Mind Capsules – New Avengers #5 and Uncanny X-Men #2

New Avengers #5
New Avengers #5

Writer – Al Ewing
Artist – Gerardo Sandoval
Colours – Dono Sanchez Almara
Letters – VC’s Chris Eliopoulos

Al Ewing knocks it out of the park with the latest issue of New Avengers with a lot of action, intrigue and mystery and it is so good that you immediately want to go back and read it again.  On full display is Ewing’s trademark humour as well, making a full return which only makes this book all that much better.  In the first few pages Ewing introduces us to the future Avengers of 20XX, a team whose current mission is to bring down The Demiurge, a.k.a. Wiccan, a.k.a. Billy Kaplan.  Made up of familiar yet completely different analogues of the heroes we know and love, and some we do, including Marvel Woman, The Vision, Collapsar, Iron Maiden, King Hulk, Namorina, Captain America and Black Widow, they are out to avenge the newly dead Thor by The Demiurge’s hand except they are clearly outmatched.  So what is there to do, but go to the past where they eventually meet up with the current-day Avengers.  Making a return to the book after a couple of issues off is The Maker, the alternate timeline Reed Richards who is still up to nefarious things and generally just causing mischief.  With The Demiurge/Wiccan and The Maker in the mix, the Avengers are going to have their hands full in the coming days, though thankfully their ranks just got a lot bigger.  Even with everything going on, most of the characters get a little moment to shine including Hawkeye, Pod, Power Man and White Tiger.  It still boggles the mind to think that Squirrel Girl is on the team, but Tippy-Toe makes it all worthwhile.  The best thing about this title is that Ewing wastes no time with his storylines, bringing everything together sooner rather than later.  The Demiurge plot could literally go on for ages, yet rather than drag it out, it is now the focus of the latest story arc and we will most likely see a confrontation between our heroes and future/current Billy in the next issue.  Whether they come out of it triumphant is one thing, but it makes for a very thrilling read.  Adding to that are the phenomenally frenetic pencils of Gerardo Sandoval who embodies the word exciting and together, he and Ewing are crafting the very best Avengers book on the stands.  Truly excellent work by all involved.

4.5 out of 5

Uncanny X-Men #2
Uncanny X-Men #2

Writer – Cullen Bunn
Artist – Greg Land
Inker – Jay Leisten
Colours – Nolan Woodward
Letters – VC’s Joe Caramagna

As was revealed last issue, the latest threat to make themselves known to the X-Men are the Dark Riders and they are killing every mutant healer they can find and the next one on their list is Elixir.  The reason for such has not yet been revealed as Cullen Bunn is content to let the mystery play out, but the X-Men are not too happy about it and they mean to get to the bottom of it.  The second issue of Uncanny X-Men is quite exciting with a pace that never slows down.  The only downside to the book is that very fact as much like the first issue, it reads extremely fast and it is over before you know it.  There is nothing wrong with creating a little, or even a lot of excitement and this book is quite exciting, but it seems like such a small amount for the time and money invested even when you know that it is not.  That being said, perhaps things will slow down a little next issue as our heroes need to figure out just what the motivations of the Dark Riders are and exactly where they can find them.  There is a real telling moment in the book when Psylocke is communicating with Magneto and she sees Archangel.  Betsy is genuinely afraid and that is not something we usually associate with her character and it also tells you just how far gone Archangel has become.  Magneto himself is perplexed as to why these murders are happening while doing a little investigating on his own and while it would have been nice to touch upon his current power predicament, it looks as if that too is going to have to wait.  One of the real highlights of the book was the buddy comedy happening between M and Sabretooth – as unlikely as you would expect it to be but quite funny at the same time.  It is still hard to see Sabretooth as a good guy, especially now that it is a permanent thing and because you also constantly think of the parallels it brings to mind with Wolverine.  Suffice it to say, Uncanny X-Men is in good hands with Bunn and with the slick pencils of Greg Land, you only wish that there was just a little more there to really grab a hold of.

3.5 out of 5

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