Late last year I made a decision to drop most of the Marvel Comics I was currently reading and not pick up most of the new titles the publisher was launching for the foreseeable future. My problem was a lot of ‘change for change sake’ and a complete lack of adequate follow-through in the aftermath of events. Marvel puts so much effort into their event books, yet, once the event has ended, they usually ignore most of the ‘world-shaking’ things that happened during the event. There’s just no follow-through, and the events come so quickly that there’s almost no time for readers to catch a breath. I really needed to take a breath! So, while I didn’t read Rick Remender’s AXIS event at all, I got the gist of character inversion, as well as the huge reveal revolving around a couple of mutant siblings, and I was truly interested in seeing where Remender went with his AXIS aftermath. Unfortunately, the writer only cemented my overall reasoning for moving away from Marvel books in the first place. While Uncanny Avengers #1 is a strong setup for discovering the mystery revealed at the end of AXIS, there’s some directions this ish goes, and doesn’t go, that leave me overall disappointed.
(Note: There will be spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned.)
Rick Remender is an amazing writer, and every element required in a debut issue is delivered expertly. All of the key character backgrounds are provided, but the pacing doesn’t suffer at all. The story is pushed along from panel to panel smoothly and we’re still given everything we need to know about characters who have undergone dramatic changes of late.
Daniel Acuna’s work is a great example of the artist’s skill, and everything from the anthropomorphic baddies to the depictions of character speed are beautifully represented.
There is a lot of stuff I did not like about this issue, and most of them have to do with Remender’s overall choices for the start of this series. The book moves very quickly to Counter-Earth, a planet that resides in the direct opposite orbit as Earth behind the sun. While I don’t have a problem with Counter-Earth, or even the idea of Counter-Earth, I do have a problem with Remender using a setting that, yet again, has absolutely no bearing on anything else. His X-Force went to another universe, his Captain America went to Zolaverse, his last Uncanny Avengers had the mutant planet. It’s a theme that suggests a creative lacking, and in a connected universe it’s a tactic I find too convenient and quite boring.
While the Unity Team itself is full of interesting characters, some of the reasons given for why they were there seemed forced and completely unbelievable. All-New Captain America states he thought joining this team would be a break. Really? That’s why you’re there, Sam? For a vacation?! An inverted Sabretooth is on the team and for the life of me I can’t figure out why a multiple murderer isn’t in the highest of high security prisons instead of wandering around with a premiere superhero team, the mutant was relegated to nothing more than a bloodhound; with supernatural dog leash and all. Now that Wolverine is dead, I guess Sabretooth is the go to tracker in the Marvel U, but he seemed like nothing more than a cheap replacement for Logan. Brother Voodoo is also on this team, and although he’s a great character, he’s used as nothing more than a transporter. While Rogue addresses Havok’s inversion and absence from the Unity Squad, that’s the only mention of the former leader, which made this fairly important part of AXIS and the last volume of Uncanny Avengers seem pretty unimportant. And Rogue merely glides over the fact that Wolverine (one of her oldest and closest friends) is dead, leaving me wondering why the Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver searching for their real father is so damned important to the rest of this team. I mean, mind your business, Unity Squad. The personal affairs of former teammates are none of yours, and helping an inverted Havok or taking a minute to mourn Logan seem much more important. And then there’s the entire idea of the Unity Squad, which was to be an example to the people of Earth that humans and mutants can work together against evil, but the team has four mutants, only two humans (one that the planet barely knows exists), and an android, who go to an entirely different planet to fight evil. That doesn’t seem like an example for Earth, and Counter-Earth doesn’t care. Sadly, by the end of this ish, neither did I.
While Rick Remender plots a good story in Uncanny Avengers #1 misses on so many details and subtleties that are just impossible to ignore. Characterizations are off, the reasons for characters being around seem absurd, and the entire idea behind this team is being ignored. This Unity Squad is a group of government funded super-friends, using taxpayer dollars to get in their pals’ personal business, while ignoring friends with real problems and the team’s overall mission of pushing mutant/human relations. If it wasn’t for Acuna’s fabulous work this would be a complete bust.