Review: Uncanny Avengers #20 – Unite or Die!

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Planet X is thriving. Earth is destroyed. The Unity Squad is the only hope of going back in time and saving everything. Sounds good, right? Especially coming from a great writer like Rick Remender.

Part 3 of “Avenge the Earth” in Uncanny Avengers #20 has some really interesting aspects, but in the end fails to reach the heights that it could have. It definitely has the action packed comic covered. There are fights after fights, but they all seem a little pointless. The cast is so large that have the time I wasn’t even completely aware of who was who and which team they were on. Also, because there were so many fights, we only see a panel or two of each, which is often the most inane way to see a battle of skills.

This issue features the Unity Squad of the Avengers, X-Force (which is kind of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants), Kang’s team of time and reality traveling duplicates, and a whole slew of folks from the future on Planet X. It has so much potential. The concepts are original and intriguing, but the pacing is so fast that we don’t get to enjoy much of that potential.

The solid character moments that do exist help make the comic decent. There is a pivotal scene with Scott and Alex Summers that makes a lot of sense and gives satisfaction to an otherwise confusing set-up. Scott is basically forced to choose sides—does he choose to believe the things that Alex is saying or does he fight against him to protect “reality”. The moral dilemma is that is either choosing to side against his brother, or he is choosing to potentially erase years of history (and the lives tied to it) to get the earth back?

We also get a few good moments with other characters. We see Thor reflecting on his part in the entire destruction of the earth. We seeScreen shot 2014-05-29 at 3.07.37 PM interactions between former Horsemen Sunfire, Wolverine, and Banshee. We even witness Kang and Eimin’s confrontation, with Kang claiming he has orchestrated the entire thing to his benefit. Just like the battles, though, these scenes that have so much potential and interesting wrinkles to explore all seem rushed. Again, we get a few panels and then move on.

Daniel Acuña is a highlight of the issue. He does his usual great job. The colors portray the dark setting. Just glancing at the book, a reader would know the tone of the story.

I am a huge Remender Fan. His run on Uncanny X-Force is a modern masterpiece. I have even enjoyed Uncanny Avengers quite a bit. This issue, though, seems to bite off much more than it can chew. The cast of characters, their place in time and reality, and their place in this storyline are very difficult to keep track of. Everything seems a bit muddled and confusing—not confusing to follow the main storyline, but confusing if you are trying to care about the details and what is happening with each facet of the book.

This book is worth reading, especially if you have read the first two parts of the arc, but I am hoping Remender begins to bring it all back into a more cohesive package for the ending.