The onslaught of Avengers titles continues with the All New All Different Uncanny Avengers. I will admit that I am not that familiar with Gerry Duggan’s writing. However, I am familiar with Ryan Stegman and I have always enjoyed his artwork. So far, the other Avengers titles have not impressed me all that much. Will Uncanny Avengers #2 be the Avengers title that finally piques my interest? Let’s find out.
Words: Gerry Duggan
Art: Ryan Stegman
Colors: Richard Isanove
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Old Man Steve listening to a news radio station (Get it? Steve is OLD! He doesn’t have an iPad! He doesn’t stream internet news from an app. He doesn’t watch a 24 hour news station on Cable TV! He listens to the radio!) Tony contacts Steve and says that he is ready to slip on his armor and come help Steve’s team in Boston. Steve replies that if his Unity Squad cannot get the job done in Boston then he might need to fold the Unity Squad. Tony understands and tells Steve to call if he needs Tony’s help.
We cut to Boston. We see that the city is being taken over by plants. The citizens of Boston have been infected and are walking around like Plant Zombies. Strange plant controlled wild dogs attack the Uncanny Avengers. The Unity Squad consists of the field leader Rogue, Human Torch, Synapse, Doctor Voodoo (This dude is still alive?!) and Deadpool. Synapse tries to reach into the heads of the animals attacking them. Synapse says that the possessed animals appear to have no mind. That she cannot feel any electrical impulses. Rogue appears skeptical about what Synapse is claiming. Synapse yells that she is telling the truth. Synapse asks when Rogue is going to trust her.
Suddenly, a woman appears on the scene. She is pushing a baby stroller. The woman asks for the Uncanny Avengers to help her. We see that the baby has been turned into a Plant Zombie. Synapse holds the baby in her arms and taps into the baby’s brain. Synapse then augment the baby’s immune system so it can fight off the plant infection. The baby is cured. Synapse says that the baby must be taken to a hospital for immediate care in order to fully recover.
Quicksilver races onto the scene and says that Beacon Hill appears to be the epicenter of this crisis in Boston. Rogue tells Quicksilver to get the baby to a hospital. Quicksilver races off with the baby and the mom. Deadpool suggest that they have Human Torch nuke the place. Rogues replies that they cannot since there are too many civilians in the area. Doctor Voodoo says that they need to understand the mechanics of this plant attack. Human Torch stands there and looks at the damage around them.
We then flashback to Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four tower. Reed tells Johnny that one day Johnny might need to know some science. That Johnny needs to pay attention. Johnny blows off Reed and responds “That’s why we got you, Reed.” We cut back to the present. Johnny says that once again Reed was right. Torch says that he may not have a big brain but he knows where there are some. Torch grabs one of the bodies from a plant infected civilian. Torch then blasts off and says that he will be back. Rogue yells for Torch to come back. Rogue comments that one of them should have quit this group.
Quicksilver arrives back on the scene. Quicksilver says that he say somebody that they should all meet. Quicksilver tells them to follow his trail. Pietro then races off. Rogue yells for Pietro to stay with the team. Quicksilver is already long gone.
Human Torch arrives at MIT and yells “Nerds Assemble!” A bunch of MIT science geeks all huddle around Torch. They are excited to see him and say that they have so many questions about Reed Richards. They ask if Reed has any posthumous writings. Torch says that Reed is not around anymore to help them. But, Reed would want the MIT students to help Johnny save Boston. Johnny says that he wants them to figure out what is causing this plant disease and how to stop it. Johnny says that if they can help him out then he will tell them all the Reed Richards stories that he knows. Johnny then shows the students the plant infected civilian’s body.
We cut back to Rogue, Deadpool, Brother Voodoo and Synapse battling a bunch of mutant animals. Rogue is mad that nobody is listening to her.Rogue says that nobody would do this to Steve Rogers if he was leading the mission. Rogue asks Deadpool if everyone is ignoring her because she is a woman. Deadpool tells Rogue not to jump to any conclusions. That maybe it is because she is a mutant. Brother Voodoo exclaims that Deadpool is not helping. Deadpool replies “That’s my mutant power. Not helping.”
