Not content to publish a dozen titles featuring either Avengers or X-Men, the House of Ideas is now publishing a book with members of both teams. For those of you keeping score, this is the sixth ongoing Avengers title being published right now (and three of those ship bi-weekly). This superhero mashup also serves as the first book in the Marvel NOW! initiative. Marvel is changing creative teams, character rosters and costumes (with no explanation as to why the costumes changed that I can see). It’s easy to label this as a New 52-esque publicity stunt, but Marvel relaunches their books all the time, so who cares? The continuity is remaining intact, so this is just another Marvel media grab. That’s okay. They should totally go for the media grab. But for me as a reader, I’ve seen these relaunches before, so my mind isn’t exactly blown.
But what of the issue itself? John Cassaday delivers the type of art that only he can. Once again teamed with colorist Laura Martin, the softness in both the line work and color palette sets the sober tone of the story much like it did in Astonishing X-Men. It all works. There are some great action pieces and some really unsettling reveals in the issue. On the flip side, there are some strange character designs for the new villains that might take some warming up to.
As far as the plot, there’s a lot to like. The team comes together very organically following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men thanks to Captain America’s pledge to try to finally do right by the mutant population. The dialogue is all really tight and Wolverine’s eulogy to Xavier is moving. The villainous crazy talk is pretty solid, too, and given the level of crazy we’ve come to expect from this villain (spoiler free review here, kids)m that’s a good thing. If there’s one weak point, it’s that exactly one week after the reemergence of new mutants, we’re once again getting a story about the “mutant menace.” There are new things to bring to the table, of course, and Remender absolutely does. But there’s definitely a “we’ve seen this all before” vibe. Basically, this reads like an X-Men story that happens to have an Avengers villain.
It’s also worth noting that there are some weird inconsistencies timeline-wise between this book and AvX: Consequences, also released today. That doesn’t bode terribly well, but it’s not awful, either. There’s plenty of time for things to shake out okay.
Uncanny Avengers is a solid start to the Marvel NOW! era. It’s good, but not completely fresh, thanks to it being “Kill the muties” volume 1,473. I give Uncanny Avengers #1 4 out of 5 living winds. That’s a thing in this book. For real.