At their best, superhero comics explore moral complexity and consequences of difficult choices. X-Force #12 does exactly that while asking a critical question – is the Beast too far gone?
We’ve been seeing the foundations of this question being laid across this run. Sometimes Beast has made a tough decision but he frequently gets it wrong. This time, he may have crossed a line, as Benjamin Percy, Jan Bazaldua, Guru-eFx, Joe Caramagna, and Tom Muller.
In the wake of Russia’s attack on Krakoa, mutantkind is in disarray. Beast has a plan- make an example of EVERY Russian mutant on the island. It’s a plan that could turn friend into enemy and damage the very foundation of X-Force, maybe even Krakoa itself!
Beast is unequivocally in the wrong in this story, and Percy explores what that means for X-Force and Krakoa as a whole. He spells it out in the story, but doesn’t get into the consequences quite yet. It does result in some important character interactions that have been a long time coming. It’s satisfying when Wolverine becomes an audience stand in for what Beast has been doing, giving him the punch in the gut we all think he deserves.
Bazaldua’s work on this issue is a big jump over her work in the last issue. Though it still has some issues with anatomy, she’s able to do some great expressive work with the leads. Colossus’s weary resignation is palpable, as is Logan and Domino’s shock as to how Hank is treating Piotr. Her page composition is engaging as well as she varies the panelling, the point of view, and the depth of the illustration all are engaging in their own ways to create an overall solid read.
I really hope to see this book explore the morality of the concept more. While the character interactions have created a series that feels the most like X-Men’s classic soap opera-meets-superheroes, the concept still has so much to explore. Hank McCoy is crossing lines that no hero should cross, and neither should a law enforcement official. That also gives it a great potential connection to modern political issues that can turn the series into a fantastic allegory as well.
I’m looking forward to more from this series especially as the plot and morality of it all gets more tangled and snarled.
X-Force #12 is available now from Marvel Comics.