I’m a big fan of Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force, it was as well written as it was drawn, and it set the standard for Marvel quality. Besides, the idea of a secret mutant task force created for the singular purpose of killing the really bad bad guys is just…awesome. I’m still in love with Remender’s initial “Apocalypse Solution” arc, in which the team is faced with killing the young reincarnation of Marvel’s most powerful mutant baddie. It was a bold move, but it paid off.
That’s why I had such high hopes for Uncanny X-Force volume 2, written by Sam Humphries. Following Remender isn’t something most comic writers would want to do, unless they were trying to prove themselves by out doing a crowd favorite. Sadly, Humphries’ debut is an issue that is bright and colorful but ultimately uneventful.
The title has been getting a lot of talk, specifically because of the return of the mowhawked Storm. Honestly, it’s got one of the best looking covers from the new “Marvel NOW!” line-up. However, the book’s art is largely disappointing. A new member of the team is long-time cult favorite Puck. He’s a great foil to Storm’s seriousness, but he’s drawn like a Cro-Magnon imp. The page in which he introduce himself to Psylocke is just painful. Look at that border, for christssake, it looks like something from the 90s. That should scare us, that should scare us all.
The issue ends with the return of Bishop, who simply screams “I’m back!” before attention is turned to Fantomex, who is making out with a clone of himself. It’s all kind of out of nowhere, and I think it illustrates my main disappointment with the issue.
Humpheries mistakes showing a character for introducing one, and as such attempts to do WAY too much. For a title that’s trying to get new readers (at times to a fault), Uncanny X-Men #1 expects the reader to know a lot of back story.
That’s not to say it’s all bad, of course. Spiral, a long forgotten x-villian, is reintroduced. A strong hatred exists between she and Psylocke, the only character to have survived the transition between volumes. I think it’s a smart move to place the two on the same team, being that the both want to kill the other. It’s bold and difficult, which is exactly the kind of thing that made Remender’s work so engaging.
While the first issue makes little sense and develops almost no plot, it’s not a bad little issue. Seriously, it’s worth picking up, and I believe the title is worth reading. It’s not an easy thing to relaunch a title and establish new relationships all in one 22-page issue. I hope that everything settles in, everyone get’s explained, and that Uncanny X-Force get’s back to secretly murdering super-powered maniacs.