Review by: froggulper

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.2
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Rick Remender
Art by Billy Tan & Rich Elson
Colors by Paul Mounts
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Cover by Esad Ribic

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

After a hiccup last issue, I think Uncanny X-Force is back on track. Whereas issue #9 felt like padded filler to me, issue #10 once again provided a thoroughly engrossing experience that–as usual with this series–leaves me anticipating the next issue very much. (There may be pros and cons of Marvel’s bi-weekly shipping of $3.99 titles, but getting X-Force twice a month is definitely not something I’d complain about.)

What’s most impressive about this issue isn’t that it’s a “return to form” or anything of the sort. No, what really impresses me is that with this issue Remender shows that he can steward X-Force through decidedly different types of storylines, and that his mastery of the characters can show through no matter who his artist is on any given issue.

To put it simply, this issue (and the upcoming Dark Angel Saga in general) seems like a story that would have been told in the X-titles 10-15 years ago. It probably would have been a four-issue mini-series featuring B-list or C-list creators. It probably would have been quite sub-par. But, then again, the whole idea of Uncanny X-Force from the start seemed like a bad idea from the late-90s/early-00s. Characters like Deadpool AND Fantomax AND Wolverine in an X-title? And “dark” characters like Psylocke and Archangel? And they’re fighting Apocalypse? It screamed predictability and “extreme” tropisms. But Remender got it to work. That in itself was impressive. It’s even more impressive now that he’s continuing to succeed as he takes the book along the “journey to an alternate dimension” route, and that he’s starting to continue that success while working with artists inferior to Jerome Opena and Esad Ribic.

So, does issue 10 of Uncanny X-Force seem, in several ways, as if it could have been produced in 1998? Yes. But it would have been a damn good 1998 comic. Remender’s ability to juggle and subtly progress various plot-points and established ideas is nuanced and inviting to the reader. We see these characters as evolving personalities, each with unique stakes in what’s going on, and as the plot progresses the reader can’t help but wonder on a panel-to-panel basis how the events are affecting the characters’ psyches. In this issue we see more of Fantomax’s yearning for Psylocke. We see Psylocke’s frustration about Warren. We see Logan’s concern about the very existence of the team, whether it was a mistake for him to bring them together, and whether or not–after all the death they’ve caused–he can somehow make up for it, or at least prevent the bloodshed from continuing further.

The character tension is palpable even in silent panels, and in between the panels. Psylocke ignored Fantomax early in the issue, but then towards the end she shows up along with Fantomax to help Warren (but she doesn’t bring Deadpool or Deathlok along). So we have to wonder if Betsy is beginning to trust Fantomax.

The art is serviceable. Billy Tan gets an assist here, but to be honest I couldn’t quite tell which penciller did what pages. I assume that the other artist did some of the pages toward the end, because the quality slipped a bit there. This is the third issue of X-Force that Tan has drawn, and all three have looked decidedly different. Issue 8 was in keeping with what Ribic had been doing, but the art in issue 9 seemed very rushed and amateurish to me. In this issue, things look “okay”. No glaring flaws.

Many readers were concerned about the colorist switch that took place in this issue. There’s definitely a tonal shift, but I think it matches the shift in storytelling as well. The first nine issues of this series were full of dark, murky tales–hence dark, murky, layered coloring worked fine. But we’re coming into different types of stories now, at least for a while, and I think an altered coloring suits things just fine.

Maybe I’m being kinder to this issue than some are. Probably that’s because, personally, I’m just ready to go back to the Age of Apocalypse, as long as a writer as good as Remender is going to be the tourguide. I’m excited as hell to go back there. And though I definitely understand their flaws, I personally loved the X-titles throughout most of the ’90s. I loved Deadpool before he had his own series (though I haven’t like him that much in the years since). I liked Betsy and Warren when they were first dating. I unashamedly love all the history that this title references. So in a way this title feels like going home again or something. These are the characters I used to like so much, and they’re being used carefully and respectfully in a way that brings out why I liked them in the first place.

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 3 - Good


  1. Betsy may not trust Fantomex, but I think he is the team’s only transportation.  If I remember correctly, no one outside of the X-Force members knows of the team’s existence, so they can’t use the X-Men’s aircraft.

  2. I loved your Avengers review.  I used to enjoy Bendis.  I feel he is cranking out the comic equivalent of generic sausage.

    I’ve sadly dropped all Bendis titles. 

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