Marvel NOW! Review: Uncanny Avengers #1 By Rick Remender and John Cassaday

Uncanny Avengers #1
Written by Rick Remender
Art by John Cassaday and Laura Martin

The short of it:

The book starts with brain surgery and a funeral, and oddly enough, they aren’t related. The familiar preview page of open brain surgery opens the issue, and no, it’s not Cyclops, but while our faceless bad guy monologues we cut over to Wolverine being the voice of the X-Men and being the most obviously perfect person in the world to speak at Xavier’s funeral. Not Beast, or Iceman, or Storm. Wolverine. It’s actually a pretty good speech, just…Wolverine. Meanwhile you’ve got Havok going to go visit slash tell off his brother in jail. More Scott without regret, more characters treating him like he’s some crazy evil mastermind they locked up. It’s about then that Cap and Thor show up looking for the oft forgotten Summers Brother. It’s a bit of a propaganda meeting, with Cap trying to make sure that Alex is going to be too much like his brother, and trying to sell how great he is despite the whole AVX deal.

The answer to the problems that became obvious with the happening of AVX? Havok should lead a team of Avengers. In part because of how awesome he is, but you also can’t ignore that Wolverine is a cold blooded killer. Mutants will follow him, and he’s good at his job, that’s what Scott settles on. And then we find out that our brain surgery patient was Avalanche coming out and unleashing acts of MUTANT TERRORISM, the likes of which we haven’t seen in years! Avalanche gets defeated relatively quickly, but not before creating mass devastation and I have to imagine killing quite a few people.

Then we get to see Wanda mourn Xavier, and Rogue shows up to talk down to her about how she’s not welcome here. So begins the argument, Rogue blaming Wanda for creating the entire mess, and Wanda telling her to get over it and blame Cyclops already. I’ve never been so happy to see a character punched in the face, blown up, and stabbed in the span of four pages. Our brain surgery bad guys pick them up, as well as something else to return to their master…

But that’s a spoiler!

What I liked:

  • Man, John Cassaday absolutely killed it here. He’s got this thing about his style where everything is just instantly iconic. He draws an amazing Captain America, and I love his take on Thor. He aces everything from the characters, to the action, to the scope of the damage dealt by those actions. He’s an incredible talent that makes this book feel larger than life.
  • Rogue is the most well characterized person in this book, she doesn’t come across like a ‘Cyclops supporter’, but she does punch Wanda in the face for being a bitch. Anyone who punches Wanda in the face gets a gold star in my book.
  • Alex being recognized for a big time leadership position. It’s really easy to forget with the way Marvel has handled the younger brother for the past…I want to say decade or so, but he’s always provided a more than competent leader. Scott may have been the field general, but Alex wasn’t too far behind him.
  • It was so refreshing to see mutant terrorism be a thing again. It’s been so long since some evil mutant ran into the streets and started bringing down buildings just for the hell of it.
  • I might not enjoy that Wolverine gave the eulogy, as it reeks of just putting the popular character in as a mouthpiece, but Remender writes the absolute hell out of it.

What I didn’t like:

  • I didn’t like it here, and I didn’t like it in Consequences, and I didn’t like it when they mentioned it in AVX. Wolverine should not be giving eulogies for Xavier. He’s only one step up from having Captain America do it in terms of “that’s the best you can do?” and “we write based on popularity and not logic”. Sure, there’s a dynamic between Logan and Charles, but the guy with his own MUTANT HIT SQUAD THAT HE LEADS should not be preaching peace at a funeral.
  • So why isn’t Wanda in jail sitting in the cell next to Scott? Is it because she vanished long enough to be forgiven for all the people who died because of her psychotic temper tantrum?
  • The smugness that is Wanda Maximoff, who despite having essentially created the entire AVX conflict by having a bad day with her uber powers, sees any blame in her direction as an excuse to not blame Scott. If this were written by Bendis I’d probably comment about how he’s giving us the finger with the rub in factor, but with Remender it feels more like the writer telling us to just deal with the way things are. Yes, the same page gets two meanings when one of the creators in question is Bendis.

Final thoughts:

There is a cover gallery in this issue. For this issue. Eighteen covers. For this issue. Fuck you, Marvel. Seriously, fuck you. Deadpool is two of the variants. Four of these are pencils, one is blank, and three are exclusives to stores that make them not even exist to me. Did you need this many variants to sell this book? No? You just wanted to try and cash in some more? Of course you did, you’re Marvel! DC might have done die-cut covers today, but you had to roll out the variant train!

The last page would have had a lot more oomph if next issues cover hadn’t been plastered across the web for months. Still a lot of oomph, but notsomuch on the bad guy reveal.

I said it earlier, but it deserves further stating. I’ve never been so happy to see a character punched in the face, blown up, and stabbed in the span of four pages.

I love the costume choices done for this issue. Cap in his classic beats the Ultimate Cap look I saw in Consequences, Thor looks stellar, Wanda doesn’t look like a whore, and as for the X-Men? Well, don’t screw with the classics. John already drew the perfect Wolverine back on Astonishing X-Men and there was no reason to mess with that. Havok is the classic look without the giant head flares…which I’m fine with, and Rogue? I love green jumpsuit and hood Rogue, so much more than 90’s leather jacket Rogue.

Rick Remender did do one thing pretty successfully; he crafted a situation that demands attention from both Avengers and X-Men to make the pairing of the teams more organic than just Captain America saying so.

One issue in and Havok and Rogue are the stars of what Marvel is promoting as the biggest book in their line up. I think it’s very possible that I could grow to love Marvel NOW! Very possible indeed.

Overall: 8/10

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