It's a hardknock life in the Marvel U
I'm really liking Larroca's art and D'armata's colors in this book. That being said, they didn't really do anything innovative or interesting with this cover. I gave it the extra half point because I think its well drawn and actually indicative of what happens in this issue.
There are 3 plot lines running simultaneously in this issue.
First there's Piotr's story where's he's pulling some kind of caper in Switzerland. Since everything X Force does just has to be a felony. Domino joins in on the fun later and the two begin to have a serious relationship talk, in true X-Men fashion, while fighting off a horde monsters. Nothing ground breaking really happens here, but I do like seeing this side of Piotr again. After the whole juggernaut saga where every other sentence out of his mouth was "GRRRR! Blood! Kill!" It's nice to see the depth and emotional maturity brought back to his character. Still that's just for colossus fans, it doesn't do much objectively for the issue.
We also get to see a bit of what's going on with Cable. As usual Alex is sent in first to be the liaison between the Avengers and the Summers family. It's times like this I really feel for Alex. It seems as though he'd like nothing more than to take Hope, Rachel and Nathan to the movies or a baseball game for a fun family outing. But that's just never gonna happen because they're all grizzled, future freedom-fighters. While this scene is brief, we do get to see an interesting new twist on Cable's visions.
The rest of the issue focuses on Hope's field trip to the future. As usual with the future in an X-Book, things are as bad as they could possibly get. We get some explanation for how things got this way, as well as the reason for Blaquesmith's "recent" actions. And we get a completely unsurprising reveal about "Stryfe's" identity. Once again, nothing groundbreaking, but this story does set things up for the future....or maybe the past. You can never really tell when Hope and Cable are involved.
I've always liked Larroca's interpretation of the main cast. Cable, Domino, Piotr, and Hope especially. He's a good artist to have on a serious story and he can draw the occasional wacky expressions without getting to cartoony. I do think D'armatas colors could have been a bit more vibrant on some pages though.
There weren't really any epic moments in this issue. But we did find out some useful info. The art made some of the action scenes engaging and some not so much. Overall D'armata's colors seemed a bit less vibrant than the last issue. Stryfe's identity was no surprise to anyone but Hope. Anyone that skimmed this character's comic vine page could have figured it out. It would have honestly been more of a shock if Stryfe wasn't this character. I am waiting to see the conclusion of the Cable scene though, that should be interesting. I enjoyed this issue but not enough to round it up to a 4, thus the 3 star rating.