Review by Frank Plowright
The first volume of Rick Remender’s run, The Red Shadow, was a relatively linear affair, but The Apocalypse Twins is deliberately fragmented. It begins with a chapter featuring Thor in an era centuries before the Avengers were conceived, then continues from the previous volume’s shock ending, and thereafter follows groups of team members around the globe until they learn they’ve arrived at turning point in history.
A brief sequence with Kang in the opening volume makes sense within the context of The Apocalypse Twins, and events rapidly expand to reveal that Remender has an ambitious scope to his plot. The Apocalypse Twins, for instance, are the offspring of Apocalypse, once kidnapped and monitored by Kang and every bit as cunning and powerful as either. Elsewhere Apocalypse himself is seen, as are the Celestials, acknowledged as nigh ominipotent. With those sort of powerhouses involved something major is on the agenda, and it turns out there’s considerable manipulation on all fronts. The decisive moment to which everything is building is whether the Red Skull and his followers institute a new era of mutant persecution, or whether the Apocalypse Twins can ensure an alternative.
Key to that alternative is the Scarlet Witch. Among the mutant community she remains vilified for removing the abilities of almost all of them, and a plan put to her for mutant salvation is credible. Remender’s shot at redemption is cleverly constructed, and like the remainder of the book, beautifully illustrated by Spanish artist Daniel Acuña supplying page after page of stunning work that ramps up the action and tension still further.
Amid the galactic heavy hitters the Uncanny Avengers might seem a little out of place, but they’re pivotal to the action. Several have guilty secrets that look set to tear the team apart, secrets that have become known and are set to be exploited. Their consciences are further ravaged by the return from the dead of family or fallen comrades selected by the Apocalypse Twins to foster uncertainty and guilt.
There are still a few awkward captions or snatches of dialogue, but Remender has now settled into the series and his enterprising ambition keeps the pages turning. There’s rather an arbitrary stopping point, presumably a marketing led decision to maximise profit from collected editions, and the story continues directly in Ragnarok Now. The entire series can also be found in the Uncanny Avengers Omnibus.