Uncanny Avengers #5 Review

Uncanny Avengers #5 Review

The ranks of the Uncanny Avengers grow as some familiar faces come to menace them.

Uncanny Avengers #5

In a hidden city under the North Pole, one of Apocalypse’s brides, Pestilence, gives birth to twin heirs of Apocalypse’s throne.  However, their mere existence troubles the time traveling Kang, who kidnaps them to ensure the future goes his way.  At Avengers Mansion, Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man) and Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp) arrive to fulfill their new roles as the Avengers Unity Division’s PR people.  The mix of old Avengers and X-Men members is still shaky and it seems to be a powder keg waiting to explode.  In Japan, Wolverine is out to recruit Sunfire who only agrees to return to service when Wolverine tells him what the Red Skull did to Professor X’s brain.  When the team finally address the public as a group, they are attacked by the Grim Reaper.  When Rogue saps some of Wonder Man’s ionic powers, one punch, to her horror, kills Grim Reaper in front of the press.

“What I’ve been missing from Avengers books for so long now.”

You  know what I loved about this issue?  It feels like an Avengers book.  What does that mean?  To me, an Avengers book is more than just have Earth’s Mightiest Heroes all banded together.  It’s more than them coming together against a horrible foe.  It’s more than them having some grown up issues about who they are, what their mission is, or how the press views them.  It’s not always easy to put your finger on what makes a classic Avengers tale.  I can say it should feel larger than life.  It should feel like something fanciful and not dark and brooding.  Here’s an idea…  Sometimes it should just be a team of heroes out there in broad daylight wearing bright colors and saving the day.

That’s exactly what we get in this book.  Some of my very favorite Avengers stories aren’t stories that can really be published these days.  If you really get right down to it, teams like the Avengers or the Fantastic Four or even the Justice League, by just being who they are, are basically outdated and a thing of days gone by.  In the time since the prominence of these sunshine heroes, the X-Men made a real strong case why a group of outsiders and less bright and happy characters could be sexier as the main characters in comics.  These types of character have a grim and gritty nature that naturally bring a sense of realism to the series even if they are doing extraordinary things.  But this issue in particular gives me some of what I’ve been dying to see in an Avengers title for a long time.  They are out there greeting the press, wearing their costumes in broad daylight, and trying to inspire people again.  Rick Remender has a knack for telling stranger stories that have bigger reaches when it all plays out.  That certainly has a place in good Avengers stories, but reading this issue made it kind of feel like he was paying homage to those great books of the 70s and 80s.  As a cherry on top of this fantastic sundae, he even brings two villains along for the ride that should, by simply looking at them, feel a little outdated (like the very idea of the Avengers themselves).  Kang and Grim Reaper have always played very important roles in the history of the team.  To see them both here was a pure delight and something I hope to see a lot more of.

Of course, having those bright, bold images that are a staple of a classic Avengers book can’t be accomplished by just having any old artist on pencils.  Olivier Coipel steps in for John Cassaday and knocks this issue clean out of the park.  He’s perfect for a book that looks and feels like a modern comic but has a bigger than life quality that we all grew up on.  This is the same thing that Cassaday brought to the first arc.  Here, Coipel just looks like he’s having a ton of fun.  Yeah, I know being a comic book artist is probably right up there as far as “fun jobs” go, but you get the impression by looking at his work in this issue that he’s having a blast.  He manages to capture the feel of an Avengers book while still having emotional weight when it is necessary for the story.

This series has me feeling as though I’m definitely getting what I’ve been missing from Avengers books for so long now.  I’m really starting to get the feeling that this series is turning into something very special for me and others that have felt like I have for the better part of the last five years or so.

A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING

Pros Cons
This is simply a fun issue to read. Great art and good old fashioned Avengers writing from the Remender/Coipel team. None – Marvel please just keep the awesome artists coming.
Rating
100%


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2 Comments

  1. Marcus Strong says:

    UNCANNY AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!

  2. Daniel Cole says:

    I’m sorry Geoff I don’t see teams like Fantastic Four, Avengers and JLA as dated. Especially when compared to the X-Men.
    The idea of these teams being dated is in conflict with their popularity these days. The concept of the superhero is essentially a modern day myth and since 9/11 I’d argue that escapism in the form of good old super heroics is something that has captured the imagination of society.
    Granted the films that are successful deal with more relatable (damaged) heroes, but The Avengers is a film that is bright and celebratory of the whole superhero concept.
    The stories of the 60s and 70s (definitely not the 80s) might seem quaint, but those are the foundations of these heroes. Also a lot of those stories really dealt with some interesting social commentary, just like comics today. Hell The X-men appeared in the same month and year of the Avengers.
    Thematically the X-Men strike at something more serious than The Avengers. But Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is full of damaged heroes who come together to fight the good fight.
    DC’s Justice League is more classic in tone, but due to its mythic leanings I’d argue that the concept is timeless as opposed to dated.
    The Fantastic Four are also a colourful group of heroes that have enough depth to share qualities with the X-Men. The Thing dealing with his transformation for example.
    I’d agree that the constant changing in writing style, reader taste and fashion have shifted the popularity of each franchise often enough, but there is nothing presented in this book that hasn’t happened in an Avengers title for the past 10 years.
    Press conferences, old school villains, heroes in daylight and lofty ideals will always be a part of the Avengers.
    For me this reminds me more of Busiek’s run with The Avengers. Using past elements, melodrama and a distinct thematic through line.

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I'm a lifelong geek. I don't hide it. I don't deny it. My true geek love is comics. I love reading them and discussing them. I am definitely much more a Marvel guy than DC, especially when it comes to my favorite, The Avengers. Questions? Comments? Email me at geoff@acomicbookblog.com