Here's an oddball pairing of comics for you guys, the latest issues of Superboy and Uncanny X-Force... There's absolutely nothing that I can think of that these two series have in common, other than their placement in my new comic pile... Oh well, since they're sitting here, I might as well read 'em!
Summary: We get started with the Phantom Stranger thinking about the mystery in Smallville and realizing that it would be concluding at last. With that, he transforms into a murder of crows(what, that's what a group of crows are called!) and flies away... Well that was... something... Psionic Lad senses a disturbance and sends his mind out to investigate, and is yelled at by the Stranger to get out of his head. Stunned by the force behind the Stranger, PL decides to follow the murder of crows. The crows head to Simon Valentine: Boy Genius(oh, you KNEW he'd be popping up eventually!) and steal a weather altering device he was working on, which leads to Simon Valentine: Boy Genius following the crows. From there Krypto lands near a man in Smallville and seems intrigued by him. Superboy, confused by Krypto's overly friendly behavior, lands to talk to the man. The man tells SB a tale from the mid-1850's, about Nathan Kent, who was the sheriff of Smallville and his deputy, that's right, you guessed it, Albert Valentine: Police Genius. The story is REALLY long, and dealt with some freaks named the Took's arriving in town, starting trouble and mutilating children. Needless to say, Nathan rounds up a posse and confronts the Took's, which leads to a big fight that ends with the Took's barn being burnt down. Nathan heads into the burning barn to search for survivors, but only sees the head of the Took clan doing some sort of wacky experiments on the mutilated kid before the fire pushes Nathan away. From there, SB realizes he was talking to the Phantom Stranger, and everybody in Smallville, with the exception of SB, Stranger, Simon Valentine: Boy Genius, and PL wind up falling asleep where they stood. Oh, and Lori Luthor ends up finding the Took's old barn and vanishing into it. The three boys head to the location of the old barn, and are joined by the Stranger, who reforms from the crows. With that, the four enter the barn and find a stairwell leading miles into the ground. Upon arriving at the bottom, they find a mess of zombie-fied Took's and a small settlement.
Thoughts: You know, this issue wasn't that bad. If you would have taken out some of the VERY long 1850's Smallville stuff, I'd have scored this issue even higher. Even Simon Valentine: Boy Genius didn't bug me here like he usually does... I guess the impending end of the DCU has me feeling more kindly towards the DC comic books I'm reading, since in a few months, I won't be reading any...
Score: 7 out of 10.If you look closely, you can see Simon Valentine: Boy Genius!
Uncanny X-Force #11:
Summary: This issue begins in one of Dark Beast's labs as he opens a portal to his home dimension, the Age of Apocalypse... You know, Dark Beast is all kinds of smart, but am I supposed to believe he's smart enough to have created an inter-dimensional portal?! That's like Reed Richards smart, not Hank McCoy smart! Anyway, Dark Beast, along with Wolvie, Fantomex, Deadpool and Psylocke enter the portal in order to reach one of Dark Beast's AOA labs so they could retrieve the life seed, which would purge Apocalypse's influence from Archangel. And I'll be damned... There it is, the greatest alternate dimension ever created by either Marvel or DC, the Age of Apocalypse... Awesome... Anyway, the four X-Forcers and Dark Beast enter Dark Beast's lab, but are unknowingly followed by Wildchild and Sabretooth, two members of the AOA X-Men. Dark Beast finds the life seed and is ready to hand it over to the X-Force members when AOA Nightcrawler(!) teleports in and swipes the seed, figuring Dark Beast was up to some evil plot before teleporting away with it. Psylocke scans for AOA Nightcrawler and tells Wolvie he was outside. Wolvie tells Psylocke to keep an eye on Dark Beast while he took Fantomex and Pool outside to retrieve the seed. Upon getting outside, Wolvie is immediately jumped by AOA Sabretooth(!) and AOA Wildchild, since Tooth and Child figured Wolvie was a Dark Beast created clone of AOA Wolvie. While that's going on, Nightcrawler teleports over to Deadpool and tries to kill him the same way he killed Pool's AOA counterpart, Dead Man Wade, by teleporting away with Pool's head... AWESOME!!! However, it seems Fantomex misdirected Nightcrawler into thinking he'd decapitated Pool, allowing Fantomex the opportunity to nail Nightcrawler with a stiff right hand, which causes Nightcrawler to drop the seed. Before Pool or Fantomex can get the seed, AOA Sunfire snatches the seed from the ground and incinerates it, figuring if Dark Beast wanted the seed so bad, it had to be no good. By this time Psylocke and Dark Beast have arrived on the street and the X-Forcers are horrified that Archangel's salvation was destroyed just like that. Psylocke recognizes AOA Tooth from her time on the Exiles(awesome job by Rick Remender for that one) and convinces Wolvie that this version of Tooth wasn't a bad guy, which ends their battle. Dark Beast ends up sneaking over to the portal back to the 616 Marvel Universe and walks in, leaving X-Force stranded in the AOA world(!). With Tooth having vouched for X-Force after hearing who they were and what they were doing from Psylocke, the AOA X-Men take X-Force to their secret headquarters were they come face to face with AOA Magneto and Jean Grey(!!!!).
Thoughts: This was a TOUGH issue for me to review... The AOA fanboy in me wanted to ignore the minor complaints I had and give this issue a perfect score based solely on the fact that it was X-Force in the AGE OF APOCALYPSE!!! I mean, you'll not find a bigger AOA fan out there than me! It was, is, and probably always will be, the epitome of what an event x-over should be. In short, the Age of Apocalypse is, to me, perfection. That's why I hated that terrible AOA mini-series that was released in the mid-2000's... It was like a terrible, deformed, bastard child of the original AOA... It had some of the characters, but none of the great writers/artists who made the original AOA what it was. Now this comic, much to it's credit, seemed to ignore the terrible 2000's AOA mini. Usually I'm a huge stickler for continuity, but in this case, I hope Rick Remender pretends that mini never happened. So with all that said, what of this issue? If you read and enjoyed the original AOA, I'm quite confident you'll enjoy this comic. If you're a fan of Uncanny X-Force, I'm pretty sure you'll like this comic. If you like alternate dimensional storylines, I figure you'll like this issue... Do you see what I'm getting at? This was a very good comic! Check it out!!
Score: 9 out of 10.How awesome it is to be back in the AOA...