“A Bewitching Return!” (Uncanny Avengers #26 Comic Review)

Uncanny Avengers #26

Written By: Jim Zub
Pencils By: Sean Izaakse
Colors By: Tamra Bonvillain
Published By: Marvel Comics

After going solo and getting possessed by an evil demon during Secret Empire, Wanda Maximoff A.K.A. the Scarlet Witch finally decide to come home to her dysfunctional family. Which family you ask? Well of course, it would be her Avengers family. But not everyone is happy with her return!
Previously: Coming from the Secret Empire cross-over, The Unity Squad was able to release Dr. Voodoo from his demonic possession. Alongside the other heroes, civilians and a few villains they were also able to save and free Manhattan from the Darkforce Dome.

What You’ll Find Out:

The Aftermath of Secret Empire meant that Wanda was also rescued from the possession of Chthon. The story starts off Wanda and Pietro talking about this. Pietro seems to be unsure of Wanda’s current state. Wanda assures him that it is her, and that this time she would need a new purpose with the help & guidance of the people she trust to start all over again. The perfect team to do that would be the Unity Squad. The remaining member displayed their thoughts from Synapse seeing a different side of Pietro, to Rogue expressing her feelings about Wanda’s return to Johnny Storm. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch then tells the team that she has decided to re-join the group however Rogue didn’t like the idea at all. Quicksilver then answers back by questioning her authority and right to decide for the group, addressing her doubts and refusal being the team leader from the past issues. Dr. Voodoo shares his sentiments by reminding the team that he too was possessed by a demon and that everybody has done things they had regretted and that the important thing is to move forward because everyone deserved a chance. Later that evening, Johnny sneaks in Rogue’s room (temporary room that is since they are only staying at the old Avengers’ Mansion as thanks from the city they saved from the Darkforce Dome.) They seem to be teasing each other, with Rogue addressing herself being a Medusa rebound and Torch responding that Medusa was more of a Rogue rebound. Johnny then tells her that the real reason why he came over was to check up on her and make sure she was okay after all that has been going on for the team from the events of Secret Empire under the Darkforce Dome to the team’s decision of Wanda joining the group again. Meanwhile Dr. Voodoo finds a restless Wanda in the living room, still wide awake thinking about the events that took place when she was possessed. She then asks Jericho regarding the demon possession he had experience during the same event and how he was able to handle it as well. The two then discusses about her guilt during the time she was possessed by Chthon and the burden she carries due to her wielding Chaos Magic. Jericho reminds her to believe in herself, the responsibilities of her powers and how her spirit is much stronger than that. He was about to help her calm down when all of a sudden they started floating alongside the mansion’s furniture. This also startled the rest of the team from Rogue, Johnny, Emily, Pietro and even waking up an already asleep Janet. To their surprise they were being attacked by Graviton, who was sharing his revelation to the Unity Squad. The team then tries to attack and defeat him to no avail. Graviton continued sharing his revelation and his search for power from the cosmic cube which he recently witnessed (assuming during Secret Empire.) The comic then ends with Wanda getting tired of Graviton’s boasting and tried to stop him, but before she could Graviton then sent her up to outer space, losing oxygen.

What just happened: Conflicts, conflicts and more conflicts? The Unity Sqaud is never over with internal conflicts. Quicksilver shows doubts about her sister after being possessed by Chthon and Rogue, all of a sudden revives her trust issues with Scarlet Witch for a very lame reason. Also we get a little bit more of the Human Torch and Rogue pairing! I don’t know how I feel about all of this but one thing is for sure, things are getting wackier/complicated for the team. Also I’ve noticed that for some reasons, Rogue, being the central character of the books seems to be written inconsistently ever since Axis. But I think this time it is much worse. Not only does she lose her control over her mutant powers again, she now doubts herself leading a team (when she was very capable of leading a team back during her X-Men time) and has been jumping from one guy (Deadpool) to another guy (Human Torch) really fast. Although the Rogue/Torch shipping was teased and implied during Duggan’s run it was only now that it was again addressed by Zubb. Of course to top it off, they had to encounter another (in my opinion) mid tier villain, Graviton just to add in some action. The plot for this issue felt very weak and generic. It is something we had already experienced and read in past books/issues. One word best describes this issue and that is “RECYCLED.”

