As the aftermath of “AXIS” sweeps through the Marvel Universe, the Uncanny Avengers reform with a new roster, new enemies, and a new mission. Mild spoilers ahead!
Written by Rick Remender
Penciled by Daniel Acuña
COUNTER-EVOLUTIONARY PART 1
• From the ashes of AXIS an all-new, all different Avengers assemble!
• The tragedy at the end of AXIS has left the Uncanny Avengers vulnerable, and someone is taking advantage of it.
• One of the Avengers oldest foes returns with a terrible secret that will, all hyperbole aside, shatter the lives of two members of the squad.
• What is Counter-Earth? What terrible secrets does it house?
If there’s one thing I really appreciate about Rick Remender’s writing, its how he strives to really go balls-out. “Uncanny Avengers” #1 picks up pretty soon after the events of “AXIS” where (spoilers for a topic everyone on the internet complained about) Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver found out that Magneto wasn’t their real dad after all. Basically, they’re now the Dee and Dennis to Magneto’s Frank Reynolds. Distraught after this reveal, Pietro and Wanda have now taken to finding out who their real father is. With the Maximoffs gone for a week, Rogue leads a new team of Uncanny Avengers to find Wanda and her “eurotrash brother”. Unfortunately, The Maximoffs find themselves on Counter-Earth which leads to what is probably one of the densest first issues I’ve read in a while.
Like I just said, I always appreciate how far out Remender is willing to go in his comics, especially Marvel, but there’s nothing that really grounds the high concept stuff you see in “Uncanny Avengers”. The story being told here should be a personal one, yeah? Two characters who have always existed in a weird limbo, between Avenger and X-Men, hero and villain, now find themselves buried under another layer of ambiguity. All things considered, the Magneto Was Sterile twist actually favors the direction the Maximoffs have gone in forever. The only problem, however, is that any problems the Maximoffs are facing are immediately sidestepped to get to chase scenes on Counter-Earth and whatever the hell is going on with Brother Voodoo. There are so many emotional avenues left unexplored in this comic and an unending barrage of new events that load the reader with a sensory overload that’s just boring.
A huge part of this is just how coarse some characters come across. They haven’t even begun their first mission and the new Uncanny Avengers are already plagued with the inter-personal problems that made the initial team so incompetent. That’s especially true for The Vision who seems to constantly be on the precipice of dropping out, finding the nearest stand-up club with an open mic, and talking about his horrid bitch of a wife for twenty minutes. Why did you join the team if you know it’s going to involve your ex, bruh? I know you’re into perpetually crying but that doesn’t mean you have to be as salty as your tears. What I’m getting at is, when the characters you’re supposed to cheer for have been reduced to one-dimensional cut-outs, it’s hard for anything else like a group of furry monsters screaming “WE ARE THE NEW MEN” to have any significance to anyone.
That’s not to say there’s nothing about this book that’s particularly striking. As per dual, Daniel Acuña slays on art, really bringing out the alien world of Counter-Earth. The designs for all the various Counter-Earthlings are impressive and the opening is incredibly exciting on a technical level. There’s also a fascinating petrifrication sequence that likely stands out as the highlight of the book. If I have one complaint here, it’s that the world of Counter-Earth, as cool as it looks, feels similar to the work he did with the ‘Planet X’ arc he did over int he first volume of “Uncanny Avengers”. There are differences of course, but considering that both sequences started with an Avenger in a glowing city being chased by super-powered goons with very little context, I have to wonder how much difference there really is.
Ultimately, “Uncanny Avengers” isn’t bad. I think it’s emblematic of the problems featured in the last volume. There’s great art, some great concepts, and a pretty dope roster but the title seems way more concerned with playing with its toys than it does in telling a story about its characters. And when “Uncanny Avengers” does have to acknowledge its characters as anything more than plot devices, it cruelly treats them as cold harsh creatures. And I don’t know about everyone else but I’d really like to see the growth of a Magnetoless Maximoffs and Rogue in a leadership position than pretend I should act excited and surprised for the High Evolutionary.Continued below
Final Verdict 5.4 – Fans of the previous run may enjoy this, though find the transition a bit jarring, while newcomers may not feel welcome in Remender and Acuña’s playpen.