We fast forward (again) into the future after events from the previous issue of "Uncanny Avengers" led to Earth's destruction by the final judgment of Exitar the Celestial. Welcome to Planet X, the mutant paradise to which every mutant was raptured in the cunning scheme of Uriel and Eimin to trick the Scarlet Witch into doing so. Issue no. 18 "Avenge the Earth pt. 1" is the new story arc kicking off the Point NOW direction of the series. Lots of action and great art from Daniel Acuna. I appreciated the fact that Rick Remender has taken "Uncanny Avengers" for the long game. The story of Uriel and Eimin's twisted bent to save mutant-kind at all costs versus Alex Summers' quest to bring peace between man and mutant as leader of the Avengers Unity Squad has been a ride. I don't want to give to much away, but the implications for Havok, Wasp and their "family" are perilous indeed as a mutant traitor and a human trapped on a world that despises them. Both along with the help of Beast seek to change all of that, to make things right at the cost of utopia.
I appreciated the use of the Blob in Planet X's version of X-Force as led by old Magneto. The banter between he and Havok as the team hunts down Summers was humorous. As many readers know, the Blob was a member of Freedom Force back in the day. Think mutant villains contracted by the government to do its dirty work (ala Thunderbolts ala DC's Suicide Squad). X-Force and Freedom Force are pretty much the same. With the addition of Toad, Pyro and a female character on the cover I'm not familiar with (who also did not appear inside), Blob and Magneto rounded out the team.
Havok's monologue at the beginning of the issue captures the gravity of how far they'd fallen. Given that Alex Summers has much to lose if he succeeds with plans to destroy Planet X, how will changing history again affect what he and Wasp have right now? Moreover, how will the characters revealed at the end help or hurt that cause?
Some argue that this story is the one that never ends. Readers are still looking for the pay off. Many have dropped the series because the story seems to go on and on...and on. Just when we think we've reached the climax, everyone's saved and Earth is alright, readers are met with another wrinkle. As I've already shared, I like the long game. However, many readers have simply lost patience or perhaps stamina for it.
Time anomalies and their resulting crises are becoming overused in comic-dom. When will the statement, "What happened happened" ring true? Can "Uncanny Avengers" simply become one alternate history going forward? Can writers allow Havok to fail? As much as I would not like to see this happen, I think creators in this day and age of killing off characters and bringing them back, changing time and explaining away continuity with dimensional rifts have to take bold steps to do something different. Leaving things as is would be different. Our choices have ramifications.
Is it me or is Pyro supposed to be dead? He was brought back once before in comics. There seems to be no explanation as to how he's alive here. He's much older, grizzled and has a Dolph Lungren look (as in Drago from "Rocky IV"). Not sure I like this version.
"Avenge the Earth pt. 1" is a good jumping on point for readers who've dropped the book altogether and who might want to return with issue no. 18. For the casual reader, though it's a new arc, it may be confusing to just jump in without reading the previous stuff.
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