Just as Scott Snyder is currently my favorite writer at DC for how he’s elevating comic book storytelling with Batman Rick Remender is my favorite author at Marvel for what he’s doing with Uncanny X-Force. In the case of Batman, DC has made the decision to make it the central title around which all other Bat-stories revolve so it doesn’t matter that he took a year to tell the Court of Owls story. Remender, on the other hand, is mostly off in his own corner of the X-universe. Sure, events from Uncanny X-Force make their way back into the other titles - like Genesis in Wolverine and the X-Men or the evolved city that appeared in Uncanny X-Men. But he didn’t directly participate in Schism and isn’t participating in Avengers vs X-Men. He’s just telling his own story. So if you don’t like the X-Men because there are too many titles and there’s too much continuity to worry about - Uncanny X-Force would be a great book for you.
This is the third issue in the Final Execution storyline. Things are just starting to pick up. In the last two issues we saw that a shady organization was after the X-Force team. I don’t know how much longer Rick Remender has on this book or if it’s surviving Avengers vs X-Men, but it appears Genesis will continue to be a binding thread throughout this book. He is kidnapped by the enemies in this issue while the students from Wolverine’s school are on a field trip to Genosha - an island that used to be full of mutants until it was destroyed during Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men. During this scene I felt that Rick Remender was the first person to truly get Kid Omega’s personality since he was created by Grant Morrison. In Wolverine and the X-Men he comes across as a pest. Under Remender’s control he’s just as acerbic as when Morrison created him. He really rips into Genesis in a way he hasn’t in the other book.
Intertwined with the story of Genesis throughout Remender’s tenure is Fantomex and the repercussions of his actions. He essentially set everything into motion through his actions early on and has been a constant source of pain for Psylocke. She has given up so much because of him - some of it was out of her control (like Angel becoming Apocalypse) and some of it was done by her (like giving up her ability to feel to save Fantomex). It looked like he was going to get his comeuppance in Otherworld, but he escaped Skinlessman. He may not be so lucky this time around.
Remender also proves that he continues to be able to surprise us - I certainly had NO IDEA who was going to end up being the organizer of the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. I think it’s a perfect enemy to Wolverine’s squad.
Phil Noto is on art duty for this issue. It didn’t work for me at first because of the rooftop battle between Fantomex and Mystique. Cityscapes aren’t Noto’s forte. And while his fight choreography isn’t bad, it’s not as awesome as Capullo’s work on Batman this week. However, the issue quickly shifts to mid shots and closeups and here he excels. Noto does a really great job on facial expressions - important in an issue where people are being tortured physically and emotionally.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - you really should be reading Uncanny X-force. This particular arc isn’t TOO far in - you could jump in here and still enjoy the rest of it. But you really should go back and get the trades because this run is going to be counted among the best.