by Rick Remender (script), Billy Tan (art), Dean White (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Logan does a favor for Magneto that has him going solo.

The Review: Last month I raved about just how utterly amazing the art provided by Tan and White was and this month, I think it’s even better, though thoroughly different in tone and content.  This is quieter, more emotionally driven issue, allowing for Tan and White to deliver an issue that’s subtle and haunting.  Tan’s work on his character’s faces speaks volumes and is full of complexity.  What I appreciate most though, and granted this is largely due to White’s colors, is the way in which this issue manages to look both dark/gritty and hyper-polished, two things that don’t ordinarily go together.  The result is a gorgeous issue where single panels would make for great splashes.  Couple this with excellent storytelling all around, and the art just about carries the issue.

Which is good, because this isn’t the strongest narrative from Rick Remender.  That’s not to say that it’s bad, only fairly middling, a little too comfortable.  Remender relies on emotional tenor to drive an otherwise unremarkable story.  In some ways, it almost works.  Magneto’s emotions are very human and Logan’s relationship to death and killing is as interesting and engaging as ever.  More than that, these are items that allows for Remender to let Tan tell the story.  Certainly, on the latter plot-line regarding Logan, the issue’s ending on a “what goes around, comes around” warning that reframes the entire issue under that message is a good one.

Unfortunately, beyond these emotional high-points, the nuts and bolts of the story aren’t overly strong.   For instance, I just didn’t buy Logan doing Magneto a favor just because Magneto gives him sad puppy eyes.  This is Magneto, for God’s sake.  Remender doesn’t even really try all that hard to sell this, either.  Magneto asks, looks sad, and Logan, nice guy that he is, caves and moves out.  It’s a big stretch and one that’s oversimplified under a gloss of emotion that almost fools the reader into believing it.

Then there’s the fact that, when you boil it down, this is yet another issue of Uncanny X-Force that ends up with someone on the team having to kill someone that falls into a grey area.  I don’t remind the repeated theme given how well Remender has done with it thus far and the devilish twists he’s delivered, but I think as a result of that high standard, the old “Nazi war criminal who lived the ensuing decades in regret and innocence” is a little “been there, done that.”

Conclusion: Despite my gripes, this is really only a slightly weaker issue from an exemplary series.

Grade: B –

-Alex Evans