“You will grow to hurt millions of people. You can’t help yourself. You are Apocalypse.”
What would you do if you could kill evil before it became evil? This is the question that UNCANNY X-FORCE has asked us in it’s inaugural storyline. No longer sanctioned by the X-Men as a result of events in the Second Coming storyline and now covertly operating under Wolverine’s control, the team is comprised of the Marvel Universe’s most morally ambiguous characters, uniting to stop all threats to mutantkind before they become a threat. Rick Remender’s opening story doesn’t pull any punches, as the team faces old school X-Men villain Apocalypse…reincarnated as an innocent boy.
By using Apocalypse, the team is instantly thrown into conflict. This isn’t a standard fare villain who has wrought destruction, it’s the centuries old monster who destroyed the life of X-Force member Warren Worthington III, turning him into Archangel; he nearly destroyed the universe in 2000’s crossover The Twelve; he’s responsible for a number of deaths, and has never shown any signs of compassion of humanity. He is evil incarnate. He just so happens to be eight years old this time.
Throughout the story, despite talk of killing him, the ultimate confrontation comes when they face the boy and it looks like the team has decided they can’t go through with it. When even Wolverine, the stone cold killer who has no qualms about ending a life for the greater good, concludes he can’t kill an innocent boy, when even Archangel decides he can’t end this life, even if it is the soul of the man who very nearly killed him. It’s a moment that looks like the X-Men’s ultimate ideal of preserving hope is going to shine through, even in this bleak title about a proactive team striking against villains.
And then Fantomex shoots the boy in the face.
It’s a smart move, and one that shows Remender is here to play for keeps. This isn’t a book about redemption, or about reconciling the past; this is about a lone band preserving their kind. And that means sometimes they have to do what no one else will, no matter how ugly it gets.
UNCANNY X-FORCE is easily a book that’s caught me by surprise. I went into it lukewarm, but still gave it a shot based on how much I enjoyed the previous volume. With a new cast, a darker attitude and a writer willing to brave the grittier aspects of the team’s mission, UNCANNY X-FORCE is shaping up to be an amazing book.
The Apocalypse Solution (Uncanny X-Force #1-4)
Writer Rick Remender
Art Jerome Opena
Colors Dean White