ADVANCE REVIEW: Uncanny Avengers #1

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Mild spoilers below for the issue, which will be released tomorrow.

Uncanny Avengers carries the weight of the Marvel Universe upon it. Not just the future for the Avengers side of the company, but now also the future for the X-Men side. Teaming X-Men Rogue and Havok with Wolverine, Thor, Captain America and Scarlet Witch, this first issue gives us an idea of how writer Rick Remender will be handling the tone of the book, and how the series will relate to both the franchises which inspired it.

UncannyAvengers 1 Cover ADVANCE REVIEW: Uncanny Avengers #1

 

It’s a fairly standard opening issue, really. It’s not as revelatory as Marvel have made it out to be, with a story which doesn’t kick into gear until the end. In fact, this issue feels more like an epilogue to AvX than the start of a new direction, with the characters spending most of their time talking about the event, and how it’s changed them. Remender struggles a little here to garner sympathy for the cast, because in order to follow Marvel’s new direction for their universe he has to hamstring the X-Men via Avengers dialogue. As a result, several sequences here seem massively dismissive to X-Men history, with one particular scene between Havok and Cyclops having the opposite effect intended by the creative team. Rather than paint Cyclops as a villain or even antihero, he instead comes off as rational and calm, while the Avengers are patronising and vicious. By making the Avengers dismiss the X-Men, both sides are diminished.

I don’t know that fans will warm to the cast of the book, if this is the basis for how they’ll be portrayed over the rest of the series. The characters seem to be acting not as themselves, but as Marvel NOW versions of themselves, if that makes sense. The story doesn’t feel particularly organic, and the sense of mechanism forcing them together seems far more noticeable here than it has in the past. The team don’t seem to have a particular dynamic with each other – their only connection is that they’re being written in the same book. Perhaps once we see them all in the same room we’ll see more of a gel between the disparate elements, but issue #1 essentially boils down to a series of vignettes with no direction. Rogue and The Scarlet Witch come out of this issue best, followed by Captain America, with Thor having a non-presence so far.

In terms of tone, Uncanny Avengers #1 is a strangely morose tale, perhaps because of the heavy shadowing and colour used on John Cassaday’s art – which is intermittently brilliant, but often underperforms. Cassaday is superb at framing scenes, in a way which gives them a cinematic sheen, but less successful at expression. For the most part, the characters seem vacant, rather than as though they are dealing with grief, anger, or compassion. He particularly struggles with a fight sequence halfway through, in which some of the characters lose their sense of anatomy, and the panels are far too large to convey a fast-paced sequence of events. The conversational scenes are well told, but the fight seems slow and dull because it’s given to the reader as a series of blown-up panels which give us the gist of the fight – without giving us the detail.

The final page will get most of the attention, which is fair. It’s a bold move from Remender.

I’m not keen on it myself, but it’s an attention-grabbing sequence and should get people talking about the second issue. I should note that the final page confirms that this is not an appropriate book to buy your children. The opening sequence is graphic and upsetting, and the closing sequence is worse. This is a book for adults, not for kids. It’s a disappointing decision from Marvel, confirming that they’re looking at a very specific demographic nowadays, rather than trying to appeal to everybody.

I think many people will enjoy Uncanny Avengers far more than I did! Don’t let me get you down if you’re excited for it. For me, this didn’t feel like either an Avengers book or an X-Men title. It feels lesser to both, so far – neither showing the fortitude and heroism of the Avengers, nor the allegory and personality of the X-Men. I think X-Men fans in particular are going to be rather unhappy with the direction Remender is taking things. Again, this is only one issue into the book, and Remender is known for his long-term storytelling. Perhaps in the long-term the story kinks will be ironed out and the characters take direction, but for now? I don’t particularly want to follow the path this story is headed down.

Comments

  1. Good you read I don’t have to!

  2. Synsidar says:

    The opening sequence is graphic and upsetting, and the closing sequence is worse.

    Wolverine graphically gutting someone? That’s been done more than once, though, I suppose.

    Is it more graphic than the Void ripping Ares in half in SIEGE #2? That sequence didn’t have the impact it was supposed to have, unless it was supposed to be oddly funny.

    SRS

  3. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Rather than paint Cyclops as a villain or even antihero, he instead comes off as rational an calm, while the Avengers are patronising and vicious.

    Considering the Draco level plothole in Avengers vs. X-men there is no other way such scenes can be written without turning off reading comprehension completely while reading AvX.

  4. Ruwan says:

    hmmmm…unbiased review. *yawn*
    Fans will be pleased as Rick and John deliver one heck of a story.
    And it was fairly obvious that is not a kids’ title since it was solicited as a T+ title.

    Onwards and upwards! YAY!!!

