Well, what do ya know! There might be a silver lining to the whole Avengers vs. X-Men debacle after all. As the aftermath of AvX begins to shower down on the heroes of the Marvel Universe, writer Rick Remender and artist John Cassaday step in with Uncanny Avengers #1. Being “on the fence” about this idea doesn’t even begin to describe my feeling. I saw this as the final shill of a useless twelve-issue intro to another round of Marvel “shaking things up”. While I still believe that idea, Uncanny Avengers #1 is actually really good.
The story opens at Professor X’s funeral, where Logan, aka Wolverine, gives a eulogy for his one time mentor. Scenes like these can fall quickly into schmaltz and false sentiment, but Remender avoids all that, sticking to things Logan would say and keeping the flowery language to a minimum. Cut in between the eulogy is Alex Summers visiting his brother Cyclops in the ruby prison. Summers has some unflattering but very real words for his brother. Cue Captain America and Thor, who show up to talk about a new idea for the future.
Seems Captain America wants to create a special Avengers task force using mutants side by side with other heroes, and he wants Alex to lead the charge. The middle Summers boy is reticent towards Captain America’s offer simply because he doesn’t know if he believes in Professor X’s dream anymore. Before anything can be decided, the mutant Avalanche attacks, leading Thor and Cap into battle. It’s a strange attack, one used only to begin conflict between humans and mutants.
UA #1 winds down with a tense exchange between Rogue and Scarlet Witch. Rogue, like many mutants, blames Scarlet Witch for the entire ordeal, since her out of control magic is what wiped the mutant gene almost completely extinct. I won’t give away what happens next but both the surprise of the villain and the brutality of the last page will make you throw down the comic and say “holy shit!”
Remender does a great job with the writing here. His two best areas are the scene between Alex and Cyclops and the exchange between Scarlet Witch and Rogue. Remender nails each character perfectly. I loved seeing Scarlet Witch finally stand up for herself and call the mutants out on their hypocrisy. Certain elements still don’t work. Cyclops attitude of “I did what I had to” doesn’t gel with who he is nor the idea of how the Phoenix can corrupt you. I also don’t think it’s realistic to have Captain America attempt to start a group like this so soon after the events of AvX. None of this is Remender’s fault, though, and he does a great job working within some difficult constraints.
John Cassaday’s art is not as powerful as Remender’s writing. The art isn’t bad, but it is very uneven. Wolverine looks awful, like Cassaday was attempting to draw the movie version of Logan but couldn’t quite get it to work. As the issue goes on, the art gets better, the action sequences are top notch, as is the Scarlet Witch/Rogue bit. Some of the panel work is great, others just don’t make the cut. Alex and Cyclops is a good example. Cyclops looks solid and well drawn, his brother looks gaunt and with a weird head.
While hurting from inconsistent art, Uncanny Avengers is the first good thing to come out of Avengers vs. X-Men.
(5 Story, 3.5 Art)