This is one of those times where my like or dislike of a comic changes drastically after a second reading. The first time I read today’s Uncanny Avengers, it was in the middle of reading 12 comics in one sitting, meaning I didn’t put too much time into thinking about this one. I really liked it, but now I realize this comic has serious issues. But first, let’s talk about the positives.
The superhero side of this comic is very good. There are some plot reveals concerning the Apocalypse Twins’ plans and it’s simply epic. The scene with Captain America in the Middle East is short yet enjoyable, and Wonder Man’s solution to a potential diplomatic incident is both effective and entertaining thanks to his super powered pacifism. The scene between Wolverine and Rogue, while short, does a good job at capturing their relationship during these hard times.
The art is great for the most part. Most scenes have well-drawn backgrounds that help improve on the storytelling, or add little unspoken character moments. There are a few pages where the art feels a bit rushed, most notably on the pages where Rogue and the Scarlet Witch are arguing. That scene is where this comic’s problems begin.
Before I continue, I must give credit to Xmenxpert for mentioning this in his comment on my Release Day Rundown video. Even in my second reading, I might not have thought about this issue’s problems as much without him saying that UA 9 infuriated him. Sometimes I don’t notice these kinds of problems until a few days after I read a comic, watch a movie, or consume whatever form of entertainment has these kinds of problems.
The vocal debate between Rogue and the Scarlet Witch feels more like an essay than a real argument, and it’s one-sided in its presentation. It feels as though Rick Remender is forcing his ideas on mutant kind down our throats. His idea is that the only linking factor between mutants is under circumstance of birth. In issue five, he had Havok making a speech where he states his hatred for the word Mutant, and would rather be judged solely on what he does with his powers. While the idea sounds nice on paper, it does a disservice to the entire history of the X-Men franchise. It also completely ignores those mutants who have vastly different outside appearances: Nightcrawler, Blink, Exodus, Apocalypse, Mondo … I could go on.
As with black people, mutants don’t just share their birth circumstances, they share a history of relentless discrimination and repression. Black people still wrongfully face discrimination at times, as do mutants in the Marvel Universe. This divide between mutants and other superheroes cannot simply be wished away when it’s the core of the X-Men franchise. As long as discrimination exists, and it always will, franchises like the X-Men will always be important. It almost feels as though Remender is unintentionally trying to wish away everything that makes the X-Men unique.
In his arguments he also seems to misunderstand religion. He also mistakes Romani for a religion when it’s an ethnic group, and that’s down right offensive. You could write an entire essay on the bad judgements and mistakes he made in this 3-page scene, but this has gone on long enough for a review.
The scene where the team splits up isn’t quite as problematic, but it’s not all that great either. Captain America kicks Wolverine out because he led the team that killed the Apocalypse kid back in Uncanny X-Force. He does this without giving Wolverine any chance to defend himself, which does a disservice to their long history together. As much as the Captain has his morals, he also realizes that sometimes extreme measures are necessary. In fact, this is one of the reasons he brought Wolverine into this team to begin with. That’s not to mention that Wolverine has since tried to vow off killing, and yet this is completely left out. It’s also contradictory that neither Captain America nor Wasp are willing to work with Wolverine over this, yet they’re supporting the Scarlet Witch, who nearly wiped out an entire race. I understand that the team needs to be divided for both dramatic and plot reasons, but it feels forced here.
While I’m not quite angry about this issue, I’m very disappointed with it. Until the Rogue/Scarlet Witch scene, this was a great comic, but then it completely fell apart. It implies problems with the way Remender views mutants in the Marvel Universe. I wish I could recommend this comic. The superhero side of it is great, but it’s too problematic to recommend to anyone.
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I actually plan on writing a blog post for Beyond the Gamer about my problems with Uncanny Avengers. I’ve got a draft ready. It’ll need a lot of rewriting after this issue. Because the debate between Wanda and Rogue pissed me right off. Remender is simply not a good enough writer to present a debate where the side he doesn’t agree with comes across as still being valid. All he’s capable of is a strawman to knock down. He should not be writing this series.
In a better world, Remender would be writing Avengers Assemble, and Kelly Sue DeConnick would be writing Uncanny Avengers.