The Student Certainly Outclasses The Master -- By a country mile!
Hmm. Well. Please, excuse me for a moment.... *Takes a deep, long breath... .... ....*
Whew! Wow, where to begin? This latest instalment to The Dark Angel Saga was a real page turner!
Here, I'll give ya'll a quick morsel of this truly excellent portion of the Saga event;
It opens on a easier note when compared with the previous issue, we see the Heir of Apocalypse gathering his forces, the four horsemen, Ozymandias, a new powerhouse by the moniker of Genocide (who he's related to is interesting, being the son of a former horseman...or would that rather be horsewoman..?) who swears an oath of deep loyalty to the new Apocalypse. This takes place as a flashback, and then we return to the real meat o' the chapter, picking up where the last issue untimely concluded. Everything goes pear shaped for our band o' mercenaries then. Outmatched, outclassed, and outnumbered, they withdraw.
This was simply incredible, words fail me when I try to even begin to describe this astounding product by the trio of fellows that have become my favourite team, Remender, Opena & White. The marvellous artwork that I've come to admire throughout the series run returns in its whole and beautiful glory. The visuals coincide with a masterfully crafted plot, which trades the torches equally among each of the members of X-Force so that they get their five minutes of fame in the story.
Death meanwhile seemingly has embraced his 'destiny,' showing more of the Horseman alter ego than the rich mutant of the original x-men. This is refreshing in a way, since his behaviour in his 'end of days' role is reminiscent of Apocalypse himself. Depicted as stolid and reserved, I got the impression that he was 'the silent anger' type, which I though was good, commanding and in control over his inferiors at all times, rather than that other ruthless killer so depicted in previous X-Force titles, pre and post Uncanny X-Force #1
When the story picks up after the briefest of flashbacks at the beginning, what transpires is a sight to see. Immediately one of the team is taken off the board thanks somehow in part to Dark Beast. Stated as a 'counter-measure,' which although doesn't last for long, it is an interesting moment to view due to what immediately follows. The newcomer Genocide shows off his abilities then, kind of like a Firestar/Nitro mix for want of a better way to describe his power, least that's I could deduce his powers to be anyway. He steps up to the plate and denounces a second member of the team (and I was surprised to see who it was too!), the remaining members struggle to cope with their bleak situation, all the while the story continues to evolve both graphically and plot-wise.
I've got problems with that flash back; it opens and Death is revealed to be flying alongside Dark Beast? Last I checked, Archangel was pinned up in that cage thing...dunno, I'll have to go back and re-read past issues, 'cause I'm a lil' bit unsure. But yeah, I just felt the flashback was out of place, and failed to properly explain how Death came to be in the company of the horseman X-Force supposedly defeated in the new title's premise. Other developments were also revealed without an origin as to why it happened.
Yet having said this, the events that failed to be properly described and explained could always be revealed in the next issue, and I'm just running the mouth that bit too prematurely. But I just felt a lil', what, confused at the flashback? Yeah.
Aside from its one or two short comings that could be resolved in the coming issues, this issue is definately in the running for my favourite X-Force instalment, if not my favourite comic of the entire year so far! The story was trilling from the first page to the last, and it leaves on such a dramatic note that I'm left eager for more!
If the cover art isn't gripping enough, I highly recommend you go out and get this issue especially if you, like myself, are an avid X-Force fan! It's a definite must-have!
4.5 // 5 stars.