Pick of the Week
What did the
- Pick of the Week - 05.22.2013 - Daredevil #26
- Pick of the Week - 05.15.2013 - Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #1
- Pick of the Week - 05.08.2013 - Thor: God of Thunder #8
- Pick of the Week - 05.01.2013 - Animal Man #20
- Pick of the Week - 04.24.2013 - Uncanny Avengers #7
Art by John Cassaday
Cover by John Cassaday, Adi Granov, Daniel Acuña, & Skottie Young
Size: 22 pages
For the past three months a large portion of the comics hype has been dominated by Marvel Comics and their announcement of their new publishing initiative Marvel NOW!. It has largely been seen as Marvel’s response to DC Comics’ The New 52 reboot which kicked off over a year ago, but with Marvel’s unique spin. We’ve been told, “This is not a reboot” and we’ve been inundated with teasers and covers and all sorts of promotions. But today, on the eve of the fall comics event, the New York Comic Con, Marvel NOW! begins with what has been positioned as the flagship book, Uncanny Avengers #1 written by Rick Remender with art by John Cassaday.
To say that all eyes are on Uncanny Avengers #1 bringing with them tons of questions and speculation would be an understatement. Coming off of Avengers vs. X-Men, Uncanny Avengers #1 is positioned to set the tone, not just for Marvel NOW! but for the characters of the Marvel Universe as whole. Could the new status quo of the Marvel Universe, which seems to bring mutants and Avengers together, be something that actually works? Behind the scenes, the questions of the creators have also been brought up. Could Rick Remender step up to the plate after his years in indie comics and a successful run on Uncanny X-Force and deliver a “flagship” story? And on art, after years of mainly doing covers of varying levels of quality for practically every publisher of (with the exception of the last issue of Planetary and a Rocketeer story), could John Cassaday deliver the quality of art that we came to adore in Astonishing X-Men?
After reading Uncanny Avengers #1, I can honestly say that not only did Remender and Cassaday show up, but they brought their A-game. Consider Marvel NOW! officially kicked off and Marvel fans should be excited.
Now, I was never worried about Remender’s ability to write this book. I’ve been one of Remender’s biggest cheerleaders as he’s delivered quality work in title after title. Fear Agent will go down as one of the great series and he was responsible for one of the most glorious runs in the X-Men’s history with Uncanny X-Force. Remender’s stock in trade is big ideas and during his time at Marvel he’s honed his craft to make his storytelling as tight as ever.
On the art side, I will admit I questioned which Cassaday would we get. I remembered back to that wonderful time of Astonishing X-Men, where Cassaday, along with writer Joss Whedon, helped redefine the look of the X-Men post Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. He amazed and dazzled with every page, bringing action and dynamics, and balancing it all out with emotion and drama. But then I think back to some of his recent cover work (doing my best to not veer into a Shadowland rant here, folks) and I wondered if after such a long period away from doing sequential work, did he still have it? When I opened up Uncanny Avengers #1, page #2, panel #2, I breathed a sigh of relief. This is the Cassaday I remembered and I was delighted to see that consistency remain throughout the issue.
Within the issue itself, Uncanny Avengers #1 doesn’t begin bombastically and I was actually happy to see that. After the constant conflict and teeth gnashing of the past 6 months of Avengers vs X-Men, Uncanny Avengers #1 takes the slow burn approach to start. Picking up from the ashes of Avengers vs. X-Men, we get to see Wolverine deliver the eulogy for Charles Xavier, which works as a perfect baseline setting point for current, lapsed, and new readers. Whether you’ve been reading every Marvel Comic for the past 30 years, or if you’re picking this up for the first time, within the first few pages you get a sense of the state of the world that we’re entering with this comic. As the issue progresses we learn of the effort that Captain America wants to make to bring together the Avengers and the X-Men, in a joint team to show unity and stand together as heroes. And he starts by recruiting Havok, brother of the now imprisoned Cyclops. But this won’t come with ease, as the issue progresses we get a sense of the deep chasms between Avengers and X-Men, and in the grand Marvel tradition we realize that this may not be as smooth as Captain America hopes. And of course, what good is a story without a villain, and Remender and Cassaday present a familiar face in a truly horrifying way.
Say what you will about reboots and relaunches and number one issues and variant covers, but at the end of the day, the thing that gets me going about comic books is great stories about characters I care about with great art. As a Marvel Comics fan, there’s that certain magic that comes from these characters and I gotta admit, if I were a teenager and you handed me a book where the Avengers and the X-Men were getting all mixed up and interacting with each other, and it had art that looked like this? I’d be pretty stoked. As I enter middle-age, I try to remember that bit of magic that got me into comics the first place and realize that super hero comics are meant to be big, mindblowing at times, and fun. With Uncanny Avengers #1, I’m excited because if this first issue is any indication of what we can expect, then it looks like we’re in for something special.
Now who knows if this book will adequately set the tone for the Marvel Universe or not. There’s a lot of books to follow as Marvel NOW! gets rolling, but Uncanny Avengers #1 will be a tough act to follow. Rick Remender has taken his well deserved place at the front of the line of creators and now has some of the biggest toys to play with. John Cassaday has returned and reminded us why he’s just so damn good. Uncanny Avengers #1 is a magic combination of some of the most talented name in comics doing what they do best and I’m ready to have some fun.
That said, hey have 6 issues to fix the Cyclops situation before I bail.