By Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (writers), Clayton Crain (art)

X-Force continues to stumble along. It’s greatest offense is that its simple storyline could probably easily fit into three issues. Instead, it’s completely drawn out, filled with an overabundance of expository dialog. Heck, within the first 12 pages of this second issue, there’s already two recaps on what happened in the first issue. Is this really needed? It’s most likely because Marvel hopes to collect all six-parts into a trade paperback later.

Continuing where the first issue left us, Risman is holding Wolfsbane hostage and Wolverine’s ready to stand down. But X-23, being the loose canon she suddenly is, goes against Logan’s orders and unleashes a powerful explosion in the church, killing just about everyone. Yet, somehow, Warpath manages to survive unscathed while Risman escapes with Wolfsbane (even though they were pretty much right in the center of the blast). This event plays out incredible stupid and makes Wolverine look like a fool – especially in front of Cyclops when he has to later explain his team’s failure.

After their debriefing, the team goes back out on a murdering spree, destroying Purifier bases across the land in hopes of finding Wolfsbane and Risman. Meanwhile, Risman and Bastion come to the realization that if they want to really destroy the X-Men, they’ll need some serious help. They venture to the bottom of the sea to find Warlock? Yes, that Warlock from the New Mutants!

Okay, the whole Warlock thing surprised me – it even made me grin a little. It’s a character I’ve been missing for a long time. But honestly, concept aside, I don’t trust Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost. Plus, this idea is pretty hokey. So far, this writing team has done nothing but stumble with this story line and the concept behind it. This book is below average on all fronts – art included. Clayton Crain is good with a Wacom tablet, but his art is so inconsistent that I can’t say it’s good. Sometimes it looks decent (though over-rendered), other times it looks like a step up from refined thumbnails. His action sequences are also very stiff. I’d like to see this book succeed, but I just don’t see it happening without a lot of help or new creative team. (Grade: D)

– J. Montes