Uncanny X-Force #18 Review

The Dark Angel saga comes to it’s soul changing conclusion. Today I will be reviewing Uncanny X-Force #18. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Uncanny X-Force #18

So let’s talk about the book. Sunfire heads into the World to try and contain Genocide’s power from charging the death seed and killing all life on Earth as Deathlock breaks War’s hold on him and attacks the Horsemen. Meanwhile, back on the World, Psylocke and Fantomex make a last ditch stand against Archangel. Too bad they are no match for him and he defeats them. However, before he falls, Fantomex orders the child Apocalypse released from his containment tank. The child comes and attacks Archangel, calling himself Genesis. Archangel is too tough though and defeats the child as well. However, because he is distracted, Psylocke manages to sneak up on him and impale him with the Death Seed. She then enters his mind and creates a lifetime of memories for him before he dies. The World begins to fall apart and Fantomex retrieves Genesis and Psylocke and escapes. As does the Dark Beast and the remaining horsemen, one of whom is carrying Warren’s baby. As X-Force is collecting their wounded, a naked Warren comes walking out from the distance. Psylocke rushes into his arms but he has no memory of her. And that’s the book.

So let’s talk opinions. Nooooooo!! WTF? After so many issues of explosive action and awesome battles, why did this issue have to be such a let down? What the hell? We were riding the roller coaster all the way to the top, just waiting for that rush of going down. Instead, we get nothing but the end of the ride. No action. No excitement. Nothing really cool, like in the last 5 books. (OK. Genesis was not bad) We even get a moment of respite and emotion as we see Warren and Betsy’s life together as a married couple to their dying days. Awwww! Cue the violin music. I think I have a tear in my eye. Nope! That’s just me crying because such an awesome story arc had such a pathetic ending. And seriously, why was it so damn hard to let Wolverine and Deadpool get some face time? This is the second issue in a row where Wade has been completely ignored. I was beginning to think Remender was getting a handle on the proper use of Deadpool, but clearly he still has no clue. This issue had no humor at all. The whole story was just bland and morose. Completely one note. You need a character like Deadpool or Wolverine to make a wise ass comment and add a little bit of variety to the tale. Break the whole air of depression that dominated this issue. I was severely disappointed. The art was not that great either. The action was all right but the images on the page seemed to be a little blurry. Too many lines dominating my vision and no distinction between the characters and their surroundings. Also, the faces were just ugly, especially the scenes in Warren’s mind. Those were just terrible. His splash image of Warren coming out of the darkness was great though. Overall, I really enjoyed this entire story arc up until this issue. It really destroyed almost an entire year of build up. At least it gave a new life to the Age of Apocalypse characters. I’m looking forward to seeing there awesome mutants in more action soon. Let’s hope that in the future, Remender remembers that this team consists of more than Fantomex and Psylocke and starts to utilize the entire team to their full potential. That’s my opinion folks. Take it or leave it.

A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING

Pros Cons
good art. ok story really sappy letdown of an ending. limited action. no Deadpool or Wolverine. WTF?
Rating
70%

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20 Comments

  1. Thiago says:

    This is the worrs review ever. The book is absolutely flawless. I guess you just didn’t get it.

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Thanks for your vague comment Thiago. Please explain to me why I didn’t get it. What exactly was so great about this book? It was an ending. And a pretty dull non-eventful one at that. What was so flawless about it? Please back up your statement with facts, that way I can try and see things from your point of view. Otherwise, I’m inclined to not “get it” in the future.

  2. Dave says:

    Holy bajesus, is this a fake review? If not this, what would you consider to be a good comic book? And I’m not just trying to be antagonistic here, I actually want to get a handle on your opinion of what makes a comic book worth reading. This is the first review of yours that I’ve come across, and it seems to be so ridiculously off-base from my own opinions that I’m questioning whether there’s any point to me reading any of your future reviews.

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Hey Dave, thanks for the comment. If you read my reviews for the past four or five issues prior to this one, you’ll get a pretty good idea on what I consider a great comic book. What do I like my comics to have? Action, humor, legible art that doesn’t make me want to put the book down because it’s making me go blind, plot progression and an overall point. If they have an “OMG that was so damn cool” moment, that would put it over the top. This book didn’t have all of that. I’m not saying it was missing all of it. I’m not saying the book wasn’t good, just that it was a letdown compared to the non-stop awesomeness that led up to it. I did give it a 70% rating and not a 0. My review of #17 had a 100% rating. To me, that book was perfection, even if it did completely ignore one of the main characters in the book. What did you like about the book? How would you compare it to the last few issues? Same level, better or worse? I would be genuinely interested in knowing other people’s opinions on the issue.

