Images & Words – Uncanny X-Force #9

[images & words is the comic book pick-of-the-week at OL. equal parts review and diatribe, the post highlights the most memorable/infuriating/entertaining book released that wednesday]

This post is specifically designed for jabronis and slutbags. Why is that? Why am I addressing such human wreckage? Well, simply put, Uncanny X-Force #9 is a comic that everyone should be able to enjoy.

Even the cretins of the multiverse.

Elder Brother Omega has been singing praises of this series for awhile now. Unfortunately, I’d mostly turned a deaf ear to these songs of jubilation, preferring instead to rely   on pre-judgments and close-minded certitudes. “Oh, an X-title about a team designed specifically to murder the most dangerous threats on the planet – it must be fanboy manual-masturbation. What a setback to the art of sequential narrative.”

Yes, I’ve be known to play the role of the unpersuadable asshole.

In fact, it’s such performances that were responsible for keeping sick shit like hi-tops, hip-hop, and crepes out of my life until college. But, I think I’ve done a fairly decent job in early-adulthood of learning how to recognize my baseless judgments and then work around them.

So this week I dove headfirst into Uncanny X-Force, and once again I found myself slapping my forehead. “Rendar,” I choked out in revelation, “you big goof! This comic ain’t stupid — it’s fucking awesome!”

And how could it not be? The book follows the x-ploits (ain’t that a sick pun or what, MUTHAFUGGAH!?~!) of a goddamn mutant assassination squad. Archangel, Wolverine, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Deadpool are all in the mix, slitting throats and the decapitating bitches with a brutal vehemence that is always neutered in the regular titles. It’s wonderful.

Issue nine is actually a great issue to hop aboard with, too. After recapping the events of the last few arcs, the book follows Logan as he goes on a mission at the request of Magneto. No, this isn’t some trap being sprung by the master of magnetism, but a genuine request. Hell, there’re some things that even the most calloused of men can’t bring themselves to do. I’m not going to give too much away, but I’ll tell you that Wolvie   takes a trip to Rio de Janeiro. And don’t forget – Magneto spent time in a concentration camp.

Rick Remender’s script is both heartwrenching and ultraviolent, a combination that speaks directly to what I look for in an action-tale. But it’s really Billy Tan’s superb art that brings Uncanny X-Force to life. His settings and backgrounds, whether the dark corners of the X-Force HQ or the vibrant streets of Brazil, have an ethereal quality which helps the reader feel as though they could spill right into the panels. Most affective, however, is Tan’s ability to convey emotion through the visages of his characters. The exchange between Wolverine and Magneto is simply marvelous – Tan’s   illustrates tacit conversations, evoking emotion from his cast without the aid of dialogue.

Uncanny X-Force is a goddamn testament to what a superhero book should be. While it’s undeniably violent and rooted in throwing together a bunch of fan favorites, it isn’t just twenty-two pages of fan-service. Instead, it takes what we know about long-celebrated mutants, characters that serve as figures of our new mythology, and uses that to pull our heartstrings.