uncanny x force 1 coverUNCANNY X-FORCE 1
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Ron Garney
Publisher: Marvel
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

Let’s make sure I cover all the bases. Sweet, baby, toddler, tween, teen, young adult, adult and resurrected American Mormon Jesus — this was a GREAT book.

I cried like a little girl when Remender’s run on this title ended. His swan song letter was more painful than the deluge of break-up letters I received in my youth. Over the course of 30 some issues the man transformed initial audience skepticism about a wetworks X-team into audience adoration. He delivered trans-dimensional travels, time bending heartache, laughter, love, and resurrections for some of our favorite and second string muties. Not only was it a wonderful insular title that used tongue-in-cheek banter to soften their morose missions. Each mission irrevocably and in my opinion for the better changed the X-Universe and the characters therein.

Well, that was then and this is now – Marvel NOW! to be exact, and I’m happy to report UNCANNY X-FORCE remains just as weird, bawdy and surprising as every single past issue. Some members like Psylocke and Fantomex remain, but we also now get fringe additions like Spiral and Puck, as well as old staples like Storm and the original bearer of the “M” concentration camp Tatt, Bishop.

This issue begins a heartbeat after where old X-FORCE left off; once again showing Marvel’s prowess to start anew without bitch slapping the old timers’ commitment to the Marvel U. Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock is the chief protagonist of this series. After losing her soul to the X-FORCE of old and her heart to the lobotomized Angel and rapscallion Fantomex, she took her big bag of aggression to the Jean Grey School for a change of pace. Unfortunately it doesn’t work out. Fortunately though, we get to see the douchetastic Quentin Quire get held up and psionic knife point, and we get to see Wolverine deliver headmaster hardness as he tells Betsy to find a new vocation than teaching. Garney’s visuals here were beautiful as this whole series of events is encapsulated in B&W pages with just a tinge of Betsy’s purple to accent each moment SIN CITY style.

UNCANNY X-FORCE isn’t a team with Wolverine doling out missions like Scott once did. Wolverine basically tells Betsy to see the world for her own benefit, and merely suggests a good place to start finding herself once again. This new coming together is more a random happenstance of events than a cohesive gathering of abilities. That may sound like a bad idea, but once Betsy runs into Storm, then Puck, and then Spiral inside a club where a little mutant girl is doling out mind-ecstasy one Wi-Fi tab at a time, you realize how passé the mission structure truly was for these true rebels.

This book delivers “the funny” in droves; there wasn’t a page of this book that didn’t make me laugh out loud. I find midgets hilarious to begin with, but horny midgets are pure comedic gold. Humphries has Puck deliver on my expectations one bawdy comment at a time.

Actually, I take back my last statement; there were two pages where I didn’t laugh. One was the appearance of Bishop as he travels back from tomorrow. This just confused me since we get no indication how he’s going to be thrown into the team mix. But this is a serial, so mystery is simply part of the equation. The other part, while I didn’t laugh, my sick twisted side absolutely loved. We’ll all remember that Fantomex was discovered to be three beings at the end of UNCANNY X-FORCE Vol. 1, and each of the three were finally given their own meat-skin to wear. Evil F, Regular F and Lady F appeared and then the series promptly ended. Well, while not teamed yet with the rest of the gang, Regular F and Lady F are back to thieving…and in an amazing last page surprise…tongue tangling after every successful score. How will they fit into the big plot? Don’t know yet and don’t care. Any book that takes masturbation to such literal levels is my Huckleberry even if the purpose isn’t clear.

I’m an X-whore. I give a lot of leeway to X-titles simply because I love the universe and the progression of the characters. Now that we are balls deep into Marvel NOW! though, I can see where my loyalties will lie moving forward and where non-Xphiles should look if they just want a taste of X-Goodness. X-fans should read it all because the synergy of plots and characters between titles right now is flawless. Non X-Fans, or X-Dalliances should be had in the following order:

  1. ALL NEW X-MEN (The original 5 coming to today has been creepy, heartwarming and welcoming to anyone who has ever read an X-title whether a NOW or not.)
  2. UNCANNY X-FORCE (This is actually a great book for people who traditionally don’t like the X-MEN. Again, they ain’t a team and they are marching to the beat of a whole new drum.)
  3. WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN (The initial guffaws that turned off serious readers have lightened, and each character, whether teacher or student, have found their own voice and interesting way of contributing to one another’s lives and life at the Jean Grey School.)
  4. UNCANNY AVENGERS (Red Skull lobotomized Xavier and absorbed his brain – nuff said)
  5. DEADPOOL (At least for this arc he’s fighting resurrected dead Presidents who feel we can’t manage the country right – political and juvenile FTW.)
  6. CABLE & X-FORCE (Don’t know their purpose, so I bailed after issue one.)
  7. X-MEN LEGACY (David fighting his personalities is like meeting a bunch of heroes you don’t know or care about – pass)

If you’ve been out of the X-fold, come back because it is NOW truly different.