"Uncanny X-Force" #29 by Rick Remender and Julian Totino Tedesco continues the "Final Execution" storyline, in which X-Force travel to a future where they have ushered in a utopian era by killing anyone who tries to disagree with them.
The last few issues have piled on the shocks, culminating in Psylocke's ritual suicide attempt at the end of the previous issue. Understandably, it's hard to top that, but Remender doesn't shy away from playing out the ramifications rather than simply dismissing them as an illusion or dream sequence. Psylocke's role in X-Force has been fairly prominent since the start of the series, but the last couple arcs have really moved her into the spotlight. This story reaps those rewards by finding the logical destination of her character's path.
As always, Remender's writing is dense but fast-paced. It can make for a confusing read, if you don't concentrate hard on what's happening, but it makes for a rewarding experience overall. The themes are grand, the character moments are small and perfectly formed and if there's any complaint to make, it's that there's a danger that plot twists can get buried in dialogue.
Tedesco's art style certainly manages to keep up with the book's density of action, and it helps that he's the kind of artist who can bring a distinctive style to each of the book's inhabitants while maintaining clarity. On rare occasions, the art choices on "Uncanny X-Force" have impaired the storytelling, but even in a book where many characters are duplicated as their older selves, Tedesco keeps things from becoming confusing.
It's always worth praising Dean White's colours, too, as he provides so much of the visual identity of this series. His choices guide the tone of every scene, even to the point where a dream sequence in this book instantly invites you to think back to the ending of "The Dark Angel Saga" so many months ago, despite a completely different artist. It's rare to see a book where the colourist visibly contributes as much, if not more than the penciller, but it's certainly an enjoyable component of a book where the entire creative team seems to push one another to deliver more.
It's fair to say that the ending of this comic (without spoiling it) suggests an interesting direction for Psylocke, and one that maybe even revisits some material from the earliest appearances of her current incarnation. For longtime X-Men fans, this is the X-title to read. As Remender heads towards the next arc, it seems likely this book is building towards a fantastic conclusion, and issues like this suggest he's playing a fantastic long game.