In the recommendations made to Jim after his recent post, mixed in among the thirty thousand odd recommendations of Avengers Academy (which isn’t bad by any means, but seriously, it’s not even in the top dozen things Marvel is putting out these days) were a couple for Uncanny X-Force, which I wanted to echo because UXF manages to be a massively entertaining comic despite having the uber-tired premise of “we’re the X-Men who totally kill baddies,” which should earn it some sort of award for operating under a handicap.
It’s a good comic for two reasons: it has consistently good art, and Rick Remender knows both what he wants to do with the characters and the larger story he wants to tell, which is why he’s selected characters that benefit that story. Wolverine, obviously, but a supporting cast of Psylocke, Fantomex and Deadpool all work well – and then there’s Archangel, and the biggest coup Remender’s managed on UXF is that he’s finally pulled the trigger on Warren Worthington, who was always basically a boring character with wings when he wasn’t being Archangel, by turning him into the next Apocalypse.
Remender rightly saw that Warren was only ever even slightly interesting when he was at war with his evil self, which suggests that the evil self is what was really interesting all along, and thus far that appears to be the case: evil Archangel is much more interesting than good Archangel/Angel ever was, not least because he’s such an atypically pleasant and polite murderous maniac. And best of all, given the most recent issue, it appears that this character shift is going to stick for the next few whiles, if only because as of the events of issue 14 I can’t see a way that they can redeem him any time soon.
Which is good, because the X-Men, as a franchise, should float a character from good to bad or vice versa from time to time: the best villains in the X-books are always those who have sort of a point, and Archangelypse (who, after all, only wants to commit mass genocide so that humanity can eventually survive the coming of the Celestials) fits the bill. Besides, with Emma Frost and Magneto and even the likes of Legion, Scalphunter and Frenzy ending up all in the X-Men’s ranks, it was well past time that one of the X-Men turn bad to balance the scales.