Comics Review – Uncanny Avengers #9

Uncanny Avengers #9

Wolverine walks through a cold forest – red blood on white snow. Apocalypse’s children, Uriel and Eimin, bring to life long dead characters as their master plan unfolds, but Captain America and Havok might have a way to stop them – if they can keep the Uncanny Avengers together.

Wolverine’s forest is a bad dream. Secrets kept by the X-force team are slowly working their way to the surface, and the dream is the first step in Wolverine’s past actions coming to light. Most of the comic book involves the Uncanny Avengers, separated, finding their way back to the mansion.

The villains of the comic book are dabbling in resurrection, and the destruction of the universe – there are some spectacularly creepy scenes where they use “Death Seeds” – items from the a villain called Apocalypse’s back story – on a troupe of mummies, who shamble from their graves as life returns to them.

Art

Commanding and stylish, the art is sprightly and powerful at the same time. Emphatic body language and a wide colour palette. The avengers costumes look incredible. Punchy, primary colours fill the panels: Rogue’s green, Scarlet Witch and Thor’s red, Sunfire and Wolverine’s yellow, and Captain America’s Blue.

Characters

There are several disagreements between key characters: Captain America berates Wolverine, and Wasp joins in – she won’t have her ethics compromised by having Wolverine stay on the team. This debate is about lethal force. Wolverine and Thor state that when at war, killing to protect innocents when there are no other options is acceptable. Despite having fought in World War II, Captain America unequivocally rejects their argument. This argument about lethal force is brought up as a distraction, however: it fits in with the non-violent themes of the comic, but the villains Eimin and Uriel are using it to divide Marvel’s Avengers.

Ethics and Values

Satyagraha describes Mahatma Ghandi’s theory and practice of non-violent resistance. He arrived at this theory after a experiencing racism in South Africa, which makes this non-violent ethic relevant to a comic book about overcoming minority discrimination.

Wonderman and Wolvering discuss briefly the benefits of Gandhi’s theory of non-violent resistance. Later Wonder Man preaches to Hydra agents about non violence. He quotes Martin Luther King Jr on non-violence of the spirit: “you not only refuse to shoot a man, you refuse to hate”.

I had a mixed reaction: yes, letting go of rage to find peace cannot be a bad thing, but what happens when the hydra agents run away and regroup? The comic delves into the value of non-violence, and the ongoing clash between violent and non-violent solutions.

Assimilation and Pride returns as Wasp, Wonderman, Sunfire, Rogue, and Scarlet Witch assay and critique Alex Summer’s controversial speech. Questions are raised: Should minorities be seen as people first without any separate features, or is this assimilation, and covert shame?

Rogue insists that Summer’s speech was about shame. Scarlet Witch argues its a way of thinking that evaluates people based on what they do, not how they are born. The debate raises questions about identity loss, and what is normal.

A bit more on Uncanny Avengers #9

Not knowing the back story of X-force, or the Apocalypse mythology from the past decade of X-men comic books, made most of this issue difficult to understand for readers entirely unfamiliar with Apocalypse and his family. What the villains are doing now made some sense though – the safety of the Earth, and the current timeline are at stake.

Uncanny Avengers #9 is published by Marvel Comics. Writer: Rick Remender. Artist: Daniel Acuna. Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.

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