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For weeks I’ve watched Aaron and Mike going on and on and on and on and on about the new Uncanny X-Force series from Marvel by Rick Remender and Billy Tan. I picked up an early issue and, aside from a gorgeous scene with Deadpool and a still-framed assailant, wasn’t overly impressed. But it’s time to go back.
Ostensibly, this is a black ops group, but it’s more about pawns that have lost their king. They act independently, with great ferocity, but in the end are being placed in a position where they can do their thing. Expect these pawns get back on the board after they’ve been sacrficed and start moving each other around the place. Which makes for a very interesting game of chess, even as it’s embedded in Claremontian X-Men with the return of Shadow King, astral battles, possession, the price one must pay to win, the demons unleashed in the process and all that jazz, given a very pleasant painted execution of Billy Tan’s art.
But I still can’t see this as the holy grail of modern superhero comics that some have painted it as.
Whereas Super Dinosaur…
You see, I fell for the cover, the image, the high concept, the first few previewed pages. That this was a silly, all ages, over the top, Axe Cop style adventure with talking humanised dinosaurs fighting other dinosaurs, possibly robots and throwing in more and more silliness. When that’s just the cover story. We’ve seen this before, Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a great example, the title and high concept hiding what’s actually going on.
And at the heart of Super Dinosaur is family. Firstly we see one child holding his on very peculiar family dynamic together, which is then threatened by the introduction of another family with their own nuclear dynamic that exposes his own creation for the fraud that it’s become.
Some creators are known for wearing their family values on their sleeve, such as Mark Waid and Alan Davis, very visibly integrating it into the high concept of their work. But Robert Kirkman here has hidden it under the bizarre images of a Tyrannosaurus Rex operating giant robot missile-laden arms. And that’s still all there. But at its heart, this is a drama about two entwined families dealiong with all manner of antagonists. And it’s so much deeper and richer for it.
Uncanny X-Force, with it’s own strange family didn’t surprise. Super Dinosaur really did’
Comics supplied by Holy Goat Comics of Kingston Upon Thames, London.