Rick Remender carries on with his time-spanning Apocalypse Twins story in “Uncanny Avengers” #12, as Salvador Larroca steps in as artist. Remender’s far-reaching arc continues to deftly weave the machinations of other villains in addition to the Apocalypse Twins, among them the time-traveler Kang and the off-panel Red Skull, and it’s always nice to see Larroca’s art in any title. Although this issue fits well into the storyline at a macro level, it doesn’t stand up quite as well when studied too closely.
Most noticeable are some lapses on Larroca’s part, who’s usually far more consistent than this comic shows. The Scarlet Witch plays a key role in the story and is prominently featured, but Larroca gets sloppy in some panels. In one sequence early on that features a discussion between her and Wonder Man, she looks downright ghastly in close-ups. Some of that is due to colorist Frank Martin, who puzzlingly gives her face a zombie shade of pale and her eyes an eerie, vampire-ish glow, but it’s Larroca who just seems to get a little too lazy with facial features in select panels. He also struggles with her trademark headdress, which almost seemingly comes to life from the way it changes shape from panel to panel. Perhaps worst of all, when Simon and Wanda embrace, it looks more like Simon is about to rip her head off.
Remender has some pretty noticeable lapses of his own, most notably in the form of some pretty awkward dialogue. For example, faced with the notion of moving to a mutant haven, one character actually says “It’ll be hot and cold mutant broads pouring from every spigot, ripe for the picking.” With such nonsensical quotes, containing mixed metaphors no less, the script just sounds ridiculous. Perhaps most out-of-place is a scene characterized by some pretty uncomfortable and out-of-place lines from Janet Van Dyne while conversing with Captain America and Havok. The Wasp apparently has a thing for Alex Summers and was once a member of the Hellfire Club, for anyone who wants to know.
Some of Remender’s scenes go a little over the top and almost invoke a feeling of mean-spiritedness; it’s believable enough that a mutant prisoner trying to escape an internment camp is blinded as punishment, for example, but not so believable that it really takes nearly a full page to convey. A zombie Banshee, after giving Cap a lecture on mutant bigotry, sees fit to try and deafen Cap with a point-blank sonic scream. It’s as though Remender is going for shock value where it’s not really needed, and it ends up being more of a distraction than an emotional enhancement.
From afar, the issue serves its purpose; it advances the story as a whole and admittedly starts to give it the grandiose feel that such a story should have. But it’s probably best enjoyed if read quickly, lest a slower perusal reveal its flaws.