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AlphaFlight.net - Review - Uncanny X-Force #1-6
  • Review - Uncanny X-Force: Let It Bleed TPB

    Writer: Sam Humphries
    Artists: Ron Garney, Adrian Alphona, Dexter Soy
    Date Published: July 2013
    Alphan Guest Star: Puck
    Period In Alpha Flight History: After Astonishing X-Men #52

    OVERVIEW:
    Black bars happen. Spiral gets the girl, only to lose her to a time lost future X-Man. Psylocke is mad at everybody. Puck and Fantomex are here too.


    REVIEW:

    First off, I'm confused. According to another thread, it looks like the trade will be #s 1-5. Despite what I say on that thread, I actually quit at #6, because the storyline doesn't begin to let up there. If they really cut the trade off at #5, that's a black bar move, Marvel. Black bar move.

    Even at the end of all that, the only X-Force talked about is in the past, not the future. The team hasn't got together yet. I don't mind delaying a bit, but six issues and no team?
    No thanks.

    The art is okay, neither bad nor great. Except that it goes mad a couple of times. The change of artist doesn't bring a noticeable change of style.

    I find the whole thing hard to track at times. I mean, I can keep track of the overall plot, but some of the details get lost in the mud. There are sequences that I just find hard to read, or scene changes that give me slow whiplash.

    The series suffers from several of the excesses of modern comic storytelling (though not all; it's bloodless, for one thing).:

    It feels like it's trying to be tough. And in trying to be tough, it's failing to deliver much of anything. One symptom is, it's full of swearing (well, black bars representing swear words. Now you know why I've been saying 'black bar' this and 'black bar' that). It's annoying and unappealing. Do I need to tell you about the little kid who's just learned those words and keeps using them to sound grown up?

    There's unpleasantness and vulgarity for their own sakes; not nearly to the level of, say, your Milla/er or your Moore, but it's in there. Puck is sleazy. Psylocke is constantly swearing. Drug use. Nobody wants to be heroic.

    Chris Sotomayor and David Curiel try hard to give you the impression that they didn't so much colour it as chain it to the back of their car and drive through mud puddles. Apart from a dream sequence, they succeed. (There's also a tiny bit with Bishop's futurepast, but mostly it's the And Dream Of Sheep bit that has any colour to it - and even then the characters are grey.)

    Consistency?
    The heroes and villains flip-flop about which side they're on, which I find tiresome. Just let the characters be what they are already!
    Speaking of, is Bishop a psychic now? When did that happen? If not, they certainly treat him that way here.
    Oh, and they seem to treat Betsy like she's not a ninja most of the time - but at one point remember that she is.
    Puck's not saying 'eh' anymore; but he is saying 'welp' (instead of 'well'), for some reason. Why's he playing the reluctant hero so much, too? Since when is that his character?
    Do they remember that Bishop has a sister?

    So, is it all bad? Am I just gonna complain?
    Nope.
    Puck's opening scene is pretty good; he comes across humorous and fairly charming. before they all descend to tough-talk and he turns into a sleaze.

    They keep remembering that Spiral is Ricochet Rita. They haven't done anything with it yet, but they remember.
    They give her a good storyline and motivation - she's in it to save her surrogate daughter.
    Then they ramp it up by making that daughter look like a bad guy. Selene, perhaps? (She's been craving a martini for 4,000 years, which makes her immortal. And psychic. I'm pretty sure martinis didn't exist 4,000 years ago.)

    I like the way a couple of sound effects are creators' names - Rucka and Pak. (Possibly others I didn't pick up on.)

    They do a nice Androclese and the Lion bit, even referencing directly.

    Da Juice:
    Overall, while it has its moments, this was not an enjoyable read for me. I dropped it after #6, and won't be looking back.
    Mostly, it's just muddy, and trying to be tough but just coming off unapproachable and unpleasant.


    RATING:
    On its own:
    1/10
    For Alpha-Flightness:
    Quality:
    1.5/10
    Quantity:
    6/10
    Uncanny X-Force Vol.1: Let It Bleed (Collecting Uncanny X-Force (2013) #1-5) is in stores from tomorrow (August 31st) in Direct Market comic stores with bookstores/online stores to come soon.
    112 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$17.99
    ISBN: 978-0-7851-6739-6

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    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      Yes, but did you like it?

      Nice job, Mik. I picked up issues 2 and 3, and quickly wish i hadn't. That said, not everyone drinks from the same cup of black bar tea, eh?
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      I do like the credit Puck is getting in this series......I may have had a little fun with his scene in #4
    1. afterthree's Avatar
      afterthree -
      I just added uncanny x force to my pull list. I'm such a dc guy, Unless they get there own mini I never know what the alphans are up to.
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      See, I really liked the first six issues.

      Quote Originally Posted by Le Messor View Post
      First off, I'm confused. According to another thread, it looks like the trade will be #s 1-5. Despite what I say on that thread, I actually quit at #6, because the storyline doesn't begin to let up there. If they really cut the trade off at #5, that's a black bar move, Marvel. Black bar move.
      I don't have a problem with the ongoing-ness of it. I remember the Claremont X days where storylines interweaved and went on for years and there wasn't a definitive end of storyarc that was written just to be padded out for a 5 issue trade, like in recent years. I like the fact that it's not completed, but then again I'm reading it monthly rather than as a trade, so my viewpoint may be slightly skewed.

