character. There was a mutant called Mikula Golubev who was in the Bogatyri, a Russian group who debuted in Avengers West Coast #88, but that’s probably just coincidence – it’s a fairly common name.

PAGE 7. Recap and credits.

The title – “The Chronicles of Colossus” – obviously references Chronicler’s long-running control over him.

PAGES 8-10. Montage on the fate of X-Force.

The narrator is Chronicler, continuing his narration of Colossus’s life. Basically, now that his plan to attack the Hellfire Gala has been pre-empted and he’s out of favour with the Russian authorities, Mikhail doesn’t actually have a plan and is sitting around trying to figure out what comes next.

“[Mikhail] had tried to wrest control of Russia, Krakoa, the world, even the timeline…” In X Lives of Wolverine.

Kid Omega discovered that his powers weren’t working properly in his new, younger body just after entering it last issue.

Omega Red was simply defeated by Wolverine in X Lives of Wolverine rather than betraying Mikhail – in fact, Mikhail abandoned him, rather than vice versa. Obviously, Mikhail doesn’t interpret events that way.

PAGE 11. Data page: Sage catalogues the resources still available to her after the fall of Krakoa. Basically, the gates and the “singing stones” spy tech are all offline. Pacific Krakoa (the main island) is surrounded by Orchis, although they haven’t actually established a presence on the island, as seen over in Immortal X-Men. The Atlantic Krakoa was appropriated by Mother Righteous in X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 and is currently being used by her in the weird desert landscape where Exodus’s exiled Krakoans wound up, also in Immortal X-Men.

Of the members of X-Force, Wolverine (Laura), Kid Omega, Omega Red and Colossus are completely uncontactable; Deadpool and Wolverine are apparently detectable but offline, reflecting their status as guys who are just out there in the wider world. Since Deadpool is hanging around with the Avengers, and Wolverine is alive and well, you have to figure that both of them disabled their communications devices to avoid being tracked by Orchis.

PAGES 12-17. Domino escapes with Boba’s ring.

We’re not told what this ring does, but Domino asks how it works, and we’re told that Boba was a close ally of Mikhail Rasputin. So the obvious guess is that it’s some form of link to Mikhail’s hidden base. Sage tells us lately that it[s “connected to something very powerful”, i.e. Mikhail.

PAGE 18. Data page. More of Sage’s logbook. Aside from the last two lines, this is a straight recap of the Colossus / Mikhail storyline. Specifically…

  • Colossus was recruited for the Quiet Council at the end of issue #24 and formally appointed in Inferno #2.
  • Sage helpfully reminds us that Colossus’s personality change began when he “returned from Russia with an envoy of mutant refugees.” That happens all the way back in issue #1, and we never did find out precisely what had happened to him. The clear indication in this page is that Colossus has been under Chronicler’s control (or at least influence) since shortly before issue #1. Colossus is simply lying around injured in that story, and he doesn’t show up again until issue #7, which also has the first Chronicler page. In issue #7, Colossus is mostly moping about whether his unspecified experience in Russia was worth it. In issue #8, Colossus decides to resurrect Domino without her painful memories, after giving her a speech earlier in the issue about how they could both benefit from having part of their minds removed upon resurrection. When we see him again in issue #11, Colossus has relocated to the Savage Land, and announces his retirement “after what happened to me”. This is at least consistent with Colossus putting up some kind of confused resistance to Chronicler in the early part of the series.
  • X-Force’s trip to the future was in issues #40-42.
  • Domino discovered the evidence at the farm in the previous issue.

Note that Sage wants to find Colossus primarily in order to rescue her teammates, rather than because of the threat he poses.

PAGES 19-21. The remains of X-Force on their base.

This is the mobile base where Colossus had them stationed during the Hellfire Gala, to keep them out of the way.

“Don’t [No-Place tumours] cause cancer?” “Only through prolonged exposure.” This is apparently meant to explain why Moira MacTaggert had lung cancer in X Deaths of Wolverine #1, something that wasn’t very clear in the original story. It seems unlikely that Professor X and Magneto were actually planning to kill Moira, particularly given that her death would have re-set the timeline.

PAGES 22-24. Mikhail tries to get Chronicler to change tack and infiltrate Orchis.

