Holy shit! That was amazing! I can’t quite believe what I read in this issue, but I love that Rick Remender went there, and did what he did, and with this issue, he proved something about Uncanny Avengers that I’ve been thinking myself for the last few months. This isn’t really an ongoing series in the traditional sense. It’s an epic, superhero crossover event, but rather than be spread out across a central mini-series and a bunch of tie-ins, it’s all happening in the pages of one single comic. You could have easily split this title across multiple Avengers and X-Men books (and Lord knows, there’s enough of ‘em out there) and 5 different writers, but Remender is doing it all himself, and much like Hickman on Infinity, it’s delivering fantastic results. In this issue, Remender destroys the Earth, that’s not the kind of thing that normally happens in #17 of a non-event comic, and yes, whilst we know the Earth will be back (there’s time-travel in this story for a reason, folks), it was still crazy to read, and has me incredibly excited for what’s next.
We begin once again with some suitably ominous narration from Havok, apologising to his future daughter for what happens in these pages, but we’re soon back into the attack of Exitar, as the Avengers back down on Earth try and get their plan, to build a force-field around the planet to stop Exitar long enough for Thor to defeat him. Central to this plan is the Hulk, who is strapped into the machine, as only he is strong enough to hold the electromagnets in place. However, before Thor can get to Exitar, he has to go through Eimin first, and their fight is just as good as the one he had last month with her brother, Uriel. You can tell Remender is having a hell of a good time writing these epic battles, and the over-the-top villainous rant from Eimin just shows that, she is ranting and raving and it is just glorious. Thor is able to defeat her, trapping her under some rubble, and grab the only weapon capable of stopping Exitar, Jarnbjorn.
At the same time, Wasp is still locked in combat with the Grim Reaper, who has forced her into having to either kill him, or let the Earth die. Boiling all of this down to the ethics of superheroes killing is a great move from Remender, because, as the Grim Reaper says, the Avengers’ disgust at Wolverine’s killing of Apocalypse is what ended the Unity Squad, and what pretty much caused all of this. However, it looks like Wasp may be spared from this decision, as Captain America arrives to save the day, to fight Grim Reaper and allow her to fix the time-machine and allow Immortus to come to the rescue. Only… the time machine still doesn’t work, and, well, Grim Reaper just straight up kills Captain America. Yep, not content with Scarlet Witch, Rogue and Wonder Man, Rick Remender’s rampage has now run through Cap. I wonder, now that he’s killed 2 men and 2 women, is he still a hateful misogynist writer?
Remender’s not done either, as Thor is unable to reason with Exitar, Eimin comes back to knock the Axe out of his hands, the force-field breaks and Exitar destroys the planet. Boom, it’s gone. Thor is able to escape through a portal to Asgard, where he is consoled by Odin (isn’t he supposed to be dead?), and told that this isn’t his fault for being tricked by Kang, but that it was the people of Earth’s fault for not uniting, for not putting aside their differences, chiefly between human and mutant. It’s the big theme of this series writ large, but really, I can’t believe Remender did this, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going. Obviously all of the mutants are still alive, having been raptured away, so it’s up to them to save the day. I’m sure there will be time-travel mind-fuckery to spare, but that’s the only way this story can go now.
Steve McNiven’s art was once again excellent, he really is a perfect fit for this book, because of his experience of drawing an epic crossover like Civil War. He nailed the scale of this story, but also the smaller moments, like Cap’s death and Thor’s grieving. If you’re not reading this book, you need to pick it up, as I said, it really is an epic event comic, just told in a different way. Fuck it, I’ll say it, it reminds me of Grant Morrison’s JLA, which tried to tell an event with every story. It’s big, it’s larger than life, but it also has a point, a message of unity behind it, that really makes it special.