Friday, September 6, 2013

Review # 42: "Uncanny X-Force - Deathlok Nation"

"Deathlok Nation" is a tricky story for me to review. I was originally going to include this with "The Apocalypse Solution," as it's very much an extended epilogue. But it just didn't seem to fit, so here it is on its own.

Much like with volume one of Rick Remender's "Uncanny X-Force," a lot of what goes on in these pages sets up other events down the line. However, in this case, it isn't as good of an overall story. Cyborgs from the future made of murdered superheroes enhanced with robotic implants invade the home of Fantomex in an attempt to steal the miniaturized Super Soldier research base "The World," which factors into the history of Jean-Phillipe, Logan AND Wade. The Deathlok cyborgs (which include the likes of Captain America, Spider-Man, Cyclops and Elektra) are trying to ensure their future comes to pass, however Deathlok Prime is there to stop them. The concept is unsettling, though it really helps to drive home how merciless Fantomex is. His killing of one Deathlok is as cold as the snow the remaining corpse lies in.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team is disturbed by how their mission to kill Apocalypse ended. Surprisingly, the most unsettled among the bunch is Deadpool, who Wolverine discloses hasn't been cashing the cheques Warren had been cutting him. Wade is looking for something more by being part of an X-team, as dark as this one is, and him taking something seriously (while still cracking ridiculous one-liners) shows a lot of ambition on Remender's part. As I mentioned in book one, though, Psylocke is clearly the star of this show. Her arc continues as she delivers a false confession to her brother Captain Britain (though it's "false" in a different sense than you'd expect,) and continues to deal with the possibility of having to kill her boyfriend Angel. Warren does not take this well, and justifiably so.

With the team feeling conflict within themselves, what better villains to face than... themselves!? A Deathlok X-Force emerges, leading to a bombastic battle in The World. Ultimately it's Deadpool who saves the day (in his typical fashion,) though there is a major twist to close things out.

While it's a mishmash of an epilogue and a place-setter, "Deathlok Nation" is still quite good and there's an additional more-than-adequate story about the team foiling a Reavers plot that gives us another Wolverine vs. Deathstrike fight. There are better books out there, but to get the most out of what's to come, you need to own this. The peak of "Uncanny X-Force" is right around the corner.

Rating: 7.5/10

Up next: Rick Remender's opus, "The Dark Angel Saga."

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