Tuesday, September 14, 2010
X-Force Sex and Violence #3 - Kyle and Yost's Swan Song (OF BLOOD)
Well this is it. The end of an era. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost have graced the pages of X-men with their own brand of X-men awesome that offered a perfect blend of grotesque violence and hot women dressed in tight black leather. On the surface it seems like a series that didn't need quality writing or good stories to be awesome. Throw enough violence and sex into anything and it'll appeal to 80 percent of the young male demographic that reads comics. But Craig Kyle and Chris Yost didn't settle for less. They actually told decent stories behind all the bloodlust and boobage. X-Force was a hell of a reading experience and before they head off to rub shoulders with the pompous Hollywood crowd, they throw one last send-off to their run in the form of X-Force: Sex and Violence.
So far the series has embodied everything that makes X-Force awesome. The first issue had a sexy woman in black leather fight off ninjas and assassins in an effort to save a shipment of trafficked girls. In the second issue that same woman got down and dirty with Wolverine on a bed of money. Then more violence followed with an army of psychotic mutants and super-powered thugs coming after them. For a series that's only three issues long, that's a lot of grade-A T&A. Somewhere out there some moral crusader for the religious right is having a heart attack, which I guess could be considered a bonus.
The third and final issue of X-Force Sex and Violence keeps this train of blood and boobs going. After the Assassins ruined Wolverine and Domino's afterglow, they decided to skip the whole running-for-their-lives part and confront them head on. They quickly come face to face with the Assassins and the ever psychotic (yet strangely doable) Belladonna. Seeing as how she's out over 200 million bucks she's understandably pissed.
There's some witty exchange, but not much. Kyle and Yost comics are defined by actions and not words. It all boils down to a simple threat by Wolverine. If the Guild leaves them alone, he and Domino let them live. And that money they were humping on earlier? That goes to charity. Yeah, that's a good way to balance out a night of Caligula style debauchery. Take that same money and send it to the needy. It's hard to call it noble, but for a guy to go from humping on a pile of money to giving it away...I'm not sure if that takes balls, but it sure as hell takes something. Either way, Belladonna doesn't give two shits about his threat. There's no subtlety here. She orders them killed.
You can probably guess what happens after this, but words don't do it justice. Bullets fly, blood spills, and violence of inhuman proportions consume the scene. If ever there was a single scene to embody the Kyle and Yost X-Force run, this is it. There's not much I can say about it that I haven't already said before. Things like Wolverine getting his face blown off and Domino getting choked by a chain, it's par for the course if that course happened to be Tiger Woods's secret S&M room. I'd rather not describe it in too great a detail. I'll just say that X-Force fans should have nothing to complain about.
It all goes pretty well for the most part and by well I mean exceedingly violent and brutal. But the brutality takes only a mildly unexpected turn when the Hand shows up. Seeing as how Wolverine and Domino screwed them over too, it's practically a given they'll show up to get a piece of the action. They're willing to overlook the fact that the Assassins are still technically enemies. Even though the Hand and the Assassins were butchering each other as recently as last issue, they're still ninjas. They have their priorities and they're willing to actually drop their weapons so that the Assassins can finish the job. It's merely an issue of who they want to make suffer more, Wolverine and Domino or the Assassins. Since Wolverine and Domino fucked on top of money they were after, that pretty much settles it.
So it looks like they're screwed. They got the Hand on one side and the Assassins on the other. Both are looking to kill them and fuck on top of their corpses the same way they fucked on top of their money. But that would mean ending the blood and violence, which seems to be Kyle and Yost's least favorite activity. So while Wolverine and Domino stand prone like a deer staring into the grill of a speeding Hummer, the readers are reminded that this book is called X-FORCE Sex and Violence and not Wolverine and Domino: Sex and Violence. Ignoring for a moment that the latter title sounds more like a bad porno, this is still a team book and as such the X-Force team that Kyle and Yost have painstakingly developed over the past few years show up and finally contribute. Yeah, it took them three issues, but at least they aren't completely AWOL.
So the violence is finally over and as always there are a few pages dedicated to a resolution, watered down it may be after so much action. It consists mainly of Wolverine yelling at everybody, mostly X-23 who he didn't want in X-Force to begin with. Apparently he didn't approve of some of their tactics, which would be like Barry Bonds giving a speech about the negative impact of steroids. It's a scene that's played out in X-Force before and since this seems to take place before the events of Second Coming (Vanisher is still alive) it's a nice way to link things up. However, the kicker comes when a news report details how an anonymous doner gave 200 million dollars to a Japanese orphanage. Since that doesn't amount to all the money Wolverine and Domino stole and humped on, Wolverine is pissed.
When he goes out to confront her he brings up the fact that 37 million dollars that is missing from that donation she was supposed to make. She replies in a calm, sexy way that most men would agree is worth every penny. She not only offers Wolverine a new car and another chance to bone her six ways until the next ice age, she even threw Razorfist (who they beat the shit out of in a previous issue) in the trunk. It's not clear what the resolution is or if Wolverine takes Domino up on her offer. He would be the dumbest comic character outside the Clone Saga if he refused, but he doesn't say no. They drive off in a final scene, like a cowboy into the sunset. Only in this scene it may be implied that while Wolverine is driving, Domino is giving him the stick shift special. It would be a fitting way to end a book called Sex and Violence. With so much violence throughout the final issue, there has to be a little sex to balance it all out. After the steamy scenes of the previous issue, this is a nice and provocative way to bring it together.
So there you have it. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost's final issue of X-Force. It's been a violent, blood stained, and slightly semen stained ride. But it's over now. X-Force will continue, but under Rick Remender's pen. It's not clear whether or not he'll live up to Kyle and Yost's legacy, but there's no question that he won't match their style. X-Force has been one of those books that didn't catch my interest at first, but as it unfolded with each issue it got better and better. That's rare with most comics, which always seem to start off with a bang only to fizzle out faster than Vanilla Ice's music career. X-Force was a great ride and while it's sad to see Craig Kyle and Chris Yost step down, this book definitely has them doing so on a high note.
There aren't a lot of criticisms to add for the final issue. It is a bit unclear when this happens in the scope of X-Force other than the fact it seems to happen before Second Coming. It's also not clear why Logan was yelling at X-23 at the end and just what he and Domino end up doing with that money and that car. There's probably already some fanfiction writer out there doing a story with them fucking over the hood, which probably wouldn't be all that inappropriate in a book like this. But it being left so open, it doesn't feel nearly as complete.
These are all minor compared to the grand scope of the book. It's the last issue for Craig Kyle and Chris Yost damn it! That puts me in a giving mood. So for the final issue of their landmark run, I send it off with a perfect 5 out of 5. Thank you Kyle and Yost! You filled the lives of fanboys everywhere with violence, gore, nudity, and cleavage! On behalf of X-fans everywhere I deem thee awesome and bid you a fond farewell! Excelsior!