Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow

Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow
Alternative editions:
Uncanny Avengers The Red Shadow review
Alternative editions:
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 1-8465-3528-X
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-0-7851-6603-0
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2013
  • UPC: 9780785166030
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Following the events of Avengers vs X-Men it was considered politically expedient on Marvel Earth to have a very public team that united characters from both, hence Uncanny Avengers.

The cast may have been editorially designated, but to writer Rick Remender’s credit there’s some thought given to the interaction and the wider purpose of the team. In a climate that has fostered even greater mistrust of mutants than previously, Havok is appointed team leader, Rogue, Sunfire and Wolverine are perpetually disruptive presences, Scarlet Witch has cause to seek repentance and forgiveness for the very recent past, and so too does Wonder Man, still carrying a torch for her. Captain America is possibly not the icon of stability he may seem, the Wasp has recently survived months in exile in a micro-dimension, and Thor is Thor. It’s a line-up constructed for internal conflict that’s required to show a united front of X-Men and Avengers in what’s referred to as the Unity Team.

The villain of the piece is the Red Skull, but in a clever piece of plotting not the Red Skull familiar to most, and with a variation on his standard bigoted agenda. He receives a power upgrade via a process that readers might find distasteful, and proceeds to ferment conflict using a team of augmented beings with grudges. Team-mates are turned against one another with devastating effect. When all seems to have settled down the Avengers hold a press conference, and the book ends on rather a shocker.

Remender’s plotting and character interaction is strong, but he falls down somewhat with over-written captions and dialogue that doesn’t always ring true. With John Cassaday handling the art for most of the book and Olivier Coipel on the final chapter the book looks fantastic, though, and this is a promising start.

It’s not obvious from this collection alone, but Remender was plotting for the long-term, and this was just the starting point. Elements mentioned above are themes continuing throughout his series, with The Apocalypse Twins the next volume. Both are also collected with remainder of the series in the Uncanny Avengers Omnibus. This is available in the UK as an individual hardback as part of the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection.