Rick Remender combines the Uncanny X-Men and the Avengers in a comic that claims to make a long held ideal real: humans and mutants no longer at odds, allied and peaceful. At least that’s the plan.
Uncanny Avengers #2
The cover of this issue demands to be looked at, which is not too good since it is mostly a giant Red Skull face. The Red Skull’s face is disturbing at the best of times, and it looms over the viewer. I felt like I wanted to start reading immediately to escape the image. In addition to John Cassaday and Laura Martin’s cover art, This comic has some powerful and moving moments. Thor making a pledge to defend mutants, and improve damaged and hostile relations between mutants and people, for example, was one of these. Nothing inspires confidence like the god of thunder supporting a cause.
On the other hand, the red Skull has some powerful new weapons in his eternal war with Captain America. He has his own class of “gifted humans” – an inversion of Charles Xavier’s class of mutants. There are more inversions: Steve Rodgers has employed Havok – Alex Summers – as the face of his new team that aims to demonstrate humans and mutants working together. Red Skull has recruited a mutant called “Honest John, the Living Propaganda” to transmit anti-mutant videos across America. Like the rest of his peers, Honest John has a long codename, and a complicated power set: his appearance changes depending on what persona is most persuasive to the person he is talking to.
Remender has created an original and weird group of young villains. Honest John’s peers are, in no particular order:
- Mzee the turtle man
- Tsar Sultan
- Dancing Water
- The Goat Faced Girl
And there are a few others yet to name themselves. I will summarise their powers in a future blog.
Comparing Captain America and Red Skull’s plans, it comes down to brutal, violent propaganda versus strong leadership, and community contact. Havok has demonstrated both of these qualities. Another X-factor in this case, however, is the Scarlet Witch. She was recently captured by the Red Skull, and using a recently acquired ability, Red Skull is persuading the Scarlet Witch to do something unthinkable: once again, erase the world’s mutant population. With this threat introduced, and a real cliffhanger, the plot of this comic is getting that unmistakable, I-want-to-read-the-next-issue-now feeling.