Review by Ian Keogh
Way back in the first volume of Uncanny X-Force the possibility of Apocalypse was the threat, and Rick Remender arrives at the same threat once again, only this time it’s not an infant, but a teenage boy. Along the way X-Force has changed, mutated if you will, and having seen what their brand of justice without trial leads to in the future during the first instalment of Final Execution, the X-Men’s black-ops team return to the present day. Meanwhile, the clone of Apocalypse has been abducted by members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who’re providing a rapid and unpleasant lesson in deceit and morality.
In the first instalment Remender set a fine brew of disturbing psychological torment in motion, what with father issues, the thirst for revenge and whether lies of any kind are good. That’s all layered with the machinations of a master manipulator able to fiddle about inside people’s heads and make them believe whatever he wants. Plus not everyone on the X-Force team is on the same page when it comes to what they want from a confrontation with the villains.
Phil Noto draws most of this volume in his precise and accomplished way, turning the plain undersea corridors of the villains’ base into something where danger is anticipated at every turn. While not understated, neither is Noto’s art quite as explicit in showing the consequences of the imaginative violence. Remender has put considerable thought into how several seemingly invulnerable characters can be killed, and the results are, as intended, a guilty sadistic thrill.
For a while it’s been the fashion that when a writer ends their superhero run all the toys are placed back in the box in preparation for the next writer taking over. Remender does that after a fashion, but leaves some matters dangling in what’s otherwise a very satisfying end to an inconsistent, but largely accomplished run. While it’s not a direct continuation, Remender picks up on some matters in Uncanny Avengers, while bequeathing the Uncanny X-Force team to Sam Humphries beginning with Let it Bleed.
As with the past two volumes, this is also available in the second volume of Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender: The Complete Collection, or along with the entirety of his run as Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender Omnibus.