Pick of the Week

October 6, 2010 – Uncanny X-Force #1

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 2.3%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: 40 pages
Price: 3.99

Well they did it. Those sons of bitches, Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña, they got me to read and enjoy a comic with Deadpool AND Fantomex in it. Hell has officially frozen over.

While I was skeptical of the cast of characters comprising Uncanny X-Force #1, I started to think that this new book could have legs after speaking to Remender about it but I swore to myself that I’d wait until I read the complete issue before passing judgment, as well as not bringing any of my preconceived notions to the book. Notions like, “I will never read a book with Deadpool in it” or “I can’t stand Fantomex” or “This whole X-Force as killers idea is lame.” Nope, I left those on the doorstep as I opened the pages to the comic book.

There’s really two main aspects of Uncanny X-Force #1 that made it my clear choice for Pick of the Week. First, as Remender explained in the press conference, that while there was a bunch of action, this book truly did feel like it was about the characters making up X-Force. For whatever reason, the previous incarnation of X-Force seemed to lack this. It was a rag tag group of characters thrown together and given darker costumes. Here in the span of one issue, Remender has masterfully laid out the motivations and connections for each member of the team, justifying both why they’re on the team and why they’re accepting the unconventional manner upheld by the team. I think a lot of the fact has to do with this being a smaller number of characters on the team. With just five people it becomes easier to weave connections and side discussions, while also giving each other their moment to shine. From in-depth scenes like Warren (Archangel) and Betsy (Psylocke) in the bedroom spanning several pages of dialogue, to one quick aside between Wolverine and Warren, even to the incessant nannering of both Deadpool and Fantomex, Remender was able to get me inside these characters and relate to them.

Along with the words in comics, there is art, and the art is the other aspect of why this earned Pick of the Week. Remender and Jerome Opeña have worked together for a long time now. First on those epic arcs of Fear Agent, then followed by The Punisher, we’ve seen Opeña’s journey as an artist. I think it’s safe to say that this is not hyberbole when I express the idea that this may be Opeña’s best work yet. What really impressed me was how it was nearly unrecognizable to his previous work. It’s not as if his style changed, rather it feels refined. His layouts were dynamic and effective, and his figures of these iconic characters were spot on, possibly looking the best they have in ages. Opeña’s art was further enhanced by the great job on colors by Dean White, who set the darker tone but not too dark, with splashes of color used as weapons to help push the action and the story forward. This pairing of Opeña and White are going to be one to watch as this series progresses. Additionally I was impressed by the choices made by Opeña and White, specifically in the use of costumes. The darker/red eye costumes were there, but they made sense. They also didn’t dominate, Wolverine was in his blue and yellow costume when it made sense, and switched to his X-Force costume when it was appropriate. It’s that subtle attention to detail and respect for environment and how characters would appear and behave that make this such a great comic book.

It’s not secret that I’m a bit of an X-Men fan, and while I’ve been honest with my loathing of Deadpool and Fantomex, I slide way across the spectrum from them with my adoration of the characters of Archangel and Psylocke. Personally I’ve felt these characters have been underused and even misused for nearly 10 years now, so clearly I’m excited to see them in the forefront of this story. But it’s not just putting them into the spotlight, but the handling of them. Watching Remender grow as a writer at Marvel these past couple of years has been interested to see him, a writer who’s been so fiercely independent, get his hands on existing characters and use them to tell his story. Not to knock any of his previous work at Marvel, but Uncanny X-Force #1 may be his finest hour of writing to date. As an X-Men fan, we tend to be a bit touchy when characters act out of character or do something silly. Thankfully and very much to my delight, Remender not only passed but passed with flying colors in his portrayal of these characters I know so well. It was great to see Warren get so much dialogue and have it make sense and be within the persona that I know so well. To see Psylocke and her butterfly effect when using her powers made the X-fan in me giggle. And yes, even the dreaded Deadpool and Fantomex were handled in a way that not only made me not want to kill them, but actually looked forward to having them in this book. Deadpool even made me laugh a few times and I have to admit, I’m intrigued by Fantomex now. Basically, the possibilities of good reading that come with this book are limitless, and I can tell that right here with issue #1, which is a pretty good accomplishment.

