in 2012, a new team of Avengers and X-men began working together. Their goal: show unity and solidarity in the face of mutant discrimination. The new, Uncanny Avengers were overwhelmed by a new pair of villains called the “Apocalypse Twins”. The twins alarmingly caused the Earth’s complete destruction, and whisked away all the Earth’s mutants to a new Earth: Planet X. Wasp, Thor, Havok, Wolverine, and Sunfire survived the assault, and now plan to use time travel to save the Earth from it’s early destruction.
Uncanny Avengers #20 offers:
- A vast array of colours, and a artwork of a sweeping, futuristic city
- A diverse cast of characters from alternate worlds
- Themes of family conflict
- Values: emotional control, and rationality
- The comic is suitable for High School and College students studying themes of family conflict, and rationality under pressure.
Colourful backgrounds contrast with the varied costumes worn by the super heroes. Characters from a broad set of alternate realities sport a diverse set of colours across their outfits. A sweeping, futuristic city appears, and dissolves.
What is most visually striking in this comic book are the vibrant costumes. Characters from alternate realities gathered here sport red, black, blue, white, grey, and silver costumes. The effect strikes a bright note when contrasting colours are used for the backgrounds in fighting sequences.
The blue and silver costume of the new, Lady Avalanche stands out against a bright orange background.
While most of the comic artwork is bright and detailed, most of the scenes take place inside metal walled rooms. Later, however, a vista of futuristic buildings appear. The sky is bright white. Later, these buildings dissolve, and the effect is striking.
Fire effects also impress here. Sunfire unleashes reams of flame, while Kang the Conqueror summons a burning cloud of energy when he activates his time-traveling abilities.
There is a diverse cast here: May Parker is Spider-woman from another world. The Beast takes down the Blob, and the Summers brothers find common ground.
Other than showing off a diverse range of heroes from parallel worlds, the interaction between characters strengthens this comic book. Diversity brings conflict. It also allows unity.
The Summers brothers bond despite being separated by the circumstances: this version of Scott Summers is old and cynical. Alex Summers from the mainstream Earth has been fighting for years. He’s tired. The brothers still share a moment where they
An alternate Spider-Woman called May Parker has a strong character voice. Chirpy and charming at first, she shifts gear into a serious tone when she fires electric webbing over her foes. The Blob shows misogyny. And vanity. He lords himself over the X-men, and makes a point about the Wasp being a woman, rather than just being an Avenger. Dr. Hank McCoy, the beast, summarily stomps him into the floor.
It seems despite the time and place, the brotherhood of evil mutants will appear to challenge the X-men.
A theme of family conflict runs throughout the comic. It’s purpose is to build up emotion. The comic places value on controlling emotion. The value has greater impact if the consequence of losing control is higher disasters.
The key dramatic moments of the Uncanny Avengers #20 centre around families. Janet Van Dyne and Havok might lose their daughter if they wipe out this alternate future. Wolverine is confronted with his son, again. The Summers brothers reunite, again. Kang the Conqueror is faced with stopping his estranged, adopted daughter.
Why is this theme here?
family interactions – where more is at stake – point to emotional control and rationality under pressure. In this case, the pressure is extreme at the moment the heroes must place all their trust Kang. He promises to send them back in time to save the Earth. Sunfire’s trust problems boil-over when the pressure reaches its highest. Wolverine quickly stops him.
The message here is about emotions, rationality, and control under pressure. With their families under threat, the Uncanny Avengers face higher anger and fear. By having the Avengers overcome these emotions, value is placed in emotional control. Without control, there would be disaster.
A popular culture reference is Psylocke and Kang combining their abilities to send the Uncanny Avengers back in time to prevent the Earth X future from occurring. The process is similar to Rachel Grey and Kitty Pride combining their abilities to time travel in the X-men: Days of Future Past story arc.
Uncanny Avengers #20 is published by Marvel comics ($3.99 USD). Rick Remender (W.) Daniel Acuna (A.) VC’s Clayton Cowles (L.) Cover artwork by Daniel Acuna.