Review: Uncanny Avengers #1
One thing is pretty clear after reading the first issue of the new Uncanny Avengers: Marvel foolishly seems to think Captain America was the hero of Avengers vs. X-Men. Were they reading the same comic I was? Because I’m fairly certain Cyclops was right all along, and it was Captain America who caused all the problems in the first place. But as I said in my review of Avengers vs. X-Men #12, history is written by the winners. And sure enough, Captain America won the big superhero fight. So he gets to decide how the world of superheroes moves forward, and he and all his buddies get to vilify Cyclops like it was their favorite new hobby.
I wonder if the ending to AvX has anything to do with Captain America leading Marvel’s $1 billion Avengers movie franchise, and the X-Men being owned by a whole different studio?
Comic Rating: 4/5: Good.
I’ll try to tone down my Cyclops love for this review, because it was a good comic. In the sense that it told a straight forward story, set up several main characters and seems to promise a lot of character-based drama in the issues to come. But I’m not blown away by the new series, and there’s nothing in here that’s truly revolutionary or exciting. It’s kind of just…a superhero comic. One that may be a little too closely tied to Avengers vs. X-Men to stand on its own. Both Cyclops and the death of Professor X weigh heavily on this issue, so I don’t know if it’ll be too daunting for new readers who might have been attracted by Marvel NOW!
The choice of villain has been spoiled for a long time, so his appearance wasn’t a surprise. His choice of henchmen, though, leaves a lot to be desired. They sacrificed one of my all-time favorite X-villains for no good reason, then introduced a bunch of new nobodies that literally made me question what the hell I was reading. And not in a good way.
This comic has a lot of potential as Marvel’s new flagship title. I have a lot of faith in writer Rick Remender, and John Cassaday is a very good artist – though I’ve seen him do much better work. He’s definitely not at the top of his game with this issue. Remender and Cassaday lay the groundwork for some hopefully great work coming up. We shall see.
We begin with a rather graphic bit of brain surgery. Because what better way to start off a bold new series than by making everybody squeamish.
The mysterious surgeon is narrating how the mutants shouldn’t be blamed for what they did. They were facing extinction, and desperate times called for desperate measures. But in the end, he concludes that mutants still need to be wiped out. We see him remove the frontal lobe of the patient’s brain and replace it with some kind of device. We don’t learn the identities of the surgeon or his patient right away, but we will. We’ll also find out who the weird looking people standing in the back are – though I don’t care for the answer.
We then cut to Wolverine at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, where he’s about to give the eulogy at Professor X’s funeral. Wolverine briefly flashes back to the first time he met Xavier, when the professor convinced him to join the X-Men. Or at least that would be the first time they met as long as we ignore that new First X-Men series that’s being published. But then I’m fairly certain that everybody is going to be ignoring the continuity rewrites from First X-Men. It has been critically panned.
Anyway, Wolverine gives the eulogy to a large group of X-characters, talking about how great a person Charles Xavier was and all that usual funeral goodness. We get a brief glimpse of Magneto in hiding, watching the eulogy on some kind of screen. And we also cut back and forth to Cyclops in his special ruby quartz prison, being visited by his brother, Havok.
Wolverine concludes the eulogy on a sour note by accusing everyone in attendance of failing Xavier. The man died having never seen his dream of mutant/human peace become a reality.
I’ve heard better eulogies. And Wolverine made sure to add a part about how he wants to just go kill Scott Summers.
Anyone who read my review of Avengers vs. X-Men #12 knows that I am a hardcore Cyclops supporter. So a lot of this issue is a bitter pill to swallow, since everyone who wronged Cyclops came out victorious, and now they get to stomp all over him and his reputation as much as they like. And the scene with between Cyclops and Havok is especially frustrating. But one has to realize that Rick Remender was not on the writing staff of Avengers vs. X-Men, and the script for Uncanny Avengers #1 was likely handed in months ago. So Cyclops being completely out of character from his AvX self is understandable.
But it’s still annoying as hell.
The major problem with Cyclops and Avengers vs. X-Men is that Marvel seems to have one thing in mind for how Cyclops acted and should be perceived, but that conflicts completely with how he was actually portrayed on the page.
Havok accuses Cyclops of marching the X-Men into joining with the Phoenix, as if his dead wife wasn’t lesson enough not to mess with the Phoenix.
