Saturday, November 28, 2015

Uncanny Avengers #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue isn't perfect, but I will say, of the new Avengers titles that I've read so far, this series is the one with the most promise.

The strongest part of the series is going to be that Duggan really has the characterizations down.  First, everyone sounds the way that they're supposed to sound, particularly in their interactions with each other.  Johnny manages to be both sincere and snarky (virtually at the same time) with Peter, and Rogue is understandably hostile to the Inhuman member of the team, Synapse.  Plus, everyone hates Deadpool.  Moreover, these interactions show the type of underlying tension that you expect to see in an "Avengers" title.  It's why Bendis went too far making everyone get along all the time.  If someone isn't at someone else's throat, it's not the Avengers!

That said, Duggan also hints at the new status quo that we saw introduced in "Avengers" #0:  the Terrigen Mists are apparently slowly killing mutants.  Rogue herself has to take an "anti-Terrigen solution," presumably from the sample of the Mists that Deadpool swiped in that issue.  At some point, someone is going to have to give us a better explanation, though I'm not 100 percent sure how it's going to happen.  After all, this title seems the obvious vehicle.  Maybe it has to do with something that happens at the end of "Secret Wars" and we've just got to cool our jets?  Along those lines, we do get more hints about the fate of some of the characters, with Johnny commenting on Ben being in space and Reed and Sue being "gone."

Speaking of Johnny, can I say how much I love his new costume?  It's much better than him flying around the place with that stupid 4 on his chest.  That said, I thought that Duggan did a great job in having Johnny comment on how much he missed his old team, after Pietro chided Johnny for saving him and not innocents.  It was a really poignant moment, because it shows how adrift and isolated Johnny feels.  (An introspective Johnny Storm is a scary thing.)  I'm really excited to see him as part of this team, particularly since I really don't want to read "Uncanny Inhumans" to see him.  (Also, did he and Rogue have some sort of fling?  It seems that way.)

That said, I wasn't a fan of everything here.  Although I do like the idea of Deadpool getting to be on the team because he's footing the bill, Duggan doesn't address the three seemingly obvious questions that this revelation inspires.  First, he doesn't tell us why Deadpool wants to be an Avenger.  In fact, in "Avengers" #0, it seemed like Steve was forcing him to become one.  On the flip side, we're not told why Steve trusts Deadpool.  It's all very Dumbledore and Snape, with Steve just insisting to Rogue that he does.  Finally, he choose Deadpool over Spider-Man seemingly for funding reasons, despite the fact that Spidey could pretty easily get "Peter Parker" to fund the Avengers.  Duggan hints that Steve has other motives here, though I can't for the life of me guess what they are.

Moreover, Steve seems awfully blasé about the lethal actions that both Brother Voodoo and Deadpool take in dispatching the Super-Adaptoid.  Sure, he's mostly an android, but both Voodoo and Deadpool engage in attacks that kill the organic side of him.  Peter is outraged (in part because Deadpool could've made him more powerful if he took his regenerative powers), but Steve just sort of shrugs.  Is he a Skrull?  It feels that way.

All in all, it's a solid, if not particularly exciting, debut.  Duggan has a lot of fertile ground to till here, so we'll see how it grows.

*** (three of five stars)

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