Comic Vine Review

45 Comments

Uncanny X-Force #18 - Red Sky Blue

5

The heartwrenching finale to "The Dark Angel Saga" has finally arrived -- be sure to keep a box of tissues handy when you dive into this one.

Beware, there will be some spoilers in this review.

The Good

The moment so many of us have been waiting for has finally arrived; issue #18 of "The Dark Angel Saga" reveals what has happened to Archangel, and it's a doozy. Sometimes when a book is really phenomenal it can be difficult to put into words exactly what it is about the issue that stands out. That's the feeling I got when I read the final issue of this story arc. How do you describe something that is so beautiful? So well crafted? So heartbreaking?

Issue #18 of UNCANNY X-FORCE is all of these things. The issue's primary focus is definitely Psylocke and Archangel, but that doesn't mean that Rick Remender forgot about the supporting cast of characters that have played such important roles throughout this story arc.

The book opens with an action packed battle between Shiro and Iceman, and quickly moves from them to a fight between Warren, Fantomex and Psylocke. Shiro (Sunfire), who is a former horseman of Apocalypse plays a very important role in this issue. Remender uses symbolism of "the end" (Archangel) battling "the beginning" (Sunfire).

The battle between Archangel and Fantomex has been a long time coming, and the trash talking in this scene between the two characters is just perfect. There is also a lot of character development in this issue. Although he is heavily injured, Fantomex still steps up to the plate to call the shots and ensure that the planet will not be destroyed. He takes on leadership responsibilities without hesitation, even when he is holding on for dear life.

Psylocke plays a huge role in this issue.

She has come a very long way from where she used to be. Although she may hesitate at first, Psylocke finds her inner strength and realizes that she must sacrifice her love for Warren in over to save the world. Can you imagine what it would be like to face the fact that you must destroy the person you love the most? Remender executes this scene beautifully. Although Betsy must lose Warren, she still shows him a tremendous amount of compassion. Delving into his mind and showing him a life he could never have -- a life where the two of them grow old together and watch their children fall in love and get married. Instead of letting him suffer, she gives Warren a dream of a happy life -- a life they could never experience. It's so sad. The narrative in this scene bittersweet and absolutely beautiful.

The end will break your heart.

The Bad

Nothing bad here. A perfect ending to an incredible story arc.

The Verdict

As a fan of this series and of Remender's writing, I personally could not have asked for a better end to a brilliant story arc. The fluidity, pacing and character development are nothing less than brilliant. The book is beautifully illustrated and the story will leave you wanting more. I don't know how Remender will outdo himself. Definitely not a place you want to start. I highly recommend purchasing all of the "Dark Angel Saga" issues -- you will not be disappointed. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy.

45 Comments

Avatar image for movieartman
Edited By movieartman

this will be remembered as among the greatest comics sagas this genaration/era

Avatar image for pspin
Posted By pspin

THis is definately a modern classic to be remembered for a long time. It atually has me looking forward to and "aftermath" issue or two.

I thought the ending was the best

Avatar image for nyxequitis
Posted By NyxEquitis

Anybody know when the TPB comes out?

Avatar image for turkeysammich
Posted By Turkeysammich

Reading this right after X-Sanction #1 made me feel even less enthused about X-Sanction. Cable is one of my favorite characters too :-/

Avatar image for combatspoon86
Posted By CombatSpoon86

Ending caught my surprise considering I knew what was gonna happen. Great Job Remender. Can't wait to read your Secret Avengers with your Venom and X-force.

Avatar image for lordstoop
Posted By LordStoop

seldom read a comic this good

Avatar image for caladbolglight
Posted By caladbolglight

Sara, your review truly capture the essence of this issue. It had action, grace, and enough emotional depth to bring a whale to tears. The ending was both visually and emotionally stunning, and the art truly brought the moment to life. The portrait that the artist paints of Warren and Betsy's relationship is complimented bu Remender's stunning writing. And of course it ha action, it has death's, it even has a return. This is the gold standard by which all comics should be judged. Goodness me, this would make an amazing movie! It has a cliffhanger that leaves us all wanting more, and dialogue that made me gasp out loud. First time I almost cred reading a comic. Literally, there is nothig wrong with this book, ad the Trade Paperback is going to sell hige numbers. Sara, your best review yet. Herr's to a johb well done!

Avatar image for bestostero
Posted By Bestostero

It was very sad...the ending kinda gave me some hope, but I'm not very optimistic... lol

Avatar image for ensabahnurx
Posted By EnSabahNurX

Not going to lie reading the spoiler i got a little misty because I can actually picture what happened. Hate that i must watch till after christmas to read this

Avatar image for thecrowbar
Posted By TheCrowbar

@movieartman said:

this will be remembered as among the greatest comics sagas this genaration/era

Indeed. I'm going to wait a week to spoil something though. You would've noticed it if you read the issue though.

