After a very intriguing opening arc, I was excited to sit down and spend some time with the latest issue of UNCANNY AVENGERS. Little did I know that the contents of this book would ignite a controversy involving race, inclusion, and assimilation vs. integration. What impact did these weighty thoughts place upon my reading enjoyment? Hit the jump, faithful Spoilerites, and join in the debate.
UNCANNY AVENGERS #5
Writer: Rick Remender
Pencils: Olivier Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin with Larry Molivar
Editor: Tom Brevoort and Daniel Ketchum
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in UNCANNY AVENGERS: Exhuming the corpse of Charles Xavier, the Red Skull has fused Charles’ brain to his in order to use the telepathic powers of Xavier to spread his ideals of hate and bigotry. Though stopped by the new team comprised of Avengers and X-Men, the Red Skull was shown in an epilogue to have evolved into the form of Onslaught, the infamous X-baddie of the 1990’s.
PROBABLY NOT WHAT REMENDER INTENDED
Let’s get some stuff down in print before looking at the bomb Havok drops later this issue.
Remender is extremely creative, and with his former work on Venom and his current run on Captain America, has become one of, if not my absolute favorite writer at Marvel. Part of this stems from his love of the weird. It was great seeing the under-used villain Genocide (or as I knew him in the 90’s, Holocaust) for the intro segment. Furthermore, he knows the Marvel Universe characters very well, and writes a compelling Wonder Man this issue. The central plot of the book seems to be re-introducing the X-Men to the public after the actions of Scott Summers created a major rift between man and mutant, but by the end of the book, the reader realizes that the mutants are going to be in this conflict for the long haul.
Now for the controversy.
In the middle of the book, Havok gives an impassioned speech demanding mutant inclusion. He claims that the word “mutant” is a dirty word, an ethnic slur, and that it should be erased from the vernacular. He makes a strong point that mutants should be assimilated into society.
Quick Kansas History Lesson: Kansas was settled in large part by wealthy German farmers in the late 1800’s. These Germans kept their culture, eating German foods, wearing German clothing, and speaking the German language. Their white neighbors simply chuckled and accepted this group into their midst.
Then came World War I, where the USA and Germany were at each other’s throats. Those German immigrants quickly swept their entire culture under the rug, as their formerly friendly neighbors now began to vilify anything German. Pretty soon, the entire German culture was erased in Kansas, resulting in a culture that today does not speak German, or recognize German customs, despite the fact that almost every Kansan has Germany in their blood.
In short, they did what Havok proposed: Gave up their ethnic identity to avoid persecution and become productive and included members of society.
The question that has got the Internet so worked up is: Is this the morally right thing to do?
Should ethnic groups be forced to give up what makes them unique? Or should they happily surrender those customs to be welcomed into the larger society?
From his tweets, Remender might not have known that he was igniting this debate, but that’s exactly what happened.
This debate is only just beginning, and people will fall on both sides of the fence. There could be those that agree with Havok who also feel that English should be the only spoken language in the USA. There could be those who disagree with Havok who may also believe that all world cultures should be recognized and preserved.
One thing is for certain: Remender has done a great job in making the mutants of Marvel feel like a minority again, something that I feel hasn’t been felt in a long time, despite their Utopia. This is ground that needs to be covered, and I hope Remender embraces the controversy.
THERE’S WONDERFUL ART HERE, TOO!
Oh yeah, the art in this book is also beautiful.
Coipel has long demonstrated that he has the chops to do Marvel’s biggest books, and this issue doesn’t disappoint.
BOTTOM LINE: OPENING COMMENTS IN WHAT COULD BE A LANDMARK DEBATE
There is a very good chance the speech in this issue gets swept under the rug in the months to come. There is another chance that Marvel and Remender use this to make some really important comments on sociology in America. Buy this book to hear the full scope of the argument, and then join in online for all the fun and informed opinions that the Internet is known for. A good book which could be the start of something truly amazing, Uncanny Avengers #5 gets 4 out of 5 stars.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!