The Future Is Governed By Jerks On Hoverbikes

Both Dark Avengers (Thunderbolts) #178 and Uncanny X-Force #28 go to dark alternate futures.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Dark Avengers Uncanny X-Force

In a fun coincidence, fugly far-flung futures are foisted upon fans in both Uncanny X-Force #28, by Rick Remender and Julian Totino Tedesco, and Dark Avengers (Re: Thunderbolts) #178, by Jeff Parker, Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey. UXF gives us a 30 year sneak peek, where as DA (TB) jumps forward 78 years, and one thing they have in common is jerkface authority figures who ride hoverbikes.

Boss Cage


Uncanny X-Force #28


In the first image, we see Boss Cage of the farther future in Parker's DA, and it's a straight-up Judge Dredd riff, complete with citations of "Mondocity" regulations and everything. The time-tossed T-Bolts have been abandoned without hope in this dystopian future by Dr. Doom, and just when they start to despair, this guy rolls in to round them up. Cage has to be a reference to Luke Cage, their present-day boss, who has been stuck with a squad of Dark Avengers to go mess around in Sharzhad with the Sultan Magus Dagan Shah. However, the fact that Boss Cage is suited up in Punisher skulls could mean something else altogether.

The second image is from UXF, featuring Cable, Hope Summers and Deadpool rolling up on the temporally-tousled team, and that thar Punisher is actually a member of the higher council of law-and-order types, alongside Wolverine and Magistrate Braddock, aka the older Psylocke. X-Force finds themselves in a future they control, with their methodology of 'kill them before they kill innocents' taken to its logical conclusion – one that their pal Deathlok the Lovebot (or, as Wade refers to him, the Cyborg of Christmas Future) aims to prevent… by employing the very methods he's claiming to abhor.

Dark Avengers… gah, I just can't call it that.  Thunderbolts #178 is the more upbeat of the two books about bleak and awful futures, because it's obviously having enough fun with the concept to end it with the tagline: "Next: Days of Past Future." Plus, you know, Dredd parody. This is a book all about the engaging dynamics of a team full of socially stunted malcontents – and now there are TWO such teams in two different timelines weaving back and forth in the same book. It's good times and worth following.

Uncanny X-Force #28 is a much bleaker thing by the end, but it has a neat twist that you don't often see – when the good guys are shown the future their questionable M.O. leads to, they kinda shrug and don't really see much wrong with it. At least that's Wolverine's response. Psylocke has a markedly different reaction – a truly extreme one. It's a striking issue, as the future relates more directly to the driving plot of the series and could serve to be the catalyst which detonates this team for whatever Marvel NOW has planned for it. Also, Deadpool is pretty on point here, too, and I do so like when Wade Wilson shines.

Good books, both! If you're not reading them, you should be. Get after it!