For superhero fans, the 1990s were a troubled decade. In the ’90s, comic book writers and artists seemed to fall in love with the concept of ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’. Everyone wanted to mirror the tone of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Rises or Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Meanwhile, artists such as Rob Liefeld were making their mark on comic book art – creating violent, bloodthirsty stories that featured antiheroes and black-ops teams.The censorship of the Comics Code Authority had kept comics in check for decades. By the ’90s, the CCA had weakened, and the dam finally burst. The ’90s essentially became a flash-flood of everything the CCA had condemned.
Even Venom “eat your brains” had a solo comic!
Rob Liefeld is a writer / artist who left his mark on the X-Men when he created X-Force. A black ops mutant team led by the time-travelling warrior Cable, X-Force were an unlikely evolution of the more PG-13 New Mutants. In X-Force, warriors had bulging muscles and massive guns (often used as phallic symbols), the women were sexualised to an extent that seems incredible to today’s comic books readers, and if a superhero used a sword – there would be bloodshed.
X-Force established itself as a major presence in the X-Men’s world. Since then, there have been several incarnations of the team; although the quality of the books has dramatically increased, they’ve tended to follow Liefeld’s lead. So much so that one miniseries was entitled X-Force: Sex and Violence.
Not exactly your conventional superheroes.
It’s a matter of record that Fox are interested in putting together an X-Force movie – there have been rumblings about it for years. We’re now in a position where several major team-members are in play; Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, Olivia Munn’s Psylocke, and Ben Hardy’s Archangel. It looks very likely that Deadpool 2 will introduce Cable, the team’s founder, into the mix as well.
Writer and producer Simon Kinberg has now weighed in on the kind of tone and style he’d be looking to set for an X-Force film, telling Den of Geek:
“When there are films that want to be raunchier, want to be darker, want to be violent or R-rated, [Fox will] be open to it. And not every movie should be. I don’t think that the main X-Men movies should be R-rated; I don’t think they’re R-rated stories. But if we were to make an X-Force movie, that probably should be R-rated.”
Fans of X-Force won’t find anything particularly surprising in that comment; in truth, I don’t think anyone who’s actually read the books would have expected anything different. But Kinberg’s comment does at least tell us that, were Fox to put together X-Force, they’d be looking to be fairly true to the comics.