By: Rick Remender (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Artist), Dean White (Color Artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Paul Renaud (Cover Artist)
The Story: The continuing saga of Havok and his Avenging Friends, now in Genosha.
The Review: Here’s one instance of a comicbook cover accurately reflecting the contents inside, in the sense that it’s focused on Havok, Rogue, and the Scarlet Witch. These characters really are the cornerstone of the themes and issues for the series, so it makes sense, but at the same time it’s hard to get a feeling of any larger world that these characters, and indeed the Unity Squad, occupy.
For example, Havok’s coping with his new disfigurement, and there’s a little bit of the “real world” in that he has to go shopping while in costume. But when he credits himself as “Havok, Semi-famous Avenger,” it still rings a bit weird to my ear. He may have been in the public eye for a press conference and one battle, but beyond that? We the readers have seen him in action for nearly two years, but the Marvel public?
The art for this scene works well, using a few tricks (and some clichés) to enhance our story, such as some deep shadows and a bird’s-eye view of a lonely lamppost and of course Havok’s face hidden from view. Another scene that works well is Rogue’s dream sequence, which features some really lovely colors, setting it apart from the rest of the book and also capturing that dreamy quality. That’s especially effective because of the surprising appearance of a “ghost.”
Of course, I still have huge problems with Larocca’s art style. I don’t find it appealing at all, particularly the line quality. Perhaps it would be different if he could have a strong inker, one who could make his lines bolder, more well-rendered. When combined with some of the coloring, the effect is actually over-colored, a kind of “uncanny valley” where the artists are trying for reality but by doing so actually make it worse. But there’s also so many incongruities between the figures and their relationships to each other and to backgrounds that it comes off as amateurish. In the first panel on the page with Wolverine/Rogue/Witch’s snack time conversation, there are sinks to Wolverine’s right, then on the very same page, last panel, the sinks are behind him to his left. The next page, they’re fully behind him, then he goes to a small refrigerator that’s somewhere out of the blue, and finally stands in the kitchen with an Escher-like chair stuck floating behind him somehow.