Review by Frank Plowright
With the threat of the Apocalypse Twins and Kang dealt with in Avenge the Earth, the Red Skull and his plan to wipe out mutants moves back into the spotlight. The Red Skull is a formidable individual anyway, but this version has the brain of Professor X grafted to him, gifting him with the late mutant’s prodigious mental abilities.
In the meantime the Uncanny Avengers have been bumped back a few steps prior to where they started from. Events elsewhere have removed Captain America, Havok’s participation in what occurred has come at a terrible cost, and Rogue also has problems, although hers might just be the saving of the team. Having just completed an epic, Rick Remender moves rapidly into the next, and the three chapters continuing from that story have enough good moments to avoid any accusation of anti-climax.
Magneto played a large part in the preceding storyline, and this collection includes issues of his solo title, written by Cullen Bunn, not least because it would be a short book without them. Magneto has problems with what’s going on at several levels. He’s not well disposed to former Nazis, nor those attempting to eradicate mutants, never mind someone who’s utilising the brain of his dead friend. He invades the Red Skull’s mutant concentration camp in Genosha, at which point his story segues with the main narrative and leads to the revival of a major threat associated with a period all agree wasn’t Marvel’s finest hour. This volume is titled Axis Prelude, and the next step is Axis.
Before any of that, though, there’s a story of the Uncanny Avengers pitched as a TV show pandering to the bottom line emphasis of marketing executives and their meddling to ensure the widest demographic. Remender manages a few barbs, the concept is a natural cloak for his occasional clunky dialogue, exaggerated for purpose, and it plays into a high school jocks and geeks scenario before matters escalate with the spirit of vengeance on the loose. As with most appearances of extra-dimensional TV mogul Mojo, the joke wears thin long before the end.
Artistically this is a real mish-mash, with not even the two Magneto chapters maintaining the same artist throughout, although Gabriel Hernandez Walta covers most, with Javier Fernandez delivering the rest. Daniel Acuña, Sanford Greene, Salvador Larroca, and Paul Renaud supply the art for the Avengers chapters, all of them accomplished. While it’s pleasing to see more artists supplying full art rather than just pencils, some consistency would also have been welcome.