“Uncanny Avengers” #24 is an awkward start to Rick Remender’s new arc with unremarkable art by Salvador Larroca and Dean White. This issue is half downtime as Rogue, Scarlet Witch, and Wolverine ignore all subtext and just say every literal thing they may be thinking before being ambushed and kidnapped by Red Skull and his “gang.”
Remender’s plot twist — that Rogue’s current absorption of Wonder Man, a fact unknown to her kidnappers, allows her to break free of her power suppressing collar isn’t a terrible idea, but it falls apart when Rogue is also able to remove everyone else’s by sheer force. I guess the idea is that nobody has power and thus nobody can take them off, but that seems like a pretty sloppy plan. Perhaps my years of reading about mutant power suppressing collars has left me jaded, but they lose their effectiveness if one person with power can just tear them off. It all feels rather slapdash, which extends to the rest of the issue.
Independent of the plotting, the writing is pretty broad and cringe-worthy: Rogue literally speaks to a painting of Xavier, Magneto screams like a child even though they’re trying to be covert, and though Logan is presenting a softer side these days, he gives a too obvious, saccharine after-school-special pep talk. At the same time, Xavier missing the top of his head (and all of his brain) in Rogue’s “dream” feels gratuitous. It’s not that it would be out of place in some Remender stories, but it’s completely jarring and bizarre in this issue.
Although Larroca has proven a talented artist over the years and Dean White a talented colorist, the combination here is unimpressive. The look is overall too slick and sharp, and alternately a bit lacking depth or with overly rendered colors, such as in the blue on a cheek. Both Larroca and White make some sloppy mistakes — like a far too small bottle in Wolverine’s hand and a wrong eye color for Rogue. However, despite the inconsistent art, the best scene is Rogue’s “dream” sequence. It’s a moment when the illustration and colors feel nicely in sync. The colors have a slightly surreal quality and there’s a looseness to the body language that’s a welcome relief from the stiff overly posed kitchen.
In fairness to Larroca, the script is not particularly exciting, calling for not one but two stiff splash pages showing villains and cutting away from most of the action. That said, most of the emotional don’t land either as they’re missing subtlety necessary in both script and visual execution.
Regardless of how you felt about Remender’s previous “Avenge the Earth” arc, it at least had passion and conviction behind it. This story, combined with a flawed and inconsistent visual execution, is off to a rocky start that feels like it’s just spinning its wheels.