Uncanny X-Force #21
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini and Dean White [color art]
As the issue opens, Fantomex has needles lowering into his skull. Around the time they reach his third brain (yeah…he has a few), Psylocke bursts in to rescue him from her brothers. After all, it was the Captain Britain Corps that abducted them both and put him on trial for the killing of the child reincarnation of Apocalypse.
Unlike the previous issue, this one doesn’t have the subtext of a greater moral debate. It does, however, continue to establish the dynamic between Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler and the rest of X-Force. This Nightcrawler is more sarcastic, and gloats about his accomplishments. He’s wary of Wolverine. After all, the Wolverine from his timeline became Apocalypse and slaughtered millions of people.
This creates some of the issue’s more interesting panels, but this chapter overall feels less essential to the larger story. We basically get the aforementioned further establishment of AoA Nightcrawler, more exploration of Psylocke’s growing affection for Fantomex, and a little bit of exposition in the plot. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still very well-written. Fantomex becomes more and more compelling with every issue that Rick Remender does. It just sort of screams “THIS IS THE LULL BEFORE THE CLIMAX!” to me.
Greg Tocchini’s art remains vibrant and befitting a story set in a magical plane of existence, so it’s understandable that it isn’t the most finely detailed art compared to that of Jerome Opeña. Remember, in the last issue, there was a clear differentiation in the art between scenes set in the “real world” and scenes set in “Otherworld,” so it’s doubtful that this is the standard for Tocchini’s artistic output going forward. It does work beautifully for this story, though.
Overall, this is still a pretty good issue — it just feels a little more compressed than part one. It’ll be interesting to see what Remender does with his big reveal at the end of this issue, though. (SEE Uncanny X-Force #18 for teasers)
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