Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! This week, return to the halcyon days of the 1970s, as the bouncing blue Beast and Wonder Man team-up in X-Force #49! Then, slide on down to the Rapid Rundown for quick takes on Daredevil #6 and Ultimate Spider-Man #2!

What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

X-Force #49

X-Force #49

Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Robert Gill
Color Artist: GURU-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Design: Tom Muller Jay Bowen
Cover Artist: Daniel Acuña (after Gil Kane, Dave Cockrum, Glynis Wein and Danny Crespi)

X-Force has been one of the most consistent titles across the entire Krakoan era — and for better or worse, that’s meant a very slow burn from Benjamin Percy. There have been points throughout the run where I’ve questioned this approach, but as we reach the climactic end, it feels more and more worth it.

With the exception of Deadpool and Black Tom Cassidy (who Percy nailed from the beginning, no notes there), each character on this roster has gone through an arc of significant growth in the four and a half years since the book started. Subplots have weaved in and out of the book as time has gone on, making this feel dynamic and different from arc to arc. Not everything has worked (and I wish we’d had more time with Colossus), but when it hits, it hits. 

Nothing has hit more than the (decade-spanning) slide into villainy from Hank McCoy, the Beast. The seeds have been present since the mid-90s, but it’s been here that we’ve seen the characterization ramp up, to nearly unbelievable ends. This week, Beast has gone so far as to steal nuclear weapons, as a means to hide mutants living on Arakko, so that he may enact some insane plan upon humanity. Dark stuff indeed.

It’s no wonder that this was where Percy chose to bring in a cloned Beast, with the more exuberant personality he had in the mid 70s, at the peak of his Avengers era. Moreover, there was no better time to bring back the stoner comedy duo of The Beast and Wonder Man (Simon Williams), besties that haven’t really hung out since Hank turned serious in the aftermath of the Legacy Virus.

While Robert Gill and GURU-eFX do a great job depicting the acrobatics of this more youthful Beast (as he bounces from rooftop to rooftop to Simon’s arms), we don’t get too much time with the pair. The machiavellian machinations of the elder Beast requires more pages, and the issue ends with X-Force planning to take out both Beasts, assuming the younger one has broke bad as well.

There’s definitely some major decompression here, but it’s interesting what moves forward and what doesn’t. Barely anything happens with X-Force themselves, but then we spend so much time with them thinking about what to do. The time we spend with Hank and Simon is fun, but then that feels rushed along. Percy thrives with his character work, and I love a good quiet issue, but it feels as though this last arc has finally built up to this huge climax… just to keep waiting for something to happen in the next issue. The story isn’t bad, but it feels way too much like writing for trade. 

Verdict: STRONG BROWSE. The story is great, but works even better read altogether. 

my dude

Rapid Rundown!

Next week: Amazing Spider-Man #44 and another awesome installment of Women of Marvel


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