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.
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it, teams like the Avengers or the Fantastic Four or even the Justice League, by just being who they are, are basically outdated and a thing of days gone by.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
|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.|