X-Force #9: Head Like a Hole

My take away from this issue of X-Force is that Domino needs Colossus like she needs a hole in the head.

X-Force #9

Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Joshua Cassara (Art), Tom Muller (Design), Benjamin Percy (Writer), Dean White (Colors)
Marvel Comics
March 18, 2020

X-Force 9 Cover featuring Domino, Wolverine, and Kid Omega in a jungle setting.

Holes in the head are, oddly enough, somewhat of a unifying theme in this issue. The story starts in Krakoa’s new tiki bar, named the Green Lagoon, and shows us Logan (aka He-Wolverine) bonding with his clone Gabby (aka “Scout,” apparently, because someone didn’t like Honey Badger for some absurd reason) and his son, Daken (aka Fucky Thot Enforcer) over a variant game of spin-the-bottle, wherein whoever the bottle is pointing at snikts themselves in the head. It’s…grisly and funny at the same time, but mostly it’s just nice to see Daken and Logan laughing together after years and years of animosity. A part of me would like to see them have a real heart-to-heart, but also they’ve had multiple chances for that in the past and it’s generally not gone well. At any rate, with Daken appearing in the soon-forthcoming X-Factor, we’ll have a good chance to hear his perspective on Krakoa.

There is of course another hole in the head worth talking about—Domino’s. Despite being in a brand new, uninjured and fully-intact body, thanks to the Resurrection Protocols, there’s still something missing for her. At the end of last issue, before succumbing to injuries, she made Colossus (aka The Worst) promise to ensure that she would remember everything when she was brought back. This was important to her, to hold on to those experiences, important enough that it came up twice during that issue, with her being vehement both times.

Domino and Sage discuss memory and trauma.

Clearly, Colossus (aka THE WORST) did not keep his promises. This goes beyond a simple lie, though; this is significantly worse. By making this choice, and by making it against her express wishes, Colossus has violated Domino’s bodily autonomy, he has violated her very self. He’s fundamentally altered who she is as a person by removing a significant event that informed her perspective. Furthermore, as is evident in these panels, he’s opted to let her think that this was her choice, that she wanted it. It’s well beyond the kind of dramatic deception that fuels a narrative, it’s a truly vile, despicable act. He’s shown that he’s not willing to respect her as a person, not willing to respect her autonomy, he’s chosen to place his desires for her above her own, and he’s done this at a time when there was nothing she could do to prevent it. She put herself quite literally in his hands and he didn’t just deliberately fail her, he actively betrayed her. This is a pattern with him, and while the act here is a horrific one to contemplate, I’m glad that the story isn’t shying away from his culpability.

The rest of the book’s narrative returns to the earlier arc regarding the fictional South American nation of Terra Verde (aka…Greenland? Greenland 2, I guess?), a country that went from accusing Krakoa of plagiarism  to enthusiastically signing a treaty with them after X-Force saved the President’s life in an off-the-books mission. Since then, they’ve gone dark, and so X-Force heads back to find out why. It’s another chance for returning artist Joshua Cassara to shine, and he does so, mixing body horror and wild foliage in that familiar, grisly way of his. I won’t get too into the details, because I should, at least, leave some of the issue for you to read without my direct commentary, but it’s a bit of fun mystery, and it sets up Black Tom to very likely have some cool moments next issue.

I mentioned over the first several issues that I waffled on whether or not X-Force was a good book, but I do really think it’s found its feet, and that’s something that’s extremely evident with the entirety of the original creative team back in play. There is a tendency, with fiction about black ops teams, to spout a few lines about it being grim but necessary work and then leave it at that. Here, though, Percy and the rest are taking the time to actually explore what it means to be part of such a team, what it means for that team to represent a nation, and what the work can do to the individual members of it. It’s troubling, difficult stuff and I keep finding myself eager to read more.

Nola Pfau

Nola Pfau

Nola is a bad influence. She can be found on twitter at @nolapfau, where she's usually making bad (really, absolutely terrible) jokes and occasionally sharing adorable pictures of her dog.

2 thoughts on “X-Force #9: Head Like a Hole

  1. 2 things:

    1.) Rest assured, she’ll always be Honey Badger to me.

    2.) a.) …never thought I’d have more respect for CYCLOPS than Colossus, but there you go.
    b.) Maybe Ms Pryde made a BRILLIANT decision calling off that wedding after all.

  2. I don’t think the blame is laid at Colossus – he isn’t actively involved in resurrection. All signs point to Beast being up to something. Sage has obviously picked up on this. It won’t end well.

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