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Review: Uncanny X-Force #20, Fantomex stands trial

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Uncanny X-Force #20
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini and Dean White [Colors]

The Captain Britain Corps have abducted Fantomex and Psylocke in the middle of the night, taking them to the dimension-outside-of-dimensions of Otherworld.

The Corps, who are led by Psylocke’s brothers, intend to convince Psylocke to rejoin them and to make Fantomex stand trial for killing the reincarnated child form of En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse.  Their assertion is that while he may have been brainwashed by the genocidal cult of Akkaba, En Sabah Nur could have still become a good being with the right nurturing.

Essentially, this aspect of the storyline is a nice allegory of the nature vs. nurture argument, as well as the morality of killing someone or something as a means of preventing what they could one day potentially do.  From that, you can draw whatever conclusions to the argument you wish, as I suppose Rick Remender’s intention with the moral question here is most likely to make you do just that.

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Elsewhere in this issue, Remender sets up the dynamic between the team and the newly-arrived Age of Apocalypse incarnation of Nightcrawler.  Unlike his deceased Earth-616 (that’s the mainstream Marvel Universe, kids!) counterpart, he’s not happy-go-lucky, he hates the uniform, he’s seen to much to have any sort of faith, and he hates being called “elf.”

Oh, and he’s extremely rude.

As Wolverine and Deadpool acclimate themselves to AoA Kurt (which is likely a challenge for Wolverine, due to his history with the mainstream Nightcrawler), they’re informed by Ultimaton (Cavern-X’s security robot) that the cavern was compromised by the Captain Britain Corps.

As usual, Remender does a great job making interactions between characters feel like they really mean something. There’s a certain weight you can feel between Wolverine and Deadpool and the AoA Nightcrawler.  There’s a palpable tension in the panels with Psylocke and her brothers, and when Fantomex is standing trial.

Tocchini’s art furthers these interactions, and even varies between locations.  In the magic realm of Otherworld, which houses the gateways to all realities and planes of existence, the art feels more washed out and almost like watercolor, while the Earth scenes remain standard and finely detailed.

Throw all of this in with the moral issue mentioned above and it’s not hard to understand why this is the most consistently enjoyable X-book in Marvel’s line.

STORY: 9/10
ART: 9/10 

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Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.
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