With the upcoming Deadpool 2 on the horizon being confirmed to focus around X-Force and several of its characters it’s time for an X-Force crash course from yours truly Mighty Max! The basic idea for X-Force is a militant platoon style team, sometimes sanctioned by the X-Men, sometimes not, that takes on the missions that the X-Men can’t or won’t.
The first appearance of this team is considered to be New Mutants #86 when the team’s creator Rob Liefeld took over the book. This issue is the first appearance of adult Cable after he returns from the future he was sent to by Cyclops and Jean Grey to be protected from the techno-organic virus Apocalypse had infected him with as a child. New Mutants #98 is the first appearance of Deadpool but he was very different in his early appearances and didn’t gain his meta comedy flair until Joe Kelly and then Christopher Priest began writing Deadpool v2 in 1997.
The full first appearance of the entire team is X-Force v1 #1 which came out in 1991. The beginning of X-Force v1 is a great place to start reading if you are immune or used to the general tone and aesthetic of early 90’s comics. I for one love 90’s comics and X-Force v1 is as fun as it gets when it comes to that period in comics history. Cable, Domino, Boom Boom, Warpath, Feral, and Shatterstar all gained prominence in this series and will always be intrinsically tied to X-Force no matter where they appear. This series ran for 129 issues ending in 2002 after many writer, artist, and roster shifts over its run. In addition if you want more Deadpool and Cable together they had a long running team up series starting in 2004 and running 50 issues till 2008.
The characters would go on to join other teams like Shatterstar and Rictor becoming main characters in Peter David’s X-Factor Investigations which made their always close friendship canonically romantic. Domino was a member of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost’s with artist Mike Choi’s revamped X-Force v3, being the only original member to be on the roster. This version of the team was formed by Cyclops, unbeknownst to the rest of the X-Men, as an “any method possible” black ops team of exceptionally dangerous mutants. This series crosses over with New Mutants v3 and the X-Men Legacy title of the time in the event Necrosha X.
After X-Force and the events of the crossover Second Coming (the final of the Messiah/Hope Summers saga and also one of my favorite recent X-events) X-Force v3 led into Uncanny X-Force v1 written by Rick Remender with art by Jerome Opena. None of the original X-Force members were on this team but it’s a very good title nonetheless, and Deadpool’s on this team! After Avengers Vs. X-Men and the start of the Marvel Now! soft reboot, a new book titled Cable and the X-Force started as well as Uncanny X-Force v2 that didn’t have the same team as the first volume.
These both only went 19 and 17 issues respectively before being rebooted AGAIN under the All-New All-Different Marvel Now! banner as X-Force v4.
This X-Force lasted 15 issues before being cancelled and replaced by Weapon X which features some of the same characters as the first iteration of X-Force. As of right now Domino and Cable have ongoing solo series in addition to Deadpool’s current ongoing solo Despicable Deadpool.
Written by Max