By: Rick Remender (Writer), Paul Renaud (Artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Arthur Adams (Cover Artist)

The Story:
Martian Transylvania Super Hero Mutant Monster Hunter High School, now filmed before a live Mojo audience. 8pm Eastern, 7 Central, or check local listings for showtimes. Only on Marvel.

The Review:
Well, this will be interesting to review. The last line of the comic reads: “Call in the critics … we’ll leave it to them to decipher.” Okay, then. Challenge… accepted?

What also makes this interesting is that the story essentially wears its themes on its sleeves, which is to be expected when the adversary is Mojo and other, thinly-veiled caricatures of the media executives the story is meant to comment on. Heck, there is no thin veil here at all. It’s pure caricature, as well as pure parody, allegory, pun, and any number of thematic figurative language. We get it! Media executives are as vile a creature as any spineless, extradimensional monster. Or lawyers.

So it’s difficult to critique something that the story itself critiques– Mojo uses the Avengers and some mystical heroes to create a TV show. The problem is that the story doesn’t quite flow like that. Mojo creates the Avengers of the Supernatural to… make a different show with the Avengers in a high school teen drama? Then they break out, but then they actually have to fight Ghost Rider’s Spirit of Vengeance before being returned to Earth without even confronting Mojo a second time? I’ll use the book’s own words “At least Mojo’s new show doesn’t feel unoriginal. … Not on the surface, perhaps.”

So is there supposed to be something more to it? Is Mojo truly subservient to the Suits, and did he orchestrate this story so that his dimension would be overthrown? Once again, the comic does it’s own commentary. “It just ends?” a Suit asks. “It feels totally unimportant.” And here’s some of the danger when your story’s characters become too self-referential about their own story– your readers are likely to agree with you. Another example? While some “Avengers of the Supernatural” are used to directly impact the plot, especially Ghost Rider, others like Dr. Strange and especially Manphibian are used simply for window dressing.

There are things that “matter,” here, to be sure. There’s an interesting take on the Ghost Rider/Spirit of Vengeance relationship, and also the nature of Satana. It’s great to see the Avengers and X-Men (the “Unity Squad,” after all) work together, even at the same time acknowledging their differences, and there’s a third element introduced with the fact that the Uncanny Avengers are still ignoring a marginalized group, those of mystical/monstrous origins.

So here’s where I rise to the challenge– this comic is all about the fun. The readers all *know* the heroes will be fine. In fact, we are reading about characters who themselves *also* know the heroes will be fine. Yes, comicbook stories really are endless repetition and mashups of stories and characters we already know, but that’s the fun, isn’t it? There’s a reason why the last scene has the Uncanny Avengers crew leap into the swimming pool…

Surely the most fun the artists had was in the high-school-drama parody section. Notice the Avengers were all jocks and plastics, while the X-Men were outcasts and “freaks?” So, too, were the caricatures of the Suits fun. Otherwise, though, the art ranges from the nicely serviceable to severely cramped. I’m not sure if it’s the demands of the script or the choice of layouts, but in many places the panels were too full to really let the story flow, and characters were often a bit too stiff or un-emotive. And at a few points, it felt like the lettering had to be squashed to fit the bubbles, sometimes.

All in all, however, it was an enjoyable comic, and it shows how much potential is in the Uncanny Avengers premise. If nothing else, it shows what happens when you toss in X-Men to the Avengers milieu– you get to play around with new toys and put others in new combinations. It’s fun, and what good is entertainment if it’s not entertaining?

The Bottom Line:
Even if the characterization takes a back seat to the plot and satire, you will still find some satisfying Uncanny Avengers action/interaction that has been missing in the main book since it’s caught up in its alternate future. If you can accept the heavy-handed parody inherent in a story centered around Mojo, then you can enjoy the fun.

The Grade: B

-Danny Wall

Other Tidbits:
— Uhm, what’s a “mardy ass?” Does Wasp use British slang now?
— Devil Dinosaur’s Power Pack Force Antique Roadshow… Please please please tell me their recurring archenemy was Turner D. Century.
— So Mojo isn’t in charge of the Mojoworld? Well, at least the guy still gets top billing, as it were.