Like Bruce Dickinson insisting on more cowbell, Remender has quite a penchant for the supernatural, spooky and creepy corner of the Marvel Universe. We’ve seen it in “Frankencastle” and “Secret Avengers,” it was naturally just a matter of time until it bled through to “Uncanny Avengers.” Luckily for Remender, he’s able to scratch that itch over the course of a thirty-three-page Annual, drawn by Paul Renaud. He is able to explore the space of the supernatural and blend it in with Mojoworld.
Just taking a team that’s half X-Men, mixing in Mojo, filtering that through an Art Adams drawing and stamping the word “Annual” on the cover would normally be enough to get my money. Add in a quintet of Avengers and it’s a guaranteed sale. Not stringently connected to the current continuity, but featuring the Avengers Unity team, this story offers up Mojo-driven madness and fun characters. The Avengers of the Supernatural — Doctor Strange, Blade, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Amphibian and Satana — are assembled by Mojo in a last-gasp pitch to reclaim some of his former entertainment success. Naturally, with that many characters, Mojo’s influence and a team of Avengers, the issue turns into a slugfest between the two collections of characters, but backs off when Ghost Rider displays exactly how big a threat he can be.
While Adams isn’t on the art (but he did provide the cover, so that’s half a win) the interior work from Renaud is remarkably solid. Mojo tends to liberate artists for more fun activities, like baby version of characters or, in this case, Martian Transylvania Super Hero Mutant Monster Hunter High School, where Captain America is sporting a letterman’s jacket and Alex Summers is the leader of a Goth-like mutant clique. Renaud draws those versions of the characters with equal effect as the heroically-outfitted versions or even the swimwear-clad crew that opens up the Avengers side of the story. He also handles the Avengers of the Supernatural quite effortlessly. He also seems to be coloring is own work and this comic book is brighter and sassy for it.
This isn’t the second coming of “Asgardian Wars,” but it is a fun reprieve from grinding stories that plod along. I would have loved to see more of this story, but Remender and Renaud do a fine job giving readers just enough Uncanny in this one-shot. The Mojoverse can be a slippery place to get a handle on, but Remender has shown he understands it, and better yet, he’s able to work with it. “Uncanny Avengers Annual” #1 is exactly the type of over-sized fun, slightly-off-the-beaten path Annual that I grew up with. Of course, it certainly helps to have such a wide range of characters and a solid pair of creators.