X-Force #4 (November, 1991)
“Sabotage: Part 2”
Plot/Art – Rob Liefeld
Balloon Stuffer – Fabian Nicieza
Letters – Rosen & Eliopoulos
Colors – Brian Murray
Edits – Bob Harras
Chief – Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.00
At present, I’m trying to think about the future… and kind of brainstorming ways to begin moving forward again, if that’s ultimately what I decide to do.
As it currently stands, I manage three “dot coms”:
We open with a warning that this story started in Spider-Man #16… and tells us to “pick it up as we go along”. Well, we’re about to find out that’s far easier said than done. The first half-dozen pages of this thing are more fighting between Juggernaut and X-Force (with Spider-Man). Domino has also somehow joined the fight. There’s some… real cringeworthy dialog here, including Juggernaut asking if X-Force is “nuts” for Warpath attempting to “fastball special” Shatterstar into the big dummy… to which, Shatterstar replies with “yes”. So, X-Force is nuts. Juggs also calls Shatterstar a “little prancin’ SOB”, so there’s that too.
After Shatterstar’s onslaught… which sort of plays like this is the first time they’d clashed during this battle… we can see that Juggernaut is bleeding from both eyes (he wasn’t a second ago!). So… did the eye-trauma thing happen in Spidey #16… or, is this like “another view” of the same scene? Who knows… We also don’t have any indication that one of the Trade Towers was knocked down… ya know, the entire friggin’ cliffhanger from the Todd issue.
We hop inside the non-toppled tower, to find Cable still hunting down Black Tom. He tells Tom that… he’s a dead man. Like, he’s got two choices… surrender and die, or fight… and die.
Tom chooses “fight”… and so, they do. Cable manages to knock Tom into an elevator shaft, where he’s ironically hanging onto a “cable” for dear life. Wonk wonkkkkk. Cable (capital C) decides it’s time to “Shoot fish in a barrel” and blasts his Mark-69 Liefeldian Bumble-Bomber right into Tom’s defenseless face!
Tom plummets down the shaft… where he’s eventually caught by… Deadpool! Hey, this issue is suddenly worth a few bucks! He tells Tom that Mr. Tolliver needs him… and they blink out.
Outside… jeez… the Juggernaut fight continues. Also, we get a scene featuring ol’ “Front-Butt” Gee Dub Bridge himself. He suggests that now might be the best time to bring Cable down. Talk about a one-track mind!
Back to the skirmish. Siryn flies up to Juggernaut and… well, swipes his helmet! That shouldn’t be able to happen, right? Well, Shatterstar informs him (and us) that his swords were forged in a “Dimension of Magic and Science”… and, I guess when he impaled Juggernaut’s eyeballs on them, they also somehow sheared off the supports for the helmet? In response, Juggernaut informs Shatterstar that his mother’s a pansy… or something. Da hell?
Finally, Cable shows up outside… and confronts Juggernaut. Before the final-battle can commence, however, Deadpool… uh, comes up from under the ground, and grabs Juggernaut by the ankle? The hell am I looking at here? I guess Mr. Tolliver needs Marko too… because they vanish into thin air.
Front Butt Gee Dub arrives to arrest Cable, who… as always… pulls the ol’ “Bodyslide by whatever” gimmick and zips the team away. That’s that!
This was… not great.
One of the things I try and do anytime I discuss an “infamous” run of books, is… not so much be contrarian to the hive-mind, but to… I dunno, not allow the hive-mind to influence my feelings. Welp, sometimes the hive-mind is right. While I feel like Liefeld’s work gets the short shrift more often than not online… sometimes we get a “story” like this, which… really isn’t one that holds up to any positive critique.
Actually, I take that back… the one “check” I can place in the “positive” column is, Rob and Fabian had a much better grip on these characters than Todd did. Though in fairness, Rob and Fabian didn’t think they were cashing their final Marvel check with this story either.
When I revisited this, I made the “mistake” of reading the Spidey chapter and X-Force chapter in succession. Like, as soon as I put the Spider-Man ish down, I picked up this one expecting… ya know, a continuation. That’s… not exactly what we get. At least, that’s not readily apparent anyway.
We don’t get any indication that a building was toppled at the end of the Todd ish. It’s unclear whether or not the Shatterstar-eye trauma scene had already occurred… or was occurring for the first time here? Was this some weird, artistic attempt at “multiple POVs” or something? Whatever it was, it didn’t really work.
Did this “story” (again, we use that term loosely) really require forty-something pages to be told? It really all comes down to Spider-Man and X-Force fight the Juggernaut… and that fight ends as unspectacularly and predictably as you’d expect: Juggs’ helmet comes off. Never seen that before, right?
Oh well… it’s worth noting that there were some subplots bubbling… which, I suppose is another “check” in the positives column. Juggernaut and Black Tom were nyoinked out by Deadpool on behalf of Mr. Tolliver… so, there’s that. Ol’ G.W. Bridge is still acting like Cable’s scorned lover, so there’s that too.
Is this worth the read? Well… ehhh. If you’re in the mood for like “top tier” 90’s excess… yeah. I mean, let’s be honest, there are times when an issue/story like this is just what the doctor ordered. Otherwise, ya probably don’t need this one in your life.