Thursday, February 19, 2015

Uncanny Avengers #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Seeing Acuna's art, I was immediately depressed, since I was reminded of how awesome this series was before "Avengers & X-Men:  Axis" sent us into an unfamiliar world where Remender suddenly became Chuck Austen.  Unfortunately, this issue doesn't really restore my faith in Remender's storytelling.

First, the team is odd.  Rogue and the Scarlet Witch are our only veterans from the first team; the absence of Havok, Steve Rogers, Thor, and Wolverine is a reminder of how much trauma the team has suffered.  The addition of Quicksilver and Vision certainly ups the drama component, given their tenuous relationships with Wanda; Sam checks off the necessary "Captain America" box.  Between the three of them, they round out the Avengers component pretty well.

The problem is with the remaining two characters.  Sabretooth is really the only other "X-Men" besides Rogue; Pietro and Wanda might be mutants, but they've never been X-Men.  He's only here because of his persistent inversion, an unwelcome sign that Remender has no intention of sweeping "Avengers & X-Men:  Axis" under the rug, as I'd hoped he would do.  I would've much rather have seen Shiro or someone actually recognizable as an X-Men.  After all, if the point of the team is to build trust with the world by showing that humans and mutants can work together, it seems odd to chose a guy who only a few days ago was a homicidal maniac.  Sure, Pietro, Rogue, and Wanda have all been villains, but they've also got years as heroes under their belt.  Sabretooth became a hero almost literally yesterday.  It's a bit of a stretch.  I don't even know what to say about Doctor Voodoo.  I have no idea why we've decided to embrace one of Bendis' more half-assed decisions when he was writing the Avengers books.  Voodoo has always been a poor fit for the team, and Remender makes it worse here by clearly struggling with his voice.  Couldn't we have brushed off Amanda Sefton or some other sorcerer connected to the X-Men?  Amanda Sefton and Sunfire would've sufficiently met the X-Men quotient; Doctor Voodoo and Sabretooth do not.

To make matters worse, the plot is bizarre.  Actually, that's not entirely accurate.  The plot itself is pretty straight-forward:  rattled from the revelation that Magneto isn't their father, the Twins seek out the High Evolutionary in his hiding place on Counter-Earth to get answers.  But, the execution is muddled.  Remender relies on the old trope of a botched teleportation to scatter the teammates throughout Counter-Earth.  I just gritted my teeth through the last three or four issues of "All-New X-Men" as the team has struggled to find each other; I'm not sure that I can do it again.

In other words, blech.  I'm not buying the team, and I'm not thrilled with the story.  It's not the greatest of starts.

** (two of five stars)

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