By Gerry Duggan, Ryan Stegman and Richard Isanove
The Avengers titles have been met with some criticism and some mediocre sales recently. Maybe fans are getting fatigued with too many Avengers titles, or it could be that many of them haven’t been that great lately. Uncanny Avengers was a series that tried to blend the best of both worlds with the X-Men and long time Avenger team members. This series was a middle of the road title for a while, but it has found its stride of late and is arguably the best Avengers book on the shelves right now.
Gerry Duggan has really found his footing with these characters. The first half of the issue is dedicated to Deadpool attempting to break Hawkeye out of prison for the murder of Bruce Banner. It’s no secret that Duggan loves Deadpool, but what often gets forgotten with his take on the character is that he gives him a lot of depth. Duggan allows us to see that Deadpool isn’t just a wise-cracking assassin, but that he is also a dangerous and capable character. He has everything planned out for Hawkeye to escape, including a new identity and walking around money. He’s absolutely willing to just let Clint out, no questions asked, and he does this with relative ease. The second half of the issue focuses on a potential clash between Cable and Captain America. The deck is being stacked against the X-Men here, and Duggan handles both characters fairly well. Steve takes a direct approach in asking Cable questions about a potential conflict. Duggan’s Cable is short and mysterious in these panels, which is when he’s at his best. The issue ends with some surprising cameos that keep the excitement train going.
The pencils this issue are handled by Ryan Stegman with colors by Richard Isanove. For the most part the art is very good. Stegman has also grown as a penciler since he started this series. In earlier issues, characters legs were very odd and many of the characters seemed bowlegged, but this issue has none of that. The panels where Hawkeye talks to Deadpool from a cell, we can see the emotion on Clint’s face. The Cable and Cap scenes are filled with atmosphere and shading to help the mood of the second half of the book. Stegman captures this perfectly with hard rain and many panels of shade on the faces of both characters. This could be symbolic of neither fully trusting each other, which is great work on Stegman’s part. The only off panel involves Rogue as she talks to Cable. It may be the angle Stegman drew her at, but her face looks extremely disproportionate and swollen. As for the colors, Richard Isanove is a master. His colors jump off the page at you and illuminate the reading experience. The blues on both Captain America and Cable look gorgeous. Isanove is hands down one of the best colorists in the business.
No Avengers title has come further than Uncanny Avengers. This series started out slow, but has really picked up steam and is the best of the Avengers bunch. Gerry Duggan has found his groove and is telling a very interesting tale. The pencils and colors have also picked up to launch this book into must-read territory.