  3. Doctor Deadpool says:

    I am perfectly fine with Deadpool not being the center of attention, but at the very least he could $%^&ing acknowledge his existance!

    At the very least a naked Deadpool (his costume was shattered, right?) Could show up at the end and say something like, “So what did I miss?”

  4. Daniel Cole says:

    Even though the storyline had been an action packed ride I was never under the impression that the finale would be anything more than an emotional crescendo of Remender’s stunning work on the book.

    Honestly to criticise the book for no action, no excitement or having nothing ‘cool’ in it seems a lazy critique. Above all else Remender has put character before action, subtle may that be. But his work on Fantomex, Psylocke and Archangel has been staggeringly emotional.

    Fantomex has been a major player in this series for a while and it was just as important for him to have his play at hero as it was to see Psylocke’s sacrifice.

    The Warren/Betsy future dream sequence was incredibly moving even if a little oversentimental

    Both needed to be paid off, however predictable they may have been. The book has been better since Wolverine was taken of the board and to be honest it may benefit from him not being on the title.

    Remender has been the only writer that has made Deadpool bearable. His one note characterisation has been over saturating the market for too long and Remender added depth to him. I agree that he should probably be included in the finale but he was ripped to pieces.

    Also it’s lack of humour is an unfair criticism as Deathlock provided a humourous moment when he used logic to defeat War. It wasn’t his actions but the little moments of dialogue that made you smile. I always find obvious humour to be unfunny so when it is just dribbled in I enjoy it. Dark Beast’s scintillating wit for example

    Opena’s work for me was perfect for the tone of the story. He has a way of dealing with character reactions that really sells the emotions. But I understand art is subjective (I’m not a fan of the ever popular Bachalo for example)

    In the end I think Remender has kept the tone of the book consistently grim from day one, with some gallows humour (not always overtly used). It has always been a series about characters and hard choices and the action is a result of this, not the driving force.

    Anyway who wants action when you don’t care for characters. Then it just becomes a fireworks display. Pretty but hollow and if it goes on for to long boring.

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Thanks for the comment, Daniel and Dr. Deadpool.
      Everyone has to stop assuming that I hated the book. I didn’t. I was just disappointed by it. Here’s the thing with me. When someone gives me action, violence, death, and “holy crap was that cool” moments for 4 or 5 months in a row, I expect a big bang at the end. When you watch an action movie, with lots of action throughout the movie, you usually get a big FINAL battle sequence at the end with bigger, more vicious explosions. I did not get that here. If I was watching a drama, I’d expect an emotional crescendo. I was not watching a drama here. At least it didn’t seem like one to me. It was an apocalyptic Terminator style movie. At least to me. That’s why I was disappointed.
      I don’t do lazy critique. I state my opinion. Last I checked, I’m allowed to have one and it is as valid as yours. I backed up my opinion with facts and my personal views on how I saw the issue. Just saying.
      If Remender has put character before action, then he has absolutely no clue what the Deadpool character is supposed to be about. In 18 issues, he has only gotten him right about three times. If you think that he makes him bearable, then you do not like Deadpool. That’s fine with me. You are allowed to not like him. But as a HUGE Deadpool fan, I am pissed when he is omitted from issues, misrepresented in them, and completely ignored and treated like a second class citizen. If you don’t know what to do with him, you should never have added him to the book. Replace him with some pointless stealthy character and stop insulting the real Deadpool fans.
      Remender has done a wonderful job with Fantomex and Archangel. I LOVE the attention Fantomex is getting and how he is growing. I want to read more about him every issue, so I totally agree with you there.
      Wolverine’s absence is not a good thing as long as his face appears in the middle of every cover. That’s a draw for fans, as is Deadpool’s face on the cover. Every time those guys are on the cover and not in the book, it is Marvel’s way of lying to the fan. That’s just how I see it.
      Using logic to defeat an enemy is not humorous. I was not laughing when I read it. It was intelligent. Being smart is not something to laugh at. Same with Dark Beast. His humor is witty and sarcastic, but not fall out of your seat funny. That job belongs to Fantomex and Deadpool. None of that was present this issue, at least in my opinion.
      We agree on the art being subjective so no arguments there. (I despise Bachalo and Romita JR. too. Popular does not necessarily mean good)
      In general, this issue was all right. It ended a year long story with a whimper instead of a bang. I wanted a bang. If you wanted a whimper, then you got your wish. I just gave my review as I interpreted the issue. I’m allowed my opinion. Everyone else is allowed to disagree with it. That’s why I love reviewing books and hearing other people’s views. Please keep them coming, good and bad.