Anytime you pick up some work that has had many previous people’s hands on it, it comes with some baggage. Lord knows there’s a lot of baggage here, what with all the character’s histories, the title’s history, and everyone else’s preconceived notions. Remender and Opeña were able to face all those challenges head on and not only bang out a great first issue, but give us a new X-book that has a different feel, a different vibe. Best of all, it’s a great jumping on point. Seriously. If you ever had any interest in Wolverine or the X-Men or any of the characters involved, I strongly urge you to pick up this book and come along for the ride.

In an age of hype and books that don’t stick around, Uncanny X-Force #1 shows that not only can you still be innovative and exciting within an X-Comic, but you can also start something new that, hopefully, will be around for a long while.

Ron Richards
I’m never gonna hear the end of it from Deadpool fans.


  1. I’m kinda looking forward to reading this, mostly because of Psylocke.

    I always used to choose her in MvC2 (I think it was that game…), probarbly because my 7 year old self thought something along the lines of: "HOT GIRL + NINJA = COOOOOOOOOL", but have never actually read anything with her in, so it’ll be interesting to see what the character is like.

    Other than that, I’m not really sure what has me interested in this book. I’m not huge on action (I usually opt for something more like SWEET TOOTH or CHEW), and I’m not a big Wolverine fan, and Deadpool..well, he’s Deadpool. But I really am looking forward to this…

  2. I liked this, but didn’t love it as much as I expected to.  With people I love as much as Remender and Opena and dealing with Apocalypse as a villain I was figured this would be my surefire POTW.  It was a solid 4 for me, and I definitely don’t think it was Opena’s best work, but Ron’s right about how it’s changed so I’ll just chalk that up to me preferring his older less-refined style.

  3. I liked this issue, didn’t love it. I don’t have a deep history with most of the characters so I felt a little behind, but overall Remender made this a highly accessible book. Also Jerome Opena killed it. Beautiful work.

  4. No Ron.  The only reason you’ll never hear the end of this is because of how unbelievably early your potw is posted.  Jesus Christ!

  5. @vadamowens: He’s in NYC.

  6. ugh…why do I have the feeling I’m gonna end up buying the first arc and then start kicking myself for not picking it up earlier, just like I felt with Gaurdians of the Galaxy

  7. Opena is the first artist in a long while that I would pick up a book just for the art. It doesn’t hurt that Remender wrote such a fun issue

  8. I saw this in the store and said, "POTW if Ron’s up."

  9. Yes! You go Ron! Loved this book.

  10. I am a Deadpool fan and I dropped all Deadpool books due to repetitiveness (and budget cuts on my part), so this will be my new Deadpool book 😀

  11. Ron, i agree, i hated Deadpool, too. yet Remender found a way to make me like him and the interplay between X-Force and Deadpool. Fantomex i just NEVER understood. what the heck is his powers?!

  12. I wish Opena was on the flagship book, I feel like this is going to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t misunderstand me, his art is GORGEOUS.

  13. ??? @ the idea that Deadpool and Fantomex have never been in good comics.

    Joe Kelly had an awesome Deadpool run.

    Whenever people "come around" to Fantomex…I wish they’d just go back and read the Morrison stuff without their anti-Morrison "I don’t want to think"-glasses on.

    Both characters were always decent. They can be misused, or in the case of Fantomex the readers can totally miss the point, when the character is SUPPOSED to be a critique of certain tropes that are annoying when played straight (ninja-suit ’90s stereotype).

    I like the pick, though. I didn’t get the issue because I’ve been burned twenty too many times when a hot writer takes over an X-title.

    I liked Kyle and Yost’s X-Force, though. It will be interesting to see how many new converts will go back and check that out. It was a lot better than I thought it’d be.

