Thursday, 11 October 2012

New Beginnings - Uncanny Avengers #1 (MARVEL NOW)

Marvel has certainly had a big event this year by pitting the X-Men off against the Avengers following an Omega level threat to the existence of everything.

For those who followed and read it Avengers Vs X-Men was certainly a game changer as it blurred the boundaries between what is good and essentially right. Both teams of heroes fought for what they felt was the greater and better ideal. The decision to stop or help Hope Summers and the Pheonix Force.
Now, in the ashes of the story, with Professor X dead and Cyclops held prisoner for the role he played in the whole mess, Rick Remender takes the reins to lead a new era in.

From the out I think it’s fair to say that Remender has headed straight into shock territory. Opening with a lobotomy performed by a mysterious surgeon on an unknown subject, a T+ is earned straight away. What I have liked is that instead of continuing in this vein there is then developed a sense of emotional turmoil through various characters as well as an almost political feeling to it as well with an act of terrorism. A prisoner who we have spent years seeing develop into mutantkind's strongest leader (Scott Summers) and the wake of the man who’s dream started it all.

Interwoven with this we have Captain America developing a new team of Avengers who he hopes will be spearheaded by Havok, Scott's brother Alex.

This is very much an issue set to establish a great many points. Firstly it revisits the mutant/human landscape and the old idea that mutantkind is growing and evolving whilst still feared is most definitely there. The frayed relationships and responsibility of those involved in AvX is also delved into with Rogue confronting the Scarlet Witch, although this in itself produces questions as we see them both as teammates on the cover. It is also the opening foray for Alex Summers to step up and become the leader of this team.

The architecture of the issue is really strong and gives incredibly firm grounding for the reader to build from right the way up to the entry of a rival team who are essentially the “bad guys” keeping your attention focussed on the story so much that I have to admit the stunning final page caught me by complete surprise. Surprised but very impressed as we are presented with an archetypal evil complete with xenophobic intentions.

On the whole the writing is good but, for the first time in ages, I actually cringed when Thor commented on going for a latte.

John Cassaday is the artist for the issue and he has certainly tried to leave his mark as well. There are creative flares shown when he is defining how to imprison Cyclops and also a clean respectful feel to when all are mourning but the thing that struck me most is that characters we all know well have been “tweaked”. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I can see exactly who is portrayed but something just doesn’t feel right. It’s almost a little too polished in the faces without the fine detail and yet at other times, like when Earthquake releases his attack, the detail is present. I found things a little confusing on the eyes.

As an issue to open it is a great start. However, it builds on a huge event and if you haven’t read it then you will be left asking questions.

Remender has always been a strong writer so I can see him taking this and developing it well. Where it goes though, especially in the light of the final page, is an open and interesting discussion just waiting to happen.

Matt Puddy thinks Scott Summers lost it because he finally saw red.

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