Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Uncanny Avengers #1 - Partial Brain Damaging Awesome

I try not to hold grudges. I find it difficult at times. Not because I'm really forgiving, but with all the brain cells I've killed over the years I just have a hard time remembering why I'm pissed. And if I can't figure it out, I use that as an excuse to get myself another beer to make myself less pissed. It doesn't always work, but it's an excuse to get drunk so I'll take it. I needed more than booze after reading Avengers vs. X-men and not just because the story went down faster than Paris Hilton after a line of coke and six shots of tequila. The story ended with both the Avengers and the X-men looking like assholes, but the Avengers looked like stupid assholes. I'm willing to forgive a lot of assholery, but when the shit that comes out of it is just too much I can't bring myself to forgive that easily.

By now, everyone with an internet connection and enough will-power to stop looking at porn for more than ten minutes knows how Avengers vs. X-men ended. The Avengers came out on top, as one would expect a franchise whose movie grossed a billion dollars and allowed the Marvel execs to bathe in high priced champagne, hookers, and cocaine. But how they came out on top was what made them assholes. They didn't really defeat the X-men. They just made it so the X-men had to suck their dicks to get back into their good graces when they felt that the Phoenix couldn't be controlled. Never mind that nobody seemed to notice that the Phoenix only lost control when the Avengers started fucking with it. They didn't think twice in the same way an intoxicated Paris Hilton doesn't think twice when they're inclined to suck a dick.

But worst of all, the Avengers turned out to be dead fucking wrong. They thought the Phoenix Force was going to destroy the world and Cyclops thought it was key to kickstarting the mutant race. Guess who was right? And guess who ended up in jail? I've met some asshole cops in my life who would throw a 15-year-old girl in jail for having a single joint, but the Avengers throwing Cyclops under the buss and pissing on his corpse was just a dick move of cosmic proportions. So he killed a guy who hadn't done shit since he was shot in the head and kept trying to mind rape him. Fuck, that's not murder. That's self defense. Also, they didn't throw Wanda Maximoff in jail, who also happened to go fucking crazy and kill some very beloved friends (remember Hawkeye and Vision from Decimation?) not to mention decimating the entire mutant race. And yet she's not just free. She's prominent in Uncanny Avengers, which promises to be the biggest book to spin out of Avengers vs. X-men.

Now granted all these reasons to be pissed, I'm still willing to give Uncanny Avengers a shot. It doesn't just promise to wade through the shit left behind by Avengers vs. X-men. It's billed as a new era in Marvel. It's supposed to be the flagship book of Marvel NOW! where both the Avengers and the X-men join forces in a single team. While their reasons for doing so may be fucked, both Rick Remender and John Cassaday are crafting this book. That's like Da Vinci teaming up with Michelangelo (the artist and not the turtle) in comics. So I would be stupid in addition to being a drunk of I didn't give this book a chance.

Uncanny Avengers #1 begins with a rather grotesque scene that would probably give Dr. House a boner and a craving for more Vicodin. A rather unfortunate yet familiar figure is receiving a rather extensive lobotomy from an unknown figure. That figure is about as unlucky as the coach of the Cleveland Browns in that while he's getting his brain removed, the surgeon (who I'm assuming is on the AMA's shit list) is talking about how humans are more pissed off on mutants than ever before and the only way for mutants to respond is to give the finger to Charles Xavier's memory and start killing people. Guess that's an easy lesson to teach when you're literally picking at someone's brain.

From a very disturbing scene, it transitions into something a little less nauseating depending on how much you cried at the end of Old Yeller. Wolverine gives a eulogy at Professor Xavier's funeral. Because for some reason, they didn't think it was necessary to have something like this when he was FUCKING SHOT IN THE HEAD AT THE END OF MESSIAH COMPLEX! Yes, I yelled that as I typed it because it's worth yelling. It's also worth pointing out because it serves as a reminder that the death of Charles Xavier was ridiculously cheapened because of his history of getting his ass killed. In addition, he had done absolutely jack shit in the X-books as the mutant race he dedicated his life to teaching was on the brink of extinction. Yet for some reason they forget all that shit at the funeral? It must have had an awesome open bar.

As for Wolverine's eulogy, it's surprisingly bland for something that was written by Rick Remender. He essentially reminded everyone what Charles Xavier fought for while completely omitting the fact that he was fucking MIA when the entire mutant species was dying. Hell, Wolverine was flat out wrong when he said the X-men pushed Xavier aside. Does he even know his own continuity? Xavier stepped down from the X-men and never stepped up! If you don't know the man's history, the speech will only make you wonder why Remender cut and pasted shit from John Lennon's funeral when he's shown he's clearly a better writer than this.

As the speech is unfolding, Havok takes a break from doing jack shit and visits his brother in his ruby quartz prison. He basically tells him what an ass he is for killing Xavier and letting the Phoenix Force corrupt him. But anyone who read Avengers vs. X-men even partially sober know Cyclops didn't ask for the Phoenix Force. It was thrust on him courtesy of Tony fucking Stark. Hell, Cyclops could probably sue Stark for sexual harassment if he wanted. But does he take that into account? Fuck no! He's Cyclops's brother and at no time in the history of the human race has a man let little things like the truth prevent him from rubbing salt in an open wound for their brother. In that sense Havok's attitude is understandable, but grossly oversimplifying what actually happened and ignoring the logical inconsistencies with his words just makes him too big a douche. Cyclops, to his credit, doesn't reinforce his brother's attitude. He just reminded him that nobody (including Xavier) did shit to save the mutant race. He did. So he can suck his balls.

He leaves the prison, most likely in a very bad mood, and is greeted by Captain America and Thor. They invite him for a little chat over some overpriced coffee about the future of the Avengers. Captain America, having at least acknowledged that the Avengers have a history of turning a blind eye to mutant affairs, wants Havok to join them. He the Avengers need a mutant presence and the world needs a mutant face they can trust. And who better than the brother of Cyclops and son of Corsair? Because it turned out so fucking well for them. Havok even points this out, but he's still a douche-bag. Claiming his brother is an egotist? Fuck, if trying to create a worldwide utopia and saving your species from extinction is egotistical, then by comparison Mother Theresa was a cunt.

But while Havok was chatting with Captain America and Thor, we find out who that unfortunate lobotomy patient was. It was Avalanche, another mutant who has been more MIA than Terrel Owens's child support payments. For reasons that can only be attributed to brain damage, he unleashes a random rampage in the middle of New York City. Havok assists Captain America and Thor, but the damage is done. In this scene John Cassaday's artwork really shines as does the focus on the civilian victims of the attack. That shit often gets overlooked whenever shit starts blowing up in comics. In real life, when something blows up in a crowded city people get hurt. It's one of those little things that has been missing from the comics and it definitely helps set a different tone for Uncanny Avengers.

That tone gets all the louder when Rogue confronts the Scarlet Witch while she's paying her respects to Professor Xavier's grave. Now no longer languishing with Magneto and cat people dongs in X-men Legacy, she shows up to call the Scarlet Witch a total bitch for basically being the cause of all this shit. And unlike Havok's bullshit attitude against his brother, Rogue is right. None of this shit would have happened if the Scarlet Witch hadn't lost her fucking mind and tried to wipe out an entire species. But again, she (and Remender by default) ignore her own fucking continuity when she claims she accepts responsibility. Really? How the fuck does she do that? She's welcomed back into the Avengers with open arms and she isn't in fucking jail like Cyclops. There's double standards and then there's just plain willful ignorance.

That kind of ignorance really does hurt the story and the dialog. You get the sense that Remender is ignoring the facts even though the circumstances are still fresh. The Scarlet Witch killed a lot of fucking people with her bullshit. Cyclops killed one guy while he was Dark Phoenix. Rogue is right to call her out on her shit and Wanda is total bitch for just calling X-men soldiers who were trying to save their race. This is an instance where Remender's talent fails to create a balanced moment here. Wanda is simply wrong and Rogue is right. But nothing comes of it.

And it's not just because of the circumstances. Rogue never gets a chance to calmly explain why Cyclops killing a man while Dark Phoenix is no different than committing mass genocide while under the influence of Dr. Doom. They never even get a chance to have a little hot girl-on-girl action that Marvel should know by now is something a vast majority of their male readers appreciate. That's because they get attacked by a new team of villains that have only slightly better fashion sense than the last One Direction music video. They have horribly unoriginal names like Goat Faced Girl and Living Wind. Hell, if that's how they're going to identify themselves I should just call myself Iron Liver. But however lame their names may be, they successfully beat back Rogue and the Scarlet Witch to obtain what they came for.

What exactly did they want and who exactly are they working for? How about the dead body and brain of Charles Xavier and the motherfucking Red Skull? That's who has decided to come in and exploit the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-men the same way republicans exploit dipshit religious nuts. While it was already revealed in the teasers for Uncanny Avengers that the Red Skull was going to be the main villain, ending the issue with him holding up the brain of Charles Xavier after having given a lobotomy to Avalanche early on definitely leaves an impression. That impression will either put a smile on your face or make you want to throw up. Since I've seen far more disgusting shit hunched over a toilet in a gas station bathroom at three in the morning, I smile because it helps make up for some of the bullshit circumstances of this comic.

I'll give everyone who happens to be a pussy with a weak stomach a moment to come back from praying to the porcelain god like I've done with many a hangover. Now after reading this comic, I'm inclined to disclose that some comics are worth upchucking your meal from the last three days. However, I don't think this is one of them. Comics that are worth it are usually as awesome as a pair of tits and a line of blow. This comic wasn't awesome. It wasn't bad either. It was just okay. A big, fat okay for a book with Rick Remender and John Cassaday. That's like going to a Shakespeare play and getting a Rebecca Black concert instead. Given the massive fuckton of variant covers Marvel has thrown behind this book and the top tier talent they put behind it, for this to be anything but awesome is like taking a shit on the grave of Aristotle.

This comic had some nice moments. Rick Remender's dialog was strong in some areas, but weak and others. Cassaday's artwork was consistently awesome the whole time, especially in the gruesome moments that involved unnecessary brain surgery that would earn any doctor a lawsuit and a jail cell next to Jerry Sandusky. However, what really dragged this issue down was the poor characterization. That's supposed to be one of Remender's greatest strengths, as I've articulated with many drunken reviews of Uncanny X-Force. Here, it's like he thought he was so good at it that he tried to do it blindfolded. It led Havok to coming off as a complete douche, it made Wolverine's eulogy about as emotional and heart-felt as an apology from Mel Gibson, and it did nothing to make Captain America come off as less an asshole. This in addition to the bullshit circumstances left over by Avengers vs. X-men makes this comic a hard book to digest if you've got a weak stomach, but it's good enough in other areas to get you through without chugging a gallon of Pepto Bismol.

Uncanny Avengers #1 was billed as the beginning of a new flagship title for Marvel NOW! But if this is the best Marvel can do, then check that ship for leaks and look for Leonardo DiCapprio drawing Kate Winslett naked because that motherfucker isn't seaworthy. However, it does establish a new mission and a new team against a very devious threat that isn't afraid to desecrate graves and give random characters full lobotomies. In that sense, it's a decent issue. But again, the panties of the comic loving world will remain as dry as the Sahara and the wounds from Avengers vs. X-men will still fester. Because of that, I give Uncanny Avengers #1 a 3 out of 5. It's got pretty pictures and some nice moments. That sort of shit won't get you full service at a Bankok massage parlor, but it will get you a half-hearted happy ending. Nuff said!


  1. Holy crap Wanda comes across as a bitch, with a comment like that one how on earth does Remender EVER expect X-fans to like her again? She just dissed everything the X-men have suffered through over the last 8 years.....

  2. Another reason why I will never buy another Marvel book, and I am looking to get rid of most of my marvel books, even Bru's great Captain America Run because of the atrocity of these books. Never again.

  3. im gusssing xavier will end up being another brain in the jar like for the scarlet witch, it wasnt her fault for losing her mind it was the life force's in children crusade that messed with her.

  4. Seriously, Wanda was a totally bitch here. And she does not have the excuse of being possessed by the "Life-Force" anymore. Since Children's Crusade, she's still been shown to have some pretty crazy power levels. Even in Children's Crusade, Doom was accused of just trying to cover for the woman he (apparently) loves by saying M-Day was his idea. And even if the BS "Life Force" excuse is still being used, its still Wanda's fault. She willingly went to Doom in order to get the power necessary to get her kids back, without considering the consequences. Funny...sounds exactly what the Avengers are saying about Scott.

  5. Wow both Rogue and Wanda came off as a bitch here Wanda for the obvious and Rogue because she's the one who told Wanda not to worry in Children's crusade WTF. I know Remeder better than this. Still this book has me interested. So are you going to Review all of Uncanny Avengers or just the first part?

  6. Facebook Gal here.

    My issue with this story is simple. The funeral, we are told, was kept a family affair. Well, legally, Charles has a step brother, a foster-son and a biological son. Guess what? Not a damn one was there.

    Okay, I get that Scott is in jail. But where the bloody hell was David?!?! You mean to tell me that no one, not even Rogue, who knows the inside of that kid's head better than anyone who isn't a telepath and who in Legacy 150 seemed to be quite friendly with him, thought to go pick the kid up and take him to the gravesite? Did the Phoenix eat their brains?

    And Marvel better not say "he's too unstable." "Lost Legions" proved David is more in control that he gives himself credit for being. He could keep it together for a couple of hours. And if not, well Magneto got to see the funeral on closed circuit TV. Why not let David Skype in? Let him hear what Logan has to say. Let him get the condolences.

    And let Scott tell HIM he's not sorry for Xavier's death, not Alex. That would have been a meeting worthy of a story. The two sons, both loved and wronged, meeting. One refusing to apologise, one crippled with grief. Much more story telling meat than having Havok -- who has been playing "Whose Got The Biggest Dick" with Scott since Maddie Pryor seduced him to the Dark Side back in Inferno -- make football analogies at Cyclops. Weak. **beats the plotbunnies down with her Halloween decor**

    Another point, Rogue did instead wear a hoodie sort of thing a few decades back. That was when the slightest touch caused her to absorb a person and was meant to minimize any possiblity of that happening. She's better now. So why would she wear it? Doesn't it remind her of unpleasant times? And is not bright green a might inappro for a funeral?! Of course, Wanda had her beat with the red leather dominatrix overcoat.

    On second thought, I think I just realized why David wasn't there. Gaby didn't want him subjected to such god-awful fashions. Good mother!

    And the Red Skull? WTF?!? God, would they please make Magetno a villian again so we can replace this guy? The only way to salvage it would have been for someone off panel to yell "you're holding the brain that allowed this guy to mate with a jew!" That might have made for a nice splatter moment that justified using this former nazi. Other than that, what a clear attempt to pander to the movie audiences.

    No sir. I don't think I like it. All is did was make me think "this will be so much better once the fan fiction writers redo it and improve it." Not so sure I wanna pay $4 a month to do that.

  7. I think the Wanda-Rogue scene took place after the funeral. We saw Rogue earlier and she was wearing black.

    As for Xavier's family: I wouldn't expect Scott to be invited, considering he was the one who allowed for a funeral in the first place. Cain is still wanted for crimes against humanity for his part in Fear Itself, and wasn't a huge fan of Charles to begin with.

    I guess we'll find out more about what's going on with Legion when X-Men: Legacy relaunches, although if its revealed Gaby Haller held him back from the funeral on account of the fashion, I'd ask her to take a cold, hard look at that crazy-ass, 80's-British scene haircut of David's before casting judgement :).

  8. Thanks for all the comments you wonderful Anonymous posters! I really appreciate it. I wish I could respond by name, but I think the sentiment is still clear. This series still reeks of the stench of AvX. And brain matter as well. But it was still readable and for that I think we should be somewhat grateful. When Marvel doesn't fuck up their books more than they already have, that's as much a win we can hope for I guess.