This issue is one giant fight scene – the Uncanny Avengers vs. Red Skull, who has given himself Xavier’s mental powers. Red Skull’s goal is to eradicate all mutants from Earth. It doesn’t get much more intense than that; this is an awesome comic.
This issue does a good job at balancing out how each character is used. Captain America has a great moment where he fights off Red Skull’s telepathic assaults. Thor also deals with the villain’s telepathic manipulation, although not quite as well. Wolverine goes berserk – that’s always fun. Havok shows some of his leadership skills, and the Scarlet Witch and Rogue are shown recovering from being mind controlled.
But the real star of this issue is Red Skull himself. This issue highlights how charismatic he is, as well as how brutal and dirty his tactics are. His followers are each interesting in their own right, both visually and in their basic backstories (even though they’re only mentioned in passing).
The art isn’t as good as the writing however. There are panels that look simply brilliant, especially the establishing shots. On the downside, some panels feel a bit rushed. Some of the backgrounds appear muddy or randomly fade out for no apparent reason. These problems don’t appear often, but a book shouldn’t appear rushed when it’s already been delayed a full month. At least the series is switching artists soon, and perhaps that will give John Cassaday more time to do his work.
This truly does feel like a team book comprised of both Avengers and X-Men. The villain is an Avengers villain who is attacking mutants, and it makes sense considering Red Skull’s Nazi background. The action is intense, the writing is strong and there’s still room for tidbits of character work. It’s not perfect, and the art does hold it back a bit, but this is at least worth reading for anyone who enjoys either franchise.