Comic Review: Uncanny X-Force #34
The penultimate issue of Uncanny X-Force brings the finale of the Final Execution as the new Brotherhood’s plans finally come to a head. A lot happens in this one issue, and it’s not an easy one to read as things really don’t go so well for anyone in the team. It’s a real heartbreaker (spoilers ahead).
While the Dark Angel Saga had a truly epic feel to it, the Final Execution has been much, much more intimate. Angel was attempting a very large scale mission, but our villains here, the new Brotherhood of Evil mutants, were just trying to screw with the lives of X-Force, in a way. Thematic elements such as moral dilemma and what makes a character a hero or villain have made up every issue of this arc, and every arc of this series. Now, all of that is coming to a head where we get to see exactly what it was Rick Remender has been trying to do for the past 34 issues. Now, there’s one issue left of the series, but being as that’ll be a nice bit of aftermath, I’m willing to bet this is where we get the majority of the emotional ending, and boy is it an issue full of emotions.
Throughout this story Daken, the son of Wolverine, has stood as the leader of the new Brotherhood. I’ve questioned why he would be, and why all these powerful mutants would be following along with a plan made by such a young character, but in this issue we’re revealed that it is not, in fact, Daken who is behind it all, but a certain other member of Weapon X — Wolverine’s longtime rival, Sabretooth. Just like everything else between Victor and Logan, Victor sees it all as a game of one-upmanship to prove his own worth above the “runt,” Logan. Thus everything else that’s been happening here has just been part of an extended game to make Wolverine do the one thing Sabretooth knows will effect him the most in the long run — kill his own son.
This is where things get a bit difficult, though. Yes, this issue and this series can be appreciated on their own, but I find that in order to get the most out of it, the reader should have read the entirety of Jason Aaron’s previous run on Wolverine. Knowledge of that run allows for a deeper emotional feedback to Logan’s dilemma of having to kill another one of his own children, and furthermore, lets the reader see the previous one-up between Logan and Victor, which was pretty huge on Logan’s part.
Aside from the hole that this issue leaves Logan in, there’s also plenty of material bringing down the other members of X-Force. Evan (Genesis) is rescued by a severely damaged (and lacking in healing factor) Deadpool, and Fantomex is still alive only through his detached nervous system, EVA. Meanwhile AoA Nightcrawler makes his way out of the scene with Mystique after getting his revenge on AoA Blob and Psylocke remains emotionless as she once again defeats the Shadow King on the psychic front.
So this issue leaves all the characters in interesting spots, but what really stands out is Remender’s ability to write them all. He’s been handling the team for over two years now and not a single issue has not left me with some sort of strong emotional resonance. He’s put each member of the team through hell, each of them having to deal with some sort of moral dilemma of one sort or another, and it’s all come down to this final act. Even the title “Final Execution” has resonance in the fact that every single story arc in this series has ended in some sort of execution, one way or another, and now it’s lead to Logan doing the one thing he never wanted to have to do. Remender continually proves he knows these characters inside and out, and while it’s sad to know this series is one issue from ending, he’s certainly told an incredibly intriguing and complete character driven story that gives perfect focus to every member of this team.
Phil Noto continues to impress in this issue, and he’s really been given a lot of room to shine here as he illustrates multiple battle sequences and various locale, including the psychic battle between Psylocke and Shadow King. Noto never has trouble showing a visceral emotion in his character’s faces and he does a lot of this to show the grief from Logan and the pride from Victor as the act plays out exactly how he intended.
Overall the issue is another huge success and it’s only weakness is the fact that I know it’s much better for those familiar with other books. In this installment, Remender has completed the long-running Final Execution arc with great success, but there’s still one issue left for an aftermath that’s sure to tear readers apart and leave them an emotional pulp lying on the ground. Not entirely sure if I’m ready for that, but I’m definitely excited to read Remender’s intended conclusion for this incredible series.
GO Rating: 4.5/5