Uncanny Avengers #20 Review

by

The Avengers Unity Squad, created in the shadow of the Avengers/X-Men war, hasn’t been particularly unified, and it has led to chaos and death.  Now, in a future world that’s coming, the survivors have a desperate plan that hinges on one of the Avengers earliest and worst enemies.  Can they save the world, even with the help of Kang?  Your Major Spoilers review of Uncanny Avengers #20 awaits!

UncannyAvengers20UNCANNY AVENGERS #20
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Colorist: Daniel Acuña
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Tom Brevoort with Daniel Ketchum
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Uncanny Avengers:  “Hellbent on getting revenge on Kang, the time-traveling mastermind who abducted and raised her, Eimin used Thor’s enchanted axe to fell a Celestial, dooming Earth to destruction.  Rapturing mutantkind to a new home world (Planet X) Eimin led her fellow mutants to believe that Thor and the Avengers were responsible for Earth’s end, leaving Havok and The Wasp fugitives.  However, the pair of Avengers never stopped trying to right what they originally failed to accomplish and eventually succeeded in summoning help to their side to help them do it, in the form of Kang and some of the most dangerous superhumans gathered from across time.  But no sooner had the Avengers and Kang put their plain into motion than the were confronted by Magneto and The X-Council, who were eager to finally stamp out Havok and his fellow rebels…”

THE GRAND TRADITION OF MARVEL TIME-TRAVEL

One of the things I have always loved about the work of Rick Remender is the way his plots seem to have world-shattering consequences.  From the first pages of this book, there has been more than just sequelitis at play, as he has not only followed up on ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men’, but previous stories in X-Force, Avengers, Secret Avengers, and more.  This issue opens with Kang bringing in his assembled warriors (the Iron Man of 2020, Arno Stark; May Parker, the alternate Spider-Girl from Universe X; Stryfe, Doom 2099; Ahab of ‘Days Of Future Past'; Magistrate Braddock, an alternate Psylocke; and a combined Abomination/Deathlok monster) to combat the X-Council, while Magneto tortures Havok for information.  The Uncanny Avengers have had quite a body count getting to this point, with Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Rogue and Captain America all falling in battle, and it seems that Havok is likewise going to get brutally murdered on-panel, when Remender pulls off a moment worthy of the Bronze Age Marvels I remember from my youth.  Cyclops, long estranged from his younger brother, makes a command decision, blasts Magneto full-bore with his eye-beams, and helps his brother to his feet.  Kang and his Futures Force turn the tables for The Avengers, leading to a touching moment between the Summers brothers, and a terrible reunion of Wolverine and his returned-from-the-dead-as-a-horseman-of-Apocalypse son Daken.  The story makes much hay of the interrelationships of Marvel’s characters (Cable versus Stryfe, fighting alongside his father and uncle, while Wolverine and Sunfire battle old friends, while having been transformed into horsemen themselves in the past), and makes me happy with how complex and crazy the plot is.  Unlike many attempts to relive the glory of ‘Days Of Future Past’, this one works really well on a story level.

JANET VAN DYNE, I LOVE YOU

Artwise, this issue is pretty gorgeous, as Daniel Acuña‘s art always is, giving us believable future-scapes and nice redesigns of characters like Magneto and Storm, and makes a point of showing during the Psylocke/Magistrate Braddock battle that they are, in fact, the same woman.  Acuña also makes the redesigned Havok and Wasp uniforms looks really good, something that has been a problem for me in previous issues of this book, and it’s fascinating to watch his rendition of Wolverine slowly healing from years of physical torture, panel by panel.  The story has me, but perhaps the best moment of the comic (and there are several from which to choose) comes as The Wasp simply walks up to Kang The Conqueror, knees him in the midsection, and beats the bajeezus out of him, all the while ordering him to return her daughter.  Even his own soldiers aren’t willing to step into the path of the raging founding Avenger, a moment that reminds me why I love Rick Remender, and the Avengers put into motion their plan: With the combined might of his time-traveling soldiers, the minds of Thor, Wolverine, Sunfire, Havok and The Wasp are sent back in time to their previous selves (notably, Wolverine insists that it be a point BEFORE Rogue’s death back in issue 14 or 15, which means a point before half the Uncanny Avengers team was murdered by one means or another) to cut off the terrible future, and in return, the world will belong to Kang.  It’s a dangerous bargain, and one that will certainly come back to bite them on the proverbial tuchus at some point…

THE BOTTOM LINE: A MADDENING CLIFF-HANGER

…aaaand the issue ends with the future X-Council wondering if the mission was a success, and forcing the readers to come back next time.  Thankfully, the quality of the book has been such that I don’t mind returning, and in fact, am quite happy to read more Remender/Acuña comics, as well as more with this team.  I love the use of guys like Sunfire and The Wasp as keystones in this book,  balancing out Captain America (appearing monthly in six different books) and Wolverine (in seven or more) and giving the cast its own unique flavor, and drawing on previous history rather than inventing new back story (*coughBendiscough*).  In short, Uncanny Avengers #20 is the total package, with engaging story, great art and nice bits of character for even the most tenured Avengers, even if the length of the story so far is a bit disconcerting, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m a fan of this book, which is the most consistent of the many monthly Avengers books since it’s inception…