By: Rick Remender (writer), Phil Noto (artist), Dean White (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer)

The Story: Wolverine, Deadpool, and Nightcrawler fight for their lives against the Omega Clan, but Psylocke and Fantomex have problems of their own.

The Review: It’s amazing just how much ground Rick Remender covers in this issue not so much in plot progression, but in tone and style.

On the one hand, the action in this comic is ridiculously brutal and creative with buckets of gore.  It’s an entertaining and furious comic in this regard.  As has often been shown in this series, Remender is also unflinching and disgustingly inventive with his violence and there’s certainly a scene this month that’ll add to that reputation.  On the other hand, however, the scenes with Psylocke and Fantomex appeal in an entirely different way.  The dialogue and the ordeals these two go through are gut-wrenching, with Remender being absolutely merciless to his characters.  It’s harsh, hard-hitting stuff that has a lot of heft, emphasizing the dark, intimate character-work that sets this book apart.

But perhaps most surprising is that amidst this dark, heavy dialogue and visceral action, there’s actually a good amount of humour as well.  Sprinkled amidst this comic are some great, laugh out loud moments from Remender.  This is largely thanks to Deadpool, who is used to absolute perfection this month.  With the other characters in dire straights, Deadpool injects the book with unlikely comedy that, against all odds, actually works, either courtesy of Wade’s zaniness or at his expense.  At times, there’s also a hint of black humour as well: we really, really shouldn’t laugh at the image of a ludicrously bloated Wolverine, but it’s just so silly looking, perhaps even more than it is gross.

On art, the credits line really tells you all you need to know: Phil Noto and Dean White.  That’s a team to drool over and both guys are in top form.  The result is an incredibly detailed, polished, and “high-budget” looking book that is possibly the prettiest book I picked up this week.  From moody conversations to over-the-top action, Noto and White do it style with white knuckles and clenched teeth.

The only downside to this book are the Omega Clan.  They’re perfectly serviceable and Remender does a nice job of giving them a bit of a surreal element by allowing the reader to see their implanted memories in a “flashback” sequence.  The problem is that at the moment, there’s not quite enough done to differentiate the members of the group.  That being said, it’s clear that the real bad guys, and persons of interest, are behind the scenes anyway, with the Omega Clan ultimately just being the grunts.

Conclusion:  An absolutely fantastic read that entertains on all levels: drama, comedy, action, and great art.  This issue does it all.

Grade: A –

– Alex Evans