By Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost (Writers) and Clayton Crain (Artist)
After what has been an extremely rough start for the X-Force re-launch, part three of the “Angels and Demons” storyline hints that the series is starting to find its footing. With that said, however, I must mention that issue #3 is very much a Purifier story as opposed to an X-Force story. Those looking for an “X fix” should look elsewhere as the Purifiers take front and center so we can get a glimpse into Bastion’s master plan to eliminate the remaining mutants (here’s a quick tip: catch up on your anti-mutant history/continuity). What we do get of the X-Force team revolves around Warpath’s mindset and the rescue of Wolfsbane (or Rahne Sinclair, if you prefer).
X-Force #3 works well because Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost have finally established a direction and plot that goes beyond the initial “X characters resorting to graphic violence on a rescue/revenge mission.” The Purifiers are established as a real threat and are shown to be dealing with the politics that have been brought about by the return of Bastion. They have a plan in motion that must be dealt with and, with that, we have a storyline in place that looks to be well worth reading. The inner dialogue of Warpath is well written and to the point, giving both the character and the team some much needed depth. This issue also brings to light some of the tension that exists between the various X characters as a result of the Divided We Stand storyline thread.
Clayton Crain’s dark and gritty artwork continues to be a mixed bag of sorts. I feel the art fits the story perfectly, but some of the exaggerated character features need to be toned down a bit. While there is definite improvement in that area with this issue, a little more refinement would be welcome. Also, a little bit of light from time to time would go a long way, as some scenes suffer from confusing action or direction.
All in all, I found myself surprised by the quality of this new issue of X-Force. The plot seems to be moving forward, the dialogue is improving, and the artwork is getting closer to being just right. One final note I must mention is that the cover of this issue is quite deceiving, as there is very little action and Rahne is never shown in her wolf form. (Grade: C)