All of X-Force’s Mutants Are Omega-Level Horny, and Terrified

All of X-Force’s Mutants Are Omega-Level Horny, and Terrified
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Kotaku Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

In the past few issues of Benjamin Percy’s current X-Force run — featuring art from Joshua Cassara, Dean White, and Garry Brown — Quentin Quire, one of the X-Men’s most obnoxious heroes who would rather die (many times over) than open up about his feelings, has known a true fear that even he can’t deny.

Quentin, like most all of Marvel’s mutants, has been enjoying a newfound status and freedom following the establishment of Krakoa and a new age of political power for all of mutantkind. Much as it’s an action book, X-Force has also been following how the new mutant status quo has pushed characters like Quentin, Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos, and old mainstays like Black Tom Cassidy to reinvent themselves to leave their villainous pasts behind them.

This sort of emotional growth was already difficult for Quentin, a textbook narcissist with underlying abandonment issues, but things have gotten much more complicated lately because of the newest menace stalking Kid Omega and, apparently, all of the other X-Men at once.

Though the Stepford Cuckoos have a storied history of using their gestalt mind to clown Quentin for being the aggro simp he’s always been, Sophie’s recently broken away from her sisters following their dalliance with young Cable, and taken the time to reconsider on Mister Quire. As one of Emma Frost’s protégés, Sophie knows all too well that a person’s villainous exterior isn’t always wholly reflective of their more nuanced interiority, and as someone who spends the bulk of his time presuming he’s everyone’s intellectual superior, Quentin can’t help but love the way that Sophie never hesitates to put him in his place.

Sophie Cuckoo and Quentin being extra as hell in public. (Image: Joshua Cassara, Guru/Marvel)

From Sophie’s perspective, though, Quentin’s “place” isn’t synonymous with “in line with everyone else,” but rather out in the open where he can live freely and honestly about what sort of person he’s been trying to become. Useful as Sophie’s telepathy is, she doesn’t need it to understand that the cavalier way Quentin runs into situations that will require his resurrection is his way of trying to put existential space between his present and past selves.

While Krakoan resurrection comes along with certain perks — like being able to ask for minute tweaks to one’s physical form on a genetic level — Quentin’s been struggling to recall pieces of his memory that should be included in the Five’s mental backups of his brain patterns. Because there’s always danger afoot (and because it’s easy enough for Sophie to fill Quentin in on their recent past using her own psionics), the young psychic couple’s only had but so much time to focus on their relationship lately.

Perhaps it’s because Quentin doesn’t want to address what’s going on in his head that he decides to throw himself into different X-Force missions alongside the likes of Wolverine and Corsair. Whatever the reason, what Quentin ends up discovering as he takes a larger role in X-Force in issues #17-18 is that, different as the circumstances are around the newest string of targeted attacks against mutants, all of the victims bear the psychic fingerprints of their assailant.

Black Tom having some alone time in the woods. (Image: Garry Brown, Guru/Marvel)

Psychic ghouls hunting down mutants is right up the X-Men’s alley in the larger scheme of things, but what’s made this arc rather curious is the surprisingly intense sexual undercurrent pulsing throughout the story. What began as other characters knowingly smirking at one another as Quentin and Sophie made their relationship public has quite quickly turned into multiple characters toeing the line between being openly horny in their own rights…just before they end up being scared for their lives.

As the new threat begins to zero in on the X-Men themselves, X-Force briefly cuts to a moment somewhere on Krakoa where Black Tom, whose powers allow him to connect with plants live in a variety of ways, seems to be busying himself alone in the woods either dreaming or fantasizing about Cain Marko, his best bro. Black Tom’s dream could easily be a perfectly platonic one, but the Juggernaut’s never really been known for tickling people, and one wonders what might have gotten Black Tom into that sort of headspace.

Black Tom’s forest time is interrupted in issue #18 when the thing stalking him stumbles upon him in a glade, and Tom notes that he can’t properly sense whatever the apparition is through his connection to the earth. Tom’s helpless to stop the pink, glowing beast as it seemingly urges the forest to swallow him whole against his will, but X-Force doesn’t quite stop there.

The X-Men's resident triad getting a taste of the mental monster that's stalking everyone. (Image: Garry Brown, Guru/Marvel)

Elsewhere in the universe — the Summer House on the Blue Side of the Moon to be precise — Jean Grey stumbles upon Wolverine in their kitchen. It surprises Jean, who’s on her way to bed, to find Logan drinking coffee at such a late hour, but Wolverine’s reasoning that night and day no longer really mean much to mutants thanks to the Krakoan gates is well stated.

There have been quite a few questions about what Jean, Logan, and Scott’s romantic situation with one another is ever since it was first revealed that the three of them were put into a home with conjoining rooms on the moon. X-Force #18 doesn’t exactly answer anything definitely, but it does establish that Jean and Logan’s flirtation has a physical aspect to it — something that Scott may not know or care about.

The most important takeaway from Logan and Jean’s kiss isn’t that Jean, Scott, and Wolverine may be in some sort of tense throuple, but rather the thing that Jean sees after she and Logan lock lips. The monstrous vision of Logan Jean sees briefly after kissing him stuns her and draws Scott into the room just in time for things to get awkward (or steamy, depending on how you look at things). It’s as the issue progresses, though, that the ideas Percy’s been seeding in X-Force’s Quentin-focused plot begin to grow into something wild that ties everyone together in a somewhat expected but nonetheless interesting way.

After Beast and Sage both report having their own strange experiences with the pink apparition that invades their minds, the X-Men can no longer deny the reality that whatever the thing is, it may have some sort of connection to Quentin, and he’s the first to admit it.

Quentin saying what's on everyone's minds. (Image: Garry Brown, Guru/Marvel)

When the monster inevitably comes for Quentin directly, the resemblance between the pair is uncanny, and the way it taunts him about his fear that people will never love him makes it appear as if the being is a piece of him, in a way. What’s fascinating to consider as #18 ends, however, is what to make of the psi-monster Quentin’s existence and why it seems to attack people in moments of emotional excitement.

Though Marvel’s X-Books have nodded to the idea of the mutants prioritising their procreation for future generations, one has to wonder whether what X-Force is tapping into is part of that same larger idea, or if it’s something smaller and more specific to Quentin. This could all be a very roundabout way of Quentin expressing his own anxieties around his own desire, something that might manifest dangerously for an omega-level telepath. This all feels very much like exactly the sort of precursor to Quentin, who’s canonically been a wielder of the Phoenix Force in the past, to become involved in Marvel’s Enter the Phoenix event. With all the out-of-left-field twists the X-books have featured as of late, though, what’s to come next is anyone’s guess.