The Dark Angel Saga has begun, as once again, the deep-seated mental programming inflicted on the former Avenging Angel by the real first mutant Apocalypse has seized control of Warren Worthington, leading his teammates on the clandestine hit squad X-Force to try and figure out a way to end that mess permanently – and they're going to drastic measures to do it.
In Uncanny X-Force #10, Warren crosses lines he may never be able to uncross when Amahl Farouk, aka the Shadow King, drops off evidence of X-Force's murderous activities at the Bay Area newspaper The Guardian, threatening to expose and ruin him (not to mention incriminating the Avengers and every other team that hairy Canucklehead Wolverine is on). It hasn't helped that Warren's been ignoring his therapy sessions with his girlfriend Psylocke and that the Archangel persona has pretty much asserted control again, which is why he goes to the extreme measure of killing one of the Guardian's editors and stalking the reporter Farouk met. Which means the team is turning on each other.
It's extremely creepy to see one of the original X-Men casually murdering innocent people to protect himself, and it's unnerving enough to fit right into the skeevy underbelly that Rick Remender tends to deal with. It's a little difficult to get into since there's little in the way of actual fun to be had, but there's enough going on here to keep the hooks into its readers – especially now that X-Force's attempts to cure Warren of his affliction are forcing them to team up with the sinister Dark Beast for a journey into the Age of Apocalypse dimension. No idea how this is possible, since I seem to recall that reality was wiped out by the M'Kraan Crystal and everything, but I'm sure no one will bother to explain that.
It's somewhat dangerous territory, retreading the Age of Apocalypse now that alternate-reality storylines are so commonplace they've become trite (looking at you, Flashpoint) and this is one of the few that retains a certain beloved status among X-fans. Yet, of all the holdovers from AoA, the Dark Beast – the ethically-bankrupt Mengele version of another original X-Man Hank McCoy – is hands-down the best, although his competition is thin. The recently revived and über-powered Nate Grey may have a chance to flourish with Cable out of the picture, but I think we can all be glad that our dark anti-heroes don't have to work with Sugar Man… even if it might bring the much-needed fun of having Fantomex and Deadpool mock the living hell out of him.
The art from Billy Tan and Rich Elson is pretty decent, although they seem to have some issues with Psylocke at times. Then again, that costume of hers is so ridiculous that it must be hard to take seriously enough to draw someone in. Please, somebody give her some pants.
Anyway, given that Remender's managed to keep us reading for this long, there's a degree of trust that he'll handle the AoA redux in an interesting new way. Will Deadpool run into Dead Man Wade? Will we get some weird invention of an AoA Fantomex? Will the snazzy bar-owner AoA Angel have an impact on our mentally-mucked Archangel? Will Wolvie boff AoA Jean Grey? Questions to which I know I want the answers.