“Uncanny Avengers” #3 from Rick Remender and John Cassaday is seemingly a bold experiment in modern day superhero comic storytelling as Remender fills these pages with florid text. What is essentially one large citywide fight issue becomes a deconstruction of each character, and most importantly the villain, through captioned narrative prose alongside the art. The results are intriguing and fulfilling but in a very different manner.
Rick Remender knows how to use words. He’s usually a sparse economist with them, filling pages with staccato captions of grit and determination, but here he lets the purple prose fly. This takes a moment to get used to as it’s not necessary for the issue at all, it has no context and is simply a storytelling technique used for pleasure. You either like it or you don’t, there’s not much to weigh it against. If you don’t mind this, it doesn’t hinder the issue. At times, it actually brings a touch more depth and makes you linger a moment longer than you normally would with less words. However, if you find this even mildly distracting then it’s going to all be ruined with no ability to come back.
Each of the members of this team are given a moment or two in the spotlight, though it feels as if Rogue and the Scarlet Witch are left closer to the cold. With the Red Skull lighting fires of chaos across the city, each character is affected in a different way. Most of this business flies along smoothly, though Captain America’s internal struggle against the Skull flip-flops around a bit. Everyone else has their story direction drastically changed with Wolverine and Thor being the main cards played by the end of this issue. It’s nice to see so many turns of events in an issue where things can be altered to such effect in one issue.
John Cassaday’s art shows fantastic flourishes at times, often with major moments, but other times it’s missing beats and falling flat. His adherence to wide panels often makes scenes feel constrained and it’s usually when he breaks out of this structure that exciting things happen. Laura Martin does a great job of saving the art and making layers work in the panels, but too often it’s noticeable that Cassaday’s work lacks details to enrich. Crowd scenes look well rendered but then the faces of the book’s leads are bland and almost interchangeable.
“Uncanny Avengers” #3 is a brutal fight issue where the main characters are all tested to their core strengths and by issue’s end things are different. The overwritten style adds depth to the world, in an almost Claremont fashion, and while it’s bordering on overbearing it certainly brings more positive to negative on the page. I would like to see Remender continue to experiment on this and hone it as his voice for this title. In the end, this is the personification of a fun superhero comic and nothing more. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s as much a warning as it is recommendation.