by Rick Remender (Writer), Steve McNiven, John Dell, Jay Leisten (Artists), Laura Martin (Colorist)

The Story
: Thor and Captain America bring the pain to the Apocalypse twins as the world reacts to the apparition of a celestial here to execute them all.

The Review: While Rick Remender, like every single writer there is, has his share of strengths and weaknesses in terms of plotting, there is a certain something in which he excels: action. Considering the fact that super hero stories are massively known for being action-driven more than anything, it is a nice thing to know about a specific writer. However, plot should never take a back-seat in a book, which means a certain balance must be maintained in order for any capes comic to work well. Does Remender provides what is necessary for his tale of grand proportion to continue in a way that is satisfactory?

In many ways, the writer does advance the story in ways that count, providing many excitement and upping the ante for the characters. Knowing very well that super heroes are beings that usually faces high threats and confronts situations that are far larger than them, Remender gives an emphasis on action without sacrificing much in terms of the scope of the tale. While the overall action focus heavily on Thor and Captain America, the story does allow readers to understand how big it is, involving other characters from the Marvel universe in the cataclysm that is yet to come. It is event-worthy storytelling dedicated to a single issue, which does allow for a good level of excitement and entertainment on the page.

Still, despite the fact that everything feels big, it’s really the action that sells the whole issue. The fight between Thor and Uriel is something that is decidedly fast-paced, yet not so that the impacts of their words and blows comes off as secondary in importance. It’s the son of Archangel against the god of thunder and those two powerful beings duke it out in a most satisfactory way. With snippets of characterization thrown in for good measure, it doesn’t simply devolve to mindless fisticuff anywhere in the issue, with the motivations being inserted for good measures in the dialogue. Let’s just say that, in a way, the dialogue of Thor does get to the point rather quickly.

While the issue is mostly dedicated to Thor and Uriel, there are still scenes given to Captain America and Wasp, with some good developments done by these characters. While not everything they do or participate in tend to result in payoff straight away, their scenes do add to the general rising of tension, building up to the general whole that is about to blow up in the coming issues. The conflict escalate and their part in the action does not detract from the rather amazing events on display here.

Still, even with a very exciting script, the issue could fail if the artist cannot meet the expectations and the scope required. Fortunately, Steve McNiven is at the top of his game here, rendering everything beautifully without sacrificing anything. Going for the hyper symbolic and for a fast-paced approach for the action, McNiven is very suited for this issue as the manner in which he approach combat is something of beauty. Letting every blow count in each panels, the artist fills them with enough destruction and impact to leave just the right effect, never going in a way that is too exaggerated or too minimal, letting the power and style of each characters be known clearly in each pages. The strength of Thor, the manoeuvrability of Captain America, the stoic approach of Uriel and many other characters are well represented through their poses and the motions through each panels.

The emotions are also very well put, with a certain display and a certain evolution that shows great skill, with the rage and anger of Thor building up, just as is the sense of panic and danger on other characters. What’s rather impressive, though, is the sense of depth and scale that McNiven is able to put skillfully, with him never afraid to go as big as necessary. The cosmic backgrounds, the size of Exitar, the fate of the planet and everything in-between serves this issue very well in setting down what is at play here, making the event-worthy story very well served in terms of visuals.

The colors of Laura Martin are also rather irreproachable here, with a great of shading and diversity that allows for the massive differences in some scenes to be used at their maximum advantage. The depths of space, the afternoon sun on Earth, the crackling lighting of Mjolnir, the alien energy floating around and everything else contributes to the chaos of the action scenes. Using lighting very skillfully as well, Laura Martin is also able to pin down the right balance between battle damage and metallic effects, never making one overwhelm the other to create a certain sense of discrepancy between what is shown and how it is supposed to look. The manner in which she also approach numerous forms of technology, from the simple to the futuristic, is also commendable, letting these elements stand out with their brightness and high contrasts, with very basic cold and warm colors letting them become visually interesting without letting them take precedence over the characters and the action.

The Conclusion
: Delivering a tale full of action and excitement with some rather excellent art, the team behind Uncanny Avengers raise the stakes and give readers something that is decidedly a good showcase of what super hero comics can be. A very nice continuation of what has been presented earlier in the series that should please fans.

Grade: A-

Hugo Robberts Larivière