Uncanny X-Force #1 Review
By: Rob Gruszecki
The Uncanny X-Force, initially spearheaded by a now docile school headmaster with claws and featuring the likes of a chimichanga devouring, fourth wall breaking lunatic and a three-brained hyper-thief has disbanded. Now in its place there remains the likes of a Psychic ninja with light saber hands and a recently annulled weather-wizard with a fancy new haircut. As these angry ladies with some aggression to work off travel to a strange club where a new drug has reared its hive-minded head and multi-limbed dealer, we are taken on a trip with explosions, excitement, dwarves recently returned from a vacation to hell and punching… lots of punching.
This new volume of the assassin, espionage team is an exciting chapter with Sci-fi scribe Sam Humphries at the helm and Ron Garney shouldering artistic duties. Where the issue fails as a number one in delivering an easily accessible introduction into this laundry list of b-list characters it succeeds as the next chapter in the previous Uncanny X-Force volume and its adventures. The first sixteen pages serve as more of a ‘where are they now’ installment of Psylocke and Storm continuity which can be a little exhausting but luckily the action is fast paced and fun enough that the unnecessary Wikipedia update on the characters doesn’t weigh down the story too much.
As a brand new reader of the team I felt like this wasn’t a particularly effective number one issue in that inundating the audience with flashback panels and references to what the characters are up to in other series made it difficult to really feel like I was experiencing something new instead of something peripheral and inaccessible unless I had read the previous Remender run or the myriad other titles featuring the X-Men. Simultaneously the one page appearance of Bishop towards the end of the book is so random I felt like I was reading a preview for a completely different book. The final three-page overview of Fantomex and his arc seemed related only in the sense that he was previously on the team and had a reveal that I felt diminished the tension built with Psylocke and Storm’s story instead replacing it with a confusing conclusion to an already convoluted first issue.
That all being said, those are my problems with this book broadcasting itself as a new number one, but on the other more positive side of things where the book succeeds I think the creative team of Humphries and Garney show potential for some crazy, action-fueled, sci-fi stories in the future of the series. I, despite being completely dumbfounded and blindsided by the appearance of some characters in the issue, am curious as to their relevance and how they will tie-in to the team in the next few installments. Also, I felt that the depictions of Storm and Psylocke blasting through the sky and beating up dancing samurai was presented with excellent pencils from Garney and a particular discovery Storm makes later on is very intriguing and has definitely captivated me enough to follow along.
In comparison to the other Marvel Now team book out this week (see my review of Young Avengers #1) Uncanny X-Force #1 has a similar ‘getting the band back together’ feel but where Young Avengers laid out all the characters efficiently and still delivered an exhilarating story connecting them all while developing each separately, Uncanny X-Force #1 presented two particular characters with a strong, interesting story where the rest of the team was thrown in last moment with no ties to what was going on.
Artistically the book excels but where I think the writing suffers by trying too hard to lay out continuity that wasn’t necessary to tell the story, Uncanny X-Force is a flawed but fun, adventure book with enough superhero intensity to keep you entertained.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
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