Niftily timed alongside the duo’s appearance in the feature film “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Scarlet With and Quicksilver are pushed to the front of Rick Remender, Gerry Duggan and Daniel AcuÃ±a’s “Uncanny Avengers” #4. As the “Counter-Evolutionary” title of this arc alludes to, the High Evolutionary fits into this adventure as well.
Posed as an adversary to the sister and brother, the High Evolutionary takes notes of his accomplishments and failures across Counter-Earth. Waves of New Men wage battle across Counter-Earth, as do beings claiming lineage directly from the High Evolutionary. One of those beings is Luminous, the type of foe the Avengers regularly seem to match up against. Her power seems limitless in the battle, but the ideal targets do not draw her fire. Remender and Duggan preserve Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver throughout this tale, never asking the reader to fully invest in the duo’s peril.
The writers check in on the rest of the ragtag bunch that formed Rogue’s Unity Squad — Sabretooth, Doctor Voodoo, Vision and Rogue — giving Sabretooth the most satisfying scene in this issue. A natural progression from his work on “Uncanny X-Force,” Sabretooth hits Remender’s sweet spot: a troubled character who thinks he needs redemption but ultimately fails to allow himself to walk that path. High Evolutionary and Luminous, likewise, serve as perfect foils, giving the heroes little to hope for in the face of a foe who has, literally, remade existence.
While he is a magical match for this cast and the setting of Counter-Earth, Daniel AcuÃ±a doesn’t deliver his best work in this issue. There are gorgeous moments of pure brilliance, such as Vision’s conversation with Eve but, in the entire scene with Doctor Voodoo, the panels lack detail, deferring to color and frequently sacrificing features for Voodoo completely. The New Men and the High Evolutionary are especially well-rendered throughout this issue, allowing AcuÃ±a to exercise his creativity. The color, like the art, has ups and downs. Due to her bright blue uniform and orange-tinted skin, Luminous pops out in every panel she appears in, while Quicksilver and Sabretooth frequently struggle to separate from backgrounds that trend near their uniform tones.
“Uncanny Avengers” #4 touches all the bases, but doesn’t get too deep on any one of them. Using the classic comic book formula of giving every character some dialogue or an important contribution to the story, Remender and Duggan make this comic feel bigger than it is. Chapter four is not the most memorable installment of “Uncanny Avengers,” but it certainly isn’t the worst. Remender, Duggan, AcuÃ±a and letterer Clayton Cowles deliver a solid sliver that gives readers a glimpse of the larger saga and adds a powerful new being to the Marvel Universe in the process.