Or – “Fantomex Has Always Been A Bit Creepy, But…”
As the last volume of Uncanny X-Force ended, the three brains agglomerated into the body of the mutant known as Fantomex were cloned into individual bodies, leaving him with not only an evil counterpart but a female version of himself…
…and now they’re dating. Raise your hand if “Eww?” Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
UNCANNY X-FORCE #4
Writer: Sam Humprhies
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inker: Scott Hanna
Additional Art: Adrian Alphona & Christina Strain
Colorist(s): Marte Gracia with Israel Gonzalez
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Kris Anka
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price $3.99
Previously, in Uncanny X-Force: After both suffered unpleasant breakups, Storm and Psylocke were dispatched from the Jean Grey School by headmaster Wolverine to help his old pal Puck track down a mysterious drug trafficker. Sadly, it’s just gotten more complicated since then, as Bishop has appeared out of the timestream, Spiral has been implicated in the mystery, and worst of all, Psylocke’s ex, Fantomex, is back with his new girlfriend: The female brain that used to inhabit his body, now cloned in to a hot duplicate of himself. That’s not creepy at all…
GET RIGHT IN TO DA’ FIGHTIN’!
I had a weird moment as this issue opened, as the first page’s rendition of Spiral looks remarkably like the work of Paul Pelletier, which frightened me for a moment. (Someday, I’ll try to explain why that frightened me so much.) Luckily, Bishop arrives with new fangs and a bad attitude, and starts blowing things up with his mighty energy powers. At the same time, Psylocke fights against a mysterious presence in his mind, something that wants a young girl named Ginny, the source of the mysterious “drug” that initiated all of this madness in the first place. Artistically, the battle sequences and the mind-trips are pretty spectacular, especially when Storm shows up, and things get explodey. I’m very impressed with the redesigned uniforms that Psylocke and Storm are rocking here, both of which actually cover them up and look like they might be able to fight in ‘em, and the sight of a shirtless Puck leaping into action is an utter joy…
CLAREMONTIAN IN THE EXTREME.
Dialogue-wise, I find myself flashing back to the Claremont days, as Psylocke confronts her old foe Spiral with rage, only to find Spiral crushed by the loss of Ginny. Storm and Betsy talk it out, and even have a friendly hug, while Puck takes down the suddenly de-possessed Bishop with a single punch, then poses heroically for photographers. The best moment in the whole issue, though, comes as Wolverine sees the photographs on the internet, and lets loose with a big “OH HELL NO!” Annoyingly, though Fantomex and Cluster (who REALLY needs a new name) are cover-featured, they only get a brief appearance in the issue, as Dark Fantomex (likewise, with the big need of re-nomenclature) ambushes them, but that moment is left open-ended, as the rest of the issue focuses on former X-Men and the kind-of terrifying things that happen to Ginny, involving a familiar-looking psychic energy signature.
THE BOTTOM LINE: STYLISH, BUT ALSO OFF-PUTTING…
It’s a mixed bag of an issue, featuring characters with new life in them (Puck and Psylocke) side-by-side with guys who I could have stood to see off-stage for a while longer (Fantomex and Bishop) and a pretty excellent art job throughout. Some of the talky-talky feels very retro to me, and the “small girl endangered as macguffin” annoys me, save for one fun moment at the end of the book, which leaves me in a quandary. As lovely as this all is, as fun as it is to see the new attitude of Puck, the return of Punk-Rock Storm, Psylocke being a wildcard jerk again, it’s still a story that has been moving awfully slowly for me, and Fantomex has yet to be swirled into the story proper four issues into the run. Uncanny X-Force #4 doesn’t quite stick the landing, but at least acquits itself stylishly, earning a mixed-to-positive reaction and 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!