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Uncanny X-Force Issue 1: “The Apocalypse Solution, Chapter 1”

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October 20 2010

Uncanny X-Force Issue 1: “The Apocalypse Solution, Chapter 1”
by Samodean

Uncanny X-Force Issue 1: “The Apocalypse Solution, Chapter 1”

Marvel Comics
Story: Rick Remender
Art: Jerome Opena, Dean White

X-Force is back with a new team and a new adjective. Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force picks up where Crag Kyle and Chris Yost’s recent X-Force run left off. In the previous version, X-Force was a black-ops team, proactively taking out enemies before they could become true threats to the dwindling mutant population. Due to the extreme nature of X-Force’s tactics, the team was kept secret, known only to Cyclops. Consisting of Wolverine, X-23, Archangel, Domino and several other members, X-Force took down nutjobs, racists, psychic vampires and even traveled to the future to help Cable. Following the “Second Coming” event, Cyclops decided there was no longer a need for X-Force and disbanded the team.

Ever the realist, Wolverine decided to keep X-Force alive, this time a secret even from Cyclops. He turned to Archangel as co-leader and recruited a new team; psychic ninja Psylocke, world-class mercenary Deadpool and infiltration specialist Fantomex. It’s an interesting team, full of fan-favorite characters that also fit the theme of the comic. Wolverine is, of course, the best there is at what he does. However, he also tends to go a bit overboard at times, so he’s sharing leadership of the team with Archangel. Warren, though, has his own issues, attempting to sort out the two personalities warring for control of his body. Psylocke fills an obvious role on the team as the lone psychic, but Betsy needs Warren’s support as much as he needs hers. Deadpool… well, he’s Deadpool. The goofball of the Marvel universe, I truly feel Remender will be reining in some of his more outlandish traits, and bringing the character back to his roots as someone who will do whatever is necessary to get the job done, but also have fun doing it. At least in this first issue, none of the bizarre (and honestly, stupid) effects recent writers have been using to turn the character into nothing more than a clown are present. There really is more to the character than we’ve seen since his resurgence a couple years ago.

The one character poised to be the breakout star of this series is definitely Fantomex. One of the many intriguing ideas Grant Morrison came up with, but never quite followed through on during his run on New X-Men, I’m glad to see Fantomex get another chance. The character is a product of the Weapon Plus program, itself an offshoot of Weapon X, the same agency responsible for “creating” Wolverine and Deadpool. Essentially, just like Deadpool, he was an attempt to create the next Wolverine; the three characters are tied together. While not a mutant, Fantomex still has powers, most notably his unique nervous system. Technically, Fantomex has more than one brain, giving him slight psychic abilities, as well as several more interesting powers. I thought it was a good call by Remender to have Fantomex narrate the bulk of this issue; it allows newer readers unfamiliar with the character a chance to connect with him. Fantomex is definitely one Marvel character to keep your eyes on next year.

As for the issue itself, it’s a solid setup for what’s to come. We start with Deadpool investigating an enemy base, then move on to the rest of the team assembling for a rescue mission. Each character has a moment in the spotlight, and we see how the members of the team are going to interact with each other. There’s some camaraderie, and there’s some tension; all the elements of a good team book are present here. Yes, there’s also some fighting and explosions, giving the book a solid balance of story and action. Everything a fan could want is in this first issue, elevating Uncanny X-Force above other recent first issues. (Wolverine, I’m looking at you.) At this point, it’s not much of a spoiler to say Apocalypse is the first villain X-Force will be facing, though the reveal at the end of the issue is still a great twist.

On the art side of things, Opena does a solid job. Wolverine and Archangel are as badass as they should be, but his Deadpool seems a tiny bit off in some aspects, mostly the mask. His interpretation of Psylocke is a bit more “athletic” than traditional portrayals, but the feelings associated with that will vary from reader to reader. There seems to be an overuse of certain color schemes, mostly blue and gray, but I’ll need to see more to decide if it’s a trend or just the way this particular issue worked out. Still, it’s an improvement over the “All BLACK, all the time!” style of the last X-Force.

Uncanny X-Force is just a solid comic. It gives fans enough of a taste to feel good about where the title is heading, as well as enough cool stuff to bring some new readers to the franchise. I highly recommend this one to fans of the X-Men, Wolverine, Deadpool or anyone just looking for something new and different.

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