“Uncanny X-Force” #30 takes a detour as events focus on Evan, the teenage reincarnation of Apocalypse, who has been kidnapped from the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning by Sabretooth, Daken and the Shadow King. They spend nearly every page of this issue trying to get him to break his programming and succumb to the evil inside everyone when they are wronged, which makes for an interesting and twisted road trip of horrors. A philosophical battle is played out, like some sort of murder-obsessed “Sophie’s World” for mutants.
Don’t expect to see the actual Uncanny X-Forcers in this issue. Aside from one dead and hanging from a wall, the others are absent and on other business. This issue is a breather and a setup for later while the usual crew is doing something else. There’s something incredibly satisfying to pick up issue #30 and see it focus on a character that was actually the first major victim of this title. Things are coming full circle and plenty of forewarning comes in these pages.
The ethos of killing the unjust preemptively is tested by a group of villains on the one character who should be above it. When Fantomex secretly cloned Apocalypse and raised him in the World, he did so to see if evil was inherent or if it could be avoided. He wanted to give Apocalypse a clean slate and hid him from the world so as to remain pure. This issue counterpoints that initiative as it studies how the world will eventually corrupt people. In the end, it’s not about inherent evil so much as it is internal resolve to ignore the worst and not stoop down to roll and lie with it. Evan is a different Apocalypse and yet the worry now is he can so easily be reset by a van full of killers who will show him how nasty you can be for fun and how nasty you should be to survive the world.
The art in this issue is good in some places but it has a hard time keeping up with the plethora of artistic gold this title has delivered. To wonder if Dave Williams is able to rub shoulders with Jerome Opena is a tough thought. Williams doesn’t have too much to criticize and yet there aren’t too many majorly over-the-top praise worthy moments either. Evan blasting Sabretooth is pretty cool and the rest all works, but it’s a come down — it’s kind of unfair but also what it is. Williams delivers some clean and clear pages but they lack that x-factor which this title thrives on. Dean White manages to hold so much together with his color style and choices. He shows here, possibly more than other issues, that he is a very large ventricle in the pumping heart of this book’s visual appeal.
“Uncanny X-Force” #30 continues to mine and explore deep issues. A supervillain killing spree is actually just a philosophical experiment. There is consequence and emotions do matter. With Rick Remender’s writing, readers must pay attention, and maybe might learn a little. This isn’t just a battle of good versus evil, but rather a battle to truly define and understand what good and evil mean as concepts as well as actions. Remender views both polarizing schools of thought through grey lenses and thus breaks them down analytically. Even though this issue feels like filler in many ways, it is nice to see the title continuing to interpret the world of superpowered action and its motivations and consequences.