Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Esad Ribic
I have never bought an issue of X-Force before, nor do I have any real interest in the concept or the current X-Universe. However, when I saw Esad Ribic’s beautiful cover and noticed that he was also drawing interiors, I couldn’t resist picking up this issue. Rick Remender is a highly rated writer and I was curious to see if he could get me interested in at title that had previously been nowhere near my radar.
The plot focuses largely on Fantomex, shortly after his controversial murder of a baby carrying the soul of Apocalypse. I found the story to be fairly complex and difficult to understand but Fantomex is a cool character with a great design so I was fairly happy to see the issue centred around him. The rest of the team do show up in a brief four page scene but it didn’t really interest me at all. Remender has chosen a very bizarre mix of characters and I’m not convinced that the dynamic between them works particularly well at all. The conversation between them was interesting enough but I found the idea of Deadpool being the team’s moral compass quite unsettling, perhaps Remender’s intention?
The sequences with Fantomex work a lot better, with Remender doing a lot to endear him to the reader. While I thought that he was in interesting enough character when written by his creator, Grant Morrison, I never thought that he had much of a personality, something that Remender at least attempts to remedy here. His origin has always been slightly off the wall and bizarre but this something that Remender tries to play with rather than shying away from and it is generally well dealt with.
Of course the real selling point of this issue (for me at least) is Esad Ribic’s superb artwork. He, along with the rest of the art team can give themselves a pat on the back because this is one of the best drawn comic books I have read for a long time. Ribic’s pencils are beautiful, and his layouts superb while Matt Wilson’s colours bring a lot to the story, imbuing each scene with a totally different tone. This is one of the few comic books that I can honestly say I would buy for the art alone. The story isn’t bad and is very well competently told by Remender but in truth, is not particularly interesting. Remender does deserve plaudits for making Fantomex an interesting character though. Overall this issue was pretty much what I was expecting – confusing and occasionally difficult to follow but never less than beautifully drawn. There is definitely enough here to keep me on board for the next issue.