Uncanny Avengers #14 Review

by @WednesdayComix on Nov 30, 2013

The Scarlet Witch is poised to "rapture" mutant-kind in a misunderstood ploy to defeat the Apocalypse Twins; but an impassioned Rogue aims to stop and end the mutant-Avenger for her own sins against them.

The Good

In their continuing saga of the Avengers Unity Team's battle against the Apocalypse Twins, Rick Remender, Steve McNiven and company caused enough shock for me to re-subscribe to this book at my local shop. I'd been reading "Uncanny Avengers" since issue #6: a book that turned out to be a good jumping on point following the end of "The Red Shadow" story arc. However, the budget-minder whispering in my head echoed, "You need to trim the fat from the ever-increasing waistline of your pull list." So off the list Uncanny went. "Besides, I can't read everything," I thought. "This saga will perhaps wrap with time fractured even more and even more characters across the Marvel Universe appearing in the Marvel Now with no real consequences." I was too buried in "Infinity" and "Battle of the Atom" to keep up with Havok, Wolverine, Cap and assembly. Then a couple months ago I read the solicits. My subscription ended with issue #13. Something big was going to happened in issue #14. A death? I had to get it.

"Uncanny Avengers #14" did not disappoint me at all. As the humorous idiom in comics goes, "Death is permanent." We all know that it's not nowadays, but Remender did something here that plucked my heart-strings in a way the idiom's sarcasm could not prevent: I cared. He made me care about the characters most affected by the team's decisions leading up to this issue. I'm not going to spoil anything here; but by the time you read this review you'll know who caught the brunt of the chaos. And if you've been reading Uncanny over the course of this story arc, you might care too.

Steve McNiven did a wonderful job on pencils along with John Dell (inks) and Laura Martin (colors). The hot crucible of words met with the branding iron of pictures have the power to burn narrative into memory. Rogue's encounter with the Scarlet Witch was surprising despite having read the solicits. I will remember it for a long time. The Grim Reaper's showdown with Rogue was equally unexpected and memorable. I enjoyed seeing Kang the Conqueror gather characters from multiple timelines including Stryfe and Doom 2099 for an as of yet unknown mission saved one fractured point in time.

Under the surface of yet another time-crisis was a real story. Where the event-book "Infinity" seemed disjointed and too big at times and "Battle of the Atom" became messy and more convoluted near the end, this self-contained arc remains tight in scope and sequence. The build-up to this climax made sense. Uriel and Eimin (the Apocalypse Twins) had confidence that protecting all mutants from the humans by creating a home-world away from earth was homo-superior's road to salvation. With the help of Wonder Man, the Scarlet Witch was prepared to obliged them in order to stop the bloodshed. Rogue still harbored bad feelings about the Scarlet Witch, which only complicated the Witch's ability to carry out her plot making matters worse. Of course the laundry list of unresolved problems that Rogue had with SS was also palpable. In her mind, she'd been the primary reason why the mutants were still persecuted by humans and why Charles Xavier's dream of co-habitation was dashed to pieces.

Wolverine wore pathos like tattered gloves. He pitied himself the most for the blood on his own hands. The sorrow of having murdered his son Daken, now one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, convicted him so much as to make Rogue promise in the previous issue, "No one dies" as readers saw in a flashback. Though promises are not meant to be broken, broken people break promises. Remender and his cavalcade refused to ride into the sunset of this series of unfortunate events without punctuating that "hurt people hurt people" and that our relationships (whether between family, friends or ethno-social groupings) are hurt the most by our unbridled passions and hateful actions.

The Not So Good

I understand that Wolverine sells comic books, but he's in too many of them. It's nonsensical that he should appear on almost every Avenger and X-Men team, let alone run a school. Though his role on the team was defended by Rogue issues ago, I don't believe he has a place in it after this arc. Rogue made a logical point about the Scarlet Witch. In essence, she had not paid for her own crimes against humanity. Nor had Wolverine if it matters any (and it does). Now the vengeful Rogue had blood on her hands too. It's a Shakespearian tragedy where they all die in the end. We already know "death is permanent." Moreover, I'm tired of the breaking-of-time trope being used in the industry. I love time travel and dimension-hopping, but the whole event-oriented "crisis" is wearing thin in more ways than one. Though Remender effectively straddles time and space here, it's time to get a new watch that keeps good time and keeps continuity from flying off the wheel.

The Bottom Line

My planned stop at a comic shop in Grand Rapids, MI on "new comic book Wednesday" to pick up this issue amongst others while on our way through snow and gale to our Thanksgiving destination paid off. Whew! That was a long run-on sentence, but so was the trip. "Uncanny Avengers #14" slightly added to its worth.

4.5 / 5
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Uncanny Avengers #14
Released November 27, 2013
Writer Rick Remender
Artist Steve McNiven
Cover Artist Steve McNiven

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