Pros:
– Upcoming new comic artist Sean Izaakse’s art looks great!

Cons:
– Story and characterization felt off. One thing I should address is Rogue’s issues with Scarlet Witch. I find it inconsistent when during Remender’s run; Rogue and Wanda were able to patch things up (after the Apocalypse Twins had them both killed off as a result of Rogues distrust of Wanda and later realizes their mistakes when Havok went back in time after Planet X arc) and set their differences aside. Now Rogue is back hating and distrusting Wanda again, for reason of adding pointless and repetitive conflicts.

Final Thought:

I’m not sure what Zub has in store or planned for the Unity Squad. For some reasons it feels like he doesn’t know the core reason behind the Unity Squad at all. Originally Remender wrote UA to unite the Avengers and X-Men after their war during Avengers vs. X-Men. The goal was to show the world that both human and mutants even within the super hero community could work together. The irony of this idea about uniting members from the X-Men (Havok, Wolverine, Rogue, Sunfire & even Sabertooth) and Avengers (Captain America: Rogers & Wilson, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Wasp, Wonder Man, Dr. Voodoo & Vision) were the internal drama and issue of the characters that caused major consequences and then realizing that their mistake was due to not being united at all. This made the series really interesting and fun to read, it felt fresh because you get to see X-Men kind of drama mixed with Avenger’s issue. When Duggan came in to take over the book after Secret Wars, the team vision mission vision changed by not only uniting the Human and Mutants but now also including the Inhumans too! It was an interesting concept but fans were worried with the idea of forcing another Inhuman for marketing proposes (every Marvel fan would know the conspiracy theory behind IvX.) But at least there was only 1 Inhuman heroine added in the team (new comer Synapse), the roster still had a couple of X-Men (Rogue, Cable & Deadpool) and Avengers (Captain America, Quicksilver, Dr. Voodoo, Human Torch and Wasp) which still manages to balance the drama and story of the book. Aside from that, Duggan was still consistent with the story/plot and addressed a lot of plot holes left unanswered during Remender’s run. But now, with Zub it feels like just another Avengers book. The roster is filled with 5 Avengers (Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Dr. Voodoo, and Human Torch), 1 X-Men (Rogue) and 1 Inhuman (Synapse). I’m not sure if the roster might change again in the future to at least keep the legacy of the main plot, which was again uniting Humans and Mutants + a bit of Inhumans. But for now it doesn’t look it might come to that at all (except for that Beast comeback seen if future UA solicitations.) What’s more bothersome is Rogue being back to distrusting Wanda again. If some of you did not follow the earlier run of the series, these 2 ladies were able to patch things up after Planet X arc, when Havok (who travelled back in time from Planet X) revealed how Rogue’s trust issues killed Wanda and spiraled to break-up the original Unity Squad even ended up getting herself killed in the process which meant that their mission failed and caused the end of the world from the clutches of the Apocalypse Twins. When Havok came back from a possible future (Planet X arc), the 2 ladies were able to resolve their issues and differences, they were able to once again unite and correct time by defeating the Apocalypse Twins and save the world from Ragnarok. The two even promised each other that they’ll help each other find a way to release Wonder Man who was trapped inside Rogue’s head. Plus, it was even Rogue who came up with a 2nd Unity Squad to find and rescue the missing Scarlet Witch after Axis during the Counter-Evolutionary arc before Secret Wars. I completely find it disappointing for a writer to disregard all those character development and quality story telling. One thing is certain; it looks like the editors are letting their writers write Rogue as a very distrusting and not a team player kind of member for the team ever since Remender left. First, under Duggan she used to distrust Synapse for being an Inhuman (back in IvX era), and now under Zub is back to distrusting Wanda all over again, because why not!? I would have appreciated it more if Zub focused more on Rogue’s doubts of leading a team. He introduced it very well during the Secret Empire crossover and even added an interesting conflict between her and Wasp regarding leadership roles. I do hope he realizes this before he ruins the consistency of the series. As per what Johnny Storm mentioned in this issue, I guess for now it’s a wait and see kind of game for the Unity Squad future!

Rating: 4/10

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