Synapse telepathically reaches out to Quicksilver to tell him to return to the team’s location. Synapse looks surprised and says “Pietro?”
We shift to the Mayor of Boston giving a public statement that the police have the situation under control. The Shredded Man appears on the scene. Shreddy says that the mayor is lying. That humans need to abandon the cities and return to nature. That every once of bloody red meat that falls out of their factory farms requires hundreds of gallons of water to produce. That the human race is destroying the planet. Shreddy grabs the mayor and says that now the humans are the cattle. Shreddy says that the Earth has never endured such a disruptive and disgusting civilization. We see a massive plant sprout forth from the City Hall building. Shreddy says that this is the first stalk from which a new world shall grow.
Suddenly, Quicksilver races onto the scene. Quicksilver punches the Shredded Man. Quicksilver says that ever since he discovered that he was not the son of Magneto that he would stop concerning himself with the ideologies of murderous zealots. Shreddy says that none of the humans care. That in less than a century, Boston will be underwater. Not long after that human civilization will be extinct by its own hand. Shreddy says that his destroying the human race should be considered a mercy killing.
Quicksilver suddenly begins to pass out. Shreddy grabs Quicksilver and places him inside of one of his plants. Shreddy asks if Quicksilver is a mutant. Quicksilver replies “No.” Shreddy says that Quicksilver will be a snack for his plants. Pietro says that the Avengers will come for him. Shreddy says that Pietro is wrong. The plant then swallows up Quicksilver. Shreddy says that Quicksilver is already dead.
We zip forward to Boston 50 years in the future. Everything is overgrown with plants. We see a man with a mechanical arm that has a 1940’s WWII pin-up girl on a bomb on it. The girl can talk. It is some sort of A.I. Her name is Belle. Belle asks shouldn’t have the Avengers nipped this in the bud 50 years ago? The man replies that maybe the Avengers were too busy fighting the X-Men. The man asks Belle to break down what they know.
Belle replies that it is 2087 and they are in Boston which was the first city to be quarantined and the first to be destroyed. Belle asks if the man thinks that whatever caused this could be related to the M-Pox. The man answers “Perhaps. But it doesn’t feel right.” The man says this feels like a terrible mistake. Why would the Kree transform the Earth but not claim it. Why destroy all intelligent life and leave a handful of Inhumans?
Suddenly, one of the transformed dog creatures enters the scene. Belle says that scans show the creatures are a plant-animal chimera with a single-lobe pod for a brain. The man shoots the creature with his gun. The man comments how it appears that the creatures do not feel pain. Belle suddenly says that her scans indicate an elevated level of Terrigen Mists headed their way. The man says he has his mask ready and they will head to the subway tunnels until it passes.
The man finds an old Boston Globe newspaper. It has a picture of the Uncanny Avengers battling the plant creatures. The man says that whatever happened that the Avengers must have been decimated if they had Deadpool on the team. The man says they should check the dead drop to see if Deadpool left a message before he died. Belle says that they now have a year and a date. But, they cannot forget that they have problems of their own.
The camera pans back and we see that the man is Cable. Cable says that Stryfe will have to wait. That they are going back to 2016 to fix what the Avengers got wrong. End of issue.
The Good: Uncanny Avengers #2 was a fun read! This is what I like to get in my comics. All I ask from Marvel is not to awkwardly shove social agendas or meta-commentary about internet fans down my throat. Just entertain me. It really is as simple as that. Gerry Duggan did just that with Uncanny Avengers #2. This issue was pure fun. This is why I love comics.
