Uncanny X-Force #22
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini and Dean White [Color Art]
The pace picks back up in the third part of Rick Remender’s Otherworld odyssey as Psylocke continues her efforts to help Fantomex escape from her brothers in the Captain Britain Corps and Nightcrawler convinces Wolverine that X-Force should help the people of Otherworld fight back against the realm’s demonic invaders.
In case you’ve been out of the loop, Otherworld is a realm that serves as an in-between spot for all of the realities in the Marvel Multiverse. Basically, that means it has all of the doorways to the mainstream Marvel Universe (i.e. Earth-616), the Ultimate Universe, the 2099 Universe, the Age of Apocalypse, the Negative Zone, etc.
Otherworld itself is something out of a Tolkien book, with dragons, castles, and sorcery. It’s also home to the Captain Britain Corps, who see fit to punish individuals from any reality for whatever crimes they feel they should intervene in.
(Clearly, they miss a lot of them because a TON of villains are still alive, but stay with me here.)
X-Force ended up here in issue #20 after the Corps abducted Fantomex and Psylocke in the middle of the night. They put Fantomex on trial for the assassination of the child clone of Apocalypse and sentenced him to being removed from existence. Psylocke, however, rescued Fantomex, as the two have been involved in an increasingly complex game of cat and mouse.
Remender throws in a conversation between the two in this issue to add further confusion to where exactly Fantomex stands in the situation, and also to underscore how well Fantomex can manipulate others. It’s an excellent character trait to draw attention to. After all, this is a guy whose power set includes misdirection–the ability to distract others with a realistic illusion.
Unfortunately, Psylocke and Fantomex’s escape is cut short by the Skinless Man, who we find out is Weapon III and has a long history with Fantomex, a.k.a. Weapon XIII. He’s given a sensible enough reason for being in Otherworld, and it ultimately makes even more sense that Remender continues to explore and add to the story of the Weapon Plus program given that three members of X-Force–Wolverine, Deadpool, and Fantomex–were all involved in it in some way or another.
As all of this plot is unfolding, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Deadpool are taking refuge in a village on the verge of being besieged by the hordes of a demonic goat. Nightcrawler, who is seemingly coming around to his new teammates after leaving behind his own X-Men in the Age of Apocalypse, convinces Wolverine that they should fight to help the people of Otherworld before finding their friends.
This change in attitude for AoA Nightcrawler draws the first big parallel between him and his deceased Earth-616 counterpart since the differences between the two were highlighted two issues ago. It really adds additional layers to a familiar character who isn’t really the character fans are ultimately familiar with, reminding them that while he is different due to the state of his home universe, Kurt Wagner is still Kurt Wagner at the end of the day.
Plus, it leads to a fun exchange about narcissistic personality disorder between Wolverine and Deadpool as they head off to kill the demonic goat monk thing attacking Otherworld.
Overall, another great issue in Remender’s run. If you’re new to X-Force, I’d recommend starting a little further back in the series, but this storyline is fun and just different enough from earlier stories to keep things interesting without veering too far into left field.
And I promise I’ll never make another poor sports analogy as long as I’m writing reviews.