Review: Uncanny X-Force #5.1
WRITER: Rick Remender
ARTIST: Rafael Albuquerque
COLOR ART: Dean White
LETTERS: VC's Cory Petit
COVER: Simone Bianchi with Simone Peruzzi
RELEASE DATE: March 16, 2011
I was leery when Marvel announced their "Point One" initiative -- stories that diverged from the current storyline, but supposedly so impressive that it would ensnare new readers and enrich the overall title? Just another money grabbing scheme if you ask me. But as my favorite X book lured me in with it's first "Point One" issue, I gotta say -- color me impressed!
Rick Remender continues along the path he has forged for X fans by giving us the perfect amalgam of hilarity, brutality and spot-on characterization we have come to expect. But this time he has brought back someone from the depths of Vertigo -- American Vampire's own Rafael Albuquerque! Though not as crisp and tight as his work on DC's number one new Vertigo book, Albuquerque brings a flavor of "real world" grit that only heightens the brutal nature of this title to a resounding crescendo. Anyone who has seen his work on American Vampire can tell you Albuquerque was born to draw Lady Deathstrike!
Remender decides to hit upon the heartstrings of X nostalgia for this one, bringing back some of the baddest, most unusual and horrifically deadly villains to ever cross paths with Marvel's "merry mutants" -- the Reavers! Lady Deathstrike takes center stage as she leads the Reavers to find Gateway, the Aboriginal teleporting mutant, and make him drop her team of insane assassins in the middle of Utopia. As our team of heroes learns of the diabolical plot to destroy the very center of mutant civilization, one must confront his past, one must hold his anger in check, and one will not only risk the secret of X-Force itself - but also cross a line that can never be un-crossed.
This is one of my favorite issues of Remender's amazing run. Not only because I hold a special place in my heart for the Reavers - who else can boast that they beat Wolverine so badly that they crucified him to a giant X and left him to die in the Australian outback - but amidst all of the blistering action, Remender still builds upon the characters more than they have been in years. In this issue we finally get to see Psylocke confront some inner demons and deal with a defining moment from her past that completely changed the character of Betsy Braddock from what she once was to what she has become. It felt real and un-coerced and that is why Remender has made this series so great. From witty to morose, from brutal to heart felt, Remender has not let one stone on the emotional spectrum go unturned and it has paid off immensely.
Don't be dismayed by the "Point One" numbering, Remender is still at the top of his game and brings another shocking yet emotional tale to the table, one that not only defines the characters he writes but Remender as a writer as well.