This is incorrect, because Cyclops never wanted to join with the Phoenix in the first place. He wanted Hope to join with the Phoenix, and it was only after the Avengers tried to shoot the Phoenix with a giant gun that it broke apart and then bonded with Cyclops and the rest of the PhoeniX-Men. Cyclops was never any sort of Phoenix fanatic trying to get it to bond with him, it only happened on accident after something the Avengers did.
Granted, Cyclops didn’t then immediately give it up, but who says he could? They wrote in the last issue that only Hope had the strength to let go of the Phoenix.
In prison, Cyclops is also accused of turning away from Xavier’s dream of peaceful cohabitation and embracing brute force.
Again, this is incorrect. When did that ever happen? Cyclops never enslaved the human race, he never put his boot to the neck of humanity while he was in control of the Phoenix. It was only after the Phoenix was clearly manipulating his actions, and after he’d been transformed into the Dark Phoenix, that he started threatening the world. And by that point it’s pretty clear that Cyclops isn’t responsible for his own actions.
Anyway, I’m just being fussy. Marvel can write whatever they want to write. I don’t see how being possessed by the Phoenix would completely change Cyclops as a person on a permanent basis. But this issue treats him as a creepy, Hannibal Lecter-esque loon in love with his own power. Havok gets mad at his brother and storms out, where he’s immediately met by Captain America and Thor, who take him back to Avengers Mansion to discuss Cap’s new idea for a joint Avengers/X-Men team – at least after Thor makes a bad latte joke, his one contribution to this issue.
Once at the Mansion, Cap doesn’t waste any time in trying to turn Alex against his brother.
Cyclops has never said that, and I’ve been reading as many of the post-AvX comics that I can. This is like a reverse Godwin’s Law, which states that the longer an Internet discussion goes on, the more likely it is that someone will compare their opponent to Hitler or the Nazis. And as soon as that happens, that person loses the argument. Captain America is putting Nazi accusations into Cyclops’ mouth to make himself look better.
Captain America has become a real asshole in the wake of Avengers vs. X-Men.I’d hoped that wouldn’t be the case, but again, he’s the winner, he gets to say whatever he wants.
And what he wants is to do more for mutants, like he’s never done before. Captain America wants to extend the Avengers umbrella to scoop up and give all the old mutants and all the new mutants a big hug now. He and Thor loved Professor X like a brother, despite having maybe zero interactions with him ever. Cap wants Alex to be the new leader of the mutant race now that Professor X and Cyclops are out of the picture, and because Wolverine is a murderous killing machine, or as Captain America describes it, his “checkered past.”
So Captain America has basically appointed himself as the only one qualified to elect the new mutant leader? That’s how he starts taking care of mutants? Hell, he couldn’t have picked a worse candidate.
Here are Havok’s credentials, according to Cap: “You’re a government man, degree in geophysics, a student of Xavier’s with a clean history”.
Havok hasn’t been a player in the world of mutants or the X-Men in years. He left the planet shortly after M-Day, and spent a long time out in space as leader of the Starjammers. Only recently did he return to Earth, and he immediately hid out with X-Factor, where he served as a pretty piss poor leader who was routinely disrespected by his own team. And now Captain America has taken it upon himself to declare Havok the new face of mutants. Brilliant move.
I hope my readers realize this is all my own opinion and my own take on the stories that Marvel is telling. I know from the comments you guys and girls have made on my blog, as well as surfing the web, that I’m not the only person in fandom who supports Cyclops. So at least there’s that. But I promise, from now on, not to get too preachy about this stuff. This is just how I’m choosing to read and react to the events.
Havok balks at Captain America’s suggestions, but then he rises to the challenge when the evil mutant Avalanche attacks right outside the Mansion.
Havok and Thor work to save the civilians from Avalanche’s destruction, while Captain America confronts the mutant directly atop his street wave. But as soon as that happens, Avalanche declares that the “inciting act is complete” and then just tosses himself off the top of the wave, much to Cap’s shock. Down below, people are freaking out, fearful over what’s just happened. Avalanche has leveled several buildings in the name of mutants, and many people are dead.
Avalanche, by the way, is the man who was getting a lobotomy at the start of the comic.
This scene is disappointing, but only because I’m a huge Avalanche fan. I’ve always been a big fan of the Brotherhood of Mutants, and Avalanche was one of the only old school members left. Plus, I really liked his status as a bar owner in San Francisco back when the X-Men stories took place there. It was a neat role for him. Now he’s just been offered up as fodder for this story. So that’s a sad loss of one of my favorite characters. Hopefully they’ll follow up on Avalanche next issue. I assume he’s dead, which would be terrible.
