UNCANNY AVENGERS VOL. 1: THE RED SHADOW (Marvel, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects Uncanny Avengers Nos. 1-5 (cover dates December, 2012- May, 2013)
Writer: Rick Remender
Artists: John Cassady (1-4) and Oliver Copiel (5)
Colorist: Laura Martin with Larry Molinar (4)
This book is a dream come true on a number of levels. First, I am free of the scourge of Brian Michael Bendis' writing. Rick Remender writes Avengers who, you know, save the day and stuff. No half an issue wasted on conversations between characters who speak in the exact same voice and constantly interrupt one another. No double page spreads of Avengers sitting at the breakfast table. Just issue after issue of great story, with something going on in every panel, with every scene advancing the story rather than running down the clock to pad out a page count of a flimsy arc to fill out a trade paperback. In short, this is the first real Avengers story in a decade.
John Cassady is among the upper echelon of modern day comic book artists, worlds better then he has to be. He might be slow, but greatness is worth the wait in my opinion. (It also helps when you have a collected edition in front of you and are not waiting for the next issue.)
This starts after the fallout of The Avengers Vs. X-Men maxi-series. I avoided A Vs. X because it sounded incredibly stupid, and the consensus is that it was incredibly stupid. Time and money saved! Anyways, Cyclops is now in jail and is basically a villain and Professor X is dead. I guess that the aforementioned event had something to do with the Phoenix force and all other kinds of nonsensical stupid crap that I will just pretend never happened, because the X-Men have been dead to me for years.
So Captain America is trying to ease relations between mutants and baseline humans, which are at an all-time low. He and Thor try to enlist Havok when Avalanche attacks. This leads to a scene with Rogue having words with the Scarlet Witch, who now isn't in exile or dead or whatever she was after House of M. The Red Skull, or more accurately a WWII era clone, enlists the aid of his “S”-Men, super-powered beings who give our heroes a sound thrashing. The Red Skull also makes a power play on par with any of his past grand schemes. I won't tell you what it is, but let's just say that since we're pissing on the Marvel of old, we may as well burn it to the ground first.
The Red Skull is also using a variation of the Madbomb, this time turning normal humans against mutants. So this adventure bonds a team of mismatched heroes together as the Avengers Unity Division. The roster: Team leader Havok, Captain America, Thor, the Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, and Rogue. The Wasp and Sunfire pop in for issue 5, and Wonder Man is hanging around and will undoubtedly join the team. I always liked it when The Avengers were limited to 6-7 members. 8 or 9 seems too unruly. I vote for getting rid of Wolverine, as he should have never been an Avenger to begin with.
The next arc should be a real doozy, with the Apocalypse Twins, a mummified corpse of Immortus, and Kang the Conqueror all converging on...what? I am thrilled to death with this title. Finally! A new Avengers book that I want to read.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Marvel has switched to a new dustjacket free hardback for all of their Marvel Now! Premiere Hardcovers. While the MSRP for five issues seems a bit high ($24.99 MSRP), all of the variant covers are included as a gallery in the back and there is a code included for a free digital copy of this book. I honestly don't care about digital comics, but this is great for the folks who do. What I do care about, however, is the annoying cardboard code card that is glued into the binding. It sticks out like a sore thumb towards the back of the book and makes me unhappy.
|Note how the card with the digital code is glued into the casing.|
Paper rating: 3.75 out of 5. This book has a decent weight glossy coated stock. It's not as thick as the stock that Marvel used to use in these books.
Binding rating: 4.25 out of 5. These Premiere Hardcovers have glued binding, but they are on the thin side so they lay reasonably flat with the exception of the very front and especially the very back of the book. That stupid digital code card throws a wrench in the enjoyment factor for me.
Hardback cover coating rating: 4.5 out of 5. The coating leaves a strange, filmy feeling on your fingers but is of sufficient thickness that it doesn't scuff easily. It's not Avatar Press awesome but is pretty darn good. I'm happy with it. I was initially opposed to the idea of Marvel foregoing dustjackets, but not any more...at least for these Premiere Editions.