Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Uncanny Avengers #1: Nuff Said

What happens when a concept that hasn't been viable since Chris Pratt was a chubby no-name extra on Parks and Recreation keeps trying to make it work? I don't know, but it's usually the first step towards making comic fans like me bang my head against the wall no fewer than 20 times in a row. There was a time when Uncanny Avengers actually sounded like an awesome concept. Then at some point, Marvel stopped giving enough fucks to make it work. That still hasn't stopped them from trying to make it work. They chose to relaunch it along with every other one of their titles after Secret Wars. Did it work this time? Well here's what my drunken ravings have concluded.


So how do we make Uncanny Avengers more interesting? Let's start with some ominous new guy who looks like he won the lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Creepy Old Uncles. And since Marvel is trying to pimp the Inhumans like a fat hooker with the muscle control of a Russian gymnast, why not make said creepy old guy an Inhuman? It's working for Agents of SHIELD. Sure, they're ripping off every X-men theme that ever existed, but that's besides the point.


Creepy old guy's new Inhuman powers have an unclear effect. Maybe he controls plants. Maybe he can talk to nature. Maybe he's now able to listen to Al Gore's speeches about the environment without passing out. I really have no fucking clue and I actually tried reading this sober. All we really know is the guy now has a big boner for Mother Earth and Mother Earth is probably going to need a restraining order.


Fast forward 8 months and we completely ditch the whole creepy old man/hippie plot. It's probably for the best. Instead, we get to see the new Uncanny Avengers in action. How they came together isn't revealed, but some crazy shit can happen in 8 months. Just ask anyone running for President in 2016. It must not have been too crazy though because all they're doing is fighting some Amazo rip-off. The Inhumans already rip off X-men. Why not rip off a little DC while they're at it? It worked for Deadpool.

Still makes for a nice battle scene. I'd much rather see the unity team kick ass rather than bitch about Cyclops, the Scarlet Witch, or whatever latest retcon someone just crapped out. It's not all that epic, but it has Deadpool in it. And like Bill Murray, Deadpool can make anything entertaining.


Not only does Deadpool make it entertaining, but he helps win the day. I think Ryan Reynolds just cried a few tears of joy. Everyone else really didn't do shit. Dr. Voodoo? Synapse? When was the last time these fuckers got Ryan Reynolds excited? Johnny Storm, Rogue, and Spider-Man just take up space for the most part. As for old man Rogers...well, he lets Deadpool be Deadpool. That shows he's not senile in his old age. He knows what's awesome and he knows what gets the job done. Sorry Deathstroke fans, but he'll never be as effective or fun as Deadpool.


They win the day. And what does Spider-Man do? He starts bitching and moaning. I guess Mephisto isn't around to make another deal. I'm sure he would sell his soul again to be on a less frustrating team. But old man Rogers says they need to meet the press. They need to show the world that mutants, Avengers, and Inhumans can work together and get the job done. Sure, all they did was beat a generic synthaziod/Amazo rip-off. It's not like they took down Hydra or kicked Thanos in the dick. But they gotta start somewhere, right?


So they all decide to listen to the old man. Unless that old man is Stan Lee, that's usually not a good idea. Rogers says all the right things, but then again so does the CEO of Volkswagen. It doesn't unfuck a situation that's already fucked. And Rogue decides to fuck it a little more and not in a sexy way either. She throws in an anti-Inhumans comment that sounds like something Joe Biden might say when he's hung over. Rogers does his best to save face, but the message is clear. Mutants and Inhumans might as well be the bloods and crips of the Marvel Universe.


Old man Rogers takes Rogue aside and explains to her that dealing with the press is like dealing with special needs children who haven't been taking their medications. He also tries to convince her that having Deadpool on the team is a good idea and not just because he's helping to fund the team. He might as well try to convince her that it's a good idea to let oil companies run the EPA. Even so, Rogue does agree to give Deadpool a chance. She and old man Rogers even have a nice heart-to-heart about how far she's come and how she keeps fighting, despite mutants getting screwed over in ways only Josh Trank can exceed.


