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‘Uncanny Avengers: Unity Vol. 5: Stars and Garters’ review: Winding down and resetting

A transitional collection with great character work.

It seems to be the case that Uncanny Avengers has always been a different lineup and book as a whole. You don’t have hallmark members on this team like Cap, but instead, you get Wonder Man or Quicksilver. Jim Zub’s latest chapter entitled “Stars and Garters” is out this week in comic shops and with it comes an Avengers team that’s ready for change and a little bit different.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Wanda Maximoff has returned to the Avengers at last! But not everyone on the team is happy about it. Will the team be split down the middle by the arrival of the Scarlet Witch? And as the Unity Squad faces this challenge to group harmony head-on, an old enemy makes their explosive return at the worst possible time! The lives of our heroes will be turned upside down by friend and foe alike!

Why does this matter?

This book only collects five issues, but it has some of the best art you’ll see in comics today from Sean Izaakse and Juanan Ramirez. This story also has a strong backbone in a romance with many couplings — some you knew were coming, some out of left field.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Don’t trust her!

This collection starts off with our heroes dusting themselves off after surviving Secret Empire. They were trapped in New York with demons and the like to fight against. Basically, they’ve seen some s--t. Zub eases you into their brain space in a natural way, like how Wanda may or may not be totally insane after being possessed. The volume kicks off with a surprising twist on plotting since it introduces a villain later in the game so as to knock your socks off with a potential hero’s death cliffhanger. As the story rolls on, interesting subplots are introduced, like Human Torch having to deal with the many lawsuits and patents Mr. Fantastic left after his death, or Synapse subtly falling in love with Quicksilver. There always seem to be subplots to enjoy while they punch villains in the face.

In regards to the romance we’ve got Rogue and Human Torch possibly being a thing, the above mentioned Quicksilver fawning over Synapse, and Scarlet Witch falling for…well, I’ll leave that one for you to find out. There are also breakups and hard truths for characters to come by. Zub is quite good at making these relationships feel natural and whole. You never once feel like he’s slapping characters together simply to add a bit of sex appeal.

The art, as the IGN quote on the front, and AiPT! quote on the back suggest, is flipping sharp as hell. It’s very clean and in control, always keeping your attention and moving the story along. When Juggernaut pops in he looks awesome with his army and his size. Magic looks cool too. It looks fresh and modern, which suits the title and the characters within well.

Anyone ever wonder how Juggernaut’s hands are so huge?

It can’t be perfect can it?

This volume serves as a transitional collection with three major bad guy battles, but nothing going on with the bigger picture. That is of course unless you count the romances. This collection is harboring issues that had to deal with the fallout of an event and the resetting for the future so of course, it’s going to be a bit here and there. The final chapter deals with closing doors on relationships and Rogue helping a villain in court she thinks can be better. This Rogue scene is a bit out of place if you haven’t read previous collections since it’s referring to something we’ve never seen. Then there is a Wonder Man and Beast hangout that, once again, isn’t bad but isn’t doing much for the grand scheme of the story. One has to assume Zub is setting up future stories, but when the Marvel Universe seems to get rejiggered every other month, who knows.

Is It Good?

I ended up liking this collection more than I thought I would due to the art and always churning subplots. You always have a character to think about in the back of your mind while others punch a villain in the face, or feel awful for a terrible mistake they’ve committed. Characters come first in this series and you’ll appreciate all of them a bit more due to the good writing and great art.

Uncanny Avengers: Unity Vol. 5: Stars and Garters
Is it good?
A strong collection, albeit a transitional one, post-Secret Empire.
Clean and pretty art
Always a subplot to chew on as they rotate and are well written
A lot of romances intertwined here
A transitional collection that's more about setting things up and closing doors from previous storylines

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