Although it's easy to understand why Marvel felt the need to relaunch "X-Force", given the line-up and creative changes, it's also a fairly sad indictment of the industry's attitude towards ongoing titles. The premise of the book -- a black-ops X-Men team -- is exactly the same as its previous incarnation with the only difference being that this time, they're secret from even Cyclops, instead operating under Wolverine's direction. Is support really so hard to drum up that this couldn't have been "X-Force #26"?
That aside, there's almost nothing about this book which could turn me off it. The cast -- Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Fantomex and Deadpool -- is almost too cool for its own good. The villain, Apocalypse, is one of the X-Men's all-time greats, and the final page offers a fantastic didn't-see-it-coming twist on his status quo that has me straining to read more. We might be drowning in ongoing X-books that lack much identity right now, but "Uncanny X-Force" proves that a solid premise and well-defined cast can go a long way towards ensnaring an audience.
Remender's story is nice and quick. Lesser writers could have stretched out the assembly of a new team for issues' worth of story, but here aracters is, Remender has found reasons for each of them to be in the cast. Psylocke and Archangel's it's dealt with in one scene, and the story hits the ground running. As cool as the mix of ch rekindled relationship also serves as a way for Warren to exert some control over his wilder, more violent "horseman" side, and as the lynchpin for the book's first story. It's almost strange to find a team book that even tries to tell a story about an individual, particularly since this was one of the bigger flaws about X-Force's previous incarnation. Remender's work has been good in the past, but given some of the bigger toys to play with, he's turned out one of the most immediate launch issues the X-books have seen for some time.
Opena's artwork is appropriate dramatic, and the artist has a unique eye for dynamic angles and layouts. It's a shame that Dean White's normally-dependable coloring renders it in all kinds of strange hues. There's one panel where Wolverine, diving at Archangel, has turned teal and orange. Even the presence of Psylocke can't account for this much hot pink. It's a strange misstep, but luckily one that isn't too overpowering.
From the first issue, it looks like "Uncanny X-Force" might be a success, and it certainly deserves at least as long a run as its immediate predecessor. Despite the presence of Wolverine and Deadpool, Marvel's most over-exposed duo, this book feels like something you don't get elsewhere: an ensemble team book with strong fundamentals and a clear idea of where it's going. Let's hope the next issue keeps up this level of quality.