As my brother can attest, fellow old school Brotherhood member Pyro has been dead for years now, with no sign of him coming back. So if Avalanche is really dead, it’s probably permanent. Sad shame.
But let’s not dwell on that! We need to get to the confrontation between Rogue and the Scarlet Witch! Where Scarlet Witch asks a pretty stupid and arrogant question.
Scarlet Witch is paying her respects at Xavier’s tomb, and Rogue is all angry about M-Day. Scarlet Witch says that she is taking responsibility for her part in all of this, and asks if Cyclops will as well.
Yes, he already has, in Avengers vs. X-Men #12.
Rogue is playing the part of the angry mutant, accusing Scarlet Witch of ignoring the plight of her fellow mutants while she partied with the Avengers. Scarlet Witch foolishly asks why it was so important that mutants come back. Are you serious? How is that a legitimate opinion for a hero to have? Mutants are a species! You single-handedly turned them into an endangered species! It’d be like asking why it’s so important that more tigers be born? Scarlet Witch is also rather indifferent to all of Rogue’s anger, scoffing at how bored she is with mutants acting like they’re huge martyrs. Because wow, way to get everybody on board with the Scarlet Witch. She doesn’t think the mutant race should have been restarted and thinks mutants should just shut up already about all that prejudice and persecution.
Of course, that gets her punched.
Rogue goes for the throat, trying to use her absorption powers to take away Wanda’s own powers – but Rogue’s powers suddenly aren’t working. Something strange is going on…but no time to worry about that, because Xavier’s tomb suddenly explodes in a giant fireball! Rogue and Scarlet Witch recover in time to see their attackers…
…who turn out to be the most ludicrous super-villains I’ve seen in a long time.
“Suffer the gaze of the Goat-Faced Girl”? Really? Are you trying to be meta, or something?
These dinguses proceed to announce their names as well as their powers, a bunch of animal themed weirdos who basically just smack around the two heroines for a page. Then Scarlet Witch throws herself in front of an attack, saving Rogue, but gets stabbed through the gut for her trouble. Then both women get knocked out by a giant, brutish turtle guy, who tells his teammates to get what they came for.
The group then leave via a waterway created by one of their members.
We then cut to a building that literally looks like the Legion of Doom fortress, where the mysterious surgeon from the beginning is once again cutting into someone. He’s conversing with a new partner now, who suggests perhaps they should go back to trying to find the Cosmic Cube or some other classic super-villain relic. The surgeon says not to bother with those when the heroes left the “most powerful” weapon on Earth completely unguarded.
The last page reveals – in gruesome detail – that the dinguses stole the body of Charles Xavier, and that the mysterious surgeon is the Red Skull – which has been spoiled for months, so there’s no surprise. This time, he uses his surgical skills to remove the telepathic brain of Charles Xavier, with which the Red Skull says he’ll eradicate the mutant menace.
I’d post the picture…but it really is rather gruesome.
And since when does the Red Skull care about mutants? Despite the fact that he’s supposed to be dead (that never sticks), is he only now caring about mutants because his BEF (Best Enemies Forever) Captain America suddenly cares about mutants? Still, grotesqueness aside, it’s a pretty chilling moment when Red Skull removes Xavier’s brain. I guess Xavier’s tomb was no better guarded than Dumbledore’s when Voldemort just strolled up and stole the Elder Wand, amiright?
Anyway, that is the first issue of Marvel’s new flagship title, Uncanny Avengers. And unless sudden brain surgery really gets you fired up, there wasn’t anything particularly exciting about this issue. The Red Skull is as classic as villains get, and his new henchmen are ridiculous. John Cassaday may be a famous artist, but he’s terrible at drawing these strangely monstrous henchmen. I like the Skull’s villainous plan – as evil as it is – so at least he has that going for him. Though hopefully Remender has a good answer as to why the Red Skull suddenly cares about mutants.
I really do think it has to do with Cap’s sudden interest in them.
This was a generally solid issue. The main characters are all introduced and given a little scene to propel their upcoming storylines – with the exception of Thor, and kind of Captain America. For the moment, they’re just window dressing. But Havok, Scarlet Witch, Rogue and perhaps even Wolverine seem to have some exciting stories on the track. Maybe. I’d especially like to see what Remender does with Havok. Hopefully more than Peter David managed to do in X-Factor.
I’ve ranted enough about how Uncanny Avengers is treating Cyclops, so I won’t waste anymore of your time. AvX: Consequences seems to have a nice take on him, so I’ll definitely still be reading that.
I just hope Captain America and Wolverine aren’t too insufferable in this new series.