Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review # 44 - "Uncanny X-Force - Otherworld"

I don't envy anyone who has to follow up a story as great as "The Dark Angel Saga." After such an incredible climax, perhaps the best course of action is to take things in a slightly different direction. That's what Rick Remender does with "Otherworld," as Fantomex is abducted by the Captain Britain Corps (which includes Psylocke's brothers Brian and Jamie) to pay for his actions at the end of "The Apocalypse Solution" and Betsy and X-Force launch a rescue mission.

The team has a new member: Kurt Darkholme, the Age of Apocalypse version of Nightcrawler, who has sworn to kill all interlopers from his dimension who are hanging out in the mainstream universe. After tearing open some wounds among the X-Men, it's time to do the same with a few ex-members of his counterpart Kurt Wagner's former team, Excalibur. Meeting up with Meggan (Brian Braddock's girlfriend,) Darholme, Wolverine and Deadpool vow to help a city defend itself as what is normally a peaceful world is under siege by a demonic horde led by a goat-headed wizard who wishes to destroy all reality. Wade makes quite the entrance.

Psylocke, meanwhile, is playing along with her brothers who have offered her the chance to reclaim her original body and the mantle of Lady Britain. Betsy accepts the costume only (which looks great,) but quickly intervenes when Fantomex is sentenced to be wiped from all existence. As Jean-Phillipe's brains slowly die, Betsy exchanges an unspecified part of herself to save his life. Her work may be for naught, however, as a ghost from Fantomex's past arrives on scene and gruesomely goes to town. Ultimately, Betsy learns the identity of the goat-headed wizard and is forced to make a touch choice.

This is an important arc for Betsy as her reputation as a killer is enforced under tragic circumstances, though ultimately she does not come off as the true bastard in the situation. I would give this a relatively positive score, buuuuuut...

The art in this trade is freaking terrible. Greg Tocchini's work is a jumbled mess that is often hard to follow and many other times just plain ghastly. There are flashes where I think it looks great, and in some ways is suited to the source material. But it's ridiculously out-of-step with what has been drawn so well in a gritty style, especially coming so soon after Jerome Opena's ultimate work on the series. It's a shame.

If you can ignore the art, this is still a solid trade. But there's no doubt that it's the low point for "Uncanny X-Force" under Remender.

Rating: 6/10

Up next: A brand-new Brotherhood

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