Time-travelling foes from the future wreak havoc in the present day for the Avengers Unity Squad

(Panini Books)

In the formation of a team featuring members of the Avengers and X-Men, the combined histories of both groups are rich for the plucking, which does require an extensive knowledge of the Marvel Universe, or at the very least immediate access to Wikipedia.

Writer Rick Remender obviously has a masterplan for his run on the new Uncanny Avengers book, which brings together Avengers Captain America, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man and Wasp with X-Men Havok, Rogue, Sunfire and Wolverine with the aim of promoting harmony between the two teams after the devastating events of Avengers Vs X-Men (also collected by Panini).

What started out as a simple battle against a cloned Red Skull in the first volume following his theft of the corpse of Charles Xavier takes a major leap forwards in this second collection, as various plot strands are set in motion for Remender’s long game strategy.

When preparing to ascend as Apocalypse during the devastating Dark Angel Saga (as seen in the third volume of X-Force), original X-Men Warren Worthington fathered two children with Pestilence of the Final Horsemen, who then grew up to become the Apocalypse Twins Uriel and Eimin.

Kidnapped shortly after their birth by the time-travelling warmonger Kang the Conquerer, they eventually return as adults to the present day shortly after the formation of the Avengers Unity Squad.

Using the enchanted Asgardian axe Jarnbjorn, Uriel does the unthinkable and assassinates a Celestial Gardener to steal its Death Seed. This immensely powerful device can aid in the natural evolution of superior species, but at a devastating cost to anyone infected by the seed.

The Twins use the seed to resurrect former X-Man Banshee, Wolverine’s son Daken, Wonder Man’s brother Grim Reaper, and dysfunctional Avenger Sentry to be their Horsemen of Death, and unleash their undead champions on the Unity Squad…

The characterisation of the vast array of heroes and villains featured here is bang on, and Remender takes into account the often convoluted histories of his protagonists to ensure nothing is overlooked. Plotwise it’s difficult to know where the narrative is heading, but there’s certainly more than enough here to keep readers hooked.

With dozens of X-Men and Avengers books currently published, individual titles really need to stand out from the crowd, and Uncanny Avengers succeeds in delivering that remit in spades. Definitely a title to keep a close eye on.