Sunday, January 24, 2016

Uncanny Avengers #2 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

This issue is seriously great.

First, Duggan does just a spectacular job of conveying the chaos that Rogue and her team face.  The plants are slowly taking over people, killing them once their roots dig too deep into them.  Snyapse tries to help, but the plants actually change the victims' body chemistry so that her powers (which seem to allow her to manipulate our bio-electricity) don't seem to work.  Rogue makes a comment about her inability to solve the problem, and Synapse responds violently too her, underlining their tension.  Meanwhile, Rogue and Deadpool are still trying to fight off the Cujos that attacked them last issue.  Johnny bails to go to M.I.T. to see if the students there can help identify and solve the problem and Quicksilver disappears.  Rogue laments the fact that they wouldn't have treated Steve that way.  Finally, we learn that the Shredded Man is essentially an eco-terrorist that wants humanity to return to nature, though Stegman makes him suitably threatening-looking that you don't dismiss him as a rejected "Captain Planet and the Planeteers" villain.

But, then it gets even crazier and more exciting.  After the Shredded Man seemingly kills Quicksilver, Duggan throws us into 2087.  We learn that the Shredded Man's attacks were successful:  Boston is destroyed and quarantined, but the only survivors on Earth are a handful of Inhumans.  We get this information from a mysterious man with a metal arm, talking to a living tattoo on that arm that he calls Belle.  Belle wonders if the destruction had anything to do with the M-Pox, but he and Belle conclude that it didn't:  the man thinks it unlikely that the Kree would've transformed Earth but then not claim it, and Belle observes that the remaining Inhumans don't seem to understand what happened either.  If we hadn't already guessed, the man is revealed to be Cable, and he decides to return to 2016 to help.

In other words, it's the perfect Avengers story.  We've got conflicting egos, interpersonal drama, and potential apocalypses.  I love reading stories where the heroes fail to prevent a catastrophe, so I totally dug Duggan unexpectedly throwing us into a future to reveal that the present day Unity Squad had failed.  Moreover, it's interesting that no one ever seems to have developed a cure for the M-Pox:  Belle can merely synthesize the treatment that the mutants already seem to have in the present.  Overall, I just couldn't be happier with where we seem to be going.

***** (five of five stars)

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