Following their excursion into the “Age of Apocalypse” dimension, the Uncanny X-Force team returns to our world to find that not only are they too late, but that the item they were supposed to retrieve to save Warren from his Apocalypse-induced fate will, in fact, help all his plans come to fruition. Oops.
Worst of all, while the team was gone, Warren has changed. Now under the thrall of Apocalypse in a worse way than ever before, he’s turned into a megalomaniac nutcase intent of using the celestial seed to re-shape the world. The twist in the concept is that he’s actually being quite reasonable about it. There’s no doubt that he’s insane, but only on a grand scale. Watching him chat with Ozymandias, his former co-Horseman, Autumn, and even members of the public, he seems both reasonable and benevolent. It’s a brilliant twist on the usual “ranting psychopath” model, and to Remender’s credit, a difficult feint to pull off. One rarely expects to like the villain, but here it’s hard not to.
There’s some good material for Psylocke in the midst of this, as Warren, who retains some emotional attachment to her, insists that she be kept alive and nearby him. Although struggling with the situation, she fulfils her remit as a member of X-Force by going as far as she reasonably can in trying to stop him. Her anguish is felt, and mirrored by the readers.
Remender also introduces a “new” character to the X-verse in the form of Genocide, a character whose Age of Apocalypse incarnation was known as Holocaust. As it turns out, Genocide has a rather different personality to his counterpart, but his childlike nature makes him more disturbing. It’s a fun addition to the canon, and one that has the potential to run long in terms of story material. It’s yet another example of just how many ideas Remender packs into his issues.
Opena’s return to the title is long-awaited and, as it turns out, our waiting has been rewarded. With no disrespect to the previous artists, the book looks better than ever. There’s a constant sense of quick, uninterrupted motion to the fight scenes, and the body language for the new, more regal Archangel perfectly conveys his state of mind. He bears no malice towards those around him; they’re simply beneath him now.
Once again, “Uncanny X-Force” has to be called one of the most fantastically executed Marvel comics currently being produced. If you’re severely put off by references to decades-old X-Men continuity, you might want to give it a miss, but those who are sufficiently immersed in the lore will find it one of the most entertaining X-books in years.