"Uncanny X-Force" #34 shows that Rick Remender is the best there is at what he does and what he does is break your heart. With the amount of blades slicing into people and blows traded, there shouldn't be room for anything more than action and motion. Yet, Remender manages to drop some seriously deep lines into this issue that will leave readers thinking about the events long after they've closed the back cover.
This is the second to last issue of this story arc and Remender's run on this title, and there is plenty happening and more that needs to happen. Remender spends every page of this issue tying things up. The narrative motion is kinetic and yet there is still time to show reflective emotion and connective tissue between the characters. Some pages blast by like the concussive force of a bomb while others swirl around with emotion while actually slowing down the pace of the characters. Movement or not, something is always happening.
Remender set out to examine the cost of death in this title. In a world of superheroes that don the silly costumes and fight the endless cycle of battles that result in nothing ever really changing, Remender makes readers consider what happens when the only change that's permanent can be effected. How does death affect those who cause it and those who must stay quiet about it? Every character, over these 34 issues, has had a chance to be inspected through this lens. Deadpool broke down into the semblance of a real person under its weight and Psylocke was turned diamond hard by the pressure. This issue delivers yet another study case in an emotional and very well structured way.
Phil Noto, with Frank Martin Jr's colors, works perfectly to bring a plethora of ingredients to the page. Noto is easily able to convey emotion on the faces and bodies of the characters. Noto's other strength lies in his ability to show the effects of battle. Wolverine is a mess and it truly looks cringe inducing without ever actually going for the full over-the-top gross out. Noto offers up everything in a real state and the results are pages that impact on multiple levels.
"Uncanny X-Force" #34 is yet another issue in the series where Remender delivers superhero wow alongside an emotional subtext that buries deep enough to hit the cores of these characters. No one writes a scene full of poignancy amongst costumed people fighting like Remender does. This issue is emotional, meaningful and masterful. It is nice to see Remender able to hold the quality of this run throughout and readers can only enjoy the last month of waiting before his run comes to a close.