Chronicler basically explains that his powers don’t work that way. First, because his reality-warping is driven by his sense of what makes a “real” story, he can’t stop writing someone without taking their story to a resolution – not without potentially catastrophic consequences, anyway. This also confirms that he can’t just write Colossus to turn round and kill Mikhail – that would be too far removed from the character that he’s been writing – but note that his narration in this scene is trying to focus as much as he can on tension between the brothers.

Second, he needs prolonged exposure to his target in order to form an empathetic connection with them – the obvious indication is that he had this time with Colossus in the run-up to issue #1.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: A SLIP OF THE PEN.

Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    It does seem weird that Orchis is openly operating in both the United States and Russia while the United States is supplying a country Russia is at war with with arms. But on the other hand, in Alpha Flight 1, Alpha Flight is trying to get fugitive mutants to Chandilar. That’s a bit extreme if Orchis’s influence is limited to NATO countries. Fall of X does seem to imply that Orchis has influence in most major countries.

  2. Joseph S. says:

    Despite covering a fair bit of ground, I suppose, the ending of the issue still felt rather abrupt. Maybe it’s just me, but it all felt a bit slight, perhaps because the main plot is focused on Domino and we only get little windows into most of the other characters.

    But, the Daniel Acuna cover is nice! And I chuckled at Black Tom’s “Easy does it, Dominoes.”

  3. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Joseph S: I didn’t like how Percy wrote Domino in this issue. She acted so timid and unsure of herself. I’m not saying she can’t have a crisis of faith, but I like brash, bold Domino. Also, it seemed like her luck power (not mentioned once) wasn’t working. Or maybe it was because she survived? I thought Domino had her power at this point, but maybe I’m forgetting something?

    On the other hand, I like how Chronicler’s power works. He can’t just mind control people, he needs to find a connection. I’m invested in his part of the story, and hope Percy sticks the landing.

  4. Michael says:

    @Mike Loughlin- the counterargument is that Cable’s son Tyler was able to capture Domino and hold her prisoner for months, so there have to be limits to Domino’s luck powers. (Yes, it’s possible he used power dampeners but he would have had to get the dampeners on her in the first place.)

  5. JD says:

    Domino does allude to her luck powers twice this issue (first when she avoids detection after spotting the Orchis checkpoint, then when she gets the ring off from the oligarch), but of course it can be read ironically.

  6. Omar Karindu says:

    Given the number of other secret MU organizations with former members who’ve joined Orchis, I suppose they could just claim that some of the remnants of Leviathan and/or some former Red Room personnel are in there, too.

    I think the Contessa from SHIELD — revealed as a longtime Russian mole — was last seen as part of a similar shadowy council of people from lots of organizations — J.A.N.U.S. – in Frank Tieri’s Ravencroft miniseries.

  7. Mike Loughlin says:

    @JD: it is entirely possible I was not reading closely enough! I’m glad Percy didn’t completely forget about the luck power.

    @Michael: I forgot all about that plot, but, in my defense, those comics suck 🙂

    Actually, in my defense, I don’t think Domino’s luck power was established at that point. I’ve never read New Mutants 98, so I don’t know if it was mentioned there, but I remember reading X-Force and wondering what Domino’s power was. In story, however, there’s no clear explanation how she could be captured if her power was working properly. The best explanation is probably what you wrote, that the luck power has limits.

    Either way, I didn’t like how she was handled this issue.

  8. Michael says:

    @Mike Loughlin- Domino’s luck power was first clearly explained in X-Force 36, about two years after the storyline where she was rescued. (Although there had been numerous references before X-Force 36 to “things just falling into place with her”.)
    It should be noted, though, that in X-Force 36 Nimrod was able to counter Domino’s power by using secondary dangers. (For example, Nimrod shoots a blade at her, her power causes it to miss her and it hits a steam pipe, which scalds Domino.) Arguably, this issue would have worked better if Orchis’s Sentinels did something similar.

  9. ylU says:

    I’ve always taken it as a given that Domino’s powers have limits, and that she can still be captured, killed, whatever. Otherwise, she’d be Isca the Unbeaten to the tenth power.

  10. Omar Karindu says:

    There’s an old Alan Grant issue of Shadow of the Bat featuring a villain with uncanny luck.

    At the end of the arc, he gets knocked off of a very tall building. He bounces off of an awning instead of pancaking on the street, but still breaks most of his bones and gets arrested.

