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Marvel’s next big event is upon us, as Avengers & X-Men: Axis begins next week. There have been a number of comics leading up to the event, and they’ve carried the banner “March to Axis.” This week’s Uncanny Avengers #25 by writer Rick Remender, with art by Daniel Acuna, is perhaps the most important of all of the “March to Axis” comics, as the events in this issue lead directly to Axis.
Since the beginning of the Uncanny Avengers series, the Red Skull has been a thorn in the team’s side. Following the death of Charles Xavier by the Phoenix-possessed Cyclops in Avengers vs. X-Men, the Red Skull actually somehow exhumes Xavier’s body, steals his brain, and puts it into his own body, granting him Xavier’s powers. Now with the Avengers-X-Men unity team in disarray and the powerful Red Skull with a team of lackeys, he senses his time to strike.
In Uncanny Avengers #25, the Red Skull has taken over Genosha, the island that was once home to a mutant nation lead by Magneto (and also the site of a mass mutant genocide by Cassandra Nova). He’s holding Rogue, Havok, Scarlet Witch, and Magneto along with many other mutants. His goal seems to be to wipe out mutant kind, which seems in keeping with a former Nazi. However, the mutants strike back, overpowering the Skull’s henchmen, leading to a violent confrontation between Magneto and the Red Skull (I will not spoil the ending of this issue, but it provides a somewhat big surprise).
I have enjoyed how Uncanny Avengers has shined a light on some characters who have not been in the spotlight very much recently, like Havok and Wonder Man. Even Rogue and Scarlet Witch, who have both been very prominent at different points but less so recently, are explored. Throughout much of Uncanny Avengers, the team has not worked well together at all, which is actually a nice change of pace compared to most team books.
However, I have always had a problem with the idea that the Red Skull could just get Charles Xavier’s body so easily and then somehow removed his brain, add parts of it to his own, and gain Xavier’s powers. So much of that makes no sense that it’s been difficult at times to fully invest in the Skull’s storyline because it seems based on a ridiculous premise. As much as I like most of Remender’s work (including most of Uncanny Avengers), this adds some problems to the set-up of Uncanny Avengers #25.
Daniel Acuna has been illustrating many issues of the series recently and his work on Uncanny Avengers #25 is quite good. His style is pretty distinctive. It’s neither entirely realistic nor too loose – it’s in a middle ground in a style that I find rather well done. Although some of the figures seem a little oddly posed at times, he does a great job on character faces. He shows fear, horror, anger, and shock on individual characters’ faces throughout Uncanny Avengers #25, and it’s an important part of the issue’s effectiveness.
I’m still unsure if Avengers & X-Men: Axis will be a good event. Although I enjoyed Infinity, I’ve found many of Marvel’s other events recently uninteresting. I have hope that Remender, a writer who usually takes chances and surprising turns, will make it a good series. If you are planning on getting Axis, I’d recommend reading Uncanny Avengers #25 first. It’s a good issue that sets the stage for what’s to come next.