Comic review: Uncanny Avengers #1
Now that Avengers vs. X-Men has ended, this book helmed by Rick Remender and John Cassaday tells the next chapter in X-Men/Avenger relations in the aftermath of the event. But is this attempt to bridge the divide worth picking up?
The book’s opening is unexpected, leading to a closer I didn’t see coming. Soon the main story begins, as Logan and the rest of the X-family bury Charles Xavier, the mutant community still reeling from his loss. While Logan gives his eulogy, Alex Summers visits his brother Scott in S.H.I.E.L.D. lock-up. Their confrontation is less than satisfying for Alex, who walks away from their meeting disappointed with his brother. Scott is still vague and unreadable when asked of his role in bringing the Phoenix Force to Earth and killing Xavier, a fractured shade of the man he once was. There are still no clear answers in the aftermath of AvX, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any less muddled.
Immediately after leaving The Brig, Alex is approached by Captain America and Thor. They offer to make him an Avenger in an effort to foster positive mutant cooperation moving forward, because, as Cap brings up, We never did enough to help you. Captain America seems convinced that Alex is the perfect candidate to represent mutant issues and lead the fight to preserve Xavier’s dream. It’s nice to see Alex get a chance to shine on his own, but whether he is the man for the job remains to be seen. His past is somewhat dodgy and right now being Cyclops’ brother can’t be doing him any favors, as Alex himself openly questions Cap’s logic in the decision.
However, any further debate takes a backseat as a deranged (and surgically altered) Avalanche launches an attack in New York City. He’s come to spread a message: The mutants are back. Thor, Cap and Havoc rush off to deal with the threat, in a nice tight little battle scene. Already they work well together, saving the civilians caught up in Avalanche’s violent display, only for Avalanche to fall willingly to his apparent death. Meanwhile, Scarlet Witch goes to pay her final respects to Xavier. She is found at his grave by an angry Rogue, who still holds her accountable for erasing the mutants in M-Day, one of the many storylines that led to the AvX event. Their fight is cut short as they are suddenly attacked in an effort to steal Xavier’s body. The book ends in a shocking and unforeseen cliffhanger. What comes next, I honestly can’t tell you, and I like that.
Overall, this book’s first issue feels like a strong beginning to Marvel NOW, maintaining a good balance of action and heart. It is a team-up book, and there is a lot going on with the scope of the issues being addressed, but Remender manages to tell a natural and compelling narrative. The sliding the focus of the story allows the reader to see how the loss of Charles Xavier is going to reshape the Marvel Universe by seeing it from multiple vantage points, and how each key player deals with it in his or her own way. Every character reads very naturally, and the story assumes a certain level of familiarity with the previous storyline as to move along quickly and not get bogged down with unnecessary exposition. (New readers will likely be able to keep up just fine, as well.) Cassaday’s art is lovely and highly engaging, rounded out by Laura Martin’s wonderful coloring, helping to put out a book that deftly handles the changing tone of the story. Whether you’re following the continuing adventures of these characters or you’re a new reader looking to pick up an interesting book, I expect good things to come from Uncanny Avengers.
Worth a read: I was really impressed with this book, and would definitely recommend it.