- Writer: Rick Remender
- Artist: John Cassaday
You got X-Men in my Avengers! You got Avengers in my X-Men! Fresh off of the financial success of Avengers vs. X-Men comes the first entry into the “Marvel Now!” line-wide rebranding. Does this latest post-crossover reshuffle offer much to the longtime Marvelite? Is this issue, ostensibly the flagship of Marvel Now!, accessible to new readers? Is this comic any good? Dive in below, and let’s discuss Uncanny Avengers #1.
Before we begin, I want to briefly explain the Marvel Now! concept. In an attempt to provide fresh stories and new situations, Marvel has Acts of Vengeance’d their creative staffs. What this means is that you have Avengers’ vet Brian Bendis writing the X-Men, and Iron Man alum Matt Fraction penning the Fantastic Four. Shuffling creative teams around may sound like a recipe for disaster, but it can also be just what you need to shake up the complacency prevalent in the comic book industry.
Over a year ago, many questioned how DC could pull off a line-wide reboot. It was a gamble, of course. Would long term readers stick with a drastically altered continuity? Today, DC has consistently beaten, or come incredibly close against Marvel on the sales charts month after month.
Now, with more restraint than the New 52, we have Marvel Now! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the premise:
Marvel’s two greatest franchises combine to offer the best of both worlds. The slick creative team of Rick Remender (X-Force), and John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men) unite to paint the Marvel landscape post AVX. Can these former friends turned fearsome foes set aside their differences long enough to combat a threat from beyond the grave?
Our story picks up the pieces some small amount of time after Avengers vs. X-Men #12. Charles Xavier has passed, Cyclops is in prison, and the mutant community has come together to mourn the loss of its’ greatest dreamer.
Captain America later attempts to recruit Cyclops’ brother, Havok, in order to Avenge the mutant name in front of the public, and after a “come to (insert religious figure) moment” they battle the X-Men’s longtime foe, Avalanche. Later, Rogue and Scarlet Witch don’t realize that AVX ended with issue 6, and finally the Red Skull unveils his most batshit crazy plan yet.
Charles Xavier’s funeral? Cyclops in prison? Havok has lattes with Captain America? Does this sound like an easy jumping-on point for a new comics reader? Does this sound like a good #1 of any comic? I don’t think so.
The first half of this comic establishes the mind-set of its mutant characters (Wolverine, Havok, Rogue) post Avengers vs. X-Men, but the problem is that it just doesn’t work as a first issue. It’s more than a little clunky when a launch reads like the epilogue to a bloated crossover that most everyone would likely be happy to move past. This book needs to establish its own voice and its own purpose if its going to go toe to toe with Uncanny X-Men and The Avengers. The new reader doesn’t stand a chance in understanding, or caring about what is going on when the book itself seems to shamble through the plot unconcerned with things like pacing and momentum. As a longtime comic reader, I didn’t have this problem myself, but it seems shortsighted to carry the launch of a new era on the shoulders of a recent misstep.
Now, what about this new initiative offers anything to the longterm Marvelite? I don’t mind admitting that I’m not a fan of the X-Men. They don’t come across as user friendly. The last story I read was Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, because it allowed a casual fan to have a jumping-on point that actually was a jumping on point. This book has had a similar effect on me. By putting my favorite characters (The Avengers) into a setting where they can interact with a team I know little about (The X-Men), I’ve found that I am already wanting to know more about the mutants showcased in this issue.
For the past few years, The Avengers under Brian Bendis have been the story of the Marvel Universe. Nearly every crossover that advanced the overall “plot” of the Marvel mythos focused on them, and the eventual line-wide re-shuffle put their books front and foremost. In our post-Lost serialized world where people want to read and watch what “matters,” bringing the X-Men to the primetime of the Marvel Universe can only be a good thing. Also, if you’re one of those guys or gals that only read the X-Men, then perhaps this will open your eyes to a new set of characters as well.
Final Word: Is this comic worth reading? Yes. While inserting the X-Men back into the main story of the Marvel Universe may have had a clunky beginning, the slick writing and gorgeous visuals more then give me hope for next month. With Avengers vs X-Men firmly in the rearview mirror, I predict this book will quickly find its footing and offer stories to tantalize X-Men and Avengers fans alike. 2.9 out of 5
Next time: The Red Skull challenges the Uncanny Avengers. Nuff said.