With most of the players introduced, Rick Remender spends most of the issue setting up the first arc. We learn how the Red Skull is back all of a sudden, and why he’s targeting Mutants. It’s a simple concept, that has it’s roots in the Skull’s past. I was surprised how simple the angle was, and how no one had used in recent years. Remender nails all the voices well, with Rouge getting particular attention. Too often, her dialogue becomes cliche with Southern talk stereotypes. The Scarlet Witch’s instant mind control initially put me off, but Remender uses it well only a few panels later. One thing I’d like Remender to do is have the team start to come together by the next issue. Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, and Havok barely factor into this issue. In fact, Remender could have used those pages to give Rogue and Scarlet Witch more time together.
The word Avengers might in the title, but this book doesn’t feel like an Avengers book. With all the talk of Mutant hysteria, it feels like classic X-Men. It’s an old concept that Remender makes feel new. Remender not only tells us how bad Mutant relations are, he shows us. And that goes a long way to making the reader feel the hysteria, thus understanding the actions of citizens on the next page. With many not liking Avengers vs X-Men, this book should help the event’s ramifications felt for some time. With a new event every summer, it’s difficult to make ramifications felt for sometime. Hopefully this will end up like Civil War, and writers will be using the effects for some time. The Red Skull’s Mutant hysteria argument isn’t over the top either. It’s subtle, which makes his plan that much more sinister. In a way, having the Skull come right back from World War II brings him back to this roots. Ed Brubaker’s Skull was more political driven, and while not bad, it’s nice to see Skull acting more like the original Red Skull.
The delay was worth it, as John Cassaday can have all the time he needs to make the issue he is assigned. The art pops off the page, even toned down talking panels. His story telling abilities are the at their best, with each panel flowing well into the next. Cassaday’s Red Skull may be the best looking since Steve Epting’s. He uses the fact that Skull has no eye lids to sell the creepy looks, even when Skull isn’t doing anything sinister. This is helped by Cassaday’s inks, which thankfully stay thin. Thick ink work makes Cassaday’s pencils unrealistic. His facial work is stellar as always, but a lot of characters have a habit of not having their mouths opening…..even when they are talking. A small gripe, but one that took me out of the comic. Laura Martin, colorist master, colors a brilliant issue. She finds the perfect shade red for the Skull’s head. The water person looks beautiful.
Uncanny Avengers continues on a strong note, as does all of the Marvel NOW! books (that I have read).
Uncanny Avengers #2 gets 4/5.