      • Capn Cummings says:

        I read your comment about using logic, or being smart, is not funny and not something to laugh at. As soon as I read that I thought of Star Trek with Spock doing something halarious with logic and not realizing it was funny. Granted it was writen that way but I figured I would just let you know that being smart is funny.

        • Victor Kutsenok says:

          Thanks for the comment Capn. Now see I disagree with you there. I never recall Spock doing anything funny, but to be honest, I wasn’t an avid Star Trek fan. I honestly have never laughed at someone for doing or saying something intelligent. If you can give me an example of what Spock said that was so hilarious, maybe I’ll get it but for now I’m just confused. Thanks.

  5. Daniel Cole says:

    It is interesting that you state the terminator films as a source of reference as both the first two (and even the third) have massive emotional crescendos for the characters. Kyle Reece sacrificing himself for Sarah and Arnie doing the same for young John. Also you could argue that all the explosions are over near the end as both films have a stand off between the terminator and protagonist which is a subtler affair, like the one of this issue, which revels in tension rather than excitement. But those films actually have a heart to them. Much like this entire run which for me was more of a character piece. Action is the window dressing to good drama in those films and this series.

    Take other big blockbusters that are lauded, The Dark Knight, Jaws, Indiana Jones, and even this years Super 8. All are character driven pieces interspersed with action. These are the type of films I associated with the series milieu. I never saw it as a hulking 80s action film like Rambo or some Van Damme vehicle (however entertaining they are.)

    It’s fine that you prefer more bangs and explosions but for me that isn’t the draw here. Like I stated before action is hollow without emotional resonance.

    Lazy was perhaps harsh but those type of criticisms to me are superfluous, but at the end of the day this is an opinion piece. Which I totally respect.

    Yes I am not a fan of deadpool and it must be infuriating if he is misrepresented. But Remender has managed to make me actually care for him. Which is a massive achievement. We can argue all day about the merits of deadpool, but like any adaptation of the source material will offend someone. Although I think saying he is treated as a second class citizen is a bit harsh. If nothing else he is a surprising moral compass which has a lot more impact due to what we as marvel fans know of the merc with the mouth. Perhaps he shouldn’t be touching but it works for me.

    Of course Wolverine and Deadpool are on the front cover. They sell books. Lets not be naive, I doubt Remender had full say in his roster picks. It’s clever marketing by Marvel which keeps those characters fans coming back even if they are being toyed with.

    I am just fatigued when it comes to Wolverine. The book has been doing wonders without him and I’d say it would be better for him to not be there. Maybe just keep him in his numerous titles and allow the other characters a place to breathe.

    Again humour is subjective. I found it playful and quirky and Dark Beast fun. Intelligence can be funny, I wasn’t laughing at it at all. It was a witty moment in the script so it made me smile. I don’t need to laugh out loud to find something humorous .Like I said overt ‘dialogue comedy’ in comics isn’t my bag. Hence my dislike of Deadpool.

    But that wasn’t the point of the book and it has never been a mission statement either. Gallows humour fair enough but as you well know Deadpool isn’t his usual jovial self and therein lies the point. It has always been tonally dark and not just because of it’s subject matter.

    For me it did deliver a bang and paid off a lot of previous plots and hinted at future developments. It was the measured and precise bang that I wanted from the book. Something with gravitas and not just a massive fight scene. Too me this maybe a superhero book but it has consistently had a lot of characterisation and emotion running through it.

    Like I said before it’s always been about characters and hard choices and the action is a result of that.

    He may not do the deadpool you want but if you put that aside surely you can notice that this is a comic that puts character before action.

