Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Major publishers are in the business of making money, there is no doubt about that. Like any company that is selling something directly to us, the consumer, there is a degree of supply and demand involved that then dictates the style of comics that said publishers give us to consume going forward. The fact that the vast majority of DC and Marvel’s output is filled with Batman and Avengers books is no coincidence, these brands sell. One of the saddest things about fan entitlement is the disillusion that Marvel or DC is cancelling your book to make room for another limb on an already massive franchise. This really is not the case, what is more likely is you are one of the few that is reading it, and these guys don’t want to cater to the few; they’re trying to cater to not just the most comic book fans they can but to take a chunk of that Angry Birds money. This is why DC started from scratch; this is why Hawkeye has his own upcoming title and ‘real’ Nick Fury now looks like Samuel L Jackson. Because of all this, there are only a hand full of titles being published by the big two right now that please virtually everyone. Admittedly, if Marvel and DC had their way, all of their titles would be critically acclaimed, easy to jump into, and top selling yet as we are all different that is rarely the case. When it does happen, it’s like catching lightning in a bottle. One of the books that succeed in doing this is Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. Another is Mark Waid’s breath of fresh air run on Daredevil, with help from some of the best artists in the industry. What makes Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X Force worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two books? Find out after the jump.
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Jerome Opena, Rafael Albequerque, Esad Ribic and Matt Wilson, Billy Tan, Rich Elson, Mark Brooks, Scott Eaton, Robbi Rodriguez, Dean White, and Paul Mounts.
Uncanny X-Force is supposed to be a team book, but one look at the members of the team, (Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantomex, Angel, and Psylocke,) and you would be forgiven for thinking that this was the most dysfunctional team line up in a history of dysfunctional teams. As leader, Wolverine has a mandate; kill the threats to mutant kind before they can become exactly that. This gives writer Rick Remender an excuse to tell a giant, multi layered story about Apocalypse without actually using the character that we know from stories past. Instead, Apocalypse is an idea, and through this Uncanny X-Force as a title raises the main question that the book represents; if it is in your nature to become something, be it evil or otherwise, how much can outside influences change that? The opening volume, The Apocalypse Solution, deals with this theme explicitly with the team on the hunt for a reborn Apocalypse that, as he is still a child, has no idea of the monster he will eventually become. Again, the idea is explored in the second volume, Deathlok Nation, when a group of super powered Deathloks from the future come back to steal The World, a concept introduced in Grant Morrison’s run of New X-Men, from Fantomex’s clutches. Aid comes in the form of the original Deathlok; a serial killer that was changed into a military sponsored cyborg only to actually end up being neither, instead conquering what is in both his DNA and his programming to become so much more. The metaphors may be glaringly obvious yet in the hands of Remender feel natural and fluid.
Verdict – Buy It
Uncanny X-Force is the comic book equivelent to Craig Mack's seminal posse cut, Flava in your Ear (Remix.) By allowing Rick Remender to play in his own little corner of the Marvel universe and letting him, more often than not, bring some of the industries best pencillers and colourists along for the ride, Marvel have essentially put out a book that is rightfully praised by every corner of fandom. Remender utilises characters that have all at times been considered shallow and gives them more life than they have seen in years, making you care about them and the consequences of the decisions they make. Add that to some career defining work from Opena and White and you truly have a recipe for success.