This was a quieter issue than the last few, but it was still excellent, and it shows how good this book, and how baffling it is that so few people online seem to be discussing it.
I think the smaller scale of the battle sequences was because Remender made them much more personal. So the opening fight between Havok and Horseman-Banshee was much more dialogue-heavy, and had a lot of Havok’s inner thoughts about his relationship with Banshee, how Vulcan killed him, and about the failure and/or success of Xavier’s dream. That personal ante was upped even further by Horseman-Daken’s torture of Wolverine, which was just brutal, both physically and mentally for poor old Logan. I especially liked how Remender tied Wolverine killing Daken into the Red Skull’s plans. It’s been a while since we’ve actually seen the Red Skull in this book, and at times, you can forget that the villains of this arc are reacting to another threat, so it was cool to have that reminder, and to know that the plan for this book remains as large as ever.
The way Horseman-Banshee was defeated was quite interesting, with Wasp flying down his mouth, and growing inside him, exploding his windpipe. It was hardcore, and I imagine some fans will be shocked to see Wasp, normally among the most flighty and passive Avengers, get so gory, but I liked it, and because Banshee isn’t actually dead, I didn’t mind. The Banshee fight also lead to the best thing about this issue, Captain America being deaf. All of the stuff with Cap not being able to hear and shouting everything was really funny, and since this book is normally heavy and dark, it was a nice bit of comic relief, especially because it came from an unlikely source.
The biggest plot developments in this issue involve Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man, who seem to have come around to working with the Apocalypse Twins, but it later turns out that Wanda has another plan. She is going to rapture up the mutants, but they aren’t going into pods to sleep, they are coming up in attack mode, to take out the Twins, which should be fun. Wanda and Simon then get it on, in a surprisingly steamy scene for comics. I first started reading the Avengers with the Busiek/Perez run, and their relationship was a big part of that era, so I’m glad to see it properly back.
Of course, the other characters in the story aren’t aware of Wanda’s secret, and that doesn’t bode well for her, as Rogue and Sunfire come across a beaten and battered Wolverine, who tells them that they need to stop Wanda. The tension between Rogue and Scarlet Witch has been bubbling since #1, but next issue it looks like it’s going to boil over. Rogue has Wolverine claws, and she’s coming for Wanda! I don’t think that’s quite what’s meant by ‘Unity’.
What else? Hmmm. Acuna’s artwork was fantastic as always, I’m sad to see him leave, and even though Thor didn’t do much in this issue, those two pages of him opening up a portal to bring down rain was awesome. I said this issue was smaller, but it wasn’t really, it was still crazy epic-sized.