TITLE: X-Force vol. 1, issue #1
YEAR: August 1991
COMPANY: Marvel Comics
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Rob Liefeld
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Tom DeFalco
It was the time of Leifeld-mania, with artist Rob Leifeld coming aboard The New Mutants and joining Louise Simonson, the two would introduce Cable, and when Simonson left, Leifeld who would plot the series, teamed up with writer Fabian Nicieza and would introduce Deadpool, Domino, Feral, Shatterstar and Warpath.
Leifeld’s artwork was so popular that the artist would even be featured in a Levi’s 501 commercial:
But because this new group were becoming more militaristic with its leader Cable, the team would undergo a name change, X-Force. And it’s first book would sell a record 5 million copies (which would be bested by Jim Lee’s “X-Men” (vol. 2), which sold 8 million copies).
But so popular was “X-Force” and Rob Leifeld that action figures that Marvel was no doubt cashing in on the new era of artists. But without creator ownership and very little royalties, Leifeld, along with Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Erik Larsen and Jim Valentino would leave Marvel Comics to form Image Comics in 1992.
In the first issue of “X-Force”, Cable and team have found the Mutant Liberation Front HQ in Antarctica.
And not long after, MLF members Forearm, Reaper, Kamikaze and Wildside go for the attack. But X-Force is ready, Shatterstar chops off Reaper’s left hand and Feral breaks Wildside’s jaw and as she is about to kill him, Cable reminds everyone that they can not kill anyone unless they are are doing it for self defense purposes.
Meanwhile, Gideon and former New Mutant Sunspot enter a boardroom for the buyout of Jankos Corporation at the Twin Towers and immediately, Ariana Jankos said her client will best others and when the man is introduced, it is Black Tom Cassidy and he intends to swindle the money of all the companies who appeared in order to keep Jankos Corporation afloat.
G.W. Bridge of S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives and notice Cable’s M.O. And after talking to Sgt. Fury, they want Cable taken down. And so, Bridge brings in Weapon X (Garrison Kane).
I remember how popular this issue was, Liefeld artwork, popular characters of the ’90s and over 25 years later, I can’t say this issue holds up well. Sure, it showcases X-Force and the ferocity of some of its members, the incredibly popular character at the time, Cable as leader and more. But does the story standout? Not really. In fact, the only thing that I found memorable of this first issue is its cover more than the actual story.
If anything, Robert Liefeld no doubt accomplished a lot in his young career, especially for a person who didn’t have any formal training. And he did things his way, whether or not he succeeded or failed, he did it his way and “X-Force” issue #1 will be the second highest selling issue of all time.
But putting myself in the shoes of my teenage self, I bought into all the hype of the early ’90s and this first issue is more nostalgic of the mutant hype and it may not be a great issue, but back in 1991, having this issue in your collection was something quite special back then.