X-Force: New Beginnings (Marvel, 2001)I'd been eyeing these books for some time now, drawn to the unusual cast of characters gracing their covers, colorfully rendered in artist Mike Allred's unique, graphic style. The art reminded me of Batman: Year One and DC: New Frontier, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli and Darwyn Cooke respectively- well drawn, but not fussy on detail, with a certain retro feel to it. I picked up the New Beginnings TPB (X-Force #116-120) up for $9.99 at V-Stock, then hit the Fantasy Shop for The Final Chapter (X-Force #121-129). A radical departure at the end of the title's first volume that started with Liefeld's original 90's lineup, I was blown away at how great, how smart this short run of Milligan & Allred's X-Force was.
In early 2001, X-Force was completely reimagined by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred, who replaced the existing incarnation of the team with an entirely different group of mutants using the X-Force name. In X-Force, vol. 1 #115, Bedlam, Cannonball, Meltdown, and Warpath all appeared to die in an explosion, though all subsequently returned. The next issue, #116, saw the introduction of a new, sardonically toned X-Force consisting of colorfully dressed and emotionally immature young mutants put together and marketed to be media superstars. X-Force was canceled with #129 in late 2002 and replaced with the retitled X-Statix series in late 2002.
X-Force: The Final Chapter (Marvel, 2002)
It may not be among the considered among the greatest literature of our times in a conventional sense, but I was impressed. Milligan & Allred didn't just make a comic book, they made a contemporary work of art a little ahead of it's time, in a manner similar to Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns or Alan Moore's Watchmen in the 80's. I enjoyed it as much as I did the Volume 3 work I read awhile back, the 2008-2010 run of the title by writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost and artist Clayton Crain. Milligan & Allred's X-Force is worthy of any X-Book enthusiast's attention. A+
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