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

The Story: Unrequited love or not, Fantomex races to Psylocke’s rescue.

The Review: This is one of those issues that’s very difficult to review without spoilers, so bear with me.

Really, this issue encapsulates  much of what makes Remender’s X-Force a success:  heart-pounding drama and intensity.  The book’s pacing is fantastic, as it keeps you turning the pages, desperate to know what happens next.  It’s one of those books that grabs you and doesn’t let go.

A chief reason for this is that this issue really functions as a shining moment for Fantomex.  No equivocation here whatsoever:  this is the book where Fantomex acts like the straight up hero, fulfilling that potential that Remender has given us teases and glimpses of throughout the series.  He makes for a sympathetic character that you can’t help but root for, with the narration Remender writes for him only hammering home his determination and heroism.  There are several really, really great moments here.  In fact, one really cool scene actually reminded me quite a bit of one of the more memorable scenes from the new Amazing Spider-Man movie, with Fantomex in Spidey’s role.  The visual impact alone of that scene was a real home run.  Of course, make no mistake, Fantomex isn’t Clark Kent;  we still get plenty of his roguish charm and banter.

Of course, what will really get people talking is the major character death this month.  Quite simply, it’s gut-wrenching.  It’s one of those moments you find yourself in utter disbelief, trying to make yourself belief that it’s just a fake-out by Remender, or that a resurrection is imminent….only to remember that this is Rick Remender we’re talking about here, a writer that plays for keeps.  It’s a death that hits you like a hammer and Remender writes it for maximum emotional impact and tragedy.  It’s certainly a page you won’t forget.

It was also nice seeing Remender revisit Genesis.  More than anything else, it provides an opportunity for Remender to build up his new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and by issue’s end, he’s managed to craft a legit, menacing, and coordinated enemy.

As far as the art goes, Uncanny X-Force is a unique beast.  The book is truly an artistic merry-go-round and normally I’d be griping about that; we were misled into believing that Mike McKone would be drawing this arc but, no doubt partially due to Marvel’s double-shipping plan for marketshare domination, McKone is already gone.  Yet, it’s really hard to complain about getting a fill-in artist when said fill-in is provided by Phil Noto.  His work hits the emotional depths of Remender’s script perfectly and the work is highly polished and detailed.  It’s an issue that shows a lot of craftsmanship, labour, and general artistic horsepower behind it, while Dean White simultaneously gritty and vibrant colours continue to define the “Uncanny X-Force look.”

Conclusion: A really big, hard-hitting issue and a major moment for the team.  It has just about everything that you got you into this book in the first place.

Grade: B+

-Alex Evans