Rick Remender's Dark Angel Saga in the pages of Uncanny X-Force has been a big, sprawling epic tucked into the dark underbelly of the Marvel Universe, threatening to explode all over the world. A small band of mutants (and mutantishes like Deadpool and Deathlok) have taken it upon themselves to try to end nasty threats before they begin with extreme measures, but they've uncorked one that's way out of their league, and has completely consumed one of their members – good old Warren Worthington, aka the Avenging Angel, founding member of the X-Men.
Now, he's taking the late Apocalypse's place in trying to exterminate humanity in one fell swoop in favor of mutantkind, thanks to being possessed by Big Blue-Lips' machinations that turned him into the Horseman of Death lo those many years ago. He's got a huge cabal of bad guys with immense powers, and he's converted the love of his human life, Elizabeth Braddock aka Psylocke, to his side with a Celestial life seed. They think they're doing good work. And it's up to a trio of guys with guns and blades to try and do something about it.
And they've tried. Many times. And they just keep losing.
Remender's done a great job of building and building this threat into something we have no idea how our anti-heroes will ever defeat, although we get a pretty good sense of it here in Uncanny X-Force #17: The Dark Angel Saga Chapter 7. Fantomex, the breakout star of the series thanks to his delightfuly erudite snark that manages to completely outclass what Deadpool brings to the table, appeared to have ran away in defeat last issue, but it turns out he's back, and with some kickass reinforcements – namely, our favorite dudes from the Age of Apocalypse dimension, like Sunfire, Nightcrawler, Sabretooth and Jean Grey.
Things don't always match up with what I recall from the original Age of Apocalypse stories, but Marvel's done some stuff in that area that I didn't pay much attention to, so I'm just assuming I missed something that would turn AoA Iceman into a bad guy and stuff like that. We'll get more of that with the new series set in that world coming up early next year.
Jerome Opeña's fine art style once again shines through brilliantly, as he's at ease depicting dreams, bleak, bloody realities and the distinct unreality of Fantomex's surreal artificial realm known as The World. In this massive story that feels like the ultimate culmination of decades of foreshadowing, he's the perfect guy to bring it across.
The longer Remender's story goes, the more it seems like it might also be the ultimate swan song for Warren Worthington, as one can hardly imagine a tale more epic for him than this, and it's hard to imagine how he'll be able to live through this murderous malevolence. After all, X-Force has already killed a child that would eventually become Apocalypse – eventually, they'll learn to stop hesitating to kill their friend who is actively trying to do just that.
Bottom line: Remender's great, Opeña is great, this book is dark and disturbing at times, but it's a damn good read. So get damn busy reading it.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9.5/10