With the unity squad at the mercy of the Red Skull, Deadpool reaches into his little black book for some help. Skull, meanwhile, is utilizing his newly acquired mental powers to break the Avengers! How will our heroes get out of this one?
Uncanny Avengers #19 (Marvel Comics)
Things are looking bleak for the Avengers Unity Squad. Most of the team is under the mental domination of the newly rechristened Professor Skull, who’s using his ill-gotten abilities to mentally torture each of the do-gooders in his thrall. Elsewhere, a mind-controlled Quicksilver has Deadpool on the run leading to a last page reveal that I won’t spoil here, but is worth the trip.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, but it remains fairly cohesive in structure and pace. The subtle way the art shifts between the Red Skull’s machinations and the “real world” is a credit to twin pencillers Pepe Larraz and Rodrigo Zayas. The solid visual storytelling can also be seen in both the brief but violent skirmish between the Skull and Cable and its solemn resolution shortly thereafter; it’s a firm blend of controlled chaos that gives real shape to Duggan’s words.
Speaking of Duggan, the plotting and dialogue are both on point in this issue. As we see the Crimson-craniumed cad bring out the truest fears of the Avengers we see his true understanding of the characters. Wasp’s concerns about her legitimacy as a living being pays off her circuitous resurrection that has been told over the past few years, Johnny’s fears of being a danger to the ones he loves makes perfect sense for the character, Brother Voodoo’s concerns of being an unsent soul speaks to the very nature of the character’s power, whereas Synapse…..I don’t know a ton about Synapse, and I didn’t learn a lot from her segment. It’s a bit of a swing and a miss for a book that is otherwise on fire, but it doesn’t slow the party down.
Of course, this being Duggan, the seeds are also planted for future breakthroughs. Rogue is conspicuous by her absence, likely serving as some sort of trump card for the villain at a later time. Cable’s seeming self sacrifice is clearly not all it seems and will likely play on the overconfidence of herr Shmidt. And then there’s Deadpool, who sets up another run with what is likely his best crossover pal on the Marvel roster.
Uncanny Avengers continues to be a bright spot in the Marvel landscape – ironic because the story has been a bit of a downer. Still, you have to set dire stakes to earn a meaningful payoff, and Gerry Duggan is doing a great job of getting readers excited to see what happens next.