    The idea is that luck is relative; it might give you the best possible outcome in the moment, but it can’t create an impossible outcome.

    Domino’s powers would make sense if portrayed that way, too.

  11. SanityOrMadness says:

    Yeah, but then you get stuff like Gail Simone having Domino get knocked off a very tall building, and Spider-Man just happens to Luckily swing by right at that moment. When they’re not even in NYC.

    It’s a very easy power to have a bunch of “cool moments” which add up to making her logically unbeatable.

  12. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Michael: thanks, I didn’t know when Domino’s powers were established. I stopped reading X-Force (v1) with issue 25. Actually, I stopped reading all the X-books around that point, they stopped interesting me. I didn’t love Tony Daniel’s art on X-Force after the excellence of Greg Capullo’s.

    @ylu: Domino’s powers should definitely have limits, but I would like them to have some definition. Can she only influence probability subconsciously, or can she focus? Does her luck only affect one target/situation at a time? I haven’t read every Domino appearance, so those questions might have been answered. Her current writer should get the reader up to speed. I just want to know if her power is working (or at least might be working) in-story. Power notwithstanding, I don’t like her being so mopey, either.

  13. Scott B says:

    I remember reading a Domino story that described her power as a kind of unconscious telekinesis, which doesn’t explain things like the Spider-Man example above.

  14. Michael says:

    @Scott B, @SanityorMadness- Yeah,there’s other examples of Domino’s powers doing things that border on the impossible. In one story, for example, Justice has been mind controlled. He surrounds himself with a forcefield and attacks the heroes, who have a gizmo that will shut down his powers if attached to his neck. Domino attaches the gizmo to his neck, leaving everyone wondering how she got the gizmo past the force field BEFORE Justice’s powers were shut down.
    Then there’s the time some one tried to shoot her and the gun misfired six times. Or the time she needed to break into a safe, entered her ex-boyfriend’s phone number and that turned out to be the right combination. Or the time the X-Men needed to get something in a grave and Domino just happened to be near the cemetery. Or the time Domino’s power caused two killer robots to be struck by lightning.
    Writers love to play up the ridiculous nature of Domino’s powers but it makes you wonder how she ever loses.
    And yeah, Domino’s power has been describes as telekinetic in at least one story but telekinesis doesn’t explain some of these examples. Some of these examples seem to defy the laws of cause and effect.

  15. wwk5d says:

    Domino vs Longshot: luck off!

  16. Si says:

    Does nobody read Gail Simone? Shang Chi taught Domino to use her power consciously, and also she fought Longshot, and her luck power turned out to be stronger.

  17. Taibak says:

    Was Domino even in New Mutants #98? Or was that supposed to be Copycat?

  18. Michael says:

    @Taibak- yeah, it was Copycat in New Mutants 98.

  19. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Si: much as I loved Secret Six, I didn’t even know there was a Gail Simone Domino series until recently when someone made reference to the Annual in the Stacy X episode of the Cerebro podcast.

  20. Luis Dantas says:

    Interesting that ORCHIS is apparently an umbrella organization of sorts. Reminds me of the days after Secret Invasion when H.A.M.M.E.R. came to be almost overnight, explicitly with operatives previously from both Hydra and SHIELD.

    I believe that from a creative standpoint it is just the current preference. It becomes a bit silly to have a half dozen megalomaniac organizations with superscience and lots of costumed faceless operatives working side by size without stepping on each other’s toes at all often.

    It would be nice to see some sort of mutual measuring between ORCHIS and, say, Maggia at some point. Maybe now that Kingpin has ORCHIS on his sights we will see something of that sort. I read that Sunspot was head of a reformed A.I.M. fairly recently; maybe they will take some stand too?

    You could easily make a whole series about the soap opera that is Days of ORCHIS Lives worldwide. But it would be hard to coordinate with other books and it might be painful to deal with the impact of references to real world groups.

  21. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Sunspot bought AIM under Hickman, who did almost nothing with the idea, but Al Ewing later used that in his New/US Avengers run. IIRC at the end the toys went back to the toolbox and AIM was back to being a group of science terrorrists.

    Anyway, the Ewing run was great fun. And it started the version of Roberto that he writes now in Red.

  22. […] #44. (Annotations here.) I really, really don’t like the fact that we’ve just got Orchis working in both the US […]

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