Avatar image for the_fallen11
Posted By the_fallen11

brilliant. nuff said.

Avatar image for metropoliskid41
Posted By MetropolisKid41

Great issue and a great arc, definitely one of Marvel's best books out there. Remender is an incredible writer. A little curious about the end, and am ready to dive into the Age of Apocalypse!

Avatar image for awesomeaquaman
Posted By AwesomeAquaman

It's been quite the journey.

Avatar image for zzax
Posted By zzax

Great review of a great issue!

I honestly think this should be the last issue of this book. It is not that I do not want to see these characters together in another book, but this should put a cap on the concept of X-force. Warren's commentary on what he (they) had become and the abandonment of Xavier's dream was very poignant. And really you could make the argument that it was dabbling in these darker tactics that helped facilitate the entire saga.

Plus like DC did by moving Snyder to the flagship Batman title, Marvel should move Remender to Uncanny. He is the best writer on these books by far. But then again, this is the same company that left Carey on X-men Legacy forever despite writing only a handful of memorable issues.

Avatar image for longbowhunter
Posted By longbowhunter

What can I say that hasnt already been said. Excellent ending to an amazing arc. Kudos to Remender for not going the obvious route and killing a character off. Really enjoyed the brief scenes with Kid Apocalyse.

Avatar image for or35ti
Posted By Or35ti

Definitely picking this up when I find it.

Avatar image for thecrowbar
Posted By TheCrowbar

Is it too early to find out when the TPB is coming out?

Avatar image for yumyumbubblegum
Edited By yumyumbubblegum

An all round great conclusion to the saga. My only complaint would be the appearance of a certain someone, who I thought had died, at the end. It would have made a greater impact if that certain someone died, living his dream.

Avatar image for brucecapell
Posted By brucecapell

This arc has been nothing but fantastic. Remender is killing it here. Good story, good character development all around. A good x-men story was told and no cyclops in sight is good.

Avatar image for daredeville
Edited By daredeville

I absolutely loved this issue. I read it two times back to back as soon as I got it home, and already plan on reading the whole Saga straight through sometime this week. Remender is proving to be an amazing storyteller.

Babs, you did a nice job describing the gist of the issue. You picked up on a lot of the same things I did, in particular Fantomex's taking charge.. man, has that guy been amazing in this book. I didn't really think about the end/beginning symbolism with Archangel/Sun contrast.. good catch!

The issue was truly heartbreaking. The whole scene with Betsy and Warren was really beautiful and just... sooo good. It looked like Esao Ribic was on pencils for that "dream" sequence. That was a good choice, and helped to really elicit a different tone from the rest of the book... and all the while we know that Opeña's bleak world still existed beyond the limits of those few bittersweet frames... whew.

And like any great on-going series, I'm left with lingering questions...

@yumyumbubblegum said:

My only complaint would be the appearance of a certain someone, who I thought had died, at the end. It would have made a greater impact if that certain someone died, living his dream.

@longbowhunter said:

Kudos to Remender for not going the obvious route and killing a character off.

These two comments summarize my conflicted feeling about the ending. I would have loved to linger on the feeling we were left with from the dream sequence for a little while longer. Then again, I would have felt cheated if we had the final scene of the issue at the beginning of the next issue – it would feel like he just withheld part of the tale.

It is a tough call as a storyteller, and they could have done something like throw in an ad and the "Next Issue" cover before showing those last two pages... sort of like "Well, that's it, here's a touching moment between Jean and Betsy, and Fin... Just kidding, here's two more pages."

But even then it's difficult for the pacing to come across. You have to hope your readers take a little breather between scenes, or that the emotional beats come across regardless.

However, although we see an up-beat, it is quickly followed by a down-beat.. and it is almost more heartbreaking than if it simply ended with the dream... If it ended soon after the dream and before that final moment, we would have had some sad, but heartwarming closure... but what we get with the "full" ending, is... whew ...emotional roller coaster at it's finest.

Either, way it is a fantastic end to a fantastic story.

AND I am absolutely ecstatic that Remender will be taking over Secret Avengers AND he will be working alongside one of my favorite artists, Gabriel Hardman... That's gonna be good...

Avatar image for PrioritySeven
Posted By PrioritySeven

Spot on review. God, I should've saved this book for last, it made everything else this week seem shoddy by comparison.

