Hey, all. This is D.C. back to throwdown with you on a new issue I picked up today. The bug hit me, and after the damning and praiseworthy buzz about comics such as Captain America #1 and DC Rebirth this week, I had to buy some.
With that said, let’s take a gander at Uncanny Avengers #9.
For those who don’t know, Uncanny Avengers follows the adventures of the Avengers Unity Squad, a division of Avengers specifically composed of humans, mutants, and Inhumans to do what Avengers do…Which, if you read my last blog regarding the Avengers’ role, that would be anyone’s guess. The current Unity Squad is lead by X-Man Rogue, with Captain America (Steve Rogers), Quicksilver, Doctor Voodoo, Deadpool, Cable, and new Inhuman Synapse.
Issue #9 is the start of “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” which details the return of founding Avenger Hank Pym to earth after his sort-of-self-imposed exile into space at the end of Rage of Ultron.
I picked up this issue for two reasons:
1) Better art. I could not stand to pick up the first arc of Uncanny Avengers, not even the first volume TPB that came out, specifically because of Ryan Stegman’s art.
I’m sorry. There are few artists I will rip on, but this…Look at Rogue, Doctor Voodoo, Rogers, and Quicksilver. Look at the anatomy of each character on that cover. How in the nine circles of hell does Marvel justify charging anyone the money they did for piss-poor art like that? I have a relatively high tolerance for different kinds of art, but not a whole book of this:
I can’t stand consistently poor anatomical depictions and just all around ugly facial expressions. Even Synapse’s expressions look unappealing, and she’s wearing a mask.
Pepe Larraz’s art is a very, very refreshing departure from the mess Stegman had.
The colors provided by David Curiel are bold, strong, and lush, and even give a cosmic feel when looking at scenes away from Earth. Curiel is a good complement to Larraz’s pencils.
Speaking of the picture above, that’s another reason why I picked up this issue:
2) Hank Pym’s return. It was one thing I was looking forward to since reading Rage of Ultron months ago (Please read if you hadn’t. Rick Remender does a great job of characterizing Hank Pym from beginning to end). It was only a matter of time that Pym, merged with his creation Ultron, would return to earth.
I had so many questions about how Pym’s character and demeanor would have changed by that point. Would he be angry? Confident? At peace with himself and Ultron? Would he hate the Avengers for never having respect for him, not only as a hero, but as a scientist and as a man?
These are the questions I had incubating in my mind since Rage of Ultron.
Now, while I did not get many answers, it was nice to see Pym, though I wish his cocky attitude were more tempered.
Hank Pym’s attitude was very unusual to me, and I have to praise writer Gerry Duggan for making me uncomfortable. How had Pym’s merger with Ultron affected him? We see how it affected him physically, and it was very frightening. But on a psychological level? Based on Pym’s dialogue, I feel the mental effects might be even more frightening that the physical.
1.) The cover. I don’t care what the Fox film did for Deadpool’s popularity, but I am sick to death of him being front and center in the covers of Uncanny Avengers. He may be funding the group, but he is not the leader. Rogue is. And she deserves to be featured. This book does not need to have a cover that gives the entire book a feel of “Deadpool and the Avengers” like the X-Men became “Wolverine and the X-Men” more and more. Deadpool has that benefit in all his other books being pushed ad nauseum.
2) The dialogue. I don’t know if writer Gerry Duggan knows who these characters are.
Gambit (who has a guest-appearance) and Rogue have mannerisms and idiosyncrasies that are very identifiable for anyone who’s read an X-Men comic. They’re adults, too, so you don’t expect their way of speaking–their accents, even–to be so absent or subdued. Duggan makes that happen, and that is NOT praiseworthy.
Rogue, in particular, sounds nothing like the southern belle she is known as. She sounds more like an uncertain leader. Rogue sounds nothing resembling the confident, fiery woman we have come to know, and that is disconcerting. Was there a de-evolution of her character after she absorbed Wonder Man? Surely that can’t be the impetus for such a change in her behavior and speech.
3) Not much happens in this issue. I don’t belief constant character development and action is necessary for every book, but for a book that starts a new arc, this issue provides little in the way of content. The focus is, of course, on Hank Pym’s return to Earth, which is done somewhat well. But the Avengers serve almost no purpose in this issue. I don’t think the Human Torch even had dialogue. Quicksilver and Cable had nothing substantial to say this issue, and even what they said rang hollow.
Uncanny Avengers #9 is a decent opening chapter to “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” I, for one, enjoyed Hank Pym’s return, and can’t wait to see how his fusion with Ultron affected him on every level. I was not familiar with Pepe Larraz’s art prior to this, but it is something I find very pleasing and a welcome change from the messiness of Ryan Stegman.
However, the characterization by Gerry Duggan leaves much to be desired. I don’t think he’s done his homework when it comes to understanding the characters he’s tasked with writing, in every aspect. Deadpool is easy to write for anyone who wants to write off the wall, nonsensical blabbering. It takes real skill to capture the other characters NOT like Deadpool.
Still, I will continue this arc to see where Gerry Duggan takes both the Unity Squad and Hank Pym.