When Wanda Maximoff said, "No more mutants," she meant, "No more Quentin Quire, specifically". Quentin Quire is the one X-Man you hope gets brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe just so Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury can give a firm talking to him, with that one F-Bomb allotted to PG-13 films thrown in for good measure. He's annoying almost to the point of being insufferable, and so it's always a pleasure to read a comic that balances that line and reminds you why you love this jerk. X-Force #17 is that comic.
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Joshua Cassara and GURU-eFX
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
The issue opens as Quire (a.k.a. Kid Omega) recounts his multiple deaths as part of X-Force. With the mutant population able to be resurrected on Krakoa, Quire has found himself in a bit of a rut, fighting the good fight only to die again, and again. It's an amusing montage, with artist Joshua Cassara capturing each death at its most horrifying and hilarious moment. Frustrated by his repeated demises and feeling a bit self-reflective, Quire heads on his newest mission, investigating a cruise ship that has supposedly been attacked by mutants – an assertion that Quire seeks to prove false. However, before he can solve the mystery, he finds himself back in the Hatchery on Krakoa, having died yet again.
The issue shifts gears in the second half, with Quire taking some downtime to go on a date with Phoebe Cuckoo, and it's here that the comic really digs into Quire's character.
Benjamin Percy's dialogue sees Phoebe check Quire on his insecurities and ego, but in a supportive way. While this could have potentially teetered a little too far into "dream girlfriend fixes angsty boy" tropes, Percy sets the scenario as a natural progression from the issue's opening scene, with Quire and Phoebe continuing the investigation into the cruise attack. Phoebe recognizes that Quire is throwing himself at his work as some unresolved psychological issue. Quire already has the desire to examine himself, Phoebe just gives him the extra encouragement to do so.
And when Quentin opens up about his past, Cassara and color artist GURU-eFX create a fearsome splash page showing Quentin's trauma that he keeps locked away. It serves as a stern reminder of the past that drove Quire down the wrong path before, and highlights how far he has come as a character. At the same time, Benjamin Percy doesn't let the issue get too serious, with Quire still pulling off some amusing mischief, to Phoebe's enjoyment.
Not focused on the action, X-Force #17 makes for a strong interlude and a nice examination of one of Krakoa's less agreeable denizens. While this isn't material that could be called 'ground-breaking,' it's still an enjoyable examination of Quentin Quire. And after the teasing throughout the series, it's nice to see Quentin and Phoebe on an actual date, even if the focus in the scene is a bit one-sided. Hopefully future issues can create a stronger balance in their dynamic.
Keep up to speed on X-Force and ALL the new X-Men comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond.