X-Force #10 finds the mutant covert ops team deep in the heart of Terra Verde, where their sentient plant techno life has captured complete control of the nation, and is threatening to expand. It’s a welcome return to form for Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, Guru-eFX and the creative team, as X-Force continues a top tier run through the Dawn of X.
Today I’ll answer:
- What is the Anti-Krakoa, and what does it mean for X-Force handling threats to Krakoa?
- Can Beast be redeemed?
- Should Jean Grey stay on X-Force?
Potential spoilers for discussed comics may follow!
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X-Force #10 opens with Wolverine, Domino and Quentin Quire deep in the heart of Terra Verde. Since it’s been a minute since previous X-Force issues were released, Terra Verde is a fictional South African country, whose name translates to a very on the nose “Green Earth.” In X-Force the nation was revealed as an upcoming developer of flower-based pharmaceutical tech rivaling Krakoa’s, although following the threat of man-plant hybrids, X-Force – at the behest of Hank McCoy – effectively tried to destroy their work.
Interesting development that Terra Verde’s plant tech runs back hundreds of years. There’s a definite angle to the story here of X-Force infiltrating indigenous culture and pretty violently weeding out the threat for the benefit of Krakoa’s security, continuing to add the morally vacuous accusations of the nation’s leadership.
Like so many of the X-Force missions to date, Wolverine, Domino and Quentin are quickly in over their heads, with Wolverine put on the plant-hybrids sacrificial alter, Quentin completely turned inside out with beautifully rendered but horrific invasions of flowers and vines, and Domino left literally in the dark trying to escape the Terra Verde’s clutches and help her team.
It’s easy to forget in the Dawn of X but Krakoa, the island that walks like a man!, was similarly equipped to take down mutant threats, and Terra Verde, functioning as our Anti-Krakoa here, is more than adept enough to conquer the powers of Wolvy, Domino and Quentin.
Essentially, it’s key to remember that all of this mess is based on what Hank McCoy labels “a minor miscalculation,” that he is now compounding by continuing to maintain his secrets and use X-Force as his private armed response to, again, a mess he created.
When these actions first came to light in X-Force #6, I highlighted that Beast has pretty actively been trending on a darker and darker curve throughout recent X-Comics history, but Percy, Cassarra and team put the hammer down on the character here. It’s impossible to root for Beast at this point, through his genocidal actions and absolutely unbearable arrogance. As Beast himself dictates, Terra Verde possessed centuries of indigenous research and culture, that he more or less exploded in order to, as he puts it, “put a terrorist out of commission.”
Beast is out here committing war crimes. An accounting will be had.
Fortunately, X-Force #10 is also the turning point when Jean Grey approaches Hank and holds him accountable for his actions. Beast getting some comeuppance for unilaterally playing god was only a question of when, but I’m very happy to see the turn come right now, rather than months of secrets compiling without anyone in the X-Men taking action.
There’s definitely a familiar ethical battle being framed here, very much mirroring Captain America’s involvement with the New Avengers’ Illuminati during the Jonathan Hickman/Mike Deodato early days. Beast was a member of that squad too, and has firmly adopted the “lies are in service of a greater good” philosophy. One of the things that makes Jean more interesting to me than Steve Rogers in those issues, is that Jean isn’t just taking a “always do the right thing, no matter what” superhero stance. She’s ok with lying, but not to mutantkind.
In order to make Beast at least temporarily understand the cost of his actions – and remember this is the guy who just called a fullfledged Anti-Krakoa Swamp Thing Island a “minor miscalculation” – Jean makes Beast see that his actions not only led to genocide, but also resulted in a possible ultimate threat to Krakoa, the telefloronic threat to conquering or “hacking” the mutant homeland.
Personally, I’m very curious to see how Beast’s actions will reflect in the daylight, and whether he’ll be put to trial by the Council of Krakoa. We know that X-Force has tacit Council approval, but to Jean’s point, I’d have to think this only extends as far as they themselves are kept in the loop. And if Beast’s actions are seen to violate the nation’s first rule not to take human life – I don’t see how you’d rule otherwise – it sure seems to me like he’s in line to share the fate of Sabretooth.
Hank had already sent Black Tom into Terra Verde as another effort to double down on his cover up, but it takes Jean and Sage (in her measles pocket jungle action gear!) joining and Megazording their powers to actually quiet the Terra Verde threat and save/recover Wolverine, Kid Omega and Domino.
We don’t actually get much by way of post-battle cleanup in this issue, so I’m wondering if we’re supposed to believe that Terra Verde is actually off the board following this attack, or if it’s really just more of a temporary escape. Again, given all the parallels to Krakoa, I’m very much on board with keeping Terra Verde as a counter to the home of mutant’s and as a self-inflicted threat to their territory.
Percy and team do an interesting job positioning Terra Verde as the anti-Krakoa, very much similar to the function of Krakoa (both need to “feed” on human/mutant sustenance to survive for example), but given the initially violent response, there’s really no time to determine other avenues of approach to Terra Verde. From my read, it is generally unclear what Terra Verde is after (again, beyond that root sustenance) and kind of the thinking behind the entity. Hive-mind threats are everywhere in the Dawn of X, and Terra Verde certainly fits into that categorization.
For example, what if instead of X-Force, Krakoa sent in Doug Ramsey and Black Tom alone, in an effort to communicate with the growing Terra Verde? Could communication have been established, and instead of a war, Krakoa could have made an ally?
The issues ends with what probably 98% of the headlines about the issue will be, which is the confirmation that Jean drinks beer in hot tubs, Colossus is huge everywhere (wink wink), oh, and that Jean and Logan are totally lovey dovey! This is far from a secret given the famed Threesome Bedroom in X-Men #1, but it’s the most direct visual of Jean and Logan smoochin’ that we’ve seen in the Dawn of X. Romantic ships aren’t really my thing (I’m pretty game for any combination of Marvel characters, so long as it’s not Johnny Storm and Alicia Masters), but I am pretty interested in Jean quitting X-Force.
Jean’s inclusion on the team has been a question mark from day one, but now that she becomes essential, it’s weird to me when a character who can hold everyone accountable quits. There’s a surface level assumption that Jean’s too pure to be a part of this team, but one of the things that makes her so interesting is that this clearly isn’t true. As Phoenix, she’s both committed genocide (under possession sure), and a more human level, absolutely smashed Emma Frost to bits in the pages of New X-Men. This is good, she has layers, and she can fit this team – but if not X-Force, where will be finding Jean Grey popping up next?