Avatar image for goldenkey
Posted By goldenkey

HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. This book just delivered on SOOOO many levels. This particular story was nothing short of just magical and obviously Im not the only one thinks this way. This is going to be the talked about book of the year just wait and see. There is no way hell Johns will picked as the best writer this year. Not after this run. Not just the Dark Angel story either. The whole damn run. I know I'll be reading it over and over and over and also staring at the what is now my favorite artists illustrations. So good, so perfect. This was one of the tales that if you hear someone say the didn't like it you look at them they have blood running from their eyeballs, and it's not actually done. The ending is STILL a cliff hanger for the next issue. I almost want Remender to stop writing the book because he keeps doing this at the end. Leaving me PISSED off that I have to wait another month for the next issue. DAMN YOU RICK REMENDER! DAMN YOU!

Avatar image for thewhitequeenofhellfire
Posted By thewhitequeenofhellfire

Wow. Just... wow. His portrayal of Psylocke is the best ever in my opinion. She's such a strong character and a true warrior. This has been quite a thrill ride and is arguably going down as one of the most classic X-Men sagas.

Avatar image for yumyumbubblegum
Posted By yumyumbubblegum

@daredeville: Was the life seed supposed to kill him or cure him? I thought the latter, so I was curious as to why Betsy gave Warren the "last wish".

Avatar image for lezama
Posted By Lezama

De lujo toda la saga !!! me mantuvo en suspenso desde que todo empezó a salir mal para el equipo, deadpool despedazado, wolverine medio achicharrado, blob a dieta y la conversion de Betsy, pero lo tenian que arruinar todo X( que clase de final cliché marica es ese !? Siempre es lo mismo, estoy seguro al 98.9% de que thor tambien sera resucitado, igual que cable. porque no pueden dejar descansar en paz a los muertos en el universo marvel. EXCELENTE saga, PESIMO final.

Avatar image for noj
Posted By noj

The ONLY disappointment in this issue for me is that SPOILERS Warren survived. That was one of the most heart wrenching, nearly perfect death scenes Ive ever seen in Comics and its thrown out the window like 3 pages later.

Avatar image for shrmntnk62
Posted By shrmntnk62

What Besty did for Warren was really beautiful. I loved everything about this book and this arch. Literally one of the greatest things I've ever read.

Avatar image for mutie199
Posted By Mutie199

did the Apocalypse-hero kid died or did he survive too?

Avatar image for benzo
Posted By Benzo

Loved this issue! Loved this arc! Can't wait for the next arc!

Avatar image for josedriveratcr7
Posted By JoseDRiveraTCR7

Marvel should take note and realize this is how one should write comics. Books like this one is why the X-Men were popular in the first place.

Avatar image for drkbeast
Posted By drkBEAST

So good. Left me with so many questions. I wonder what fate has in store for Kid Apocalypse/Genesis, his character design is AMAZING. And also, whats up with Warren at the end? Is it possible that this is Archangel's and Pestilence's child but he's been fast forwarded to this age and state via the World's time engines?

Avatar image for the_mast
Posted By The Mast

Easily one of the best arcs of all time.

It's just soured by the fact that the recent Marvel press-conference regarding Avengers Vs X-Men spoiled a major element.

Archangel was shown fighting.

I guess the ending explains that, though.

Avatar image for pbott
Posted By Pbott

@zzax said:

Great review of a great issue!

I honestly think this should be the last issue of this book. It is not that I do not want to see these characters together in another book, but this should put a cap on the concept of X-force. Warren's commentary on what he (they) had become and the abandonment of Xavier's dream was very poignant. And really you could make the argument that it was dabbling in these darker tactics that helped facilitate the entire saga.

Plus like DC did by moving Snyder to the flagship Batman title, Marvel should move Remender to Uncanny. He is the best writer on these books by far. But then again, this is the same company that left Carey on X-men Legacy forever despite writing only a handful of memorable issues.

Yes, i have been saying it forever Remender on Uncanny would be the the books best run of all time.

Avatar image for lokheit
Posted By Lokheit

Epic end to epic saga! Everything matches now, Remender managed to trick me a lot of times during the issue,  
 

Avatar image for shirepanjshir
Posted By ShirEPanjshir

The issue was simply brilliant. Nothing less.

Avatar image for fury714
Posted By fury714

This arc is simply the gold standard for me. Simply the best.

Avatar image for john_valentine
Posted By John Valentine

6/5.

Avatar image for carolina574
Posted By Carolina574

one of the best single issues I have ever read... A must read for EVERYONE

Avatar image for lokheit
Edited By Lokheit
@noj said:

The ONLY disappointment in this issue for me is that SPOILERS Warren survived. That was one of the most heart wrenching, nearly perfect death scenes Ive ever seen in Comics and its thrown out the window like 3 pages later.