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Now see, I saw it a bit differently. If it wasn’t for the action and those last scene battles were the best part of the movie. Reece died as a result of the final battle. Arnold melted after melting the T-1000. There was sacrifice, but because of a battle. In this issue, no one died and nothing changed. Warren may no longer be Archangel, but that’s about it. It did tie up a bunch of hanging plot threads so that was good. (I also thought the Dark Knight was overrated, Jaws was dull. Indy was great and I never saw Super 8 so no comment on that)
      While having their faces on the cover is mainly a selling point, I still feel it would be nice to have the actual characters show up in the book. I’ll use the new Justice League as an example. How pissed was everyone who picked up the book with the entire team on the cover but all they got was Batman and green Lantern in the book? I personally was seriously considering not getting issue 2 after that. Just put them in for a page or two. That’s it. I would be completely happy with that. Complete omission just pisses me off to no end.
      While I do agree that he tries to put character before action, you have to admit that in the last 4 issues leading up to this one, he put action and surprises and “Holy Crap, that did not just happen” moments ahead of characters.
      I’m glad you liked it. I’m glad lots of people liked it and are blowing up at my less than positive opinion. That’s what makes the internet great. It lets people speak their mind.

  6. Daniel Cole says:

    Again we shall just have to disagree. We both have totally different readings on the films and the comic. Both terminator films had a rising sense of tension married with some strong emotional themes. From the first ones sci-fi love story (complete with 80s hair) to the seconds father/son dynamic. Certain character actions lead to both Reece and Arnie dying but there deaths came with massive emotive moments for the audience and characters who where invested in their journey and not just the spectacle. I am not saying Mr Cameron is a wizard when he deals with character but he knows that drama and action go hand in hand. If it was just a terminator blowing shit up for the whole of the films and the quieter moments weren’t delivered then it would be utterly dull.

    Both films pull back at the end for an emotional climax rather than the destruction of the threat. Which in both films the end of the evil terminator traded on tension and not bombastic action (both factory scenes). The antagonistic force in both those films and the uncanny x force are mere obstacles the characters must traverse to regain the semblance of their status quo they had before the inciting incident. They grow as people and in the end are better for it. For me any good film or comic should have some portion of this and not just dazzling set pieces with hollow characters.

    To be fair their both in the book if all you want is an appearance. Wolverine unconscious over a shoulder and deadpool was actually mentioned. But that’s nitpicking.

    I honestly don’t agree that he put the action first. There was a lot of emotive moments which balance the overload of action. But like I said we have different readings.

    At the end of the day it would seem that we like very different things from our entertainment.

  7. Pedro says:

    I’m liking the banter here gentlemen. I just read my copy of issue 18 today, and even though I feel Victor is being a tad harsh in his review, I do agree that the past 6 months of issues have all had their ‘Damn! That was awesome!’ moments, which in my opinion, this issue lacked. That being said, I still really liked this issue. I’m a sucker for emotion and drama, and what remender did here with Fantomex, Betsy, and Warren was right up my alley. (I love a good flashback montage, or in this case a manufactured flashback.) The lack of humor was also apparent in this issue, but the scene at the end where Deathlock professed his love for the other X-men did make me chuckle. I liked the twist with Dark Angel having an eventual offspring for our heroes to deal with down the road, and look forward to seeing how the new character of Genesis is going to be used.

    All in all I’d personally give this issue an 85%. Remender continues to impress with his run on this book, and thanks to his work it is opening the doors for me to jump on board with other X titles as well. Something I’ve been attempting to do on and off for the past 10 years, but only now with success.

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Thanks for the comment Pedro. I’m glad you agree with both me and Dan. I’m extremely glad you liked the issue and it got you to transition to other X-books. For that reason alone, I want to commend Remender for everything he’s done. Any time comics get a new fan, the writer has done his job. I don’t plan on going anywhere so please keep coming back to read our reviews and leave us comments. It’s ones like yours that we love to see.

  8. Pierce says:

    Stop reviewing comics. You obviously don’t like them.

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Thanks for the comment Pierce. It’s obvious that after 25+ years of collecting and reading over 14,000 comic books, that I actually don’t like them. Good catch there. Maybe you should stop making baseless comments.

      • Pierce says:

        If you’ve been reading comics for 25 years then you’ve no doubt been reading comic book reviews for a couple of them. This is not how to go about it.

        How can you seriously criticize a writer for not using a character who, for all intents and purposes, is dead?! How can you critique the art but not even name the artist? How was it not clear to you issues ago that the payoff to this story would mostly involve Warren, Betsy and Fantomex?

