The Red Skull makes a mess of things and only the Uncanny Avengers can stop him.
Uncanny Avengers #4
Infused with the mutant power of Charles Xavier, the Red Skull is turning the world upside down. Normal men, women, and children, are hunting and savagely beating who they believe to be mutants to death. Thor, under the control of the Skull is wiping out his teammates without Scarlet Witch able to stand up to him. Captain America is eventually able to make his way to the Skull, but the villain’s power is too much for Cap. The Skull tries to sweet talk Cap to his side by showing him the future of America with the mutants wiped out. Once Scarlet Witch is able to take Thor out of the equation, the Avengers band together to finally stop the Red Skull, but with the help of his S-Men, he’s able to escape. As people snap out of their trances, Havoc offers words of encouragement that places this new team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the map.
Rick Remender’s first arc on Uncanny Avengers wraps with a downright disturbing finale. Remender’s script pulls no punches and actually concludes with the Avengers not getting their man. If not for the inspiration from Havoc, this can’t be anything less than a defeat for the heroes. They were not able to stop decent people from turning into monsters and killing their friends and family members. They weren’t able to end this with the Red Skull in chains. They were bloodied badly and at least two members, Rogue and Scarlet Witch, are at odds with one another. This isn’t a happy ending with the Avengers enjoying a parade after a particularly heroic battle. It’s through Havoc that they have won their respect from the citizens, but Remender does a masterful job showing that the respect they earned didn’t happen without some serious internal cost and an archvillain still on the loose.
In fact, the last two pages, taking place three months from now, show just how bad it was that they didn’t capture the Red Skull, as we’re transported into the world the Skull revealed to Captain America. Havoc, Scarlet Witch, and Sunfire are on the run from Tony Stark-built Nimrods only to run into the dead body of Immortus and an even more powerful Red Skull. It’s most definitely a sign of what’s to come in the series, but also a hauntingly uneasy feeling that the Skull was right about what he plans to do to defeat the mutants. It’s something that’s going to have me waiting on pins and needles to see come into play as Remender continues his series.
John Cassaday’s art is, in a word, amazing. His battle between Scarlet Witch and Thor is frenetic and exciting. His homage to the cover of the classic Uncanny X-Men #141 was awesome and perfect for the Skull’s version of the future. But it’s in the last few pages before the epilogue that actually shows just how good he is. The ominous images of the broken and bruised Avengers along with the horror in the eyes of the people under the Skull’s control proves that not all battles need to be won to drum up emotions for the reader. It’s a masterful issue from Cassaday and one more reason I could point to as why I was so excited to see he was doing this book.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Exciting and unsettling. Big time story told on a big time stage with gorgeous art to boot.||None.|