I actually think it was the best part. Not only he made an incredible death scene, he then plays with your head and with everything you was making up showing him alive. He could've ended Warren's story with that and would have been an epic ending, but now it's even better because nobody saw that comming and it's a great shock. 
 
@The Mast said:

Easily one of the best arcs of all time.

It's just soured by the fact that the recent Marvel press-conference regarding Avengers Vs X-Men spoiled a major element.

Archangel was shown fighting.

I guess the ending explains that, though.

Where can i see that? I try google with lot of combinations and can't see him fighting there O.o EDIT: Nevermind, I just saw the video.
Avatar image for noj
Posted By noj

@Lokheit: The thing is that THIS was the definitive Warren story. I seriously doubt that there will ever be one better, and he should have gone out on a high note. Plus the amnesia thing has been done to death and Warren surviving makes little sense. Warren being alive ends up ruining alot of stories that could have come out of this such as X Force having to explain what exactly happened to Warren to the rest of the X Men, or Betty being seriously traumotiezed. Worst of all it REEKS of editorial mandate. Warrens survival is tacked on at the end of the issue like an afterthought, and part of me thinks that the Marvel just wanted Archangel around for the Avengers Vs X Men event.

Avatar image for lokheit
Posted By Lokheit
@noj: I read that according to Remender, this "thing" isn't really Archangel, or Warren but something different, and that it isn't just amnesia and he mentioned it had relation with the seed of life. Probably it will be like the new Illyana I think (well, I never understood 100% that situation, but I know she wasn't exactly illyana).
Avatar image for noj
Posted By noj

@Lokheit: oh okay, if thats the case then I guess its alot better than just ressurecting Warren. As long as they come out and straight up say that the original Warren is dead as a door-nail Ill be happy lol!

Avatar image for kamionero
Edited By kamionero

Flawless story, flawless arc. Everything from using AoA to get in touch w dead characters like Jean and Kurt to the perfect introduction of Nemesis to the 616 to the appearance of Genesis, and the new horsemen. Amazing. Cannot miss this.

My 2 cents about the ending:

I think Remender really went outside the box with this one! It was the end of the arc, Warren had done unspeakable things, there was no going back, no containing him, we KNEW he was gonna die. No ifs or Buts about it. The thing is that its just a matter of time before a main character like him comes back to life, like Jean, Hawkeye, Colossus, Psylocke, Wolverine, and Cable... its only a matter of time before he comes back... it just changes how long it takes. However, Remender did something to neutralize the predictability of the comic character death, he brought him back right on the spot. So Warren and his story are dead, but the character of Angel isn't dead. And the way he did it, literally 2 pages later in a hurricane of confusion he shows up, we dont know if this is a dream. Could it be? is he really back? did he not die? I fixated on his wings... they look feathery but some parts still seem suspiciously mechanic... maybe? and then, BLAM! EMotional shock, AAAND the issue is over. I think that pacing is what makes it so brilliant.

Ok, granted, he will eventually recover his memory or be revealed into a "Maddie Pryor" or "Phoenix Force" type of situation where its not REALLY him, and real warren will eventually be revived... but for now, lets all just enjoy the fact that Remender has grabbed our emotions by the neck, jerked them up and down and slapped them a bit, played with them, and gave them a new lease on life. Thats the whole point. It wasnt predictable, it was emotionally hard hitting, and it was just plain fun to experience.

Avatar image for danhimself
Posted By danhimself

I just reread the entire series and if Marvel doesn't take this and make it into a series of animated films then they are missing out on a golden opportunity....one of the best series ever

Avatar image for jcbart
Edited By jcbart

A true modern classic. The only thing I can say about this arc is thank the good guy in the sky that my favourite comic book character, Psylocke, played an intricate part of this wonderful story. I am not ashamed to admit that manly tears were shed. That one panel where Fantomex is dragging Betsy away, begging her to come with him and she's screaming, "Leave me - Leave me with him!" with an arm outstretched towards Warren's body just may have broken my heart a little bit.

Also, there's the MASSIVE bomb that was dropped midway that no-one really took any notice of because of all the drama around it: Pestilence is pregnant with Archangel's child. You just know that Remender's going to bring that full circle in a later arc!

@yumyumbubblegum: If you've read #19, this is the point Remender's making. Warren did die. He died, as you said, whilst living that dream with Betsy. The Life Seed however reanimated his body with what should be Warren, but it isn't. It isn't Warren back from the dead with amnesia. It's a husk. An echo of what the Life Seed reckons Warren Worthington should be: angelic, good, innocent.

@danhimself: Imagine. Good god, imagine..