Rick Remender’s use of older concepts form a backdrop for a strong story with “Uncanny X-Men,” though it’s the return of an old favorite that drew me in to begin with. And while the art has its faults, the story is sure to please fans.
One of the concepts surrounding Captain Britain that always threw me off was the concept of Otherworld. Granted, the introduction to the concept came to me while my brain was expanding in all the ways necessary to begin comprehending the world of comics and all of the wonderful characters therein. The original “Excalibur” title was where I found the Captain Britain Corps, and it was just enough to drive me away to spend my money on other concepts and series.
Otherworld found a place to lodge into my brain, however, like a pebble kicked up on the expressway that gets stuck in your windshield. So it only seemed natural for me to use the cross-section of Otherworld and X-Force to give this critically acclaimed title a look-see. OK, it wasn’t only Otherworld that lured me in. I had to know more about Nightcrawler’s return to drawing breath.
This Nightcrawler, as regular readers know, is only a little like our lovable Fuzzy Blue Elf. He’s got a mean streak in him that involves dismembering foes through his bamf-ing. He also gets to swing a sword with reckless abandon. Naturally, that makes him a great fit alongside Wolverine and Deadpool, who hurl themselves into Otherworld looking for their kidnapped teammate, Psylocke.
Rick Remender puts a great deal of passion and action in this issue and gives the reader a full issue of learning about the characters. The Captain Britain Corps is presented in a dynamic manner and the importance of the Braddock family to the Corps takes center stage. This issue dishes out a lot of wild ideas and crazy concepts, all of which Remender handles with flair and charm. Wolverine updating pseudo-Nightcrawler on the threats he’ll encounter on Earth-616 is as entertaining as the trial of Fantomex is intimidating.
Unfortunately, the art falters a bit. Greg Tocchini’s art is less finished, looking more like enlarged thumbnail concepts than finished layouts with complete characters. It plays to the atmosphere of Otherworld and even inserts a modicum of Alan Davis’ style into the characters’ stature and expression, but comes across as hurried. The scene that opens the book has Captain Britain looking out a window from a bedroom, but the position of the character shifts from looking out a full-length window to a three-quarters window to being feet away from the window, without Britain changing pose. That hurried look gets enhanced by Dean White’s colors. White is either playing up the shifting uncertainty of Otherworld by shifting the colors in stride or he lost track of the blues and the reds in the jumble as Captain England’s costume straps are blue in some panels, red in others, and brown later on. The visuals lack polish in this issue, but they still work for the story. I’m certain, however, that had things appeared more complete, the story might have felt likewise.
With the recently completed mission to the “Age of Apocalypse” Earth followed by this mission, it could be argued that X-Force has become a pseudo-“Exiles” title. There is still, obviously, a good deal of potential in that concept as X-Force appears seemingly outclassed in Otherworld. Rick Remender leaves this story on a cliffhanger that is more visually intriguing than alarming. Otherworld hooked me, but Remender’s doing the work of reeling me in.