Uncanny X-Force has been rebooted once again, with a mostly new team and all new threats. Psylocke, Storm, Spiral, Puck, and some incarnation of Fantomex are all present – but how does the return of Bishop figure into all this? The Uncanny X-Force #1 review begins… now!

UncannyXForce1CoverUNCANNY X-FORCE #1
Writer: Sam Humphries
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: Marte Gracia with Israel Gonzalez
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Olivier Coipel & Laura Martin
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Previously, in Uncanny X-Force: X-Force has disbanded, leaving lasting effects on its members. Psylocke’s personality has been altered (again), making her as rough around the edges as ever. Fantomex has been resurrected, only his three brains now have three separate bodies and identities. And Wolverine, Deathlok, Angel and Deadpool are all in other books.

ANGER ISSUES

Rick Remender’s historic run on Uncanny X-Force has ended and two books have sprung up to take its place – Cable & X-Force and this new volume of Uncanny X-Force. As of yet, nothing links these two teams other than their name and the usual outside-the-law X-Force remit. This issue focuses on Psylocke and Storm weathering the fallout from their recent relationship dissolutions, as they track down a new threat in the form of a mind-controlling Ecstasy-like club drug distributed by Spiral.

Sam Humphries sets up a good beginning. The relationship material between Storm and Psylocke is strong, and Psylocke’s anger feels palpable. There are a few balance issues though – the ending seems a bit tacked on, with awkward tags featuring the Fantomex buddies and Bishop returning from the future. How Humphries weaves these storylines into future issues will largely affect the quality of this book. Still, Humphries does enough to keep me interested. It helps that I love this cast of characters, too.

One side issue, though: Psylocke’s swearing. Profanity does not bother me in teh slightest. But this being an all ages book, here it gets a black censor bar in the speech bubble. In a few other Marvel NOW! books, I’ve seen wingdings used for the same effect. It comes off as juvenile and tacky, and I hate it. I’d rather Psylocke plain call Spiral a witch instead of her speech getting black barred. The readers will know what it means. Not to mention the casual cursing seems out-of-character for Psylocke. She’s been under a lot of stress lately, but when isn’t she?

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Ron Garney’s art fits very nicely within the conventional Marvel superhero-style wheelhouse. It’s studied, detailed, and comprehensible – like what Greg Land could be without the lightbox laziness. I prefer art that takes a few more risks, but Garney does bring enough creativity to his panel layouts and action that it still pleased me. The coloring is somewhat heavy-handed – I like that the flashbacks are mostly monochromatic, but too many of the scenes are washed out in the same colors. It flattens the action in the artwork. There’s a bit where Psylocke is cruising around in a hot-rod, single seat flying craft that, while I have no idea what it’s doing in this setting, looks really quite amazing and makes me want to see more of Garney’s art on a techno-punk type book.

BOTTOM LINE: ISSUES OF ECONOMICS

Something that bothers me about this book, which is not the fault of the creative team, is the pricing. I like what Marvel is doing creatively these days, but their price scheme is nigh on incoherent. There are now two X-Force titles dabbling in double-shipping at $3.99 price points. Neither are “flagship” X-titles, and both feature relatively new creative teams. Books like FF and Young Avengers are priced at $2.99 with more high-profile creators – I don’t understand it. I know this moaning is unlikely to be heard, but the point must be made: you can only squeeze so much money out of your readers. It puts an unreasonable burden on a book like Uncanny X-Force – for an extra dollar, my expectations are raised accordingly. And so while this is a decently told superhero story, it’s going to have to be more than decent to get my regular business. Uncanny X-Force #1 gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!
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The Author

George Chimples

George Chimples

George Chimples comes from the far future, where comics are outlawed and only outlaws read comics. In an effort to prevent that horrible dystopia from ever coming into being, he has bravely traveled to the past in an attempt to change the future by ensuring that comics are good. Please do not talk to him about grandfather paradoxes. He likes his comics to be witty, trashy fun with slightly less pulp than a freshly squeezed glass of OJ. George’s favorite comic writers are Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison, while his preferred artists are Guy Davis and Chris Bachalo, He loves superheroes, but also enjoys horror, science fiction, and war comics. You can follow him @TheChimples on Twitter for his ramblings regarding comics, Cleveland sports, and nonsense.

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4 Comments

  1. February 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm — Reply

    I’m a little worried about the characterizations herein contained, as Betsy and Storm seem to be entirely reactive, while Wolverine’s cameo and Puck’s reappearance are hardcore movie tough-guy raconteur awesome.

    Spiral is a character with some potential, but her backstory is a nightmare, and I’m a little skeeved by the Fantomex/Cluster revelations. All in all, though, I liked this a lot more than I expected, reminding me somewhat of the old Exiles in tone, if not intent.

    • February 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm — Reply

      Yeah, I hear you about the characterizations. Puck could get very annoying, very quickly if they don’t do something to soften him up. There’s a thin line between incorrigible charmer and skeevy creeper, and Puck is already straddling it.

      I like the Fantomex/Cluster stuff – dude was always a narcissist, so it kind of makes sense.

  2. February 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    Couldn’t agree more about the pricing. I have a huge problem with Marvel and their $3.99 price tag, as well as double shipping. I would love to read this regularly, but I refuse to pay $3.99. Also, is Fantomex essentially masturbating, all be it in a fancier way?

    • February 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm — Reply

      I really hope they delve further into the Fantomex thing, because I think that’s a great question (honestly). Since Fantomex was sort of a composite entity now split into separate individuals, you could claim that no, it’s not – and that it’s not that weird. But I will enjoy seeing how the other X-Men respond to the relationship.

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