Review: Uncanny X-Force #8

Psylocke busts out the armor to fight the Shadow King - but is it enough to save Angel from his alter ego?

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Uncanny X-Force 8

In the review of Uncanny X-Force #7, I noted that this series about a covert wetwork squad of mutants (and Deadpool, since he fits the wetwork part) had an ugly feel to it – which is something you might expect from a book about professional murderers.  Now, things are about to get uglier, as the Avenging Angel falls by the wayside.

In Uncanny X-Force #8, the team is lured into a trap by the nefarious mental mutant known as the Shadow King, who has a long and storied history with Betsy Braddock, aka Psylocke, the mindwitch of the group, and the only one who's been chewing on the angst about the ugliness of their work.  This makes it a perfectly bad time for a creep like this guy to come seeping into her mind and preying on her insecurities – and especially bad for Warren Worthington, who's been struggling to contain the dark, murderous personality of Apocalypse's Archangel of Death within his mind.

Despite the presence of Deadpool and seeing Betsy slip into some battle armor that hearkens back to her pre-ninja days, this isn't really a book that feels fun.  There's occasionally some witty banter amongst the ruffians – and Fantomex is particularly fun to read (and yes, it's confirmed in this issue that he is an illusionist, which makes the last issue make much more sense to this new reader).  His condescension to the rest of the group about being the only one with telepathic dampening plates after they get mind-controlled by Shadow King is fun – even if Cable/Deadpool established that telepaths can't really grasp Wade's mind, but whatever.  Let's not get too nitpicky here. 

If you like the dark stuff, this might be a series for you, as people get stabbed a lot, and it tries to balance the idea that murdering people solves immediate problems with the fact that if you've got any kind of humanity left in you, it should really eat at your soul to be in the business of doing it.  What keeps me reading is essentially my curiosity about Fantomex, and there's enough drama here to hold my interest, but it's the kind of book that you have to be in the right mindset to get through, when you're done with fun and you want to slog through the icky parts of human nature.