Uncanny Avengers 1

The Pull List…it ain’t just for DC (and Image, I suppose) anymore…

Before we begin, allow me the obligatory opening remarks, complete with pun:

Three X-Men, three Avengers, one grumpy reviewer…this is the future of the Marvel Universe  NOW! (the stakes are actually pretty low)

Anyway, welcome to what I’m almost positive is the inaugural Marvel-post in The Pull List.  I’m your host, said grumpy reviewer.  But do not despair, lovers of Marvel; I actually liked this title for the most part.  The flagship of Marvel’s answer to the New 52, Uncanny Avengers follows a team of unlikely comrades — Captain America, Wolverine, Thor, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, and Havok — as they chart the unsettled waters of a world torn asunder by the cataclysm that was AvX!

Now I didn’t read AvX.  I like Marvel, but I’m not much for the company-wide crossover event, which Marvel seems to get off on (Secret Invasion, Disassembled, Siege, Fear Itself, etc, etc) and so I avoided AvX.  However, I’m sufficiently well-versed in its plot to know what’s going on as Uncanny Avengers starts off.  Here’s the quick and dirty of what you need to know:

The Phoenix Force (which inhabited/consumed Jean Grey, famously) is returning to Earth and targeted Hope Summers as its next host.  Captain America and the Avengers say no, it could endanger humanity; Cyclops and the X-Men say yes, it could help the mutants (devastated by Scarlet Witch some time ago).  War breaks out.  Shit hits fan. Cyclops and various other mutants invested with Phoenix Force.  Cyclops kills Professor X (gasp).  Cyclops is imprisoned, but only after accusing Cap and the Avengers of never having done enough for mutantkind.

Thus, here we are: Cap burdened with guilt that “Cyclops was right,” and Cyclops apparently not giving a shit about his old mentor and surrogate father’s blood all over his visor.

So Cap says, “Let’s start yet ANOTHER FUCKING AVENGERS TEAM that focuses on human/mutant relations.  I’ll be on it, duh.  And so will you, Thor. (Aye, says Thor) But we won’t lead it, we’ll get Havok, Cyclop’s dopey brother to do it.  He’s always been wayward and not as cool.  He’s edgy, but he’s the hero we need right now.”

Meanwhile Rogue says to Scarlet Witch, “You killed us, bitch, and you’re an Avenger, I hate you.”  And then there’s a fight and an explosion at Professor X’s memorial.

THEN, Avalanche comes and he’s all brainwashed and shit and he kills a bunch of people despite Cap’s et al best efforts and mutants are again a menace, but we find out its because the Red Skull is behind it all!

Catch my breath here…

Let me say that I love John Cassaday, and I was so excited to hear that he was doing the art for this book.  But when I opened the book, I was concerned that Cassaday might have suffered some sort of Geoff Johns/Jim Lee creativity stroke.  Here’s what I mean…

Here’s Wolverine from Uncanny Avengers

And here he is from Astonishing X-Men #1 (2004) also by Cassaday:

The difference is startling.  I fell in love with Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men and I was so looking forward to seeing him return to draw the characters that made me love him in the first place, but this feels so mediocre to me.  Like Jim Lee on Justice League, it’s like a pretty good forgery, but its just…sloppy.  Perhaps the difference is that Cassaday is inking his own work on Uncanny Avengers and not in Astonishing X-Men.  I think they should leave the inking to the inkers, myself…

From a writing standpoint, I know nothing about Remender, so I’m going into this with nothing.  It’s not as bad as it could have been (far and away better than DiDio’s Phantom Stranger coming out of DC, for instance).  The scenes were well-crafted and there seems to be a good setup going on, but some of the dialogue was a little choppy.

Overall, it was an okay first issue, nothing to raise hell about either way.  It felt like something I’ve read before, though, and that’s not something you want a reader to experience, especially on the inaugural issue.  I’m hoping that Remender will pull some stuff we’ve never seen before and that Cassaday…the old Cassaday…will come back soon enough.