Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force has been a hell of a thing. A team conceived as a clandestine wetworks squad ending threats before they manifest could have been a "mindless blood-soaked kill crew," as the writer puts it in his parting words at the end of Uncanny X-Force #35, the last issue of this volume of the series, but it's been unendingly bleak emotional trauma and murky morality questions for everybody involved. They faced the consequences of murdering a child they believed to be evil, they lost a lover and friend to that same evil, they suffered betrayals and lost another lover and friend to a whole different sort of evil. It's been trucking through a lot of ugly places.
Two new X-Force books are succeeding it – the already-begun Cable and X-Force, and the upcoming relaunch of Uncanny X-Force, focusing on the continuing adventures of Psylocke and Lady Fantomex and… wait, what happened there?
UXF #35 is what happened. After all that gut-churning drama, Remender's last issue with artist Phil Noto is appropriately entitled "Rainbows, Puppy Dogs & Sunshine," despite opening with Wolverine mourning the loss of his own twisted son Daken – a son he had to put down himself. At least he's making some kind of peace with his eternal curse – and the rest of the team makes good with the bridges they'd feared burned as well.
Psylocke makes amends with her brother Captain Britain, who in turn reveals he understands why she betrayed him for a strange, conceptually ambiguous man like Fantomex. In fact, Cap explains that he was actually impressed that Fantomex had as much of a moral fiber as he did, considering he was created with three different brains, one of which was a mutant-hunting Sentinel. That part was news to me, but that might be because every time I ask somebody to explain Fantomex to me, they always say "um… well… it's Grant Morrison, dude." The more I actually learn, the more I understand that response.
Even Deadpool gets a bonding moment with Evan, the regrown Kid Apocalypse that Fantomex tried to raise properly to make amends for the aforementioned evil Kid Apocalypse that he felt compelled to kill (likely due to that Sentinel brain). Daken's new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants tried to re-evil-ize Evan, but the kid had enough of a conscience to avoid that, and oddly enough, Deadpool was a big reason why. So Wade Freakin' Wilson is now some kind of surrogate father figure for Evan, which is fraught with its own crazy problems – as evidenced by his taking away the meditation book Logan gave Evan and leaving a bunch of porno mags in their stead. The kid IS a teenager, after all.
Then there's the matter of Fantomex, everybody's favorite character in Remender's saga, who has been dead for several issues now, and here, we see him brought back to life, thanks to.. well, we'll chalk it up to weird science. The kicker is that each of those three 'Mex brains has their own body now. And one of them's a chick. "Fantomsexy," Wade calls her, but likely that won't stick. The name 'Jean-Phillippe' is claimed by the black-clad evil version, so we're left wondering what the deal will be with the other two – and that deal will be furthered by the NOW version of Uncanny X-Force, which will also include mohawked Storm and Puck. That alone makes it worth checking out when it rolls around – and Remender tells us that some of the plot threads from this series will be picked up in his Uncanny Avengers. So'z ya knowz.
Uncanny X-Force #35 is a great final chapter in a truly epic (in the legit sense of the word, and not the everyday erosion of the meaning of the word now used to describe fails and socks) saga. Remender, much like Jonathan Hickman, is a guy who writes big and ends well. I'll miss this book, and I'm as surprised as anyone that we went out on a happy note.