Uncanny Avengers #1 Review

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UNCANNY AVENGERS #1
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Ryan Stegman
Release Date: October 14, 2015

Week 2 of All New All Different Marvel sees the return of Uncanny Avengers under the guidance of the new creative team of Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman.

When the first volume of thIs series launched as part of the Marvel NOW! promotional push in October 2012 it was positioned as Marvel’s flagship title. Rick Remender and John Cassaday introduced the Avengers Unity Squad, which saw members of the Avengers and X-Men come together to form a new team following the  events of Avengers vs. X-Men. The series was usurped as the number one Avengers title by Jonathan Hickman’s instant classic runs on Avengers and New Avengers, but remained one of the better Marvel titles as Remender got to tell epic stories in his own corner of the Marvel Universe. The title would later relaunch following the events of Axis for Remender’s final five issues before Duggan would take the reins as All New All Different Marvel started. The third volume of Uncanny Avengers is familiar, yet feels different than its predecessor. Only time will tell whether that turns out to be a good thing.

Gerry Duggan, best known for his long running stint on Deadpool, was an interesting choice to take on such a big series. He has proven to be among the next generation of stars at Marvel, but his style is that of a lighter tone when compared to the other writers on the Avengers titles. This is the case here, and the dichotomy between the tone, and subject matter feels a bit disconnected. The Unity Squad is still in play, but with the Inhumans serving as a third faction to be represented. This is really the first glimpse that readers have had into the Inhuman/Mutant problem, and quite a few important tidbits of what’s been going on throughout the Marvel Universe during the eight month time jump are hinted at here. Having the perspective of the Avengers, X-Men, and Inhumans make this title one of the more important titles of All New All Different Marvel. That is undercut in this first issue by the overload of Deadpool.

I get wanting to add Deadpool to an Avengers team, as he is one of Marvel’s most popular characters over the past few years, but to make him the main focus of a title that has the potential to be the one of the most important titles doesn’t mesh completely. Now of course you may feel different if you are a huge fan of Deadpool, but if you aren’t it serves to be a bit grating. Several characters don’t trust Deadpool, but Steve Rogers does. He also serves as the team’s benefactor, and ultimately takes down a villain faced in the issue. In other words, this is Deadpool’s issue, and the other characters feel like the supporting cast.

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The rest of the cast has the potential to be more exciting if allowed to get out from under the shadow of Deadpool. Rogue, and her role as the mutant on the team is the most interesting given the circumstances the X-Men find themselves in. The same can be said for the Inhumans’s increased importance to the Marvel Universe, and their being represented here by Synapse, Quicksilver, and Johnny Storm. Yes, Johnny Storm now has major ties to the Inhumans, and it’s just as much about this relationship as it is about the status of the Fantastic Four. Finally, Doctor Voodoo is a vastly underused character, and his dealings with the new headquarters is a plot point that also has potential.

Ryan Stegman has become a steady performer on the art side of the equation for several years now. He has recently worked on titles such as Wolverine, and Inhuman. His style here fits the tone of the script quite well. The over the top facial expressions fit the zany aspects of the script. The action scenes are well done with the powers of Synapse, and The Human Torch looking particularly good. The one aspect that I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the way Steve Rogers’ old man look is rendered. With that said, I can’t argue that it fits just fine with the words on the page.

Overall this first issue will be divisive.  If you like Deadpool there’s a good chance this will be the Avengers title for you. If you don’t like the character you probably won’t like the issue. If Duggan can find a balance, and focus more on the different characters while toning down the goofiness this has the potential to be great. There’s a solid lineup of characters if used right, and Stegman makes this issue look as good as one would come to expect from him. I just wish the first issue was a bit more serious than it was, because it is dealing with what appears to be major issues within the Marvel Universe. At this point I can only cautiously recommend Uncanny Avengers.

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