Uncanny X-Force #1

Uncanny X-Force #1

A

Now, this is how an x-book should look. There was a time when I first started getting heavily into comic books that the X-Men line practically had the market cornered on cutting-edge artists. From John Romita Jr. and Mark Silvestri to Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio and even Rob Liefeld—say what you will about his work, there’s no denying his style was pretty influential for its time—there was always a good chance that if you bought a comic with an ‘X’ in the title that you were in for some pretty stellar artwork. In recent years there have certainly been some noteworthy artists to pick up the pencil for Marvel’s band of mutants, notably Salvador Larocca, Chris Bachalo—probably my favorite recent X-Men artist—Frank Quitely and John Cassaday. None of them have really made my jaw drop like Jerome Opeña did in this issue though.

Opeña wastes no time in wowing you with a beautifully drawn sequence of a lone Deadpool base-jumping into the ‘evil lair’ to report back to Archangel on his findings. Opeña truly has a dynamic style that to me combined all of the best aspects of Lee, Portacio and Cassaday. The colors for this book are suitably muted and dark with just enough splashes of vividness to keep your eye drawn across the panels. And I can say with some certainty that no one has done a better job of rendering Archangel’s razor sharp wings than in this issue.

Let’s talk lineup… for this newest incarnation of X-Force (the fourth I believe), Rick Remender has brought together Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool and Fantomax. And to my surprise this combination works very well in the first issue. All the characters on this team share a common bond of having been tampered with by higher powers to become killing machines against their will—Wolverine, Deadpool and Fantomax in the Weapon Plus program, Archangel at the hands of Apocalypse and Psylocke by Mojo and Spiral, and probably some other people as well… quite frankly her continuity confuses the hell out of me—and are all willing to kill if necessary to protect the survival of the mutant species. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost’s run on X-Force was one of my favorite books of the last few years as that group operated as Cyclops’ secret black opps team… this group goes even further underground as they work without the approval of Scott Summers—he believes Wolverine has abandoned that team and concept—with Logan and Archangel acting as co-captains so that neither goes too far over the line in their actions.

Having Deadpool and Wolverine on the same team could’ve backfired in oh, so many ways, but Remender does an awesome job making this ensemble really work. And this book really does have an ensemble feel rather than just being yet another showcase for Deadpool and Wolverine. Remender has an excellent grasp of what makes Deadpool tick and he doesn’t overdo his outrageousness as a character or go too far with the, quite funny, running commentary that Deadpool provides for himself as he infilitrates enemy territory. Wolverine has some excellent moments with Fantomax early on in the issue and shies away from the spotlight elsewhere in the issue which allows Remender to provide some excellent insight into Warren Worthington’s recent re-transformation into Archangel and his on-again relationship with Psylock, Betsy Braddock… recently back in Asian ninja mode.

I won’t give too much away as to the identity of the villain in this first arc, but I must say the revelation on the last page is probably by-far the most interesting use of the character I’ve seen in, well, ever. I was certainly said to see Yost and Kyle leave the series that they revitalized with X-Force: Sex & Violence and their monthly X-Force series having just wrapped up, but Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña have me very excited for what’s to come in Uncanny X-Force. My only concern is that Opeña has set the artistic bar so high that they Marvel may have trouble keeping the interiors of this book looking as good. Highly recommended.

tags: deadpool, Jerome Opena, rick remender, wolverine, x-force

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