  14. I have not read enough Fantomex to understand the anger directed at him.  Could someone educate me on the subject?

  15. Two weeks in a row there’s complaining the POTW goes up early. Really?

  16. You sonofabitch! You’re gonna make me buy this book, now? 🙂


    Why…why did it have to be good…?




  17. Okay I am really shocked about this pick. Mostly because you made a book with Deadpool/Fantomex as ‘best of’. So I guess that means 2012 is gonna happen…..

    But seriously, maybe it is just me, but I found this to be a very mediocre book. I think Remender had a great handle on Deadpool/Fantomex; but by the end he went to the joke well with them too much. The other characters with Logan, Angel, and Psyclocke were just boring to read. I also find it funny that this is clearly Angel’s team with some of the dailogue and the overall premise of the book. That and Logan was the last member to be introduced sorta symbolized that too….

    Also, maybe it’s because I am not a huge fan of his, but Opena’s art definitely looked ugly in some cases. The panels with Angel and Psychlocke in the beginning stand out. Opena has a very hard time just drawing characters consistently when nothing is really going on. He can do fight scenes like no others no doubt….But there are just moments in this book where I really cringed.

    But you know I am going to give this series another chance. The premise is very intriguing and you all know I can’t get enough of Deadpool and Fantomex. So maybe the 2nd issue can swing me to like it a bit more.

    ….My POTW was Ultimate Thor #1 for being silly and awesome btw. 

  18. I love Opena’s art, but you gotta admit, a couple of those from behind running panels made it look like Wolverine was wearing Mom-Jeans…

  19. Nice to see Remender is still kicking ass and taking names, bring on the Fear Agent Omnibus!

  20. I got to read this and I really enjoyed it.  I love character driven stories, but I wasn’t expecting one here. I was pleasantly surprised to find explanations of characters addressing problems that I know have existed for a while like Archangel’s MPD and I didn’t mind Fantomex or Deadpool(Ok he bugged me a bit in the beginning) I think keeping this to a five man team would be the best thing they can do.

  21. Without doubt it’s the creative team that made me order this book…there’s no other way I would have looked twice at an X-Force book.  Opena man, I have no idea how he does what he does, there’s no one else pencilling like he does.

  22. @conor I didn’t even think about the time difference.  Never occurred to me until now.

  23. I haven’t read this one yet…in fact, no comics were read last night (which seems to be an annoying trend of late), but I was definitely really excited for this title.  I’ve loved all of Remender’s Marvel work, so I figure this is right up my alley.  Glad to see it should be great.

  24. @john It wasn’t a complaint at all. So I’m not sure where your annoyance is coming from.

  25. I still hate Psylocke incessantly.  She should’ve stayed dead.  I will pick up the book though because I do like most of the other characters and I’ve always thought Wolverine should get his time as a leader.  The cover art is intrigueing.

  26. I actually really enjoyed this a lot. Whoever asked what Fantomex’s powers are, I believe that spaceship he has is actually his nervous system, therefore he can’t feel pain unless his ship is hit with something. I don’t mind the character besides his absurd power. Deadpool and him were both written fantastically in this. I can’t wait to see where this goes. Oh didn’t hurt that Opena is one of the best artsits going right now(I LOVED his Punisher arc). Good stuff!

  27. @Marshak Its not so much that she came back. Its that the way she came back was so stupid and for no reason at all. At least that’s my problem with it.

  28. At this point does it really matter how or why a character comes back? It’s an absurd convention, the quicker they move past the ‘how’ of the ressurection and get back to story the better.

  29. Hell has officially frozen over.

  30. Major spoiler alert: Ron picked a X-Book. 

  31. Best version of Deadpool, I hate him usually.

  32. @vadamowens Last week there were a bunch of people making comments about how fast Josh made his POTW like it was a bad thing. With that fresh in my mind, I read your post as a complaint. Tone of voice doesn’t carry over to print, unfortunately. But yeah, that was my misreading it way more than anything you said. Sorry about that. 

