Friday, March 29, 2013

Uncanny Avengers #5

(w) Rick Remender     (a) Olivier Coipel


On the spectrum on comic book art, it goes from being extremely cartoony/exaggerated on one end, to vividly realistic/lifelike on the other. Rob Liefeld and Humberto Ramos are the first two names that popped into my head when thinking of examples for the former, while David Finch and Ethan Van Sciver represent the latter. While most artists exist somewhere along the spectrum, there are few that find a phenomenal middle ground that represents the comic book format, yet manages to capture dynamic realism. Some of these names include Jim Lee, Jim Cheung, Greg Capullo, John Cassaday, Phil Noto, and Olivier Coipel.

Coipel has been a favorite artist of mine since I read House of M, so when I heard he was doing an issue of Uncanny Avengers with Rick Remender -- a more recent addition to my list of favorite writers -- I was immediately sold. Though, it's not like I wasn't already going to read the issue. Coipel's artwork is an absolute treat for an transition issue that begins to incorporate Remender's storylines from Uncanny X-Force he promised would resurface in this series.

There is a sequence in Uncanny Avengers #5, wherein Alex Summers begins a national dialogue about the use of the word "mutant" as a descriptor of individuals with activated x-genes. For some ridiculous reason, select critics and journalists have chosen to become incensed by the ideas put forth by Havok in his speech. These ideas deal with the perception of mutants as inherently different from humans, which Alex attempts to explain simply isn't true. The controversy surrounds Alex's insistence that the word "mutant" now carries a negative connotation, and that maybe, just maybe, the intelligent peoples of Earth might just possibly be able to think of a better way to interact with those who are different. The point of the speech was that Alex didn't want to be defined by his mutation; a noble belief that ultra-sensitives on the internet have turned into an ugly attempt at casting Rick Remender and his narrative decisions in a bigoted light. It's ridiculous and frankly appalling that a story conveying a hopeful idea for the future of an oppressed people is so viciously attacked because of the wording.

And the funny thing is, Havok's speech is only a small part of the issue. Probably the least technically interesting part about the issue is Alex's speech. It's a sentiment that's been a part of mutant life in the Marvel universe for decades. Remender conveyed that sentiment very well, but it's been done. The speech is important, but in true Remender fashion, the entire issue sets up future stories, not just the big finale at the end. There's the addition of Wonder Man, Wasp, and Sunfire to the team, the romantic tension between Captain America and Scarlet Witch, the attack on the press conference by Grim Reaper, or even the ongoing look at Captain America and Havok's struggle to keep rank.

Uncanny Avengers #5 is a fantastic issue of a fantastic series. Rick Remender knows how to write great comic books and now that we're getting to the point where his storylines from UXF are starting to connect, it's just going to get better and better.


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