*Ties into the Secret Empire crossover
Uncanny Avengers initially had a lot of promise when it first headlined Marvel NOW! way back in 2012. The first team — which grouped at-the-time underused characters like Havoc, Scarlet Witch, and Sunfire with mainstays like Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, and Rogue — seemed like a cool pairing of the Avengers and the X-Men. Other Avenger classics like Wonder Man and the Wasp became involved pretty early on, as well.
That book didn’t quite live up to expectations. The team seemed to be too focused on interior conflict to the point of making the majority of the team absolutely insufferable. Meanwhile, world-threatening foes — like Kang the Conqueror and the Apocalypse Twins — boiled in the foreground, which the team seemed all-too ready to ignore just as long as they could have it out with their comrades. This had the side effect of making the members of the team look really petty and short-sighted.
The All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch of the book held little interest with the addition of that damnable killer of all pacing and tension: Deadpool. It’s hard to take any book seriously when the plot keeps getting sidetracked by a fourth wall-breaking walking fart joke named Deadpool (the exception to this rule being the admittedly great film Deadpool, as well as Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force).
My interest in this book has been renewed with the subtraction of Deadpool, even if it may be temporary, and the addition of the rising star Jim Zub, hot off the heels of his fantastic run on Thunderbolts (which I hope so badly will be returning after the conclusion of Secret Empire). Zub has shown to be a fantastic writer and well versed in comic storytelling.
Also, the presence of Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch, and the Wasp really helps.
Uncanny Avengers #24 takes place under the Darkforce Dome in New York, which Hydra erected in the beginning of Secret Empire. Rogue, Wasp, Doctor Voodoo, Synapse, and the Human Torch are within the dome, attempting to fight off the monsters threatening the citizens of the city. Matters are complicated when Rogue runs across the Shocker and Scorpia attempting to rob a bank in the chaos.
Meanwhile, Quicksilver is outside the dome and trying to find a means of entering it. He hears a broadcast from the AI of Tony Stark and runs in the direction of the signal.
Uncanny Avengers #24 is very light on plot and character development. With this coming in the shadow of Secret Empire and this late in the game, it could do very little to add to the story beyond “Hey, this is where the Avengers Unity Squad is in all this.” That is pretty disappointing, given that it would be nice to see Jim Zub strut his stuff in this new book.
That being said, there is still fun to be had in watching this group of heroes trying to figure things out in this situation. There is some interesting conflict between Rogue and the Wasp over leadership, Human Torch is delightfully cocky, and Synapse is trying to avoid a nervous breakdown in this hellish crisis.
Doctor Voodoo attempts to commune with the spirits to help fight off the Darkforce, but it backfires when he becomes possessed, foreshadowing the likely main conflict in the next couple of issues.
Kim Jacinto’s artwork is a particularly awesome addition to the book. The characters look great, and the monster designs look better than they do in the main Secret Empire series. This gritty art style, mixed with Tamra Bonvillain’s pale color art, makes for a really appealing book.
Is Uncanny Avengers great? No, not really. Is it a serviceably fun time if you like these characters? Yes. I’d say give it a try if you have an interest in this book, but it will likely be more worth your money when Secret Empire ends and we get to see what Jim Zub will be doing with the future of this book.
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