The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?
Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 22 new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 22 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.
To kick things off for the whole line, we get a title that takes the two biggest factors from the recent Marvel event, The Avengers and the X-Men, and puts them in a different light. It seems that Cyclops hit a sore spot with Cap during the conflict. The question was posed, “Why haven’t the Avengers done more to help Mutants?” It appears that Cap wants to answer that question and this involves a new team. And for us, dear readers, it involves a new title, Uncanny Avengers, brought to you by the uncanny Rick Remender with art by the astonishing John Cassaday. Rick has been hitting home run after home run with each story arc over at Uncanny X-Force and Cassaday is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to team books. So the A-List talent has been giving this title some buzz. Unfortunately, there was a bit of counter-buzz happening when the cover to issue #1 was released and it received an underwhelming response. So it’s safe to say that I was going into the new series with mixed feelings. Feelings that I’m not sure were resolved after reading the first issue.
Our story begins with an eerie operation ala Dr. Frankenstein as an off panel surgeon goes poking around in a mutant’s brain…literally. We then cut to Wolverine whose grieving and is about to do the eulogy at Charles Xavier’s funeral. His words are candid as he addresses the many mutants in attendance and explains that they had failed Chuck and that the man deserved better. Intercut with Logan’s words is a trip to a max security S.H.I.E.L.D. prison where Havok has gone to talk with his brother. Cyclops takes the opportunity to be the douche that he is while Havok gets in his parting shots about how Cyke shit all over Xavier’s dream. It’s around this time that Cap and Thor show up to offer Havok a job. Back at the mansion, they give him the hard sell about leading an new team made up of Avengers and X-Men, saying that his involvement would do wonders for the mutant people who are desperately looking for a new leader. Before Havok can fully make up his mind, the mutant who was getting brain massage (who is revealed to be someone X-fans well know) shows up to “shake things up”. The three men work together to save the many people that get caught in the danger. Meanwhile, The Scarlet Witch goest to pay her respects at Xavier’s grave and is given a cold welcome from Rogue. Rogue wants her to leave or there’ll be trouble, sugah. The Witch doesn’t want any trouble, but she doesn’t scare. And right at that moment, a crew of new baddies show up and cause some destruction, taking with them a very sacred item. In the final pages, this item, along with the mastermind behind this theft, is revealed. And then it’s done.
I will be honest and say that when I came to the end of this book, the big reveal of the villain was very “meh”. I know that advanced marketing of this book already kind of ruined this reveal but it wasn’t even that. I don’t understand why we have to rehash this character so soon. It feels wrong. And his plan to thwart the good guys? It might be good but I don’t know. He hasn’t revealed a plan yet so much as an item that I don’t think will necessarily give him the advantage. It didn’t seem to far of a stretch but it didn’t leave me wanting the next issue to come. But thankfully, the ending of the issue wasn’t the whole story. This is mostly a character piece, showing you where the players are at before they come together to form this team. That statement is not entirely true. It really doesn’t delve into where Cap and Thor are coming from at this time. The focus is more on the other 4 leads of this book. Scarlet Witch is the lone Avenger with a good amount of page time. Rogue gets to share her time with Wanda for the most part but is still given her due. The most focus is given to Wolverine and Havok. So if you’re an X-Men fan, this is a great book for you. At the same time, part of Havok’s story focuses on how his brother Cyclops is a jerk who doesn’t understand the damage he’s caused. So if you’re an X-Men fan, you might not like this book. And that’s an interesting dynamic to have with a book. Essentially, you’re trying to appease both X-Men and Avengers fans and give them enough to care about with the other side of the team. Rick does a pretty good job in this issue of giving you stuff to care about with most of the characters. And with the exception of Rogue, all the voices sound right. I found Rogue’s assessment of the situation to be very simple and undeveloped. However, I feel Remender might be doing this on purpose, possibly planning for Rogue to have an arc where she “learns” something. Overall, a fun read.
The art in the book is stronger than the sum of it’s cover. When the regular cover was first revealed,I, like most people, didn’t really dig it. The interiors make up for this immensely. Cassady gives us a very fast paced story with some great action shots. I would suggest getting one of the many variant covers available. Enjoyable art between the covers of this book. Let’s see how long Cassaday sticks around for though.
In the end, Uncanny Avengers #1 issue didn’t blow me out of the water, but it left a few ripples that I would like to see play out. I will keep reading this series and I recommend it to any fans of either the X-Men or the Avengers. That being said, for a first shot into the NOW generation, it’s wasn’t the greatest opening. I hope that the books that follow do a better job at making an splash.
So this #1 is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!