Friday, 23 October 2015

Retro review: Uncanny X-Force #2

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Jerome Opeña
Colours: Dean White
Cover: Esad Ribic
Publisher: Marvel

My mind was caught in a fierce battle over which issue of Uncanny X-Force to review, this particular gem or number one of Remender's series. Both are, to me, incredible issues (in fact the whole run is) but #2 won out in the end as there was one moment that made me laugh uncontrollably and put a smile on my face for the rest of the day, but we'll get to that later. 

I first became aware of Remender after I picked the first volume of 'Black Science' and, after reading the first page, soaked all the pages that same day. It was unabashed, unashamed, glorious and well written sci-fi. His writing was emotive and humourous, resonating with me in that special way that comics can. 
After that I became more alert to other work he was involved in, I love his independent work, but his work with Marvel is pretty spectacular too. His blend of drama punctuated with humour works well with this series. X-Force is a team entered series and how he writes the team dynamic highlights Remender's knowledge of these characters, more than that, he understands and cares for them. You can see it in the tenderness between Betsy and Warren, the friendship between Wolverine and, again, Warren. It's shown in the irreverence and recklessness of Deadpool and Fantomex.  The writing is fantastic throughout and keeps the story moving along at a cracking pace, keeping up hooked along the journey.

I'm not a big fan of spoilers and doing retro reviews allows me a bit of leeway as this material had been around for some time, so I'm less likely to ruin everything. However there are people who, like me, are still discovering and unearthing new treasures, so there's every chance that this is new for someone out there. So I don't want to give too much of the plot away. So in this issue the team find themselves on the blue area of the moon, chasing down 'someone' from the big reveal at the end of issue #1, when they are beset by the final horsemen.
This leads me to the moment that made me choose #2 to look at. It, of course, involves Deadpool, how could it not? Deadpool is one of those characters that it is immense fun to read and, judging from Remender's full use of his beautiful insanity, immense fun to write. If you're not a Marvel fan, which happens, or you like different genres of comics altogether, the chances are you still like Deadpool. The Merc with a mouth is popular not only because of his self-awareness in some series, his inane wit but he's also a complete badass with a pretty cool skill and power set. Anyway, I'm detracting from the point slightly. Deadpool becomes engaged in a fight with the horseman War and, like no one else can, begins to sing Edwin Starr's Motown classic 'War' (good god y'all) and its a moment of comic book brilliance. This use of wit by Remender is one of the reasons I find his work so endearing.

Opeña is a frequent collaborator of Remender, working with him on 'Fear Agent' and with characters such as Punisher and Wolverine. I first noticed his work in Avengers with Johnathan Hickman and I'm rather fond of his style. It captures that point between comic and reality, blending both nicely. His character work is vivid and emotive, while the action sequences are kinetic and pacey. In a world of subterfuge, White's colours match Opeña's style well, creating an almost pastel colour effect that gives the illusions that the characters are operating just behind the veil of public perception. It's an art and colour dynamic that works really well, as so often a mismatched pairing can ruin a book, but in this case it's one of the things that helps to make it. The truth is, you couldn't have this issue without Remender, Opeña or White. That may sound like I'm being deliberately obtruse or even stating the obvious, but I'm not. If you took one of the trip away I think this issue in particular would lose its impact, it's comedic moments and dramatic fight scenes, the melancholic but beautiful relationship that Angel and Pyslocke have, would be shadows of what they are when the three are together. 

As you may of guessed I'm a huge fan of this series, it's one of the few I own both in print and digitally, so I'll forgive you for believing me to be biased. I'm only so because I've read the series, I implore you to do the same. Either get on Amazon, comixology or pop to your local comic shop and grab a issue or volume or two. You'll soon find yourself becoming as biased as me. 

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