Writer Fabian Nicieza
Penciler Tony Daniel
Inker Jon Holdredge
Letters Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist Marie Javins
Child’s Play Part One of Four
Cover Dated March 1994
There is a special thanks to Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo, for some reason. It is not explained anywhere. I wonder if it is due to Husk getting some panel time this issue, as she is a major member of Generation X.
Issue opens with Magma in Nova Roma. Which has been revealed to be a lie of Selene. Don’t worry, Marvel will reverse this again so that it is a hidden city of the Roman Empire, that time forgot.
I wonder if Javins could do this over, if she would color Magma differently. I imagine the goal is to make her look not like the Human Torch.
She gets attacked by the Fenris Twins. Like Northstar and his sister, Aurora, when they hold hands, their power is fully realized.
They are attacking Magma, as they want to be members of the Upstarts. The Upstarts include : Signa Blaze, who I don’t know. Graydon Creed, dead now, Sabretooth and Mystique’s son. Shinobi Shaw, dead now, Sebastian’s son. Trevor Fitzroy, from Bishop’s future, unless that was just from the FOX cartoon. They are having a friendly competition, wherein they are capturing former members of the New Mutants and Hellions. The Gamemaster is overseeing the competition, called the Younghunt.
The cast of X-Force is – Cable, Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Warpath and Domino.
Fenris does capture Magma, but Empath eludes them and they chase after him.
We cut to a Hellfire Club party. Shinobi is hosting and speaking to Vance. As soon as I see that name, I know it is Justice, of the New Warriors. We see Psylocke and Angel, we get an editor’s note stating this plot point can be followed in X-Men 29. Justice talks to his teammate, Night Trasher, they are trying to figure out what Shinobi is up to. Shinobi knows Justice’s full name, but we don’t know if he knows Vance’s super hero name.
We then move to Cumberland County, Kentucky, where Cannonball’s family live. The first scene will see is Warpath and Siryn at Sam’s father’s grave. They make a reference that, to me, makes it seem like Sam’s father recently passed. With the sliding time scale, that could be true but from New Mutants 1 (really Marvel Graphic Novel 4 is the first appearance of Sam) I imagine it has to be years between new Mutants 1 and X-Force 32, which would essentially be New Mutants 132.
Either way, apparently Siryn’s mother passed away a week ago. Which I didn’t even know that, or given her mother much thought. I know at one point, she travels with her uncle Black Tom Cassidy. Apparently Black Tom is hurt or something and Siryn is missing him. I like how he is clearly a villain but we forget that she was raised by him or has at least spent several years with him. I forget the cover story he used for her, was she under the impression both parents were dead? I know she is caught by surprised to know that her father is alive and then double surprised to learn he is the X-Men’s Banshee.
Warpath mentions how his brother died and his entire tribe has been massacred recently at Camp Verde.
Maybe Siryn meant, the death of her mother and then the death of Warpath’s clan. Now that they are in Kentucky, they are reminded of Sam’s father’s passing. Just trying to make it work.
Rictor and Shatterstar are the duo investigating the disappearance of Cannonball and Boomer. Which I prefer this name of hers over both Boom Boom and Meltdown. Tabitha works within a theme but Boomer seems to be the least offensive. This often pairing of Rictor and Shatterstar is what is used by future writers to show them a a couple in Peter David’s X-Factor run.
Hanging out with them is Josh Guthrie, who would one day be the New X-Men Icarus. Who I just covered died in New X-Men prior to their issue 32, funny how these things work out like that. He doesn’t have his mutation of flying yet, and editorially, I doubt they even are planning on making him a mutant anytime soon. Especially as we find out that a second Guthrie has had her mutation be revealed.
That would be Paige Guthrie, who will become the Generation X member, Husk. Probably my favorite of the two Guthrie siblings, there are ten total but only three famous ones. Cannonball is okay but I only really like him when he is paired with other characters.
Paige is being questioned as she saw what happened to Cannonball and Boomer. Josh doesn’t believe her as she is always daydreaming of wanting a more exciting life. Doesn’t get more exciting than being interviewed by both Cable and Domino. Apparently Paige was watching them as she was hoping to see them necking again, which is odd for a younger sibling to want to see an older sibling make out but maybe that’s what they do in Kentucky during the early 90s. Paige calls Cable, Mr. Cable. She calls Domino, Ms. Domino and she corrects her that it is Mrs. Though I’m not sure what the story is there. Is Domino married at this point? I know at some point, it is revealed that this Domino is really Copycat, but I am not sure when that swap happens.
Paige retells the story of what happened. Boomer and Cannonball have been on the farm for a while as it took several days to convince Boomer to even put her foot in the swimming pond. The two of them have been making out for days, and not caring who can see them. Then a lightning strike happens. In the moment, Paige gets real excited as she thinks this may lead to an adventure. Sam has for years, been writing to his family, with tales of Asgard and Outer Space. Imagine what those letters were like? Probably mind blowing! I wonder what he didn’t tell them about. The source of the lighting was a young woman, Sam’s age. She references the point system. We, the readers, know this is Gamemaster related but this is the first X-Force knows about this.