Uncanny Avengers #2 was a strongly plotted and paced issue. Duggan hits the ground running with this issue and never loses his focus. Duggan moves the story along with a clear direction and purpose in mind. This is a fast paced story but at no point does it ever feel rushed. The speed of the pacing highlights and accentuated the frantic battle scene and the feeling of impending doom as the villain gains the upper hand.
Duggan easily pulls the reader into this world that he has constructed. The plot lines are well constructed and get the reader invested in the conflict between the Shredded Man and our heroes.
Without a doubt, Uncanny Avengers #2 provides the reader with gobs of action. This is definitely not a slow or dull read! The action is well done and actually serves a dual purpose. This is not mindless fighting. Duggan manages to effectively grow the plot lines and deliver a few twists and turns via the action scenes. Duggan also takes advantage of the fight scenes to perform some vital character work, create more chemistry better the characters and to give the reader a better sense for the personalities of the different members of this Avengers team.
Many writers do not bother to employ fight scenes for any other purpose other than mindless entertainment. Duggan impressed by utilizing the fight scenes for more than one purpose. All in all, Duggan delivers some enjoyable character work. Most of the characters are well-developed and possess unique personalities. The reader gets a nice feel for the personalities of each of the Avengers.
Duggan also crafts some strong dialogue. Each character is given their own unique external voice. This gives Duggan’s dialogue a nice flow and also enables Duggan to deliver some quality chemistry between the characters. I love that Duggan is placing an emphasis on building team chemistry. This is a vital ingredient for any new team title in order for it to be truly successful.
I love the roster to the Uncanny Avengers. I have been critical of the rosters of the other Avengers teams as being odd and forced. That is not the case with the roster to the Uncanny Avengers. The only member of this team that feels forced is Johnny Storm. But, that is a much larger issue concerning Marvel’s handling of the Fantastic Four franchise and is separate from what Duggan is trying to achieve on this title.
Overall, I think this roster is a cool mix of characters. The cast of characters is diverse in terms of power sets and personalities. This should make for some interesting stories as these characters grow and learn to act as a cohesive team. I also like that Duggan has added a brand new character with the arrival of Synapse. We know very little about this character. But, I love her costume design and she has a cool power set that can allow the writer to employ her character in some creative ways. I am looking forward to Duggan fleshing out Synapse’s character more as the story proceeds.
Duggan demonstrated a fine handling of Deadpool’s character. Which, honestly, if the writer has a decent sense of humor is not all that hard to do. And, to be sure, Duggan is adept at funny dialogue and is able to properly write Deadpool’s character. It is always important to have one character present on a team who can provide some comedic relief. Deadpool fits that role just fine. Even better, Duggan eschews the trap that many writers succumb to in making all of their character engage in witty banter. Duggan reserves that style of banter for Deadpool alone in this issue. That makes Deadpool’s character more unique and allows the other characters to have their own unique personalities.
Duggan does a great job with Quicksilver’s character. I was impressed by how well Quicksilver was written. Pietro is a character that has always been about unfulfilled potential. Now that Pietro has been separated from Magneto and Mutantkind I believe his character can now stand on his own two feet and grow into his own unique person. It is a breath of fresh air that Pietro can finally be his own man rather than being defined by his relationship with Magneto and Scarlet Witch. I like that Quicksilver is confident and a bit impulsive. It fits his power set well. But, I like that Quicksilver is not longer a haughty prince who comes across like a bad imitation of Magneto. I look forward to what Duggan has in store for Quicksilver and I am confident that we are going to get some quality character growth.
Duggan does a fine enough job with Rogue. Rogue is an excellent choice to serve as the field leader for the Unity Team. She does well in the battlefield and I am excited to see Rogue commanding this Avengers squad.
I am a massive fan of Johnny Storm. He has always been my favorite member of the Fantastic Four. So, while I find his insertion onto this Avengers squad to be odd and forced, I always enjoy reading his character.
