There was so much to love in Rick Remender’s “Uncanny X-Force” run that it’s honestly awesome to see him revisiting the ramifications of those stories in “Uncanny Avengers.” “Uncanny Avengers” #8 by Remender and Daniel AcuÃ±a is not my favorite of the run thus far, but it levels up the playing field in a devastating way, and there’s no arguing that it’s a hell of a beautiful book.
Thor and Wolverine’s mistakes come back to haunt them in horrific ways as Pestilence and Archangel’s twins Eimin and Uriel are all grown up, powerful as all get out, in possession an axe Thor enchanted years back called Jarnbjorn (the Destroyer of Worlds — catchy, that), and pissed off at just about everyone, especially Wolverine, the “killer of babies.” This issue is not for the faint of heart, the story might be understandable for a new reader jumping in without prior knowledge of either Remender’s “Uncanny X-Force” or the previous issues of “Uncanny Avengers,” but a ton of important layers would be missing for that reader. If all those pieces are in place, this is a pretty impressive comic book, both in scope and in how masterfully dense it is.
There are quiet moments, like Captain America trying to get out of Sudan in one piece (while dressed “in an American flag”) and a scene with Wolverine and Rogue discussing secrets in the back of the quinbird. But there’s also time for Thor and Sunfire to save the city of Rio De Janiero from the falling debris of S.W.O.R.D.’s space station “The Peak,” as well as for twins Eimin and Uriel to lay waste to an entire metropolis and then lay down their intentions for the world to Thor and Sunfire, as villains are wont to do. And at the heart of it all is the message that words are incredibly powerful things and that the world is doomed if Mutants and Humans (and more to the point, Avengers and X-Men) can’t learn to get along. Given their behavior in the issues leading up to this, it does indeed seem like the world is doomed.
Remender is seemingly unafraid in this run on “Uncanny Avengers,” as he was with “Uncanny X-Force,” which is a great quality in a writer of superhero comics. If Remender needs to head back to Scandinavia in 1013 A.D. to set up his story for most of an issue, then so be it. If he needs to blow up space stations and destroy an entire city, while also showing Avengers and X-Men being petty on the way to their mission, so be it. The end result is a comic that does exactly what it needs to in order to get things done — a comic that advances plot and sets characters at odds with one another in natural ways that will make for the most exciting story possible. It’s just plain good comics writing.
AcuÃ±a is more than equal to the considerable task of illustrating all that Remender demands. His figures are powerfully heroic, his action scenes worthy of 40-foot movie screens and his character acting emotionally resonant in a way few comics even aspire to be. For some, AcuÃ±a’s art may feel a bit stiff, and it’s true that there is an inherent static, even posed quality to his style, but the pros far outweigh the cons. There is the feeling when reading that there is nothing Remender could dream up that AcuÃ±a could not execute. And there’s a darkness, a seriousness, and an attention to detail that is an exceptional fit for the tone that Remender strikes in his writing and the kind of stories he likes to tell.
Though I’m a fan of John Cassaday’s work, he was not the right fit for this title, and it’s clear that AcuÃ±a is an ideal artist for this kind of book and for Remender in general. Ever since issue #5 (with guest artist Coipel) “Uncanny Avengers” has become a title to watch, but do yourself a favor and read up before you jump in, you will get that much more from the stories Remender has to tell.