Paige states she started running towards the lady, willing herself to change into something good and all she could muster was a bird. Which is odd as I thought she could only shred her skin into a mineral but this is like her second appearance with her powers, so Nicieza is still trying to figure it out. I wonder how they explain the bird power manifestation away later. Or do they ignore it and hope no one would ever reread Child’s Play again.
Cable and Domino head outside to discuss this turn of events. Domino asks him what he thinks. He wishes he had based X-Force somewhere like this, in the wilderness instead of a desert camp. She gets him back on topic, the scans that Rictor and Shatterstar completed, don’t register as any known energy waves. Which I like the idea that at some point, after battles, it is someone’s job to go back to the battlefield and record all of the energy signatures so that they can have a database for times like these.
Cable states that Sam and Tabitha are either dead or off planet. How crazy that those are options? My wife never wonders, if I don’t answer my phone fast enough, if either I am dead or off planet. I am most likely driving and can’t feel my phone vibrate as I haven’t changed it from that option to ringer. I don’t live that exciting a life in comparison.
Luckily, we are shown where the two of them are. The two of them, with Magma are in a strange stasis field. This stasis field is the total embodiment of all the thoughts of the human race. Which is also crazy! How does one stumble onto the ability to even place people inside such a thing?
The mysterious woman is Siena Blaze, member of the Upstarts. This is the first we see the group in this issue. Gamemaster is explaining the rules and that placements. Shinobi states that he should still be the highest as he killed his father. Gamemaster is not impressed as this is the last and only kill Shinobi has, he hasn’t done anything else. Apparently the rule with the Younghunt, is that the New Mutants and Hellions are meant to be brought in alive and once they are all gathered, then they will be disposed of. This is probably the rule so that we don’t just kill off characters that we have come to love by characters that we have only been recently brought into the mythos.
I should mention that Graydon Creed is dressed in a blue suit with a pair of sunglasses that are clear and way to big for his head. The 90s.
Which I have stated that twice, the artwork by Daniel is good. It isn’t 90s good or anything, his style fits the story. This page of the Gamemaster and the Upstarts, you have to turn lenghwise to read, which is frustrating but that was how comics were done at the time.
We cut back to Empath being chased by Fenris. He chooses to not manipulate the Nova Roma citizens to fight his fight. Sunspot’s mother is there, helping the transition to get those citizens out and into the real world. Fenris and their soldiers are about to attack the citizens to get to Empath when some psychic arrows render everyone unconscious. Turns out Dani Moonstar was in Nova Roma! She is in a truly horrible costume, but she saved Fenris from scoring any additional points. Sort of like how Child’s Play is an opportunity to check in on some old familiar faces.
We cut back to Cable and Mrs. Guthrie. I like that she knows she is going to lose Paige to this ‘war’ that her son was drafted into. You can only imagine that she is looking at her other eight children, doing the math, and figuring at least three more of them are going to be mutants. I believe Josh was the only other one. Cable tells her what every parent already knows, once your child has made up their mind, they are going to do it anyways, consequences be damned.
Domino calls Cable to come to their make shift base. Fitzroy has arrived and is introducing himself to the team. He tells them that he wants to get ahead of Siena is the Indian (Warpath) and the Mexican (Rictor). He mentions he doesn’t want to stay long as he doesn’t want to get his face fractured.
This had just happened to him by Colossus in Uncanny X-Men 302. Colossus at the time was so full of rage, his parents were just murdered by Omega Red and his sister was dying of the Legacy Virus. Colossus beat Fitzroy pretty badly. So this is one of those comics that I bought because UncannyXMen.net mentioned Illyana in the comic, gave the context but not the actual conversation. So I buy the comic, and get to his conversation and all he states is he is mad at the X-Men. So I own this issue and this is why. The nice thing about the X-Force comic is that from time to time, Sam will pair with a fellow New Mutant and they will discuss or remember their fallen allies, like Illyana and Doug. If it was Illyana, I bought that comic. Thus, the course of fandom goes.
Cable and X-Force prepare themselves to fight Fitzroy.
Issue ends with Shinobi and Justice in costume, so he clearly does know Vance is Justice. Shinobi wants to get some additional points, so he wants to enlist Justice in bringing to Shinobi, Firestar. Firestar, at this point is Justice’s girlfriend. Shinobi tells Justice that if Shinobi has to bring her in himself, it isn’t going to be as nice as if Justice volunteers to do it.
Part Two takes place in New Warriors and comes back to X-Force for Part Three. I don’t own the New Warriors issues nor X-Force 33. So this is where the adventure ends for us.
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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ya’ll!