  5. Synsidar says:

    And it was fairly obvious that is not a kids’ title since it was solicited as a T+ title.

    Perhaps you could elaborate on the differences between a T+ title and a kids’ title? What would a 13-year-old get out of a T+ title that a 12-year-old would be confused by?

    In SECRET AVENGERS, Remender has the heroes suffer injuries, and get mad at each other, but they still win in the end, just as they would in a kids’ title.

    SRS

  6. Snikt Snakt says:

    Since I don’t plan on buying this, PLEASE spoil the last page for me. What happens in it? Rogue & Scarlet Witch swap spit or something?

  7. Charles says:

    Please DO NOT spoil the ending.

    Thousands of people want to read this.

    Thank you.

  8. Pringles says:

    I’m quite curious as to the ending as well. Mutant massacre? Mass frontal lobe replacement?

  9. NO SPOILERS, come on you people.

  10. Vroom_Socko says:

    I’m just bummed Rick ended Uncanny X-Force-he took two of the best mutant story runs of the past 30 years-Angel’s transformation into Archangel from X-Factor and the best parts of Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, added the parts of AoA that didn’t suck, brought in a 70’s relic (Deathlok)-made him fresh and the always awesome Deadpool AND made it all his own-but I understand why Marvel tapped him to write the flagship tile of the relaunch-he’s just that good.

  11. Chris Duffy says:

    Hey, “Vroom_Socko” — I have a question, and I’m not being snarky: I had, for strange reasons, a subscription to X-Force during a lot of Remender’s run. (The reason was that Marvel cancelled my son’s and all subscriptions to Deadpool and replaced them with X-Force. I still don’t know why.) Here’s the question: was that generally considered a good comic? Because I had no idea what was happening. Ever!

  12. Vroom_Socko says:

    Well-yes, an excellent comic-but now that I think about it-you did have to know a fair bit about the X-men Universe from the past 25 years or so to really appreciate the comic-and although they did try to do a recap every issue-it was pretty in depth-so I don’t think you are being snarky. IMHO its been the best thing Marvel’s put out for the last 3 years, but it does have a lot to do with Rick being a good writer.

  13. The actual story of this book and the entire Marvel Universe does not interest me. It seems directed by the bean counters. Racism is just dumb. Maybe it exists, but it is really, really boring. Nazis are boring. Some of their plans were bold, interesting and terrible, but they are boring, insecure dysfunctional people. I’ve enjoyed Busiek’s Avengers, Claremont’s X-Men, Hama’s Wolverine, X-Statix, and many other books, but I would just like to let it be known that I am not buying these new Marvel books because I do not like the story direction and the $4 price tags offend me. If Marvel puts out something that looks good, I’ll gladly buy it. Last book I bought from them was Six Guns, and I was extremely impressed with it. May have been the book of the year for me. Just a book I never really heard anything about. Didn’t tie into anything. Knew it wouldn’t “matter” to the “universe”. But, ya know what? The art and the story were amazing. I had so much fun reading that book. That’s all I want.

    Scott
    http://www.RecondiTePictures.com

  14. “Rather than paint Cyclops as a villain or even antihero, he instead comes off as rational and calm, while the Avengers are patronising and vicious. By making the Avengers dismiss the X-Men, both sides are diminished.”

    LOL, they can’t even turn Scott evil properly. Keep trying to villainize Cyclops, Marvel, you’re only going to get him more fans.

  15. Snikt Snakt says:

    “Thousands” Hahahaha, riiiiight. Marvel wishes that were so! :-p

  16. Synsidar says:

    Well, as gross-outs go, the final page barely rated a 1 on my meter.

    A problem is that the idea depicted on the final page was used, recently, in an ASTONISHING X-MEN storyline.

    A much worse problem is that the premise for the storyline and, by extension, the series is false. If Marvel Editorial wanted Cyclops to be a villain, having him do something authentically villainous and kill Xavier in the process would have been simplicity itself. Anyone could have written it. Combining drama with the “illusion of change” policy, however, is practically impossible. The same “falseness” problem popped up in the Scarlet Witch-Rogue sequence.

    SRS

  17. meh; I thought the story was pretty good. The exchange between Rogue and Wanda was to be expected. The reasoning behind getting Havok on the team was weak, basically the same reasons behind X-Factor (the good face of mutants). Why is Thor on the team? Beats me?
    As for Cassaday’s art, it’s getting really old to me. I loved his work on Planetary, but his Marvel stuff is inconsistent and just doesn’t jibe with the comic book stories he is trying to tell. It seems he wants it both ways, with photorealistic linework, but goofball exaggerated expressions and typical Marvel style posing

  18. A subtle and detailed review; i included a link to it on my own, at : http://fredscomicsnotes.blogspot.fr/2012/11/uncanny-avengers-1.html, thanks.

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