Comic Reviews: Uncanny X-Force, Red Hood & The Outlaws, and Happy!
And just like that, Marvel’s best title ends. Rick Remender’s phenomenal Uncanny X-Force has concluded, with an issue that goes out not really with a bang, but more like a soft whimper. That’s not bad at all, as we get some huge revelations regarding previous storylines, as well as some really touching moments from our cast of characters.
Following their harrowing battle with the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Wolverine decides to disband this X-Force team. Following the individual members in quick vignettes, the issue highlights just how unique this series was, taking over and under exposed characters and shedding a new light on them. While all of the vignettes are great, the standout is the one between Deadpool and Genesis, which is both hilarious and heartwarming, and easily proves that Remender should take over Deadpool if Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan leave the book.
Remender, who was already one of my favorite writers of the year, really outdoes himself with this issue. He even takes the return of a fan-favorite character and spins it completely on its head, giving us a very entertaining new status quo for the character. Couple this with the revelation of what Wolverine’s older self told him a few issues ago, and you have the markings of some fine long form writing here. Seeing characters like Wolverine, Deadpool, and especially Fantomex change from the first issue is truly remarkable feat, and I hope some of these changes that Remender has brought to the table stick around.
Phil Noto handles the art duties, and he does a stellar job with this character heavy issue. For a book known for it’s out there ideas and kick ass violence, it’s good to see that Noto is able to handle the quieter moments that this issue required. For those of you waiting for a complete run before diving in, be warned: like those of us following it from issue to issue, you’ll wish it didn’t end.
Jason Todd finally confronts the Joker in this month’s issue of Red Hood & The Outlaws, and despite some awkward scene changes to Red Arrow and Starfire, this tie-in pretty much hits the mark. While not as good as last week’s Batman & Robin tie-in, it’s still nowhere near as bad as the Catwoman issue.
After seemingly murdering Jason Todd’s new girlfriend (?) , Joker kidnaps him before he can start his hunt. Waking up dazed, the Joker starts taunting Jason, leading him down a horrific maze filled with clues and memorabilia of Todd’s life. He turns one corner and sees the bullet casing that was removed from his Dad. He turns another, and sees a mock diorama of the night he found his mother dead in an alley. Writer Scott Lobdell really hits home the fact that Joker not only knows who Jason Todd is, but that he essentially set up Todd to become the second Robin (for details, see the zero issue of Red Hood & The Outlaws). I’m still not 100% sold on the idea of Joker planning EVERY aspect of Todd’s life to make him be Robin, but I did enjoy his dialogue with Jason. As he makes his way through the maze, Joker taunts him at every turn, calling him “son”. It all ends with an interesting, if out of left field, tie-in to Teen Titans‘ “Death Of The Family” crossover, which allegedly will have Jason Todd going up against Tim Drake.
While the Joker and Jason moments were great, the few moments with Red Arrow and Starfire…weren’t. Maybe it’s because I was so intrigued by the Joker’s torment of Jason Todd, but every time Lobdell decided to show us what Kori and Roy were up to, I felt like I was just waiting to get back to the main story. Of course, their “B plot” quickly intercepts with the main story of the book, and after one of the weirdest sequences in comics this year, they join up with the Teen Titans, ending the issue…even if it reads like they’re going to fight them.
Timothy Green II’s art at times almost mimics Kenneth Rocafort’s, but at the same time, it’s uniquely it’s own. His line work and figures fit perfectly with Lobdell’s script, and if he stays on the book for the time being, he may make great waves on the title. As it stands right now, Jason Todd’s experience with the Joker is pretty cool, and thankfully nowhere near as dismal as Mr. J’s visit to Selina earlier this month.
Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s Happy! clips along at such a quick pace in this issue that it was almost a struggle to keep up with everything it threw at me. We get some huge revelations about Nick Sax’s life when he was cop, as well as a MASSIVE one regarding the Santa killer’s victim. Perhaps having the setting be on a train was an intentional one, as it’s only when the train is forced to stop that we learn of Sax’s painful backstory. After that, it’s back to the races as the race heats up, and with only one issue left, there’s not much time to waste. Those who like their Grant Morrison comics more on the “real world” side and less in the psychedelic would be a fool to miss this series.