Uncanny X-Force: Let it Bleed

Uncanny X-Force: Let it Bleed
Uncanny X-Force V1 Let it Bleed review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-0-7851-6739-6
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2013
  • UPC: 9780785167396
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Sam Humphries picks up Uncanny X-Force after a title-defining run by Rick Remender, which is a hard act to follow. Remender also left the team very much in tatters, so Humphries establishes six months have passed, and Deadpool and Wolverine have moved on. He picks up with Betsy Braddock, a violent loose cannon still affected by events of Final Execution, so possibly not the best time to run up against Spiral, a woman who captured and tortured her.

For superhero fans a starting joy of any reboot is the team selection. Who has the writer decided will offer the best mix for potential drama going forward? On that score Humphries has several surprises. Storm is the marquee character, and there are a couple of holdovers from the previous incarnation, but redemption and the surprise of obscurity is the order of the day with Let it Bleed. Almost everyone introduced has issues, some more serious than others, and the hook is seeing what can be resolved.

Ron Garney is a reliable and experienced artist, although not always at home with superheroes, but here the smooth inking of Scott Hanna merges well with Garney’s layouts. He’s at his best when illustrating the inhabitants of a confused mind, modifying his style to accommodate the unusual circumstances. Adrian Alphona picks up on that for chapter entirely set in that mind, having floating figures dipping into memories on a black background. It’s also very effective. Alphona’s art is more stylised and eye-catching than Garney over the final two chapters, but Garney has the superior technique (sample art).

There’s always going to be some repetition in X-Men related titles as they and associates have built a vast continuity and a considerable list of recurring enemies, into which Humphries dips for his selection. He doesn’t reach for the most obvious, but too much of the early plot concerns a young girl hunted due to her super powers, and who must be protected from people who’d otherwise be allies. Humphries runs this plot far too soon after the appearance of Hope Summers and her presence prompting Avengers vs. X-Men. He also relies too greatly on the recurring device of teleportation over the opening chapters, leading to a feeling of repetition when the battle picks up again.

Still, in terms of plot, the better material is back-ended once much of the dust has settled, leading to the hope of Torn and Frayed being better than average. However, some credit is due for Humphries pulling his volume titles from the Rolling Stones back catalogue, with Let it Bleed’s lyrics a good match for the content.