THE DARKEST CORNERS OF THE MUTANT UNIVERSE: EXPOSED! The X-Men: sworn to protect a world that fears and hates them. UNCANNY X-FORCE: charged to deal with situations the X-Men fear and hate! Psylocke and Storm lead a new team of outcasts and scoundrels, including fan-favorite Puck, the villainous Spiral, and the mysterious Cluster. The first adversary to strike out from the darkness? X-legend BISHOP!
In the recent past Psylocke assaults Kid Omega at the Jean Grey School, Wolverine kicks her out.
In the present Storm accompanies her to meet a contact who turns out to be Puck, formerly of Alpha Flight. He leads them to a drug ring run by Spiral. Psylocke attacks before they even get a chance to assess the situation, Storm then discovers the source of the Drug a mutant girl with mind control abilities.
In France Cluster and Fantomex swap spit.
In Los Angeles Bishop returns to the present!
Tension– Psylocke hasn’t been like this since the time that Kwannon’s mind was still coursing through her adopted body. In light of what occurred in the last volume of X-force I can’t say I blame her. The death and rebirth of Warren Worthington, meeting her future self, making all kinds of sacrifices for the “greater good”, the debacle of serving under Cyclops before Avengers vs X-men and the disintegration of said team, the death of Fantomex (another love interest) his own rebirth and split into three separate beings (Deep breath) oh and did we mention all the baggage of being a simple telepath originally, going blind as Captain Britain, having Spiral give her camera eyes, joining the X-men, saving the X-men by sending them through the Siege Perrilus, having her mind mixed and merged with Asian assassin Kwannon, serving the hand and Mandarin, almost killing her teammates, now being an Asian, rejoining the x-men, falling in love with Warren Worthington, had the Asian assassin show up in her body to make her life hell, being almost killed by Sabretooth, being reborn by magic, losing her telepathy battling the shadowking, gaining telekinesis, dumping Warren and dying in battle with Vargas, being reborn again, joining the Exiles, witnessing the death of herself multiple times, brought back to reality now with diminished telekinesis but telepathy is back, joining the mutant kill crew X-force which leads us back to my original points. (Exhale) This chick has been to hell and back……many, many times! To say she’s at the breaking point is the understatement of the last fifty years! Her aggression is justified and expected given everything I’ve just said.
Continuity- I love me a book that references tales that came before! This issue references the marriage of Storm and Black Panther (Black Panther (2005) #18) it mentions her dismissal as wife during Avengers Vs X-men (Avengers Vs X-men #9) and the history of Spiral and Psylocke also gets touched on which dates back to the 80’s when she joined the team with bionic eyes and the revelation in the 90’s that Spiral was involved in her body swap after the Siege Perilous incident. Having read said stories I enjoyed this issue far more than any new reader ever will!
WTF– Ok, so Fantomex (the guy in white) was a man with three minds. After his death said brains were put in a cloning machine which was to recreate his body. The machine-made three bodies for his three brains resulting in Cluster (A female version), Fantomex (the evil sentinel version) and Jean Paul (who was in love with Psylocke) in this issue we see Custer and another version sucking face……um incest much?
Art- For the most part the art carried the story along in a consistent manner from start to finish though I personally would have used a different artist than Ron Garney, just personal taste honestly.
Humor- Can I just say in one issue Humphries has moved Puck from being a total joke in my book to being a hilarious, womanizing wolverine clone without the claws. This lil guy is about to add loads of fun to this bleak tapestry!
Cover- Love the standard cover! The arrangement of the team would make this one an excellent poster
Practicality– Ok I can genuinely see how this team of Puck, Psylocke, Cluster and Spiral could operate outside the confines of the law. None has any ties to the Avengers or the more public versions of the X-men. Storm however is a huge liability for this assemblage! She was a queen/public figure, member of the Avengers, member of the Fantastic Four, and leader of the most public and media friendly incarnation of the X-men to date (The Xtreme sanctions initiative) and is currently headmistress of the Jean Grey School for higher learning. Let’s not even mention her distinctive look and powers. If this book wants to be taken seriously it will need to convince me (and others) that Storm would not be the biggest liability. In this issue an unidentified aircraft helmed by Psylocke was spotted by SHEILD all it would take was one sighting of Ororo and Captain America would be on the lawns of the Jean Grey school demanding she turn over her criminal teammates and herself which poses problems for Wolverine and the school if she is expected to serve in these dual roles.
On the other hand the same problems exist for wolverine operating on every team published by marvel and the practicality of it never enters the mind so perhaps suspension of disbelief is called for in copious doses.
Cover- The alternate looks like a cheap as all get out! Someone decided to take the character sketches of the team that were circulated a over the internet before the book hit the stands, then mirror the background image and just paste said sketches all over it and say “Alternate cover”. Marvel, seriously, sometimes I wonder who comes up with these variants and who approves them!
I enjoyed this first issue but it’s honestly not the best book marvel currently has out. Perhaps a different artist could really add more consistency to the package thus improving the overall quality in the coming months or at least change the colorist. Overall though still pretty solid 3/5