Game Changer

Comics now have no problem pushing the envelope. Browse through our forums to see threads aplenty of reactions to DC's sexiness; check out the amount of mainstream comic lines that have mature ratings; look at how much blood gets spilled on a regular basis each week. It's debatable how appropriate this content is sometimes, but isn't it nice living in an age in which these things are freely told in stories that have the potential to be richer for their presence?

I find that I am perpetually stuck reading comics from the nineties. It's not that I don't like comics now, I love the two latest incarnations of X-Force and I own almost each single issue. I simply love the early tales of Cable and the original X-Force (you know, after Liefeld lost plot privileges). As a matter of fact, that has been the brunt of my work here on Comic Vine. Having said that, with one foot in the past and one foot in the present I am able to see how far we've come as a comic community. Take issue 15 of Uncanny X-Force. Deathlok goes to town on some dude for information. We see the result: they guy's effing eye his hanging from its effing socket. How very "24" of this issue. Do what you can to do your best for the world. This sort of depiction was unheard of in the late-80s and early-90s.

Here's a "for instance": In New Mutants #100, Masque, Brute, and Hump attempt to take Feral from the New Mutants. A normal story of that era would find a battle in which both sides took hits and one of the groups would retreat with weeping and wailing a gnashing of teeth with a promise of vengeance on the horizon. (Wolverine is exempt from this mindset since he was partially feral and attacked based on instinct; Cable, and others after him, was a rational man.) This wasn't necessarily the norm for alien fights, or with robots, or with people brought up for a single issue - they could die. But in our situation, Masque knew that he and his boys had appeared in issues prior to this and had a sort of longevity. Confronting Cable's New Mutants shouldn't have been more than a scuffle. Yet, this happens.

Game Changer

Instead of a prolonged fight, Cable smokes Brute right off the bat. Yeah, Cable broke the rules and put a hole in a guy that was appearing in his fifth issue with connections to a much bigger player who simply wanted to muscle the New Mutants around. This attitude was unheard of back then. Shoot first and still threaten later? Wow. This issue not only changed how readers could look at Cable, but it also showed that others could possess these traits. Check out Shatterstar in a very cool double-page spread.

Shatterstar: Winning, duh.

Homeboy stabs himself to get to the guy holding him from behind. (The physics of this move are mind-boggling, but we'll let Liefeld be.)

Yet, for all the violence this shows, you still don't really see anything. Compare these scenes to today's comics: Sure, Shatterstar stabbed that guy, but the wound and effuse is darkened. It's not explicit. It's not too in-your-face. In addition, Cable pumped Brute in the face but you don't get to see the wound. You simply see the result of the shot fired: Brute dead. Fights in comics became a little more brutal around this time. The game changed back in the day thanks to Cable.... Okay Liefeld, you can take some credit, too.

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Posted by Timandm

Dayum.... I'm going to have to read that volume of X-Force!

This is well said. I enjoyed reading it.