Rick Remender is in great form these days with well received runs on Venom and Uncanny X-Force. Personal tragedy comes second nature to Remender and his characters undergo real tests of fortitude. His protagonists learn to overcome their own issues in order to be heroes which is an angle rarely seen these days. He also has a proclivity to the fantasy and arcane as shown by Secret Avengers and X-Force. These are two contrasting attributes to a writer but he can bring them together and succeed which is why he is one of my favourite writers. John Cassaday is a legend for me as he pencilled Astonishing X-Men and Planetary, which are two of my favourite titles. He draws very distinctive eyes and round faces to his characters but actually appears to make people look different outside of their uniform, hair colour and styles. This should be a refreshing team to handle the union of Avengers and X-Men in the wake of Cyclops’ disgrace and the rebirth of mutants.
This is a difficult first issue as there is so much to cover. The team have to culminate the preceding storylines, set up a new team, show the current state of mutant affairs and then develop the new plot/antagonist. It is a crammed issue but it has been set out and paced well. Wolverine’s eulogy to Xavier and the conversations between Thor, Cap, Havok, Rogue and Scarlet Witch are written well and flow nicely. John Cassaday has been allowed to demonstrate his full range of skills. There are action sequences, which are drawn convincingly together with intimate conversations that show Cassaday’s ability convey emotions. The final few pages really move into the realms of vagary and allow the artist to run wild.
My concerns with this issue revolve around it being a first issue. There is almost too much to fit in and it is an ambitious task. Ending the AvX storyline is a relatively serious start to the comic but then Remender’s plot is clearly quite fantastical and they do not fit. The tone of the book is not consistent as the solemn speech Wolverine does not contrast with a fight between oddly powered aliens towards the end. My other concern lies with the cementing of Cyclops as our generation’s Magneto when his lack of remorse is not in keeping with Scott’s character. I understand where this may progress to but I personally do not think it is right especially when the Phoenix carries a significant part of the blame. Rogue is certainly out of character given that she uses her powers at the school to empathise and act as a counsellor but here throws down with Scarlet Witch at the drop of a hat. I admit the big bad guy reveal left me running around excitedly but it should not falter you from realising that the issue was not consistent. I honestly believe it’s because of a change in plot and style and that these inconsistencies will be resolved and I have great faith in Remender and Cassaday
“The place we go also makes lattes, if you prefer. I do” 7.5/10