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-5UNCANNY 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.

Rating: ★★★★☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!
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The Author

Thomas J. Angelo

Thomas J. Angelo

Thomas J. Angelo has lived life to the fullest since birth and is living proof that people can see their dreams become reality. He has hunted ghosts, been a prison guard, graduated from professional wrestling school, written a novel for young adults, and taught middle school Social Studies. Writing for Major Spoilers is yet another fantastic adventure.

A comic book fan for life, Thomas is a huge fan of Marvel comics and has also jumped into DC’s New 52. In addition to comics, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of WWE trivia and Disney’s animated films. Someday he hopes to write his own comic series.

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7 Comments

  1. April 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm — Reply

    Interesting. Considering the fact that Stan Lee let “mutants” stand in for blacks and other minorities in an allegorical kind of way in the 1960’s then Havoks view of this harks back to some of the questions that came up when President Obama was elected, especially within the black American community. Was the President a “black” American? Does putting labels on people such as “African-American”, “Irish American”, etc. pay tribute to heritage or only divide people more along ethinc lines. The delineation between Scott Summers and his brother is well represented here. Scott wants “Mutants/Homo Superior” to be a separate, dominant race. Havoc wants them to simply be human beings with special talents. As our old pal Spock would say…”Fascinating”.

  2. Suua P.
    April 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm — Reply

    UNCANNY AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!

  3. Luis Dantas
    April 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    Cultures change all the time, even from a decade to the next. Any notions of “preserving” them are, well, odd.

    On the other hand, mutancy is not an artificial concept, particularly on the Marvel Universe where it carries far more meaning than in the real world (even if it somehow fails to create any new species, but I digress).

    So myself, I think this controversy is very inflated. Mutants should make their own cultural boundaries as they see fit – all the while trying and changing such boundaries as a way of course, again just like everyone else.

    That is largely unrelated to the matter of their conflicts with society, since 1. mutants have not much of an unified culture in the first place anyway and 2. ultimately, the matter of their powers is (or should be) far more significant than the minor detail that they are (supposedly) biological in origin. Why would people even care that, say, Cecilia Reyes is a (very non-threatening) mutant while the Human Torch isn’t?

    The controversy idea is interesting… but it should focus on shady types such as Punisher, Red Hulk, Wolverine, Black Widow or Nick Fury as opposed to mutants, if it is to truly make sense and hold water. Heck, even mistrusting Doc Strange because he is, after all, powerful and mysterious makes more sense than mistrusting mutants just because they are mutants.

  4. Mark
    April 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm — Reply

    Havok… you keep calling the traitor by his chosen name not his slave name of alex… Alex that name the traitor wishes to be called…

    funny that the sell out wishes to fit in.

  5. April 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm — Reply

    Let’s keep the dialogue rolling…this article is the 6th most popular on the site;the only top article not porn related! Huzzah!

  6. Joel Vazquez
    April 4, 2013 at 2:56 am — Reply

    What’s wrong with not wanting to fit in, and is it really that big of a deal that Havoc wants too?

  7. Jon Dubya
    April 13, 2013 at 12:35 am — Reply

    First of all, I always roll my eyes when people praise “controversy” simply because it stirs (an often facile) “debate.” Ann Coulter, Grand Mistress of the Inflammatory Statement would be praised as a forensic goddess otherwise (you know, because it’s SO hard to rile of the denizens of the internet into an argumentative frenzy and all). In addition often times the main criticism (both in general AND this specific case) is not about the rabble-rouser was “wrong” but more about whether what was said was idiotic.

    For instance, for all the “pro/con” hubbub about “assimilation” (much of which is a lot more cringe-worthy then anything Havok said) the REAL problem with what Havok said is that it doesn’t make any sense conceptually or within the supposed justification of the team. If Alex really felt that way the logical thing to do would be to simply quit the super-hero business wholesale and and become a geology professor or something. The second logical thing is to simply join one of the other “regular” Avengers groups (I mean there are only five zillion of them now) if Alex didn’t want to make a big deal about the M word. They don’t when all of the other

    While I know he was trying for a mild-mannered “can’t we all just get along” homily (and most of the critiques I’ve read about this thing does acknowledge that point) has this in turn made Havok look like a wishy-washy ineffectual goober of a leader (yeah yeah, I know. THAT’S a novel approach!) The “X” version of a Fox News democrat

    To make this criticism a bit more “constructive” what Alex should have been doing was detailing a justification for why this group needs to exist in the first place. Instead we got a speech that shows why one of the main players think it’s unnecessary. (Alternatively Alex could have just said “Corporate Synergy” in the mic and walked off stage.)

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