Quick review: Uncanny Avengers #3

detailWRITTEN BY: Rick Remender
ART BY: John Cassady
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: January 23, 2013

The Red Skull,backed by his extremely powerful S-Men and now fully in control of Xavier’s brain is prepared to bring battle to the New York City,  Havoc’s Avengers, and forces of equality and tolerance themselves! Everything else about this book aside it allowed to write that sentence as its introduction and mank, was that fun!

Something bothered me about UA#3 on my first read through and I couldn’t put my finger on it, well at least until I grafted Xavier’s brain onto mine. The pacing, characterizations, and general plotting of the book feel an awful lot like the subject of our second-to-last feature. Thankfully the art is better, though. Characters are allowed to have expressions and dialogue flows in a way that doesn’t feel painfully stilted which is appreciated. Still, Havoc and Cap’s interactions really read like old school over-the-top, on-the-nose character moments, as does the “voice over” explaining everyone’s motivations.

Remender, despite his clear pulp influences is actually riffing on the racial work of so may X-Writers before him.  The X-Men where conceived and rose to popularity during the Civil Rights Movement and its immediate fallout. During both Lee and Clarmont’s iconic runs the X-Men often stood in for American Blacks and Jews. Uncanny Avengers asks, with some subtly, if we have actually come that far since the 60s and 70s. Have we moved past the racial struggles of the Jim Crow Era or have we just changed our language and made the battle a more subtle one? I’m not ready to judge the books attempts to engage that question, at least not until the first plot arc is done, but I’m interested to see how it finishes.

I enjoyed the read and its addition to the month of Wolverine getting beat down is lovely, but it never rose to the pure fun of Hawkeye, or the the true thoughtfulness of Sandman. The middle ground that Uncanny Avengers is currently straddling is uncomfortable, and just a tad off-putting.

Vestrymen Grade: B-