by Rick Remender (writer), Esad Ribic (pencils), John Lucas (inks), Matt Wilson (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: X-Force fights their way through Deathloks and the World in their mission to take out Father.

The Review: While this is probably the best issue of this arc, it still doesn’t quite match up to the previous Apocalypse Solution though, admittedly, that may be due to just how awesome that arc was.  Something about this Deathlok/World centered arc doesn’t have the same sense of energy and uniqueness.  I think that may have something to do with this arc’s reliance on prior continuity, drawing on Grant Morrison’s X-Men work and such.

With that said, Rick Remender nonetheless does do some really cool character-work this month that makes up for much of this.  Surprisingly, much of this comes from Deadpool.  Remender has really done surprising work with Deadpool, making him a more realistic character that isn’t just a caricature of himself.  The Deadpool that Remender gives us here is a compelling, complex character that has quite a lot going on (including a weird mix of pride and self-loathing) beneath that jokey exterior, regardless of how many screws he has loose.  Remender gives us little peaks beneath the hood, both through Deadpool’s clash with Fantomex and Father’s hypnotic words to Wade that reveal a great deal about this character.  This Deadpool isn’t just the comic relief, he’s also a tremendously interesting character.

Fantomex comes off well this month also, particularly due to the hostile relationship he has with Deadpool, with the two trading highly personal barbs.  Through one another’s words, both characters expose each others’ unique and troubled psychologies.  The result is dialogue that isn’t only a joy to read, but dialogue that also illuminates both characters involved, makes them both more nuanced, and makes them both much more interesting to the reader.  Wade’s emphasizing the contest between he and Fantomex to not be the most reviled and disrespected member of the team is a really cool new component to the team’s dynamic and, at issue’s end, Remender reveals just who’s winning that contest in a very subdued and haunting fashion.

Visually, I had mixed feelings about this issue.  On the one hand, it’s aesthetically pleasing overall, particularly due to the fun colors provided by Matt Wilson.  Certainly, Esad Ribic has a lot of fun illustrating the World and his take on Father is really decrepit in a good way.  Overall, it’s a nice looking issue, even if I do miss Opena.  That said, I did find the layouts to occasionally not be as smooth as they could’ve been, particularly when depicting the weird sort of gravity that the World operates under.  Characters with surprised faces also look pretty goofy under Ribic’s hand.

Conclusion: The best issue of this arc with solid work all around, particularly if you want to see something different out of Deadpool.  That said, it isn’t the A-quality, in story or art, that the previous arc most definitely was.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans