Thursday, June 20, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #9

Every week when I pick up a certain comic, it triggers a flood of strange chemicals in my brain that cannot be induced by anything I find at a pharmacy or a street corner in Tijuana. And when those chemicals are the reaction from a team like the Uncanny Avengers, a team so dysfunctional that they could have their own sitcom on Fox, they can be pretty volatile. These are my thoughts for Uncanny Avengers #9. You might want to wear safety goggles.

Rick Remender was the one who had Wolverine lead a team that shot a kid in the head and drown his own son to death. So I guess it’s only fitting that as the writer of Uncanny Avengers, he take some time out of Havok being a total douche to torment Wolverine about it. It comes in the form of a nightmare lecture by a kid Apocalypse with a bullet in his head, Arcangel, and the dead body of his son, Daken. They’re basically reminding him of how he fucked up. It’s like me having dreams about every time I came to school wearing a Backstreet Boys T-shirt. The kind of horror and mental torture is excruciating, but given how this has led to the Apocalypse Twins I think it’s perfectly appropriate. I’m sure this sort of mind-fuck is nothing Wolverine can’t handle. He can always go back to dreams of Jean Grey in a thong.

After waking up from his nightmare, Wolverine joins Havok and the Scarlet Witch for a verbal whipping by Agent Brand and Maria Hill. It’s not all doom and gloom. They managed to prevent Peak, SWORD’s overpowered space station, from crashing into Rio and completely disrupting the export of bikini wax products. They were also able to describe the big boom over Akabba, courtesy of the Scarlet Witch using her powers for something other than mutant genocide. I guess that counts as progress. But it’s still not clear just what the hell the Apocalypse twins were expecting by trying to crash Rio or blow up a city of loyal followers. They speculate that it was to just gauge their response. If that’s the case, then it’s painfully inefficient. It probably would have been easier to just Google them, but not nearly as destructive. And where’s the fun in that?

The Apocalypse Twins certainly seem to have a taste for fun. They enjoy plenty of non-destructive activities such as being pampered by beautiful women in bikinis with bird masks and exhuming dead bodies. I’m not saying they’re healthy activities, but they perfectly in line with anyone who crashes space stations and triggers nuclear explosions during a hard day’s work.

However, they don’t have much time for hobbies. While the Uncanny Avengers are saving vacation spots, they took the time to fuck with the laws of physics and create a block to prevent Kang the Conqueror from coming from the future. It adds some curious twist to the whole Kang sub-plot, which seems to have been overlooked in the past few issues. But if he’s got a gate preventing him from time traveling, then at least it offers a partial explanation of why we haven’t seen him. It’s not like you can miss a guy who dresses up like an 80s rock band and was rejected by the blue man group.

And their hobby of exhuming dead bodies also has some worth as well, but not in the way necrophiliacs are probably hoping for. The Apocalypse Twins may not look like the Apocalypse we all know and love or even match his same charisma. But there are some family traditions they just have to keep. Apocalypse rarely showed much respect for dead bodies. And rather than just waste them on feeding worms or mounting them on his wall, he found that they could be more useful as horsemen. And since the Apocalypse Twins flat out slaughtered the previous horsemen that were introduced in Uncanny X-Force, they need to fill the void and do it in a way that will maximize X-men and Avenger pwnage.

This finally brings us to Kang the Conqueror, who to this point has been overlooked in this arc. At least now we know why. The Apocalypse Twins are cock-blocking him. But that didn’t stop him from leaving a message for Captain America to find. In the previous issue, he landed in the parts of Sudan where shooting live targets is right up there with masturbation in terms of afternoon activities. It was a mystery as to who left him some strange holographic message. But after what was just revealed, it makes perfect sense that it’s Kang.

His message is pretty basic. The Apocalypse Twins end up becoming the evil overlords that Dr. Doom always failed to be and he tried to stop it by doing what he does best (until Wolverine topped him in Age of UltroN), which is fuck with time. He says seven timelines have been created as a result of the Apocalypse Twins and all of them end with the world having a few extra torn assholes. And since he’s stuck in the future, he’s relying on Captain America and the Uncanny Avengers to save his miserable ass. Makes me wonder why the hell he didn’t kill the twins, but I’m going to assume that would somehow fuck up the time stream even worse. Seriously, what doesn’t fuck it up these days? He even offers Cap a weapon, but that ends up being shot to shit thanks to a few Sudan rebels. You can always count on gun-toting militia-men to make shit worse, no matter what universe you’re in.

The battle against the Apocalypse Twins looks to be pretty awesome, but there’s another battle brewing within the team and it involves two beautiful women. In that sense, it’s almost every bit as awesome. It involves Rogue and the Scarlett Witch. It also involves Havok’s controversial speech where he turned the word “mutant” into a racial slur that could get the Don Imuses of the world fired. Much has been said by politically correct fanboys with too much free time and Rick Remender has generally told them to fuck off. I get the sense that with this conversation between Rogue and the Scarlett Witch, he’s throwing in a few extra middle fingers.

The debate is actually pretty intense and engaging. Usually, scenes that just involve characters talking tend be boring. But this shit was almost as intense as an arm wrestling match between the Hulk and Superman. Rogue thinks his idea is bullshit and asking mutants to dissociate with their M-label is like asking a gay man not flaunt the fact that he never has to deal with buying tampons for his spouse. But the Scarlett Witch sees it another way. The labels associated with being a mutant only breed more fear and stereotypes. It’s amazing how valid each of their points are, so much so that I struggle to imagine them wrestling naked in a pool of baby oil. It makes for a great debate and a scene that really escalates the conflict over how the Uncanny Avengers handle their whole mission about bridging the gap between humans and mutants. It’s the kind of juicy moments that you only used to see in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, but it’s every bit as awesome here.

The heated debates continue beyond labels and stereotypes. Just as Wolverine was facing his nightmares early on in the issue, he now has to finally come clean to the rest of the team about what happened with Angel and X-Force. He basically has to admit that he led a mission where a child got shot in the head and Angel was basically killed and reborn a brain-damaged hippie. Those are some pretty fucked up crimes, especially for an Avenger.

The reaction of the team here is spot on. Captain America sure is pissed. So is Wasp. And why the fuck should they be? Were they not aware that Wolverine had a nasty habit of killing people before he joined the team? I mean fuck, it’s not like it’s a secret the NSA has to uncover through stolen emails. He flat out admits to the team that he’s a killer and he did what he had to do. But not everyone is disgusted. Thor comes clean and says that a lot of this shit with the Apocalypse twins was his fault too because of that glorified bar brawl between him and Apocalypse that was shown a few issues back. Again, it’s a scene with little action, but Remender finds a way to make the dialog every bit as entertaining as 1,000 battles against killer robots.

Once again, the Uncanny Avengers are about as coherent and organized as Congress during happy hour. It actually provides a compelling reason for why the X-men and the Avengers didn’t team up sooner. They probably would have slaughtered each other by now if they had. But Havok, being the leader and the top douche, tries to keep his team together. He basically tries to do what his brother was so good at doing, minus the hot redhead or blonde he’s boning. He points out that they’re playing right into the hands of the Apocalypse Twins and he’s right. They’re doing plenty to help them. But the prospect of them working together to take on this threat looks about as promising as Nicholas Cage’s last Ghost Rider movie.

And who do these embittered X-men and Avengers have to face in order to beat the Apocalypse Twins? Well, after desecrating a few graves and the Apocalypse Twins now have their horsemen. And who will rise up and further torment this team that makes the Oakland Raiders look competent? How about Daken, Sentry, Banshee, and Grim Reaper? All are dead Marvel characters and now they’re back, evil, and ready to take on a team that can’t seem to stop bitching and moaning with each other. It’s about as fair a fight as pitting sick puppy against a chainsaw-wielding Michael Vick on crystal meth. Hell, you could put it on pay-per-view and I would still watch it with a raging boner.

These are my thoughts about Uncanny Avengers #9. All you need to know is that this comic is finally becoming as awesome as it was hyped to be. It has taken a while, but everything that made Uncanny X-Force so awesome has translated to Uncanny Avengers. Nuff said!


  1. Finally Remender references the true meaning of En Sabah Nur's name, "the seven lights" which I've been hassling him about for the last few years.

    Oh and were those "living mummies" suggesting the bloodstone carried by N'Kantu is actually a Death Seed and was he once an early Apocalypse?

    1. I'm not sure what those bloodstones were, but I'm glad Remender took some time to dissect his name. Those are the kinds of little details that separate good stories from truly awesome stories! Thanks for the comment!


  2. I'm glad that the "controversy" of issue #5 was brought up and dealt with (and a lot more nuance that Remender first attempt at responding to his critics, even if "Wanda" basically just becomes Remender with boobs at that point.)

    But boo for bringing such awful "pet" characters like The Sentry and Daken back (this better not be a back-door to permamnent resurrection.)

    1. I'm not sure if it's a controversy, but I'm glad it was debated. The fact the debate took place between two beautiful women is just a bonus. lol And I don't mind Sentry and Daken coming back. Their deaths weren't all that glamorous anyways. I'm all for giving them another shot!