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All images: Marvel Comics

Jonathan Hickman’s work in House Of X and Powers Of X suggested that death was no longer going to be the go-to plot device for future X-Men stories, but just because characters can be resurrected doesn’t mean death loses all dramatic stakes. In the first issue of X-Force, Charles Xavier is assassinated by a team of assassins that break through Krakoa’s defenses by attaching the skin of the luck-altering mutant Domino to their bodies. His death isn’t going to be permanent and everyone is acting accordingly by going about their business, but the act of the assassination brings danger back into a status quo built on safety and comfort. It’s the kind of act that demands a severe response, meaning it’s time for a new X-Force team to assemble and take out covert threats to mutant survival.

Cover by Dustin Weaver

Written by Benjamin Percy with art by Joshua Cassara, colorist Dean White, and letterer Joe Caramagna, X-Force is shaping up to be one of the most vital Dawn Of X titles as it focuses on Krakoa’s main line of defense. The first issue features an especially exciting turn from Black Tom Cassidy, whose mutant ability to communicate with plant life makes him a vital part of the island’s security system. Percy is operating in a similar mode as his action-packed Green Arrow series, working with an art team that delivers plenty of spectacle while imbuing character interactions with personality.

Quentin “Kid Omega” Quire enters the fray in this exclusive preview of next week’s X-Force #2, and Xavier’s new mutant order has invigorated Quentin and motivated him to reach his full potential. Quentin and Wolverine are investigating the murder of their leader, but Percy’s dialogue fills these dire circumstances with humor as the antagonistic pair are forced together. The panels of Wolverine pecking at a keyboard show how well Cassara understands this sense of humor, and he does great work capturing Quentin’s innate sense of mischief. White also colored the excellent Uncanny X-Force, elevating each of his artistic collaborators with rich painted colors that solidified the characters’ forms and intensified the atmosphere. He continues to fill the page with finely applied colors that heighten the mood, giving Cassara’s linework more depth than ever before.

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