How screwed are mutants? Well, Rogue offers a hint. She reveals she can't dress in a way that would piss off the Anita Sarkesians of the world anymore. She's been affected/screwed over by the Terrigen Mists. It's fucked up her skin in ways that no Neutrogena commercial can claim to cure. It's forcing her to get regular treatments to keep her from becoming an extra in a Walking Dead rerun. It's a nice tease as to the current crisis facing mutants. It's not directly hinted that Marvel jerks off to their suffering because of the movie rights. But it's still sort of implied.


There's some other sub-plot randomly unfolding with Dr. Voodoo. But again, when was the last time anybody gave more than half a fuck about Dr. Voodoo? All he does is bitch and moan with a guy he "killed" back in the day. It's not nearly as awesome as it sounds. John Constatine would probably roll his eyes at this shit. It would've helped if this had absolutely anything to do with the team or the creepy old guy that showed up earlier. But it might as well be another shitty Mountain Dew commercial.


A little more action should help get things back on track, right? Right?! Well, at least some effort is made. All it really succeeds in doing is fucking up Quicksilver's dates. Apparently, he dates multiple women at the same time and not in a way that shitty sitcoms depicted. He's like a hornier version of the Flash with shittier hair. But the man places a high priority on beautiful women and I can respect that.

What I can't respect is Synapse basically losing her shit for no reason. Seriously, that's the catalyst for this fight. There's no build. There's no ominous hint. She's just having a nice date with Quicksilver and she loses her shit like someone who just watched Wolf Blitzer bite the head off a kitten. Seriously, that's how organized this story is at this point. We have side-plots we don't give a shit about and random shit storms popping up for no reason. There are episodes of Lost more organized than this.


Whatever the cause (if one is even necessary at this point), it turns downtown Boston into a nightmare version of a Home Depot commercial. The rest of the unity team meets up with Quicksilver, who is probably pissed as hell that he had to keep his pants on. Again, there's just some random crashes and fighting. And Deadpool isn't even given a chance to make it fun or entertaining. Rogue may or may not have hinted that she boned Johnny Storm, but there's very little to this battle beyond cock-blocking Quicksilver. Not that cock-blocking Quicksilver isn't a good way to spend an afternoon, but still.


There is some effort at adding a little mystery. The team investigate this Greenpeace wet dream of a landscape to find out it's got a few things that even Greenpeace wouldn't fight to protect. Apparently, this isn't just Mother Earth being extra cranky. Someone is turning Boston into an oversized greenhouse that grows hideous demon-like dogs that even Sarah Mclachlan wouldn't adopt. Why is this important and what the fuck does it have to do with any of the other randoms side-plots that have been littered throughout this story? Don't look at me this time. I am NOT sobering up to figure that out. It would just be a perfect waste of sobriety.


The only real hint we get comes in the form of a prototypical ominous figure, minus the ominous part. There's no mystery to the guy. He identifies himself as the Shredded Man. He basically looks like a much less imposing version of the Shredder from the Ninja Turtles. Apparently, he's the one behind this Greenpeace wet dream. Details, motivations, and depth...if you're expecting any of that shit, go see the last two Fantastic Four movies. You'll get just about the right amount of disappointment.


So...is it awesome?

A better question would be is this really all the fucks Marvel can give about this series right now? It's got a handful of characters that few people give a shit about and does nothing to make those characters all that interesting. Plus, Spider-Man quitting in the first issue? Can this motherfucker go one week without threatening to hang up his webs? Maybe I'm being too harsh. It is a diverse team that struggles to get along and there is some appeal to that. It just doesn't really show much in this issue.

Most of what we get is a bland, disorganized plot that's built mostly around old man Rogers trying to keep everyone from killing each other. Add Robert De Niro to the cast and you might actually have something. Without him, we just got another reminder of why Uncanny Avengers is the Detroit Lions of Marvel Comics. They'll have a few wins here and there, but in the long run they'll lose and lose badly.

Final Score: 4 out of 10

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