When I heard Ifanboy.com gushing all over Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, my initial thought was “NOT interested.” X-Force had been a lot of things to me over the years. I have always liked the X-Men. Nearly anything X-Men related has tripped my trigger since I first got into comic books. I loved Peter David on X-Factor, I loved the Age Of Apocalypse crossover event, I even loved the Mutant X crossover (most other people did not). I’m not X-Men-centric like Ron Richards, but I have always appreciated what a team of mutants “feared by those that they try to protect,” brings to the table. My first memory of X-Force was being at a second hand place and finding X-Force #1. Cable was coming out guns blazing on the cover and due to my misunderstanding the speculation market, I thought that I had something valuable. It was near mint condition. Then, after briefly looking through price guides and such, I found out that relatively unsuccessful series’ first issues are worth nothing. Sure, X-Force sold enough copies to buy Rob Liefeld a jet airplane or two, but although it stayed in print, it’s popularity was not long lasting. Enter Milligan and Allred. Their wacky talents brought something truly unique to the title, but despite all of the efforts of everyone involved, X-Force was not meant to be. In 2004, the last six issue mini of X-Force came out and then it was quiet until 2008. From 2008-2010, X-force titles seemed to exist only as companion books to all of the massive X-crossovers that everyone was trying to force. Things didn’t look good, but thank God they became Uncanny.
Uncanny X-Force began in October of 2010 and came on like a storm. Through the writing talents of Rick Remender and the artistic tour de force which is Jerome Opeña, Uncanny X-Force found new life! The team consisted of Archangel/Angel (in an identity crisis), Fantomex (previously deemed worthless by me), Psylocke, Wolverine, Deathlok (in some stories), and Deadpool. These characters would fight to do what’s right and make he hard choices that kids the Xavier school couldn’t be forced to do. X-Force had to kill. That is a driving concept around the title and really makes all of the characters more fleshed out. The consequences are real. People die because of them and people live because of them. It’s a very edgy situation and it brings out the best in these characters.
Through all of the team’s adventures, Remender throws the kitchen sink of X-villains at them. From issue to issue the art stays mostly consistent even through artist changes. Esad Ribic, Rafael Albuquerque, Billy Tan, Mark Brooks, and Phil Noto don’t drop ANY balls. They are all able to draw the action and convey the fact that Uncanny X-Force can be emotional at times. There is pain, heartache, camaraderie, and loss. That makes the book easy to connect with. It feels like all of the trials that Remender puts the cast of characters through are important for the sake of the world and character development. It’s very weighty and enjoyable stuff. If there is one thing that I love about Uncanny X-Force, it is that they seemingly take a bunch of characters that I could care less about and makes them entertaining and pleasing to me. The breakout character in the whole series is Deadpool.
Typically, Deadpool is displayed as a madcap assassin with an irreverent mouth. His childish humor typically bores me. Remender, however, writes him as completely insane! While on missions, he will recite whole scenes from movies and utter pop-culture nonsense at every turn, no matter how much it does not have anything to do with what’s occurring on page. The trick is that he fits. Remender has crafted Uncanny X-Force in a way that not only is there a place for Deadpool, but he is a valued team member. The last time I remember Deadpool being a teammate, it was with The Great Lakes Avengers and although I might get death threats, I think that we can all say that that was kind of a joke.
So, that brings us to you, the consumer. I have told you that there is a critically lauded, really incredible piece of storytelling, combined with beautiful art that is easily available to you. The beauty of it is that, from my personal experience, I didn’t even like most of the characters before I started reading and it just grew on me. It could grow on you too. There are quite a few spoilers that I avoided sharing in here, but trust me, it is a wonderful series. Uncanny X-Force is currently on issue 32 and wrapping up some time in the next couple of months. You can get mostly caught up on it in trades at Instocktrades.com for about $54.00. Will you be caught up on the story and rejoice with me at the end of this epic run in a month or so? Did you read Uncanny X-Force and think it was melodramatic and stupid? Let me know in the comments section!
~ Scott Deaux ~