After the line-wide blow-out of the early parts of Necrosha, the concluding chapters of the story look to be bringing the tale back the where it belongs, with the story firmly centred on the X-Force core team. While a full-on Blackest Night scenario featuring the X-Men would have been fun, Chris Yost and Craig Kyle obviously feel that with the book’s other long-running plot thread taken as a backbone for the Second Coming event, the finale to the Selene plot line should have a tighter focus.
In one sense, the events of this issue are entirely predictable. The vampiric mutant implements the final part of her plan, trailed as long ago as issue eleven of the book, and dispatches the figure who has proven to be her most devoted yet unreliable follower. There’s also an expected character development on the part of the white-abet-blood-soaked had brigade, with the Vanisher either suffering from Stockholm Syndrome or developing a genuine attachment to his captors. Rather than a by-the-numbers story, however, the overall tone is one of meticulous planning gradually paying off. “The End Begins Here”, proclaims the variant cover tagline, and the feeling of inevitability comes from how carefully the these events have been seeded throughout the entire book. Like few other superhero teams, this rag-tag collection of b-list X-characters have become a family, convincingly relying on each others’ strengths.
What’s always set X-Force apart from its peers, with a concept that in lesser hands could simply be a continuity-heavy indulgence, is its sheer intelligence. This selling point has not deserted the book in its final hours, with the writers still managing to compress a microcosm of the resurrection concept into the exchanges between the Proudstar brothers, and the original Warpath’s touching faith in his successor to triumph where he cannot. The only weakness in the offering concerns the art. While Clayton Crain manages some majestic splash pages, the rushed figurework that we’ve come to expect from later issues of the artist’s arcs is again in evidence, and hold partially disguised by the gloomy tone. Despite this occasional failing, however, it’s hard not the feel that something wonderful is coming to an end.