#99 - X-Force

Read this if you like: X-Men, twists on popular superheroes, violent storylines.

There have been hundreds of X-Men spin-offs created over the years, but one in particular is worth your precious time: X-Force. Created by Rob Liefeld, who earned his graphic novel fame on Marvel's New Mutants, X-Force is for people who grew up with X-Men but are looking for something tougher.

What you need to decide is which X-Force comic will be your favourite? The New Beginning, where a young group of mutants are groomed to be media starlets? Or maybe Angels and Demons, where the X-Men are given black commando uniforms and carry out black-ops style missions? There's a lot for you to choose from, and hard to decide which comes out on top. I like them all, and it would be hard to pick a favourite.

Liefeld gave the X-Men universe big, sharp teeth and set it loose on the page. The themes that dominate the graphic novel are violence, retribution and cruelty, with blood splatters and forced-heroin injections everyday stuff. For the mature graphic novel reader, X-Force offers violence and destruction that is difficult to top, and throws in good characters to boot.

So, the characters. First off, the X-force team are not the X-Men (though later Wolverine leads the team). Liefeld started his comic with Boom Boom, Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Feral, Shatterstar and Warpath. A rag-tag bunch of well-drawn characters, this roster gave fan's heroes they could root for, as well as stories that drew you in. There are lots of rewards to be had for long-time X-men readers though with many of your favourite characters making an appearance.

This, coupled with Liefeld's artwork, made the X-Force graphic novel a major success. So successful that it is currently the second highest-selling American comic ever. No mean feat, yet we also know that numbers don't mean everything. After all, one Saturday night X-Factor pulls in more viewers than the entire five series of The Wire.

So what we have to ask ourselves is, does X-Force earn its status as one of the top graphic novels? Well, just ask most of the people who have read it. They'll tell you how much they love it.

Buy X-Force on Amazon: US Readers     UK Readers