Thursday, October 11, 2012

WGTB Reviews Uncanny Avengers #1

Well, it’s here.

Marvel's Uncanny Avengers #1 (December 2012) Written by Rick Remender with Art from John Cassaday, Cover Art by Laura Martin and Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos PRICE: $3.99
Uncanny Avengers #1, the first book of the Marvel NOW! relaunch was released this past Wednesday with much fanfare across the media spectrum. Being the first book of Marvel's belated answer to DC's New 52, it had a lot to live up to -- not just because the DC reboot has proved so successful -- but also because it's the inauguration of a new Marvel Universe created by this summer's event Avengers vs X-Men.  

Hope Summers as The Phoenix in Marvel's Avengers vs X-Men #12 (December 2012)
So with Charles Xavier dead, Hope Summers the Phoenix and mutants reappearing around the world, Captain America set out to start a new team of Avengers featuring superheroes from the previously conflicting groups. Honestly, I had really been looking forward to this book and what Marvel NOW! could do for the industry. DC’s New 52 did a lot to get me back into that company and while I understand the objections some critics have had about it, you can't argue with the facts: sales at DC are up and I hope the same happens for Marvel.

Marvel NOW! is a little less ambitious, but the creators on the media and convention circuit have been doing a good job pumping it up. Rick Remender has called Uncanny Avengers a return to the classic X-Men and 'Xavier's dream' which is something that totally appeals to the comics historian in me. The team itself further includes some pretty strong characters and I am particularly looking forward to seeing Wolverine work with Captain America as partners. 

Captain America speaks with Havok in Uncanny Avengers #1 (December 2012) 
So how did it do?
For the most part, I liked it and think this series has potential. Having liked but not loved Avengers vs X-Men, I wasn't sure how this would work out. But Rick Remender's talents as a writer were evident in this book, and it was nice to see one writer write opposed to five. It is a crisp script and carries on with the themes coming out of the summer event: the good-bye to Charles Xavier, the incarceration of Scott Summers and the rebirth of mutant-kind, with an emotional intensity worthy of the gravitas of these events. It also gives us a new (old) villain with a genetically-focused modus operandi who it appears will be a great adversary for both mutant and non-mutant superheroes alike. By the end of #1 we see who that villain is (and if you've been listening to the Marvel Next Big Thing you already know) and it will be great to see him re-emerge in the Marvel Universe. The team wasn't formed by the end of this issue, but you pretty much have an idea by the cover. Putting Havok in a 'reluctant leader' role will be interesting as will having Captain America work with the mutants. That said, it wasn't the best first issue comic I've ever read -- a conflict between two of the leading females on the team seemed a little contrived to create tension later on -- but all in all it was an enjoyable story and I'm looking forward to more.

John Cassaday's art was good (if a little too reserved) but the book's fantastic colour schemes gave it a real punch. It wasn't as avant garde as other books recently released (like Klaus Janson's Daredevil: End of Days #1 or Dexter Soy's in Captain Marvel) but it gets the job done. Captain America's armour seemed a little more scaly than normal but this minor distraction is hardly enough to derail what was generally a strong art/storytelling combination. And how cool does that brooding Thor look?!
Captain America and Thor in Uncanny Avengers #1 (December 2012) 
Whether Uncanny Avengers and Marvel NOW! is enough to put Marvel consistently ahead of their Distinguished Competition in the months ahead remains to be seen. But for now, the first new book of this initiative is good start and we all have something to look forward to. 4/5 STARS 

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