Marvel Comics
Uncanny X-Force #8
By Dan Horn
April 25, 2011 - 12:52

Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Rick Remender
Penciller(s): Billy Tan
Inker(s): Billy Tan
Colourist(s): Billy Tan
Letterer(s): Cory Petit
Cover Artist(s): Dean White
$3.99 US

Psylocke has managed to trap Warren's violently unpredictable Archangel persona deep inside his subconscious, but Archangel warns that it won't take him long to find his way back to the surface. Meanwhile, Deadpool gets nabbed while performing reconnaissance (he's got a bad habit of that) involving a nuclear plant emitting enigmatic psychic energies. Will this just turn out to be another assault mission, or is this possibly part of Archangel's cunning scheme to be freed? It's a little bit Inception and Sucker Punch, but all Uncanny X-Force in a metaphysical battle of wills and telepathy that is beautifully rendered by series newcomer Billy Tan.

Many times, Remender tells his stories at a breakneck pace, and that can mean the difference between an absolutely satisfying storyline apogee and something like last issue's all-the-underling-bad-guys-vanish-when-their-leader-is-defeated climax, reminiscent of Sega Genesis action games' ubiquitous boss battles. I don't mean to ride that outcome too hard (last issue was a pretty interesting one, though it was definitely constricted by the limited space it was given to expand), but this issue suffers a bit for brevity's sake as well. It's a standalone story that acts a bit like a compressed two- or three-part arc, unfolding like a flower in time-lapsed photography.

Still, there's a magic, a nostalgic effervescence, transmitted from these pages, a look back at how cool and action-packed superhero comics can really be under the right circumstances. Uncanny X-Force remains exuberantly white-knuckled while peppering in keen introspection and character development. This is perhaps the first instance I can remember since I was a kid marveling at Jim Lee's artwork on X-Men that I've felt someone has achieved such a consummate X-book. Uncanny X-Force highlights the team's idiosyncratic loves, hates, companionship, distrust, drama, and violence in an incredibly accessible and transparent fashion. Despite any diminutive drawbacks any one issue faces, this is hands-down the best book Marvel is publishing right now.

Rating: 8/10

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