With the Red Skull holding almost the entire Unity Squad in his thrall, it’s up to Deadpool, Spider-Man and…uh…Dr. Strange’s butler Wong to set things right. Can this temerous trio overcome the rubicund rogue and free their friends? Might the Merc with the Mouth make mincemeat of this madman’s minions? Or shall the Skull and Sin stave off the superheroes’ stabs at saving the Unity Squad?
Uncanny Avengers #20 (Marvel Comics)
When we last checked in with the Uncanny Avengers, the Red Skull–who, let’s not forget, stole the mental powers of Professor Charles Xavier a few years ago–has seized mental control of Quicksilver, Human Torch, Brother Voodoo, Wasp, Rogue and Synapse. After failing to combat the mental powers Hydra’s head honcho, Cable has mentally checked out (literally, his conscious mind shut off), leaving only Deadpool to rescue the Unity Squad. After reaching out to Spider-Man and Dr. Strange (finding only the latter’s manservant, Wong), Wade has made his play to break into Avengers mansion and take down the Skull once and for all.
This issue is a heavy on action, which will be welcome to many readers after a pretty story-heavy build. Fortunately, artist Pepe Larraz is up to the task, as his pencils are well suited to the swooping motions of acrobatic super-conflict. One panel in particular, where Deadpool is racing into the fracas on a Citi Bike, stands out as memorably great. The sequence in which Wade’s inelegant plan to take down Sin goes through is another winner in the issue.
The issue also continues Duggan’s streak of really understanding his characters–even with the handful of expansions we had this week. Deadpool and Spider-Man are the suitable level of witty for their histories (Deadpool even makes a stellar Simpsons joke), and Skull’s macabre manner of speech is oozing with pompous villainy.
Really if there’s one complaint to levy at this issue it’s that it feels largely inconsequential. It gets us from the end of the last issue into what looks to be a more consequential series of events in the next, but even the inclusion of special guests like Spider-Man and Wong just felt like window dressing for something more interesting. It’s an issue that, if you read it as part of a trade, you’d potentially miss where it begins and ends.
Overall it’s a good book. It’s got decent action, moves at a steady pace and leaves the reader in a position for more interesting things to happen. Sure it may feel like the middle section of a more interesting story, but it’s loaded with action and humor, and sometimes that’s enough.