Uncanny X-Force #11
Cyclops disbanded the secret X-Force team in X-Men: Second Coming #2, an act which prompted Wolverine to immediately organize an even more secreter team, of course. The new X-Force debuted one page later with a new line-up; a few months later they got a new series with a new writer, new artists, and a new adjective! The Uncanny X-Force team travels to the Age of Apocalypse (AoA) world in this issue, where AoA Wild Child appears as a member of the AoA X-Men.
Shortly after Dark Beast and X-Force enter the Age of Apocalypse universe, two figures track them from the shadows. They are easily identifiable as Wild Child and his master Sabretooth, who later ambush and brutally attack Wolverine outside of Dark Beast’s lab. Wild Child does a heck of a job raking his claws across Wolverine, who reveals in a caption, “Wild Child’s shreddin’ muscle faster than I can heal it.” Despite the intensity of the raging attack, Wolverine takes him out with an sharp elbow to the face. Then, they realize they’re all friends and take a submarine to Atlantis.
A promotional image by Mark Brooks featuring AoA Wild Child first released online in February of 2011 had been advertising this return to the Age of Apocalypse, so fans weren’t so surprised to see him in this issue. The promotional image would later be printed as a 2pg spread in several comics dated June 2011 specifically advertising this issue and also appeared as a background image for the table of contents of the 2011 X-Men Spotlight. Ultimately, this image would be used as a variant cover for this issue as well (see below).
We last saw AoA Wild Child in the one-shot Exiles: Days of Then and Now #1, where he was plucked out of the Age of Apocalypse world by a version of Quentin Quire (Kid Omega) to form a new team of Exiles. For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, the Age of Apocalypse world is designated Earth-295 and the world where Quentin Quire’s Exiles were brought is designated Earth-91172. How AoA Wild Child was able to return isn’t clear, but it was fairly common for Exiles to jump across universes and back to their own without much fuss.
Less clear is the time period of this issue. A sentry outside Dark Beast’s lab indicates that five thousand and six days have passed since he last entered, which was at the end of the original series in 1995. For those of you who were reading Alpha Flight comics instead of paying attention when they taught the calendar in school, 5006 days is about thirteen and a half years, corresponding to some time in early 2009, if reckoned from the end of X-Men Omega, the last book of the original AoA series (where this reality was supposed to have ceased to exist, but let’s not mention that). In a C2E2 interview, writer Mark Remender placed the events of this issue ten years after the 2005 X-Men Age of Apocalypse series. Both methods of reckoning are plausible, as AoA Wild Child ought to have had time to finish his mission on Earth-91172 and return to his own world under either scheme.
Besides the rounded ear, this version of AoA Wild Child differs somewhat from how we’ve seen him. Notably absent is the chain that Sabretooth had been using as a leash. Notably present is his ability to speak! He’s now able to bang out a few sentences, albeit in broken English, but still a significant improvement over the grunting from the original series, where he was so mute that he had to come into physical contact with Rogue by licking her to communicate. By the way, “McCoy’s Devil” refers to the assumption that Wolverine is a clone of the AoA Weapon X created by Dark Beast (Hank McCoy).
His costume is slightly modified as well, though it does retain the elements of his standard AoA costume and still copies Sabretooth’s costume. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Mark Brooks has drawn Wild Child. In 2005, artist Mark Brooks drew what was supposed to be the wraparound cover of the X-Men: Age of Apocalypse – One-shot, in which Wild Child and Sabretooth had an 8pp feature and were therefore prominently featured. An inset from this unused cover was reprinted as a head shot for Wild Child in the entry for the AoA X-Men in the OHOTMU: Age of Apocalypse one-shot, leaving fans confused as to the source of this image for a few months until the 2005 X-Men Age of Apocalypse series was collected in trade paperback and the unused cover was finally printed in its entirety as a pin-up, ending the mystery.
This very clear version of Mark Brook’s character design from 2005 reveals a few costume changes from that version to the 2011 version. The brown collar is now colored red, the rounded rivets on the collar are now slotted, and the white wrappings and wrist pads shown on Sabretooth’s wrists in that image are now copied correctly onto Wild Child’s wrists.
Note: this issue has a wraparound variant cover by interior artist Mark Brooks, taken from a promotional image for this issue. When folded, Wild Child appears mostly on the back, but part of his left arm and part of his face appear just over the stapled edge on the obverse half. It also has a Second Printing variant, which shows various images from inside the book, one of which is taken from the “Die, Pig, Die!” panel above, but unfortunately Wild Child’s head is cropped out.
|Uncanny X-Force #11 – Mark Brooks variant|
|Uncanny X-Force #11 – Second Printing variant|