REVIEW: Uncanny Avengers #15 – “Same Team. New Leader”

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UNCANNY AVENGERS #15
Writer: Gerry Duggan 
Artist: Pepe Larraz 
Colorist: David Curiel 
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles 
Release Date: 10/12/16
Price: $3.99

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Plot: The Avengers Unity Squad is no more, but when The Hand’s insidious plot to resurrect the Hulk is revealed, they must quickly reassemble. But will they stop them before it’s too late? In Uncanny Avengers #14, Steve Rogers declared the Avengers Unity Squad a failure and immediately disbanded it. In this issue, the rest of the team isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. This issue begins with Rogue and Deadpool sulking in the ruins of their former base.

But just as the former teammates begin contemplating  life no longer under the stern leadership of Steve Rogers, Doctor Voodoo leaps out of a portal with an urgent message for the team. The undead ninja warrior cult known as The Hand stole Bruce Banner’s body and intend to turn him into one of their weapons of mass destruction.

After Doctor Voodoo updates the team on the situation, the Unity Squad (along with their new leader Rogue), sets off for Japan. Oh, did I mention that the rest of the team didn’t get the memo that the Unity Squad is disbanded? Given the dire situation they found themselves in, there’s no time for Rogue or Deadpool to let the group know.

Story:  I haven’t quite warmed up to the team dynamic in previous issues. Much of what we’ve seen so far has been Deadpool and friends. That’s fine for any Deadpool fan (because who doesn’t love that guy?), but not so good for those expecting a team book similar to the Avengers. In the Marvel Comics universe, the Unity Squad was bound to fail. But in real life, The Uncanny Avengers still has potential. Now that post-Civil War II storyline has begun, I see this comic becoming what I always knew it could be. Steve Rogers leaving the team made this comic better. Not only that, we get Rogue as the new leader.

“Even though it’s the worst thing ever….we gotta just – ya gotta lean into it….pretend it’s the best thing ever”

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I like how Gerry Duggan handles Rogue’s transition into leader. In past issues, she and Steve Rogers butted heads. Now when the fed up Rogers finally broke up the band, Rogue stepping up made even more sense. It’s a role that suits her well considering this isn’t the first time she led a team of superpowered heroes. Of course with the rest of the team being out of the loop, she’ll likely have a hard time not spilling the beans.

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Okay, I think I should mention the big green elephant in the room: the resurrection of the Hulk. It didn’t have much of an impact as I wanted it to. This brings me to my only complaint with this issue. Banner’s death in Civil War II happened in the pages of Civil War II not too long ago. His corpse didn’t even get a chance to desiccate for goodness sake! Okay, that was an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying? My point is, this storyline seems rushed.

Granted, I’m assuming the actual angry green giant isn’t making the proper comeback just yet. Even though it’s far too early to tell, it seems like we’re getting a mindless and soulless monster instead of Banner.

Art:  Penciler Pepe Larraz’s potrayal of Tokyo is beautiful. The neon signs and the busy streets all are drawn with  amazing detail. It’s really easy to follow the action. Speaking of action, Larraz  also delivers vibrant and detailed facial work which makes the action panels come alive. I absolutely love the large panels where the team engages in an all-out smack-down with The Hand in the busy streets of Japan.

David Cuiel’s colors jump right off every page. The teams arrival in Tokyo is perhaps the best panel that demonstrates Cuiel’s skills. I’ve found the wet asphalt to be eye-grabbing. The coloring of ground have a watercolor look to it. The pedestrians reflections and the neon lights reflected on the wet ground adds a layer of realism to the page.

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Verdict: Uncanny Avengers #15 is a great issue full of action and humor. It’s also a solid jumping on point for new readers.

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