Marvel NOW! has finally come upon us. The first title of the relaunch, Uncanny Avengers, has been released. Does it live up to the months of hype? I’d say yes, if only Marvel could have kept their lips sealed a bit.
Rick Remender is one writer who can do no wrong. Every title he touches ends up turning to comic gold. If a lesser writer had been given the reins to this title, it would have turned into a mess. But the premise seems sound so far, except Thor. He only has a few lines, and does little the rest of the issue. The rest of the members have their dynamic set up well. I like the responsibility thrust upon Havok. Remender writes him as a hero who doesn’t know that he is destined for greatness. The funeral scene is full of emotion, and one I hope writers of other X-books go over. Remender has been the best X-writer since Joss Whedon, so seeing him handle the dynamic so well is encouraging. Uncanny Avengers does one other thing really well, and that is act as a gateway to the Marvel universe. This is going to be Marvel’s new flagship title, and it perfectly shows the atmosphere of a post Avengers vs X-Men world.
The issue isn’t perfect. Marvel has made it known for some time that the Red Skull was going to be back from the grave for this arc. The final pages would have hit quite a bit harder if the reader didn’t know who the villain behind it all was. There is another major plot twist that works, but the scene doesn’t hit as hard as it could. The big fight with Avalanche in the middle of the issue doesn’t add anything to the story, but does show a big story point that will be around for a while. The thought that mutants would seek revenge on the humans is a natural one, but it could be run into the ground fast. As a #1, Uncanny Avengers isn’t the strongest book in the world. The team is separated for the entire book, and it’s hard to tell if Wolverine is part of the team. These seem like big issues, but barley affect the reader when reading.
It’s an absolute blast to see John Cassaday on interiors again. Astonishing X-Men fans will love the artwork. Some of the costume changes will turn some people off, but let us wait and see. Facial expressions have an incredible amount of emotion behind them. The book is somewhat tame, so we don’t get to see Cassaday stretch a bit with his pencils. The final scene is visceral and hard hitting. Cassaday has always been able to pencil brutal, bloody scenes (look at Planatery for examples). Marvel might have screwed the pooch, but Cassaday made sure it worked somehow. Hopefully Cassaday will be able to keep up with the schedule, or only have to be away for a couple of issues at a time. Laura martin’s colors pop off the page, even though she isn’t given a huge battle to color.
Uncanny Avengers is a good start to Marvel NOW! Let’s only hope the rest of these books can live up to the high quality that Remender and Cassaday have show us here.
Uncanny Avengers #1 gets 4/5.
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