by Rick Remender (writer), Julian Totino Tedesco (art), John Lucas (interlude inks), Dean White (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: The future X-Force tries to keep Psylocke alive to stop their Minority Report-styled universe from ceasing to exist.

The Review: In most comics, the bad guys’ plans require killing the good guy.  I loved Remender’s creative reversal of this dynamic; here, the bad guys are desperately trying to keep Psylocke from killing herself.  It makes for some really great situations.  For instance, there’s a wonderful scene where the Punisher tries to get Psylocke to do what he wants…by pointing a gun at her.  Psylocke rightfully laughs at this and it shows that even the characters struggle to deal with this wacky reversal of the usual state of affairs.  There’s just something so wonderfully goofy, in a very dark way of course, about a hero desperately trying to die and diving into things with reckless abandon to accomplish this end, while the villains try to save her.

This also leads to a great little interlude where Psylocke meets Warren in the afterlife (maybe?).  Remender leaves it perfectly in the air as to whether this really was the afterlife, but it’s a highly effective scene and leads to more fantastic character work, and character development, for Psylocke.  Remender is really doing some of the best work with Psylocke that we’ve ever seen.

Remender also once again shows a fantastic handle of Deadpool.  There’s a couple of pages that are utterly hilarious here, with one visual gag involving the Punisher that is guaranteed to get a laugh.  Deadpool is, again, never over the top but adds a nice touch of zaniness to an otherwise unremittingly grim comic.  The gag with the Punisher is definitely one of the best Deadpool scenes from Remender yet.

The art by Tedesco continues to be  solid.  While Jerome Opena is still my favourite X-Force artist, Tedesco brings some of Opena’s grittiness and darkness, but mixes it with a little of the blurred aesthetic from Greg Toccini, without going to Toccini’s excesses.  The result is an enjoyably grim looking read with fantastic, sci-fi urban environments.   It’s also a pleasure to see Tedesco and White completely switch their games up for the Psylocke vision/afterlife scene.  That said, sometimes characters’ faces are a tad too smudged and could use a little bit of a finer touch.

I’ll be honest: more often than not, I’m not a huge fan of time travel stories.  However, Remender has this uncanny ability of making things I normally dislike into something great (such as alternate universes or 90s mainstays like Venom).  He really manages that here, as time travel really just serves as a means for great character work and foreshadowing for the struggles to come.  Seeing what the X-Force characters have become courtesy of what our characters have yet to endure in the upcoming issues makes us all the more interested to see just how horrible those ordeals are going to be.  Certainly, the little, ominous teases by these future characters only piques my curiosity while planting seeds that you know that Remender is going to deliver on.

Conclusion: A creative reversal of the usual dynamic between good guy and bad guy combines with great character-work for Psylocke, a hilarious Deadpool moment, and excellent use of time-travel.  From Psylocke dreaming of Warren to Deadpool poking fun at Castle, this is one of those great “you’ll laugh and you’ll cry” issues.

Grade: B+

-Alex Evans