Rick Remender's version of Armageddon spinning out of the pages of "Uncanny Avengers" has been nothing short of fabulous. This story could have been drawn out into another huge crossover event similar to AvX, "Battle of the Atom," or "Infinity," but I'm glad that it wasn't. It's been self-contained. So far, it has been a series favorite of mine.
Heroes have fallen. The team (Avengers Unity Squad) is in ruin. Evil has the upper-hand. Earth is yet again in a peril of biblical proportion. What will happen next? That's the question. All four points are classic themes in Marvel Comics storytelling. When the tropes are used effectively they make for memorable, continuity-shaping tales that reverberate for years to come. Remender has struck gold with "Ragnarok Now."
Steve McNiven's art has also been great. The battle scenes between Wasp and Sentry (Wasp and Sentry!!!) were perfect. Who knew that in addition to her stingers and the using of Pym particles to alter her size, Wasp could summon insect life with her own helmet? The Frank Herbert "Dune" moment was priceless. What's to come of Sentry's speech to Wasp in a panel all I can say "sickeningly scary:" "I am the Sentry of Mankind / I AM Apocalypse?" Is this foreshadowing the imminent arrival of the true, mutant villain Apocalypse?
Captain America stood alone against Uriel and Eimin, the Apocalypse Twins. What fate is in store for him? I thought it was interesting that Eimin quoted the scriptures as she and her brother pummeled Cap into a beaten mess: "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:5-8 ESV). Remender used the Noah account in connection with the mutant rapture. In several panels we see mutants (heroes and villains alike) whisked away into the Ark, a vessel the Apocalypse Twins determine to transport mutant-kind to a new home-world free of humans. His decision to include the scriptures here could have become offensive. But because Remender already established that the Twins see themselves as some-kind-of-saviors of the mutant race, it's use here made sense. Their ire against humanity is deep-seated and their hatred of Kang the Conqueror (who plays a role in all of this) has contributed to it.
Without careful analysis of the biblical themes used in the book, readers could interpret the narrative as saying, "God is malevolent, self-serving and uncaring." The larger story of love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and redemption as woven through Bible history has the potential of becoming lost in translation. I'm glad that Remender does not abuse the scriptures. However, in no way should readers draw conclusions about God from a comic book without inquiring the scriptures themselves.
This story-arc has been good. Real good. If you have not been reading "Uncanny Avengers," you should be.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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