Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blogathon 29: Uncanny X-Force (Part 1)

I have read the first five trades of Uncanny X-Force and I really dug the first one. Since then, it's been a progressive slide. I still enjoyed the fifth trade, but there's no hint of the overwhelming love that others seem to have for the book. It's a little hard not to react against that love, to simply look at the book on its own terms.

It's a comic that had some amazing art in the first arc, went through various degrees of lesser art, and, then, briefly had that amazing art return three trades later. I can appreciate the story that Rick Remender was trying to tell. The failing of the group to recognise the danger their teammate posed despite seemingly recognising it. Their inability to see that their job was to protect the world from the likes Apocalypse and, when, one of their own accomplished that goal under horrible circumstances, to see that it was needed. Of course, the conceipt that the core of Apocalypse is simply passed on is a fairly... dumb one. Once you're aware of that, you don't kill anyone. You simply contain and restrain. You would think...

Part of my issue is that there's nothing for me to latch onto in this title. The closest thing I had was when the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler joined the team. That created an interesting dynamic as the members of the team struggled with this man who was so much like this lost friend, but clearly wasn't him -- and made that as clear as possible as much as possible.

The biggest letdown was "The Dark Angel Saga." Half of which was utter rubbish. A lame detour that didn't honestly add a lot before jumping into a story that didn't have the necessary oomph. If you weren't invested in the Psylocke/Angel relationship, a lot of what happens doesn't land. I don't think that Remender did a lot to actually make that relationship something worth caring about. He talked about it a lot in the comic, yeah. But showing? There were some early scenes that made it clear that it was a fairly poor relationship between a delusional ninja telepath and a man losing a battle with himself. It was doomed from the getgo in this comic and we're supposed to pretend that it matters? That it's important or tragic? If anything, it was the logical conclusion of the foreshadowing in the first arc.

Something I never quite got is the moral quandries at the centre of this book all too often. It's a wetwork team put together to do dirty jobs... yet, so much of the time was spent working against that idea. It's strange to have a comic where the characters fight so hard against the premise that they set out. Instead of those moments acting as an exploration of what this sort of violence and killing means, it made the characters look weak and uncertain in their situation. That's not compelling, particularly when it's all of them. It's one thing to avoid killing and questioning your chosen life after the fact... but to contantly talk around the idea like they do...

Sorry. I know how much Kaitlin likes this book and wanted to immediately set up the contrast, especially when I stand by everything I said. It's just not everything I think. Yet.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative (Details in this post)! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]