The whole concept behind Rick Remender and John Cassaday’s Uncanny Avengers is a direct continuation of the Avengers vs. X-Men event from earlier this year. In this series, an amalgam of Avengers and X-Men form a team to help deal with the fallout of human/mutant relations, as a result of that whole debacle. As revealed last issue, The Red Skull is using Charles Xavier’s brain to control various mutants to meet his own ends… to sever the already thin thread between humans and mutants peacefully coexisting and to put an end to the entire mutant race. Sound familiar?
Remender is letting all of this unfold slowly, taking his tiime in setting up the relationships between characters and revealing just what is going on. Never has Red Skull been more devious and just plain… evil, as he is here. I have to say, it’s pretty jarring seeing poor Charles Xavier on a medical slab with his head cut open and I question the necessity of depicting it, as it can be disturbing to lots of longtime fans. One thing’s for sure… this series is pulling no punches. It’s exhilarating, in a way, as it gives a sense of urgency and danger to everything… but it can also be depressing. For me, anyway.
Remender is no stranger to the world of mutants, as he has been writing Uncanny X-Force for a while now. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read much by him, but he seems to have a pretty good handle on all of the characters. Particularly, Rogue, who is well on her way to becoming one of my favorite characters in this book. Her no-nonsense personality, as well as her clever use of power and a bittersweet flashback to when Xavier vouched for her membership on the team really won me over. It complimented one gut-punching scene, in particular, quite well. Xavier’s fate is something that is going to be affecting his former students for quite some time, especially after they’ve all discovered how Red Skull is desecrating his memory. I’d imagine Wolverine’s reaction will be quite interesting.
Although this is being touted as primarily an Avengers book, I can’t help but feel that Cap, Thor, etc. aren’t getting quite as much attention as the X-Men part of the team, with the possible exception of Scarlet Witch. And, even then, it’s not actually Wanda’s personality we’re seeing in this issue, as we see that she’s not really in control of her thoughts. This being only the second issue, I suppose I shouldn’t make such an abrupt conclusion, but it’d be nice to hear the Avengers’ thoughts on everything happening, from time to time. I can’t help but feel Remender favors the X-Men part of the team a bit more. As I said, though, this is only the second issue… so we’ll see.
John Cassaday’s distinct style of art really serves this title well. I’m really glad they chose him for this series, as I became a fan of his work when he was on Astonishing X-Men with Joss Whedon. As mentioned in my last review, I was a little put off by some of the costume redesigns he came up with, but I’m actually starting to warm up to them more quickly than I thought I would. It’s Wanda’s new look that bugs me the most, though. I much prefer her old costume. Cassaday’s detailed renderings are beautiful, nonetheless, so I can’t really complain much.
So far, I really like where this series is going. There is certainly great potential for it to have a good long run. I only hope the Avengers/X-Men ratio balances out, as far as exposure and characterizations go. I’m more than willing to stick around to give it a chance. There’s just enough inventiveness to intrigue me, so I suppose it’s working. As this was the first title published under the new Marvel NOW! imprint, I’d say it’s a perfect representation of what that initiative is all about. I give this issue a solid 7.5/10. Now, bring on issue #3!