I will admit that I have never been a big fan of Cable. I do not dislike his character. I’m simply neutral on Cable. At times I think he can be compelling and other times he comes off as a 1990’s caricature with little depth. Having said that, I like Duggan’s portrayal of Cable’s character. He is properly gruff and no-nonsense like Clint Eastwood with a cybernetic arm and eye.
I love the addition of Belle to Cable’s character. Since I do not follow Cable religiously I have no idea if Belle is a new character being introduced by Duggan or if this is a character that has been around for a bit. If Belle is Duggan’s creation then huge props to him. I absolutely adore Belle. I love her look and her personality. Belle is a such a cool concept. I like the anachronistic vibe of her character. The dichotomy of her character in that she is a WW II style pin-up girl who is an incredibly advanced AI for Cable’s cybernetic arm is just perfect. Also, Belle serves as a proper foil to Cable’s more restrained and monotone personality. Belle immediately makes any scene with Cable more interesting and engaging.
Lastly, Duggan knows that no story can rise above the villain being offered by the writer. I dig The Shredded Man. His eco-warrior vibe is interesting and sets him apart from many of the typical cosmic threats that the Avengers usually face. Also, the Shredded Man is topical enough concerning current environmental concerns without every veering into being too preachy or political. Plus, it is a new character! It is always great when a writer for Marvel actually takes the time and effort to create something new.
As always, I love Ryan Stegman’s artwork. The guy is great. Stegman always draws an enjoyable super hero comic book. Stegman is equally adept at drawing chaotic action scenes as he is with dialogue heavy scenes. Stegman is a master at facial expressions. All of the characters have such excellent facial expressions. This helps to infuse Duggan’s story with so much emotion. I also dig how Stegman draws the bouncing silver lines to accentuate Quicksilver’s speed. That is such a brilliant idea. Silver lighting speed lines would be too similar to The Flash. The sliver bouncy lines help to further give Quicksilver his own unique style and personality.
The Bad: I do have a few minor quibbles with Uncanny Avengers #2. While I do like this roster, I think that given that this Avengers team is called the Unity Squad that it is a bit to heavy with humans and too light with Inhumas. Unless I am mistaken, Synapse is the only Inhuman on the roster Meanwhile we get three mutants in Rogue, Deadpool and Cable. And we get five humans in Steve Rogers, Johnny Storm, Doctor Voodoo, Spider-Man and Quicksilver. I think it is necessary for Duggan to get rid of a few humans and add a few more Inhumans. Two humans that could easily be taken off this roster would be Johnny Storm and Spider-Man. The last thing we need is Spider-Man on another title. And Johnny? He deserves to be on a Fantastic Four title.
The only character on this roster that fails to interest me is Doctor Voodoo. I have always found his character to be dull and flat at worst and generic at best. Hopefully, Duggan can finally get me interested in Doctor Voodoo’s character.
While Duggan did deliver some great character work and dialogue, I have to point out that having Rogue complain that Quicksilver and Johnny were not listening to her in the field could be due to her being a woman. That was lame and came across really forced. Beyond that, the comment simply was not Rogue. Rogue is way too confident and experienced for that kind of silly talk. Rogue is a tough badass. She’s not going to second guess herself in such a manner.
While I like how Stegman draws Quicksilver’s bouncy speed lines, I have to admit that I am not impressed with the new costume. The “Fast Forward” symbol on his costume that evokes the “Fast Forward” icon on a streaming device like an Apple TV is certainly topical and modern. But, it is a design that will quickly become dated. Also, using a symbol originally associated with something else makes Quicksilver seem less original and unique. For Pietro to truly stand out on his own he needs a logo that is creative and unique to him alone.
Overall: Uncanny Avengers #2 was a fun read. This issue is exactly what I love to get with my super hero comics. Action, adventure, good team chemistry all wrapped up in a fun and entertaining package. What is also nice about Uncanny Avengers #2 is that it is new reader friendly as well as being accessible to readers of all ages. This is a quality super hero read that is worth the cover price.