In the last issue, the Uncanny Avengers faced a potential split in the team after a rather heated – and controversial – argument. Ignoring Remender’s questionable ideas behind the mutants of the Marvel Universe, it was a decent superhero comic. Today’s issue isn’t offensive at all, yet it’s not as good on the superhero front.
As a result of the split, the Uncanny Avengers are in four different groups in this comic. While the character drama is mostly well written, it really distracts from the story and gives this comic a bit of a convoluted feeling. Captain America mentions that he’s only recently returned from his 10-year ordeal from his solo series, and that’s why he flipped out on Wolverine. That would have been nice to know before, but it does soften the blow a bit.
Two of the four groups face off against one of the new horsemen of apocalypse, while one of the groups is split up again and faces two. All of this, along with the very introduction of these horsemen, somehow has to fit inside one issue along with plot exposition, appearances from a 90’s character and several unconnected action scenes, and you have a comic that’s way too crowded for its own good.
Let’s talk about the new horsemen for a moment, and these aren’t spoilers considering they’re right on the front cover. First we have Banshee. That’s fine enough – it’s been too long since we’ve last seen him, and his death was a bit cheap. His apparent hatred toward Havok feels a bit out of place, but Remender makes it work. And then there’s Grim Reaper, who was killed earlier in Uncanny Avengers. That’s fair enough – he would have a reason to be angry at the team considering he was killed during their press conference. These two are alright, especially if this series is half-avengers.
But then we have Sentry and Daken. Sentry hasn’t been around all that long, and his fan base is fairly minimal. Around the time of his death he was little more than half-way between a plot device and a superman rip-off. He’s an overpowered character who can only really be defeated by cosmic entities or plot induced stupidity. Becoming a horseman of apocalypse usually means they get a power upgrade, making him even more stupidly powerful.
Daken has his fans sure, but most people either like him or hate him. He’s probably my least favourite x-men villain, and I can count on one hand the number of issues I’ve actually enjoyed him in. Even then, I only enjoyed him because of the characters he was interacting with, and because his side in the conflict was kept a mystery until the end. Also, he was only killed a few months ago. Already bringing him back from an important emotional moment for Wolverine feels kind of wasteful. As a purely evil horseman, the little that made him interesting is now completely gone.
Compare them to Uncanny X-Force’s horsemen of apocalypse. All four of them were completely original, and that made them all the more interesting. They each had their unique backstory and interesting powers, like the civil war guy who could kill people with his drums, or the monstrous War who wasn’t as dangerous as he looked. Pestilence was especially scary, breathing dangerous insects at people. They were also alive before they became horsemen, whereas the new horsemen are simply resurrected characters with their personalities skewed (probably against their will). It comes across as a bit cliché when you just resurrect characters and make them evil for the time being.
The dark nature of this book is also starting to grow a bit tiresome. Comics are supposed to be fun, yet Marvel’s supposed flagship title is dark, apocalyptic and overly political. There is a place for dark storytelling, like Remender’s Uncanny X-Force or Scott Snyder’s Batman, but a flagship title should have an even mix of optimism and darkness, especially when it’s directly tied to two franchises with fun backgrounds. There is no optimism to be found in Uncanny Avengers, only a dark, somewhat depressing outlook on the Marvel Universe.
While this review has come across as a bit of a rant, this comic is still alright. The dialogue writing is good enough, and the action certainly shows how these horsemen could be serious threats. The art is solid, even if its style may not be for everyone. If you’ve been enjoying Uncanny Avengers so far, this is still worth reading. If you’re growing tired of it, this is more of the same. As for myself, I’m starting to lose interest in this book.
Wow, this might be the longest single comic review I’ve ever written, not including series finales.