The initial idea of “Uncanny Avengers” — an Avengers team that included X-Men and Avengers to show unity between humans and mutants — had a certain amount of promise, even as that particular thrust seemed to be quickly lost in the shuffle of alternate reality storylines. Post-“Secret Wars,” Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman take control of the title, and — while they’re trying to go back to the core concept — this opening issue feels very scattered.
With the rise of the Inhumans (both in fictional population as well as Marvel’s emphasis on the property), Duggan takes the “humans and mutants” idea one step further by including a new Inhuman, Synapse. We’re back to there being press conferences highlighting the shared nature of the Unity Squad, even as the overall vanishing of mutantkind on the planet is also addressed. In many ways, Duggan does everything right by using and updating this idea for the series.
Unfortunately, this issue seems to focus so strongly on setting up the new team it loses sight of any sort of excitement. Sure, the book has an early fight scene against the Super-Adaptoid, which focuses on most of the team’s new lineup (Steve Rogers, Doctor Voodoo, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Synapse, Rogue, Quicksilver and the Human Torch), but it feels very perfunctory and almost there because of some sort of strange contractual obligation to have the team hit something. While I appreciate that Duggan is trying to focus on all of the characters to give them a bit of personality, none of them feel particularly gripping. The majority of them exist in a vacuum, and it’s no coincidence that the only character moment that seems to have some depth to it is when it involves two of them interacting with one another (Quicksilver and Synapse). For the time being, the book feels scattered with its characters, almost all of them existing in their own little universe.
Stegman’s art is nice and gets the job done. Some scenes, like Synapse commanding the pigeons to attack the Super-Adaptoid, have a little bit of a punch to them. At the same time, some of the panels that focus tightly on the characters’ faces don’t quite achieve what they’re going for, in part because they feel separated from the scene that we’re in (like the two-shot of Synapse and Doctor Voodoo’s faces in the fight scene). Ultimately, his bordering-on-superdeformed style is pleasant but it doesn’t stand out too much.
“Uncanny Avengers” #1 has its heart in the right place and — given a little bit of time — this could prove to be a lot of fun. Duggan clearly has a good sense of humor about Deadpool (a character he’s quite familiar with) being part of the title now and, with any luck, that wit will liven up the title. For now, it’s a perfectly average comic; for a debut issue, though, one would hope for something a little more energetic. Not bad, but not as good as it could have been either.