  33. I didn’t realise Deadpool was in this until after I bought it so otherwise I wouldn’t have touched this with a 10foot barge pole. However, I picked this up because of a light week and my comicshop was doing a deal (free cake – Yum!)

    What a waste of trees! POTW – really? Only if P stands for Poo!

    I know the X-men but have never read an X-Force since the 80’s. I had no idea what was going on nor did I care.  There was a few pages at the end explaining what happened previously (why wasn’t that at the front?!? I might have understood it but I just couldn’t be bothered by then. Fanomax was cool in the New X-Men but he was just a knob here.

    Ron, I know you like the X-men but come on…

  34. What’s a Fantomenx?

  35. Good stuff. But why has Remender made Deadpool a drunk??? Also – DP needs to narrate.

  36. This was ok, i was really looking forward to it based on the hype and team, but i felt that there was a lot of background stuff that i was out of the loop on since i don’t read X-books. I was very neutral towards the thing in general. I dunno if i’ll pick up issue #2.

  37. this was an amazing ish. I loved it! I was only worried about two things concerning this issue. #1 Don’t get bogged down for several issues with getting the team together. #2 Answer the obvious questions: Why is this team together? Why THESE people? What is their mutual gain? etc. To my amazement, Remender delivered across this board and onto some other ones!

    The almost instant introduction to angels schizo crisis and psylocke’s relationship with him as a side plot took care of the majority of these concerns very early on. Then Deadpool singing "come on baby do the conga" was hysterical and i laughed more than i ever have in a comic book before when fantomex said "look at the girl… she’s the one"… BOOOM! (random, I know) A quick but ingenius way to get rid of such a powerful foe (horseman of war) without anyone complaining about it.

    Rest assured, I’ll be seeing Remender and Opena again next month!

  38. amazing frist issue of it. i am amazed this book is a great book. it feels like one of the best x-men books on the stands to me. i read most of them feeling dispointed. this one felt like they nailed each person down perfect. it is interesting book i am exicited to see where this heads if it continues to be writen this amazing i may read more of it in the future. so i am exicited bring about x-men again.

  39. I read this but a lot of it was confusing and it didn’t help that I didn’t know the backstory on most of the characters.

  40. Well let me preface this by saying that the Kyle and Yost X-Force was (insert single tear rolling down cheek, sad Native American style) one of (if not my absolute) favorite books being produced. I loved the plots, dialogue, intrigue, the action, and the beautifully rendered buckets of blood splashed on every other page…hell they even made The Vanisher cool!

     This book is NOT at all like the Kyle & Yost series. I’ve never been a fan of Rick Remender. He seems to want to make everything (for lack of a better term) "Big and Super Hero-ey". What was originally conceived as a covert black ops unit (in the previous incarnation) now wants to take on the omega level threat of Apocalypse.

    Were I not such a huge fan of the previous X-Force series, maybe I wouldn’t judge this one so harshly, but I did not like it at all. I found the dialogue to be stiff and at times ridiculous. The character’s motivations seem very contrived (if Angel really wanted to destroy Apocalypse, wouldn’t he call out the entire X-Family to confront him?) 

    On the positive side the art by Jerome Opena (whose work I am not at all familiar with) was pretty cool. He’s got a nice dynamic style that suits an action book. The scenes were characters were just talking did seem a tad bit stiff at times, but I don’t imagine that this will be a series with a lot of people standing around and talking.

    I guess I get Marvel wanting to take the X-Force concept and open it up to a wider audience by making it bigger and more Super Hero-ey, but reading this just makes me miss the old series. Well at least I have the hardcover of Sex & Violence to look forward to. 

  41. Well said Mr. GeeSpot. Totally disagree, but well said.

  42. I guess everything Ron didn’t like about the old X-Force serious (the dark visuals and overtones) was everything I LOVED about it and everything Ron loves about the new book is everything i hated about it…sigh

Leave a Comment