It’s easy to get lost in the flood of titles that have been coming out since the Marvel NOW! relaunch. In the post-Avengers vs. X-Men world there are several books coming out for both teams: Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, All-New X-Men, X-Men Legacy and Wolverine and the X-Men just to name a few. Reading all of these titles can be quite time consuming, and can rack up the total price of your pull list. For me the sleeper hit of the relaunch has always been Uncanny Avengers.
It’s hard to imagine that Charles Xavier is going to stay dead because, well, no one stays dead in the “big two.” Hell, Peter Parker is already going all Obi Wan Kanobi in the first issue of Superior Spider-Man. While the other X-titles tackle a world without Xavier, Uncanny Avengers presents a world much, much worse. Take the abilities of one of the most powerful mutants to have ever lived, and give them to Red Skull. His history as a Nazi makes it no surprise that he is a master of propaganda. Combine that with the telepathic powers of Charles Xavier’s brain, and the reignited mass xenophobia of mutants from humans and he is easily able to manipulate the fears of the public into a violent extermination.
Uncanny Avengers does muddy the waters a bit. With so many titles going on simultaneously it can get a little hard to figure out what’s happening when. How does Wolverine have time to be doing a hundred different things all at the same time? To this end Uncanny Avengers both helps and hurts. When the focus is on Red Skull’s scheme it’s easier to sit back and see things as they happen from a different side. Even when Scarlet Witch and Rogue come in it doesn’t pull you away from the story, because you’re seeing characters not as heavily featured in other titles. Then Captain America, Wolverine and Thor show up and you’re left wondering what’s going to remain relevant and what isn’t.
This issue has a lot of action, and the art continues to impress. John Cassaday and Laura Martin are killing it in this series – from violent mobs descending on supposed mutants, to the Avengers brawling with Red Skull’s henchmen on the streets of New York City. The highlight of it all is Red Skull’s attempt at brainwashing Captain America. Cap is one of those characters for me that is treading on Wolverine territory – he’s in everything and it’s getting tiresome. Show up, kick ass and give a speech. His shtick is getting a little old for me. Of course he is able to overcome the Red Skull’s brain washing attempts because he’s Captain America and he’s got the will power of…Captain America, but it’s in those few panels where he is starting to succumb that Rick Remender’s writing really shines.
If Captain American can ultimately resist the powers of Red Skull was he ever really that vulnerable to corruption? There’s a feeling that Red Skull isn’t telling Cap how to feel, but is exploiting the dark prejudices that he felt throughout the duration of Avengers vs X-Men – that the world really would be better off without mutants. Suddenly the earlier moments of him being uneasy about Havok being a leader call into question whether he is nervous regarding an inexperienced leader, or just uncomfortable with said leader being a mutant.
Uncanny Avengers isn’t an essential title for anyone wanting to get the main gist of what is happening for the Avengers or X-Men. If you’re thinking that your pull list has already gotten a little saturated with several titles featuring the same teams, you might want to skip this one. If you’re looking for something a little different than your typical Avengers or X-Men story then I highly recommend jumping on now. With only three issues out you won’t be too in the dark if you start with this one.
Is anyone else wondering how many more issues before we see Xavier’s brain overtake Red Skull’s and we get our “resurrection”?
This article was first posted on January 26, 2013