        This isn’t a proper review. This is a fanboy rant. What’s worse is that “reviews” like this are why comic book criticism as a whole isn’t taken seriously.

        Sorry, you’re butthurt about the lack of Wolverine and Deadpool. Why don’t you just go read their solo books?

        • Victor Kutsenok says:

          Actually, Pierce, believe it or not, I do not read comic reviews. I like to read the books themselves.
          I have an opinion. I will express my opinion in any way I want. I can criticize anyone I want in any way I want if I feel they deserve it. That is my opinion and I can express it. You have the right to agree or disagree with the opinion.
          This was not a rant. This was how I/ME/THE READER saw the comic and interpreted it. I gave my opinions. Period. What in your opinion makes a “proper” review? Please tell me.
          I always knew the payoff would involve those characters. But NOTHING happened. The status quo is COMPLETELY unchanged. (Other than the wings) To me, that was a let down. I’m allowed to feel that way, aren’t I? If not, please tell me why I can’t.
          I do read Deadpool and Wolverine solo books. And I review them too. Trust me, I don’t always like those either. However, when they are the main draw for fans, I feel they should be acknowledged with more than one half-assed panel. As for being dead, seriously guy, when is Wolverine or Deadpool ever dead?? They regenerate all the damn time. So it’s not a big stretch to have them revived for the end with at least a panel or three of face time. Once again, my OPINION.

  9. Pierce says:

    Yeah, I understand that it’s your opinion. But starting a review with “NOOOOOOOOOO! WTF?!” immediately undermines everything you write after it.

    While you don’t hold criticism in high regard, others do. For instance, some would consider Lester Bangs’ writing about music to be art. As critics, our success is measured by how our opinion is regarded by fans and creators alike.

    A paragraph that does nothing more than complain and insult the creators is not legitimate criticism. You talk about the art for all of four sentences WITHOUT EVEN NAMING THE ARTISTS. You deride Remender for essentially not doing what you would’ve done. Frankly, that’s a fanboy rant.

    And, wait a second, Wolverine and Deadpool are the main draw for fans in an 8 part story called The Dark ANGEL Saga?! Are you kidding me?

    While the overall status quo has not changed, the characters have. Why isn’t that enough? The X-Men have always been about character drama despite all the insanity. Why stop providing that now?

    • Victor Kutsenok says:

      Thanks for the explanation. See, to me, starting the review the way I did sets the tone for MY DISAPPOINTMENT. As an intelligent human being, the reader should be smart enough to either accept my OPINION or not. That’s what a review is. One person’s OPINION. Nothing else. If I hated the book, I can write I hate it, say why I hate it, and be done. I personally DON’T CARE in what regard others hold criticism. If I hate the book, if it disappointed me, and I can back up my disappointment with logical reasons, then I have the freedom of expression to post it. You, as a reader of my writing, have the freedom to comment and disagree and say anything you want about my writing. You DO NOT have the right to tell me what I feel or what I should write. If I choose not to name the artist, because I hate his work and don’t want to insult him personally, then I won’t. (Since art is subjective, my opinion on art is relatively pointless anyway) If he drew something spectacular, and I felt like giving him recognition, I would. I chose not to recognize what was, in my opinion, horrible art. If the creators and artists had done something good, I would have spent a paragraph praising them. Would that have been legitimate? Read my review of issue #17 or issue #16. I did nothing but heap praise. Why no comments about how I didn’t criticize anything? So it’s ok to be critical of my writing style when you disagree with me but not ok when you agree? That’s a bit hypocritical, no? I did NOT write a fanboy rant, I wrote a review of the issue as I saw it through MY EYES.
      And yes, Wolverine and Deadpool are the most popular well known characters on the team, so to FANS, they are the draw.
      If the characters changing is enough for you, great. It wasn’t for me. I wanted more. That’s my right. I will not defend my freedom of expression any more. You either agree or disagree. That’s your right and I welcome you to express it.

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I have been a comic collector and reader for 25 years. My major comic love is all things Marvel with the X-Men being at the top. I also dabble in anything and everything that catches my eye. Guess that makes me the "all over the place" reviewer. A title which I claim with pride. I am a happily married man of almost 10 years living in Brooklyn, NY with my wife and two amazing boys. I hope you enjoy my opinions and I look forward to reading and responding to any comments or criticisms.