Heroes Unite in Uncanny Avengers (2023) #1

Once again, it’s time for mutants and their allies to assemble.

Mutantkind is in shambles, but comics featuring them are coming full speed and showing no sign of stopping. Here we have Gerry Duggan and Javier Garron relaunching Uncanny Avengers. It’s quite reminiscent of the original comic by Rick Remender and John Cassaday that featured the debut of the Unity Squad, a team composed of both mutants and standard Avengers tasked with leading the charge of togetherness.

One of the most exciting parts of reading mainstream superhero comics is how they interconnected they can be,  this issue works in concert with Hellfire Gala 2023, the FCBD 2023 Avengers/X-Men issue, and X-Men #25 (the first issue ushering in the “Fall of X”). It works really well, and that’s mostly due to the fact that Gerry Duggan wrote all of these stories. With all the comics tying into “Fall of X”, it can look a little like it’s all over the place, and it is, but not in a negative way. Uncanny Avengers beautifully ties in with all the happenings of the other X-books, and I actually felt rewarded for reading them all. It reminds me of when I was first reading comics in the mid-2000’s and was completely swallowed by the interconnected nature of it all.

Immediately, this issue starts in a way that instantly brings me back to the first issue of the original run of Uncanny Avengers, where on the first page we get a glimpse of the villain, but we don’t get the full reveal until the very last page. Duggan uses a similar technique here. In essence, the move is the same, though it’s more involved and isn’t limited to the first page. We don’t know who the villain is, but we see them at work. The mystery remains at the end of the issue, and I liked that as well. It makes me want to come back to see just who Captain Krakoa is. Some may not like this because we’ve already had a similar mystery from Duggan’s run on X-Men, but this is different enough. I don’t know if the reveal will be worth it, but I think it must be, or else it would have been shared in this issue. The longer the mystery is held, the bigger the reveal should be.

This comic is not without flaws, the largest being the narration by Ben Urich. I’m calling it a flaw but I understand why it’s the way it is. Uncanny Avengers sits in two worlds: the X-world and the Avengers world, and as such it should be accessible to both parties. I understand this, but it doesn’t make the narration any less overdone. I’d actually recommend skipping the narration boxes entirely and you’ll have a much better time with this, unless you’ve not been following the expansive Krakoa story.

I loved Deadpool’s dialogue throughout, which is something I’ve grown more critical of recently. I don’t like how he’s written most often. Here, he seems like he’s doing his best to pretend to be a serious member of the team and I loved it. He’s trying too hard and it comes across in the dialogue.

Prior to this, I had not seen Garron’s work before, but they really impressed me with the depth of the opening scene. The compositions drew me right in, and later in the issue, the Psylocke fight scene was paced so well. Some of the more talky bits are less interesting, but the fight scenes more than make up for it. Just wait until you see when Kwannon kicks that one guy resulting in a “KRAK” sound effect that is easily my favorite bit of the whole comic. I’m not sure if the sound effect was done by letterer VC’s Travis Lanham or if it was the work of Garron but honestly, I like not knowing. Speaking of lettering, I liked that this issue, while very X-related, is not stuck in the current X lettering style which has grown a little tiresome.

Overall, this issue is good. It may even be great if you overlook some of the lackluster narration. It sits very well in the current “Fall of X” event and it does a great job of reminding me of the old Remender/Cassaday book which I really appreciated. It may not be the top echelon of must-read comics in the current wave of new X-related books, but it’s a fun addition.

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