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Feature Article

Deadpool 2: Who And What Are The X-Force?

Domino, Cable, and more explained.

Deadpool's back, and this time he's bringing friends--a whole team of them actually, even though we all know just how much he loves to talk big about being above all that superheroic nonsense. They're called the X-Force, and they're making their way to the big screen in Deadpool 2, as Wade comes up against Cable for the first time in his improbable live action career.

As you probably could have guessed, there's a little more to the history and the roster of the X-Force than just a bunch of people brought together by Wade Wilson putting out help wanted ads. They're a team that actually has close to 30 years of comic book history, and in that time they've been through their fair share of remixes and reinventions.

The original X-Force was a product of the early '90s revolution in comics, where everything was becoming more and more xxxtreme and over the top. Like Deadpool himself, the team was conceived by creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, who made them as a more modern replacement for another X-Men offshoot called the New Mutants. With top to bottom pouch-strapped costumes, weirdly rendered bionic anatomy, and more mullets than you can shake a stick at, the original X-Force was composed of mutants like Boom Boom, Warpath, Shatterstar, and Cable, with Deadpool popping in and out of the lineup as it suited him (though he didn't actually get an official position in the team until 2010.)

Over time, the X-Force grew into the more "black ops" division of the X-Men who deal with potential threats proactively and before they get out of hand. In keeping with their '90s-extreme origin, this often made them the more violent and morally ambiguous branch of Marvel's myriad mutants. It also meant that they had a relatively high turnaround as far as team roster was concerned, as various members would either fall out with one another or quit altogether when their missions pushed them too far outside of their comfort zones.

In Deadpool 2, however, it looks like the X-Force will be given an overhauled origin and mission statement that's considerably less dark. From the trailers, we can see that the team is brought together by Wade posting flyers (because why not, right?) and basically accepting all comers--including a totally non-powered, sweater vest wearing human named Peter who was, unsurprisingly, invented for the movie. The rest of Deadpool's X-Force lineup actually does have their roots in the comics in one way or another.

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First up, we have Domino (Zazie Beetz), whose mutant ability is the manipulation of luck (it's a lot more useful than it sounds). Essentially, Domino's presence affects chance-based outcomes in her favor, meaning that she's really lucky while the people around her are extremely unlucky. Domino was actually introduced in X-Force #8 all the way back in 1992, so she's been around nearly from the very start. She's also got some on-again-off-again history working with Deadpool as a partner, which may make or an interesting dynamic between her and Wade's live action love interest, Vanessa.

Next up is Bedlam (Terry Crews) who has abilities relating to "bio-emps" or organic electromagnetic fields. Bedlam is able to short circuit mechanical systems and even disrupt human brains to produce fear reactions, pain, and even sleep just by being near. He was introduced in X-Force #82 in 1998.

Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgard) has an extremely unappealing mutation which allows him to vomit acid at will. He's not a character who shows up all too frequently in the comics (probably because it's hard to make acid puke look good under any circumstance, even if it's being used for superheroics) and was first introduced in X-Force #116 in 2001. From trailers and set photos, it looks like Zeitgeist's live action costume includes a plastic mouthguard, making it entirely possible that his vomit reaction may not be totally within his control just yet. So basically, brace for a lot of barf jokes in the theater.

Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) can be seen in trailers rocking a full blown 90s accurate costume complete with his maroon mullet. Introduced in New Mutants #100 back in 1991, Shatterstar is actually a genetically engineered superhuman from a place called Mojoworld--an extra dimensional plane of existence that verges on the Lovecraftian (no, really, it's a whole situation). The actual specifics of Shatterstar's powers are still kind of up in the air, but he's been shown to have enhanced strength, speed, durability, and the ability to generate concussive blasts through his swords.

Finally, we have the returning Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) rounding out the roster. We've already seen just how well they work with Wade in the first movie, so we probably won't be in for too many surprises on that front--though we'll have to see how much this new team influences Colossus's mission to get Wade to join the X-Men proper.

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On top of that confirmed roster, there's also actress Shiori Kutsuna, whose unnamed character can be seen in trailers wielding what looks like an electrically charged chain. The best guess for her character is the mutant Surge, who was introduced in the early-2000s New Mutants revival in issue #8. Surge, like her name implies, has the ability to manipulate and generate electricity--similar to Bedlam, but a bit more traditional; less biotic fields and more literally shooting lightning from her hands.

Cable himself (Josh Brolin) is being set up as the main antagonist for the film, but he too has a pretty heavy comic book history both working directly with Deadpool and with the X-Force--he was one of the founding members of the original team, after all, so it's pretty likely we'll see some developments on that front before the movie is over.

Of course, all this comics history is going going to get you so far in this very specific context. Your best bet walking into the theater is going to be expecting Deadpool 2's X-Force to play a bit fast and loose with the team's actual history and source material. When it comes to the Merc with a Mouth, isn't that kind of the point?

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