Best Shots Advance Review: Marvel NOW! UNCANNY X-FORCE #1

 

Uncanny X-Force #1

Written by Sam Humphries

Art Ron Garney, Danny Miki, and Marte Gracia

Letters by Cory Petit

Published by Marvel Comics

Review by George Marston

'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10

It's almost expected that when you relaunch a title as well-received and well-loved as Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force, there's going to be a period of adjustment; of the new creators and their audience finding each other, learning the voices of the characters, and figuring out how they all fit together again. Sometimes the differences become strengths, freeing a concept from preconceived notions of what it ought to be, and opening new storytelling avenues. On the other hand, sometimes, the new version lacks any common thread, leaving it feeling somewhat cold, and a little strange.

 

And that's Sam Humphries and Ron Garney's Uncanny X-Force. There's nothing wrong here; Humphries has been building goodwill at Marvel and elsewhere for a reason, and Garney is an old pro experiencing something of a renaissance. Their characters have just about everything you'd want in X-Men, fitting easily into accessible archetypes without ever going too far, commanding their own voices, and selling every bit of drama and dialogue, but there's something that just doesn't click. There's an element of danger, of under-the-radar darkness that goes along with the name Uncanny X-Force that just isn't present. It's all a little too easy, a little clean, and a little too expected. Maybe that's placing an unfair expectation on the title, but there's very little that sets this book apart from any other X-Men title, no hook or concept that explains why this isn't just a peek into yet another corner of the mutant universe.

Once again, all the other pieces are here, from Humphries's typical but well-written characterization, to Garney's detailed, well-composed art. Every part of Uncanny X-Force feels just like an X-Men comic, and that's a little of the problem. It feels too much like X-Men comic. Still, there's plenty to be said for execution, and Humphries and Garney have that end of the equation locked in. They just need to dig a little deeper to find that spark that makes their iteration of Uncanny X-Force as essential as its predecessor, or at least as compelling.

There are a lot of good things about Uncanny X-Force #1. At the very least it's well-crafted, concise, and even entertaining, but it still lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that would set it apart from the host of other mutant-centric titles on the stands, including the other current X-Force ongoing. Decent writing and good art will earn you a lot of credit, though, and it's still early in the game for Uncanny X-Force. It's possible this book simply isn't baring its fangs just yet. But with a legacy like the one this title has, it should probably start sooner instead of later. 

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