Review: Uncanny X-Force #9

Magneto finds out about the covert wetworks X-squad, and hands them a job only they can handle.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Uncanny X-Force 9

One of the big worries this black-ops X-Force team has had up 'til now, aside from all their hand-wringing guilt over doing the things they do, was what might happen if they bright and shiny X-folks ever found out there was a kill-squad in their midst, right under their noses.  In Uncanny X-Force #9, a couple of people on Utopia seem to do just that, but fortunately for Warren Worthington's wetworks group, those people are Dr. Nemesis and Magneto.  The former being a repentant ex-Nazi collaborator and the latter being a Nazi victim makes sense once the Master of Magnetism tracks them down and, rather than expose them, asks them for a personal murder favor – that of one of his old Nazi tormentors.

This issue is pretty much a stand-alone, as there's only a bit of decompression from their last outing, where Archangel took over Warren's mind and killed a Shadow-King-possessed-but-innocent guy to prevent him from launching a nuke.  This includes Wolverine once again dismissing Deadpool as a "ding-dong," which for some reason I find highly amusing.  Rick Remender has an interesting knack for dialog sometimes, as Fantomex's general chatter is a reason I've stuck around this long (although it's mostly absent here).  Also, I don't know where Dr. Nemesis came from, but since I've started reading X-books again, he's quickly become another one of my favorites thanks to his penchant for abrupt snark.  It's possible Nemesis doesn't actually know about X-Force and just tracked down the aforementioned Nazi, but the secrecy involved with his dealings with Magneto seemed to indicate he knew what the information he had gathered was being gathered for.

This is essentially a Wolverine story, and a relatively quiet one at that, as Logan insist to Magneto that they neutralize threats and don't do revenge hits, but he changes his mind immediately after seeing Magneto's inner conflict, dismisses the rest of the team and goes to kill an old man with his sword.  Taking a look at a picture of Jean Grey before he leaves, and getting an ominous warning about the methodology of murder from the sad old monster before he accepts his fate. 

Part of Remender's notion with this series is to get Wolverine away from his over-exposure and back to being Wolverine.  There's a line in an earlier issue where Fantomex laments that "it's easy to become desensitized to the claws of Wolverine" as he learns to respect them once again when an evil cyborg version of him cleaves his torso open.  Here, he's handling business like he handles business.  Let him be comic relief in Uncanny X-Men, but in X-Force, he does what he does without a word.  It's what makes him the best at it.

A darkly austere story, featuring evocative art from Billy Tan, adds to the mounting dread that permeates this series.  Sometimes it's too much to bear, but other times it feels like what needs to be done.  Hell of a moral quandary.