Uncanny X-Force #17
By Dan Horn
November 10, 2011 - 15:16
Writer(s): Rick Remender
Penciller(s): Jerome Opena
Inker(s): Jerome Opena
Colourist(s): Dean White, Jose Villarubia, and Chris Sotomayor
Letterer(s): Cory Petit
Cover Artist(s): Esad Ribic
In Uncanny X-Force #17, things are looking fairly grim (when haven't they looked grim?) for the mutant heroes of the eponymous hit squad. The Age of Apocalypse Ice Man is wreaking havoc on Wolverine and Deadpool, Deathlok's mind has been subverted by War, Fantomex has ostensible retreated like a coward, and Psylocke has been transformed into Archangel's bride, Death. The situation couldn't honestly look bleaker, and of course the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time. Or do they? Can anyone really stop Archangel from bringing about the Age of Apocalypse on Earth-616?
Issue 17 is another action-packed installment to this pulse-pounding series, but that doesn't equate to filler or splash-pages. Let me put it this way: a reader of UXF will never feel as though his/her $3.99 was spent in vain. Almost every issue seems like two issues of content from any other comic book series. The series never suffers from terseness for the sake of its raucous violence. This chapter manages to play on several different facets of its main characters' lengthy histories, weaving fond recollections and romance into an otherwise nihilistic and Darwinian narrative. There is hope somewhere amidst the hopelessness, but, even so, this saga won't end well for the X-Force.
The artwork, which I've raved about in the past plenty of times, is brilliant. Opena's work here is the stuff of comic book legend, and Dean White--just give that guy the coloring Eisners for the next ten years. His palette has been the glue that's kept this book together for over a year, and his absence in a past issue was certainly noticed by fans immediately.
If I have one critique for this issue, it's that many of the developments that transpire within this chapter or at the very end of last chapter are dealt with quickly here, giving the impression that those developments, like Betsy becoming Death, weren't exactly essential in the overall scope of this arc. They feel like well-written filler or well-conceived diversions, for lack of better nomenclature. Knowing Remender's attention to detail, however, I'm sure he'll find a way to re-examine these issues. If I had another critique it'd be the aforementioned arrival of the "cavalry," which I'm really trying not to spoil, but it's been Remender's ace up his sleeve, it seems, which was rather woefully convenient.
UXF is definitely not without its faults, however minuscule, but it's also so deep and character-driven that those faults only seem to further reflect those of its intricately developed players. This really is a remarkable era for this super-team, and anything that comes after it will be judged by Uncanny X-Force's nigh-impeccable standard.
Cable and X-Force #1
Uncanny X-Force #1 Marvel NOW! Review
Uncanny X-Force #28 Review
Uncanny X-Force #19.1
Uncanny X-Force #17
Uncanny X-Force #14
Uncanny X-Force #12
Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1 (of 3)
Uncanny X-Force #11
Uncanny X-Force #8