Uncanny Avengers #12
The dark origin of the Apocalypse Twins! Kang’s true motives revealed. A secret of pact between Ahab and The Red Skull that will bring horror to all mutants. Bring on the bad guys! From Rick Remender and Salvador Larroca.
After the surprising events of the last issue, we find the team racing to stop Uriel and Eimen as Scarlet Witch struggles to sway Wonder Man to the twins’ cause. The twins’ plans come to fruition here as the climax of this arc closes in, offering some intriguing character insight along the way. This issue has some really good moments going for it, such as the twins’ origins and their ties to Red Skull, and Captain America’s run-in with the recently resurrected Banshee. Remender offers a solid script and Larocca’s pencils are quite dynamic and affective.
My only real complaint, as it has been from the start, has been Remender’s handling of Scarlet Witch, who feels a bit stagnant in this issue. To be honest, she spends much of the issue simply justifying her decision to work with the twins, to herself and the audience, and clinging to Wonder Man. I appreciate that she’s in a fragile state given recent events, but Remender has been pretty determined to push Wanda into some kind of relationship with somebody in this book. Having her ask Simon’s protection, and how his actions “win her heart forever,” just ring a bit cheesy to me. So far, she’s spent most of this series being kidnapped, fighting with Rogue, or being drawn into romantic entanglements of some kind. For someone whose romantic and family life has been manipulated by so many people, I just want to see Wanda stand on her own two feet for a while, you know?
Other than that, this is a solid issue and an interesting read.
INFINITY TIE-IN – “AVENGERS UNIVERSE: III” Unexpected overtures from the Builders. A meeting of Ex Nihilos. Total, unconditional surrender. By Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu.
The war takes a surprising turn as the coalition, outnumbered and outgunned, seeks parley with the Builders. Meanwhile, Ex Nihila reaches out to Abyss and Ex Nihilo to reveal some surprising truths, and the Builders prepare for victory on Hala. We learn that the Abyssi have all died off, leaving their siblings the Gardeners, banned from creating new life, to serve as slaves to their creators. As Captain America surrenders, Ex Nihilo and Abyss swear to put an end to the subjugation of their kind.
A lot of drama, a lot of intrigue, with some solid scripting from Hickman and amazing artwork by Yu. It’s an enjoyable read, with a few interesting twists and turns along the way. Overall another strong chapter in the Infinity event.
HULK VS THING — and it’s one for the ages! As the kids in the FF start growing apart, their adult supervision seems to be having some issues of their own…Written by Matt Fraction, Lee and Mike Allred, and pencils by Mike Allred.
Tensions in the team rear their ugly head as the kids drift apart over Adolf Impossible’s arrival. While the team works with Maximus the Mad and Caesar to bring the Fantastic Four back home, Doom moves his plans forward and Ant-Man continues his downward spiral. The relationship between Scott and Darla reaches it inevitable romantic crossroad and, of course, nothing quite goes according to plan. An issue with growing pains from every end of the spectrum, this is another engaging chapter in a fun and offbeat series.
Fraction takes a step back from writing in this issue, focusing on other projects to let Lee Allred step in as script writer. The narrative shift is minimal, and overall Allred keeps with the tone that Fraction established in the last eleven issues. The heart of the book is still very much present, in scenes such as Adolf and Luna bonding over anime, or Darla and Scott’s abortive romantic interludes, and still feels really cohesive. As I said, it’s a slight departure from what we’re used to, but it’s certainly not enough to cast a shadow on such a fiercely enjoyable title.
Young Avengers #10
It’s Mother’s Day. Don’t worry. You won’t forget. She won’t let you.Who’s bringing Mother presents? From Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.
Shifting narrative gears to focus on Mother, this issue sheds light on the back stories and motivations of numerous intriguing players. We get our first real insight into Mother and all her horror, as well as the mysterious reality-warping Patriot, who raises more questions than he answers. Teddy, separated from Billy and the team as he becomes embroiled Leah’s schemes, inadvertently falls victim to Mother’s trap in a compelling cliffhanger of an ending.
A really intriguing issue, Gillen and McKelvie achieve some great visuals through clever narrative convention. All the fun and witty interplay we’ve seen the last few issues is gone, in lieu of furthering the magical, dimension-hopping aspects of the plot through some well-executed horror elements. This is just smart writing, buoyed by great artwork and the fantastic partnership between Gillen and McKelvie.