      Even at the end of all that, the only X-Force talked about is in the past, not the future. The team hasn't got together yet. I don't mind delaying a bit, but six issues and no team?
      No thanks.
      Again, it doesn't bother me in the slightest; I'm a big fan of anti-team teams, like The Defenders or Heroes For Hire or whatnot where the cast would constantly revolve and people come in and out and there wasn't a set team with set membership and a home base.
      And it reminded me slightly of the way that AF weren't a team for issues 2-11 of their own original series. Very slightly though.
      The only thing that suggests they're a team are the uniforms on the covers, and well... covers are covers these days and don't really reflect inside.

      The art is okay, neither bad nor great. Except that it goes mad a couple of times. The change of artist doesn't bring a noticeable change of style.
      That I agree with you.
      I really dislike the fact that there are artists that can't even do three months in a row anymore.
      But I like the way Humphries catered for this and gives Alphona the psychic mindscape pages to give an explanation for the differing art styles.

      I LOVE the splash page where Puck meets Psylocke though. The proportion given to Eugene is absolutely spot-on.

      One symptom is, it's full of swearing (well, black bars representing swear words. Now you know why I've been saying 'black bar' this and 'black bar' that). It's annoying and unappealing. Do I need to tell you about the little kid who's just learned those words and keeps using them to sound grown up?
      This really doesn't bother me.
      If every book were full of swearing then I'd agree, but in this day and age there needs to be books for adults and books for children and books for both. In my opinion this is the former. And it's rated as such.
      I'd much rather see black bars than wingding swearing such as $#!+ etc. To me, that's much worse as you can work out what the word is. I'd much rather my child saw black bars. But then again I'm not a father so what do I know?

      Puck is sleazy.
      I see it as the same Puck who was flirting with nurses in Volume 1, or reading lingerie catalogues in Volume 2. Puck's always been a silver-tongued devil.

      Psylocke is constantly swearing.
      Yet her speech-patterns, mannerisms and language sound more English than she ever has. Humphries writes her as an English-woman in a way that Claremont never could.

      Nobody wants to be heroic.
      That's true. But it's tagline is 'mutant noir' - it's not about being a hero per se.

      I can see why it's not to everyone's tastes though.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by -K-M- View Post
      I do like the credit Puck is getting in this series......I may have had a little fun with his scene in #4
      K-M, I like what you did there, but I don't actually remember that bit in Uncanny X-Force. Is my memory that gone already? I just re-read it a week ago...

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      See, I really liked the first six issues.
      That's cool.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      I don't have a problem with the ongoing-ness of it.
      The problem I have here isn't the ongoingness, but the fact the trade cuts short by one issue. If it'd included #6, I could buy it and read it and feel complete enough not to be compelled to get the next trade. As it is, I can't read #1-5 without going on to #6.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      Again, it doesn't bother me in the slightest; I'm a big fan of anti-team teams, like The Defenders or Heroes For Hire or whatnot where the cast would constantly revolve and people come in and out and there wasn't a set team with set membership and a home base.
      It's strange me making that complaint; I often see reviews of superhero movies where they say 'and the title character doesn't show up until halfway through' and my reaction is 'So?'... but here, it bugged me enough to say something. But it's a minor quibble at worst.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      And it reminded me slightly of the way that AF weren't a team for issues 2-11 of their own original series. Very slightly though.
      Well, they were a team (5-11, btw), they just were doing solo things. And there was definitely an Alpha Flight during those issues.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      If every book were full of swearing then I'd agree, but in this day and age there needs to be books for adults and books for children and books for both. In my opinion this is the former. And it's rated as such.
      Well, like I implode, filling it with swearing doesn't make it more adult to me; just more try-hard.
      Also, as a variant on what you say below, I'd rather see the actual words than either black bars or #()@&*#$&* (which don't always give a clue what the word is). If I see a censored version, I can start to figure things out from context - but then I'm actually thinking about the words. If I just see the words, I skim over them without thinking about them hard enough to put them in my head.
      Then again, I'd rather see neither, at least in a comic, especially from characters who I've never seen swear before.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      I see it as the same Puck who was flirting with nurses in Volume 1, or reading lingerie catalogues in Volume 2. Puck's always been a silver-tongued devil.
      Flirting and sleazy aren't the same thing. And I don't like v2, either.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      Yet her speech-patterns, mannerisms and language sound more English than she ever has. Humphries writes her as an English-woman in a way that Claremont never could.
      Cool! Not something I'm all that likely to notice, but it makes sense.

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      its tagline is 'mutant noir' - it's not about being a hero per se.
      Doesn't help me to like it.

      ~ Le Messor
      "I didn't like what they did in that movie."
      "That was part of the director's vision."
      "Oh. Well, now I absolutely love it, it's brilliant."
      ~ Conversations that never happen.
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      Despite what the solicitation and website say, the TPB does actually include #1-6.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Lol!