by Rick Remender (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist)

The Story: As Havok and the others try to infiltrate the lair of the Apocalypse Twins, Wanda and Simon needs to make a decision concerning the future relations between humans and mutants.

The Review: We all have an author or an artist that we’ll follow wherever he goes. As the careers of those in the industry continues, they may produce a piece of work that gathers them fans for whatever they may do next, which is how the whole thing functions. When Rick Remender made his excellent run on Uncanny X-Force and the superb independent series Fear Agent, it would be safe to say that he gathered a particularly strong following. I can definitely say that I was particularly pleased with those two runs, as I had decided that I’d give a shot to a lot of things he would write from now on.

It’s a bit sad to say, but considering this series, I am getting a bit uncertain about the wisdom behind my choice, as Uncanny Avengers never did meet the same quality level that some of his previous work had once reached (although there are some moments where it did came close to that level), with this issues providing plenty of examples as to why. While it clearly isn’t supposed to be the same type of book that Remender did previously at Marvel, there are simply some elements that he isn’t handling in the best of ways.

One of the best example is the main dilemma that fuel the series itself, the human vs. mutant debate. While the main plot do tend to gravitate toward a new take on the whole thing, bringing along Kang, Red Skull and other elements in order to make things more interesting, it seems that Remender is spinning its wheels a bit before actually moving things into place. While the debate and the arguments that are said by the characters are pretty faithful to the characters speaking them, most of them either are ill-placed in the story or slows it down to a crawl as the other elements suffers because of it.

The action is perhaps one of the element that suffers the most, as Havok and Captain America spout expositions and arguments toward the whole debate as they fight henchmen and try to rush along to save the situation. Usually, Remender is a pretty safe bet when it comes to super hero action, as it was one of the best part in Uncanny X-Force, yet the stilt dialogue always manage to do a disservice to what could be bombastic fights.

Of course, not everything here is negative, as the actual plot with the manipulations of both Kang and the Apocalypse twins are rather enjoyable to read, creating a sense of mystery as to who is actually on top. Many of the elements, despite the fact that they aren’t always discussed or placed in the right pages, are pretty interesting as Wanda and Simon wonders just which decision they should take. The stakes are still high and there is a sense of tension as to how all of this will actually end. Some of the elements are annoying, but at least it’s easy to be invested in the big picture. It’s just a shame that despite the whole conflict being well-put on the page, nothing much happens here.

Speaking of pictures, the art of this issue is provided by Salvador Larroca, replacing Daniel Acuña for this issue. Larroca’s art is pretty competent here, as he manage to keep most of the designs and the narrative flow consistent. Where he fails a bit, though, is with the expressions and the action, as there is a certain stiffness to how he represent these characters and their emotions that doesn’t really do justice to what is happening in the script. At the very least, he does have talent at drawing backgrounds and what surrounds the characters themselves, showing a believable tapestry around them, yet not one that subtract the reader’s attention from what is important. It’s a very solid effort from Larroca, yet it seems like a low from a series that seen the like of Olivier Coipel, John Cassaday and Daniel Acuña as artists.

However, the coloring from Frank Martin is pretty good, as he is able to mix two perspectives into this issue as he is able to put the darkness of the themes and what happens to the characters without making it go overboard and squash some of the sci-fi undertones presented by this issue. The somber and sci-fi elements combine to create some interesting palette choices from Martin as he meshes the lighting and the shadows to give an original vibe to this whole issue, which does lighten up the somewhat stiff art from Larroca.

The Conclusion: The main idea behind the issue and the series remain interesting, as does the conflict presented along with its choice, but the lack of potent development, the bizarre pacing and dialogue choice along with the rather stiff art from Larroca provides a misstep for this series that really need to up its game.

Grade: C

-Hugo Robberts Larivière