One of the things I’m appreciating about the current “Uncanny X-Force” storyline, “Deathlok Nation,” is that writer Rick Remender is taking what past writers have done with these characters and building on them, rather than ignoring what’s gone on before. So here, for instance, we’re getting a return to the World, a concept introduced by Grant Morrison during his “New X-Men” run and quietly ignored since.
Remender’s also building on his own previous storyline, where the new X-Force team hunted down the reincarnation of Apocalypse. It’s more than just casual mentions of that story, but actual fallout still rippling through the book. Psylocke’s conversation about what this team is turning her into was well done, and the hints from the future hunters that their attempt to stop the rebirth of Apocalypse was not as successful as they’d like was nicely played.
Remender and Esad Ribic also do a good fight/chase scene; it’s both well-written and staged, the characters moving well from one panel to the next and keeping it tense. It helps that there’s still a touch of humor in the face of danger, and the leap off the side of the cliff is nicely done in both concept and execution. For a comic that doesn’t have a huge amount of plot movement (it’s basically a fight and an exposition dump) it’s still exciting, and that’s a skill that a lot of comic creators are missing.
The one thing I wasn’t as crazy about was that I’m used to seeing a little more detail in Ribic’s art. It’s hard to tell why it’s different here; it could be the inking, the coloring, or even Ribic himself going for a different style. It’s not bad — you can still following the action well, and everyone’s still recognizable — but rather a little less featured and robust than I expect from Ribic. Still, when Ribic knocks it out of the park, like the scene between Psylocke and Captain Britain, it’s just about perfect.
“Uncanny X-Force” has rapidly settled into a dependable comic. You know Remender’s going to deliver a good script, and it’ll be a good-looking issue no matter whom the artist is this month. It would be nice if all comics were as reliable as “Uncanny X-Force.”