I do like that Rick Remender is getting his weird on. Uncanny Avengers, one of the few silver linings in the overall mess that was Avengers vs. X-Men, starts off dark and then just gets weird. I’m hoping this tone follows the book for at least the first year. If Uncanny Avengers is to step out from the shadow of AvX, it’ll need to really showcase the tensions between human and mutants in a way we haven’t seen since the '80s. When the Phoenix brought the mutant population back, it triggered something in humanity, something primal and dark. Uncanny Avengers will need to exploit that to really work.
Issue #2 begins just after Avalanche’s catastrophe. The once-reformed mutant used his ability to create devastation before the Avengers dropped him. As Captain America explains his plan to show mutant and human working together with the Uncanny Avengers, the Red Skull has moved his piece into play. Using psychic gifts, Skull beams himself into homes across the world but with one catch. In every country, the citizens see the leader they most admire saying kill mutants to survive. Remender and artist John Cassaday have a three page section where people begin killing mutants that is very powerful, almost disturbing.
From the darkness, comes the weird. Issue #2 comes to a head when Scarlet Witch suddenly agrees to help Red Skull wipe out the mutant threat. Seems Skull has replaced the Jews of WWII with the mutants of today and he wants them dead. Why is that? This doesn’t seem like Scarlet Witch? Even Rogue, who doesn’t like Scarlet Witch, is perplexed. Well, all comes clear when Witch and Rogue stumble upon the naked body of Professor X with his head half gone his brain removed. Looks like Red Skull took the Professor’s brain and fused it with his. Like I said, weird. It also looks like bad times ahead for the mutants.
John Cassaday’s art is very hit and miss here. At times, his thin lines and ability with faces help communicate the grim nature of the story, but overall, his work is too clean. There’s no shadowing here, no darkness to give the art depth. Outside of the four pages where humans slaughter mutants, there’s no emotional punch to what Cassaday is doing. The lack of shading gives the entire issue a cartoon feel that betrays the overall tone. Unless Cassaday can bring a stronger game, Uncanny Avengers may need a new artist.
That aside, Uncanny Avengers is a real reason to get excited about Marvel Now
(5 Story, 3 Art)