Uncanny X-Force #26: Fantomex Bacchanalia
It seems the fears we had about the band breaking up in Uncanny X-Force #25 last month were premature, as everybody's still around in UXF #26 – they've just gone their separate ways for the moment, and it looks like there's some nastiness going down that will probably reunite them sooner than they'd like thanks to a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Yes, they're keeping the Evil. These guys are going to be proud of it.
Crazy stuff happens in Rick Remender's latest issue, and most of it occurs at Fantomex's impressive bacchanalia (a word I'm enjoying the hell out of right now, so bear with me). His drunken pursuit of debauchery, the "merriment dungeon," the hot 60s-looking girls and their mod music, guys in diapers juggling knives with their feet, make-out mimes, knitting circles, pillow fights, panda masks, space suits and more are all designed to flush out his rejection issues after being crushed by Psylocke. He trots about in his underwear until Psylocke shows up wanting to talk, and he immediately kicks everyone out and hooks up with her again, only to get into a post-coital skivvies fight with Mystique, a longstanding Evil Mutant.
In the meantime, the real Psylocke is relishing having crushed the callously manipulative Fantomex, while feeling slightly guilty at the same time. Then she walks into her personal nightmare, with her mindwiped ex-love Warren Worthington berating her for what happened to him, Professor Xavier appearing to shame her for being a part of X-Force, claiming the fact that Betsy was driven to kill her own brother to save reality was a test she failed… and they're threatening to take her apart, dial her back to long before she became the ninja killer she is today. Pre-Siege Perilous, which means we're talking before she was even Asian (with Fantomex and Psylocke on board, this book is the Haven for X-People with Impossibly Convoluted Histories). It's very surreal, and I think we can be pretty sure the Shadow King is messing with her once more. He's an Evil Mutant, too.
The main story, however, features Wolverine and Nightcrawler dealing with The Omega Clan, who are angry jerks made up of Omega Red's carcass bits who are convinced that X-Force are ruthless killers who slaughtered their family. Nightcrawler is being aged rapidly with draining life force, while Wolverine's healing factor is turned on itself with an autoimmune disease, and thus 'inflammation runs amok,' making Logan massively morbidly obese in a matter of moments. And his attempts to snikt are comically Weeble-esque. His method of getting rid of the poison is to gut himself, and said guts land directly on Deadpool, because of course they do. Not sure exactly how that solves the problem, but it's a nutty visual. Thankfully, Deadpool's weird robot avatar he just built in the merc-factory they're in saves their bacon just in time for them to be completely grody elsewhere.
Remender loves trucking in darkness, and sometimes it's really moody emotional drama, other times its gore, and still others are horror-comedy, and UXF #26 has all three with Betsy's torment and Kurt's angst, Logan's innards and Jean-Philippe/Wade shenanigans. The art from Phil Noto is effective, although it's unclear exactly how Wolverine's guts get onto Deadpool when they don't even appear to be in the same room. The Fantomex bacchanalia is very creatively rendered, and Fat Woofie is just funny.
Uncanny X-Force seems to be back in the right form. It's even making us feel sympathy for Apocalypse, considering he's in altruistic teenager form being ruthlessly mocked by the other students at Wolvie's school. The dark underbelly of the X-world is where it's at.