Graphic Novel Review: Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow

Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow

Uncanny Avengers: The Red Shadow - Credit: Archant

Avengers and X-Men join forces to battle the resurrected Red Skull...

(Panini Books)

RELATIONS between normal humans and their mutant counterparts have always been fractious, but following the events of Avengers Vs X-Men, which saw a team of Phoenix-powered mutants seize control of the world, they are at an all-time low.

The situation has been compounded by the sudden appearance of thousands of new mutants as a consequence of the Phoenix Force’s destruction, and the death of human-mutant peace campaigner Charles Xavier at the hands of his foremost student, Scott (Cyclops) Summers.

In a bid to forge new bonds of unity between man and mutant, Captain America forms a new team made up of Avengers and X-Men, led by Summers’ brother Alex (Havok), and including in its ranks the Scarlet Witch, who was manipulated into wiping out millions of mutants following the reality-warping event known as House of M several years ago.

But no sooner have they come together than they are forced to face the consequences of a mutant terrorist attack on New York, secretly orchestrated by a resurrected Red Skull, the embodiment of Nazi eugenics and intolerance reborn in the 21st century.

To make matters worse, the Skull has enhanced his abilities using the psychic brain of the late Professor Xavier, stolen from his desecrated corpse.

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With the team itself at odds over strategy and direction, and internal pressures threatening to tear these new Avengers apart before they’ve had a chance to prove themselves, victory is far from assured…

Rising star Rick Remember teams up with hot-shot artist John Cassaday for the first story, with Oliver Coipel taking his turn in the chair for the last issue collected here, a more character-focused tale which sets up events for the future.

Whether the world really needs more individual Avengers or X-Men comics is debatable, but given the strength of this initial collection it definitely needs this series combining the best of both teams – bringing together mutant outsiders, an Asgardian god and a WWII super-soldier to combat menaces which are too big for either of the core organisations to tackle.

A stand-out release, even among the high standards of the Marvel Now! relaunch, providing Uncanny Avengers continues the momentum it has established here then we could be looking at one of the strongest Marvel books of recent years.