As superhero and comic book films continue to dominate the summer blockbuster scene in Hollywood, times are good for a comic book fan. More and more my hobby seems to be accepted by the mainstream, I now feel free to read the latest issue of Batman on the Tube without incurring ridicule rather than hole up in the corner of the library like I did in my school days.
Following the success of films like The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers Assembled we comic book fans often find ourselves asked by our friends something along the lines of “I want to get into comics but aren’t they kind of childish? I don’t know where to start. What’s good?”
My humble recommendation to my friends and you would-be comic book readers? Uncanny X-Force, the Breaking Bad of the superhero world.
Set in the Marvel X-Men universe, Uncanny X-Force sees Wolverine get together a black ops assassination team tasked with eliminating threats to mutant kind.
Uncanny X-Force is INCREDIBLE. Its first story arc, the 18 issue long "The Apocalypse Solution" and “Dark Angel Saga” probably stand as one of the greatest ever comic book story arcs . Without wanting spoil anything, writer Rick Remender has his heroes deal with stopping the end of the world while also dealing with the return of alternate-reality versions of dead friends and the dissolution of their romantic relationships.
Set in the Marvel X-Men universe Uncanny X-Force sees Wolverine, get together a black ops assassination team tasked with eliminating threats to mutant kind.
It’s everything I love about sci-fi, using far out bonkers stories as allegories for things we all experience. Spider-Man is essentially a story about a boy dealing with the responsibilities of manhood by way of mad scientists and 8ft lizard men.
In the Uncanny X-Force Remender creates a meticulously plotted artistic world drawing on a number of classical influences but most importantly, makes his characters believable. He manages to humanise an unkillable 5ft 3inch man played by Hugh Jackman who has knives come out of his hands. He’s that good. A big problem comic book newbies can experience is reading something which can have some 40 odd years of backstory. While the X-Force team itself started in the 1980s but such is the usage dialog and narration in X-Force to establish intangible aspects of the story makes you just nod your head when the characters start jumping across dimensions, as if it’s nothing.
Like Breaking Bad as things build up to its “Holy shit thing are going to get nuts” finale, X-Force boasts an ending to its first arc that gets increasingly cinematic in both scope and scale. And it’s depressing as hell. You can pick up the trade collections of the first 18 issues of Uncanny X-Force now off Amazon and if I gush about it anymore I’ll damn myself to a lifetime of nerd-inflicted celibacy. From thrilling action to well-developed characterizations, this story has it all. Uncanny X-Force is one of the most poignant superhero books – not only currently, but ever. Go get it.
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