X-Book 2-Fer: Uncanny X-Force #32 & AoA #8

Wolverine and Deadpool make their marks in UXF, while Victor Von Doom's presence is felt in the Age of Apocalypse.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Uncanny X-Force and Age of Apocalypse

One week, two X-books (X-boox?), both of them cool, one of them leaving me angry.

Let's start with Uncanny X-Force #32, because last time out, I made kind of a big deal about how Rick Remender was gearing up to showcase the real character of Deadpool. My guess was that, having slipped away from the rest of the group infiltrating the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants compound to go find Evan (The Boy Who Would Hopefully Not Be Apocalypse But It's Looking More And More Like He Would Be), Wade Wilson would pre-emptively kill the kid to save the world, only to find out too late that it was the wrong move, and that would be what set him over the edge to Evilstan. Instead, I got the opposite – he's absosmurfly determined to rescue Evan, because he's inspired by/jealous of the example set by the late Fantomex, who died trying to save Psylocke.

"I'm going to die to protect this kid," Wade says to himself, with stern resolve, after jacking down the Blob's pants so the Omega Red Kid's tentacles go straight up the fat ass-crack. "Show Fantomex he's not the only one with a fully developed character arc." Goddammit, THAT IS DEADPOOL. And without the Daniel Way 'Third Voice' either.

This issue's got a lot of good DP action (quiet, pervs), but also a bunch of bitchin' Wolverine ass-kickery, too. Remender likes to call up the berzerker. Everything's coming to a head here – Shadow King has revealed to Psylocke that he's responsible for killing Fantomex and twisting Warren Worthington enough that she had to kill him, all as part of his revenge, and Daken is losing patience with Evan's resistance to going full-on Evil Mutant, and Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler has met up with the 616 Mystique, and it goes a bit too well. Phil Noto's art is aces, and Remender is always reliable for dark but quality action. He's bringin' the goods there, and he's also bringing the funny. He's got Deadpool's dialogue flair down.

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The second book is Age of Apocalypse #8. The previous issue in this series was the first one to truly excite me, because it brought Victor Von Doom to the party, and he's the best supervillain of all time. Seeing as how this is a book that casts several 616 villains as heroic freedom fighters, I figured it would be a perfect fit to make Doom a regular cast member, or at least an awesome recurring supporter of the cause.

Be warned, Here There Be Spoylers. There's a cool twist in this book that also pissed me off.

However, in this issue, David Lapham pulls that rug out from under us. Doom is every bith the master manipulator he is back home, although he's a hell of a lot more polite about it here. He's juggling an elaborate triple cross – selling out the X-Terminated to "The Queen" Emma Frost, who had herself hid among humans and betrayed them, only to also play protocol against her and bring forth Minister Azazel to judge them before Frost has her opportunity to play vindictive telepath games with them. Turns out Doom has done a mental number on Frost, re-brainwashing her consistently so that she keeps forgetting she has telepathy, using her as a tool to handle the regimes on either side of Latveria. A lot of elaborate stuff he's got going on.

Eventually, he frees the X-Terminated, but reveals that the Reed Richards Journals of How To Beat Up Celestial-Powered Jerkwads that they came for have been destroyed once Doom committed them to memory. The grand plan is for Doom to take the power wielded by Weapon Omega (aka the former Wolverine), and that's not cool with Prophet and the gang. However, this is polite Doom, so even after they try to force him to give them whatever anti-W.O. weapon he's cooked up – and Deadeye betrays Prophet to join Doom and turn the tide back – he still lets them all go unharmed.

And that proves to be his undoing. Deadeye got close to Doom just so she could kill him and take his head back to the gang for brain-harvesting, which they can apparently do. It was a cool swerve I didn't see coming, but… but… DOOM!  You don't kill Doom! You just DON'T, especially not when he's that cool and interesting! Dammit, quit being so X-clusive, X-Terminated! Mix it up like the rest of Marvel NOW!

Lapham's story was well-crafted and tense, and Renato Arlem's art is an aesthetic improvement for my tastes from the prior artist, but… goddammit, DOOM. ARGH. I really wanted him to stick around. He's motherfuckin' DOOM. C'mon, man.

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