Ho-Lee Shit. This was amazing. I’ve been enjoying Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers a lot so far, especially as it gets crazier and more epic, but in this issue he moves things up a gear, as he goes full-on mental and kills 3 of his main characters!
Yes, in this issue, Rogue, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man all bite it, and it’s truly shocking. Now of course, given the nature of some of these deaths, I’m betting that at least 2 out of these 3 will be back before this storyline is over, but at this moment, I can’t quite figure out which 2. But even though resurrections are inevitable, the experience of reading this crazy issue was good enough on it’s own. Killing characters gets a bad rap, but you really do need it at times to ramp up the tension and scope of a story, and with this issue, Remender did that. (As an aside, I was disappointed to see Remender accused of misogyny online for killing of 2 female superheroes, when he killed of a male at the same time, it’s getting to the point where you can’t do anything to a female character without being accused of fridging or branded as a sexist, some people need to look at themselves and realise that not everything can be viewed through the gender-lens.)
Anyhoo, how did these controversial deaths actually happen? Well, it’s pretty well done. After a very interesting opening few pages with Kang travelling to a variety of alternate futures to recruit a team of his own (including Stryfe, that Venom-Spider-Girl from Earth-X, Doom 2099, Iron Man 2020, a Deathlok, Ahab and that Psylocke from the future in Uncanny X-Force), we’re back on the Akkaba ship, with Rogue and Sunfire trying to find Scarlet Witch so they can stop her from rapturing the Mutants. It’s pretty tragic and fitting for this series that all of these big deaths are the result of miscommunication. The Unity Squad has failed to get along, and here, the fact that Rogue doesn’t know Scarlet Witch’s true plans (or that Wanda doesn’t confide in her) leads to shocking results. Uriel and Eimin fly off, leaving Wanda and Simon free to do their real plan, summoning all the mutants up to the Ark in fight mode and win the fight. They start the spell, but just as Rogue and Sunfire reach them, they are intercepted by Daken and Grim Reaper. These fights are a lot of fun, particularly Daken’s smack-talk to Sunfire, it’s easy to forget that Daken is actually half-japanese, so him knowing that Sunfire is seen as a bit washed-up there was a cool moment. Sunfire is saved by a returning Wolverine, which allows Sunfire to grab Wonder Woman, leaving Rogue free to go kill her.
I know a lot of people have issues with the way Remender writes Rogue, but he did a good job here of justifying why she thought she had to kill Wanda, that she is to blame for M-Day, and therefore to blame for everything that’s happened since, up to and including Charles Xavier’s dead. We as fans know that Wanda was being manipulated and not in her right mind, but Rogue doesn’t know, and it makes sense for her to hate the architect of a mutant genocide anf gut her with some bone claws. What makes this scene even better is what Daken says to Wolverine, about how it’s his fault Rogue has become a killer. Much of this title has actually been Remender and Wolverine dealing with the fall-out of the bad stuff that happened in Uncanny X-Force, and the legacy of the violence. We’ve seen that play out on a wide canvas with the Apocalypse Twins, but now we’re seeing it a bit more personally with Rogue.
So, Rogue has killed Scarlet Witch, but she’s not around for very long, as the Grim Reaper come back, rams his scythe into her and fucking fries her into a skeleton. Man, this issue did not hold back, especially as, only a page later, a dissipating Wonder Man finds the dying Wanda, and with the last of his power, allows her to finish her spell before she too collapses. To top it all off, it looks like the spell failed, no mutants show up at all… yet. I’m betting that #15 starts with something like that.
This was a truly brilliant, shocking issue, it’s not often that you get 3 important deaths in such quick succession, and I loved it, you didn’t know what was happening next, and even though some of these will be reversed, it doesn’t diminish the crazy ride. Heck, the likes of Thor, Captain America, Wasp and Havok don’t even appear in this issue, what’s going to happen with them? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this title doesn’t get enough praise, each issue brings epic grandeur and new ideas, and this was no exception, it just tied it all off with some glorious death.
Steve McNiven comes on board with this issue, and I’m a big fan of his art, and he delivers his usual hyper-detailed, clean, classic superhero work. This is the kind of artist this book should have, he was called upon to do some seriously big, game-changing scenes here, and he pulled it off.