Man, I just don’t get the controversy. From what I understand, people are offended by Havok’s “coming out” speech when he introduces the Avengers unity squad. He goes on about how he doesn’t like the word “mutant” and doesn’t want people to use it any more. He doesn’t like the label, and says that he and other mutants are just like everyone else. He goes on to say that everyone should just call him “Alex.” It seems there is an internet controversy that by abandoning the label of “mutant,” Havok is advocating that people should pretend to be like everyone else. To extend the common mutant metaphors, that people should give up their race, sexual orientation, or other identifiers. I find it fascinating, because I never would have read that in to the speech. I can’t imagine Rick Remender ever intended to offend anyone, but there it is.
As for the issue itself? I loved it. The book had a lot to live up to, that cover has been my computer wallpaper for months. I am a huge fan of Wonder Man and the Wasp, and I’ve always loved Sunfire’s potential. So adding those three heroes onto a team already sporting so many of my favorites? That’s a recipe for success. The question was, could Remender pull it off?
That’s a big affirmative. Wonder Man acts and sounds like himself, unlike the oddball “Revenger” that Bendis used in his Avengers run over the last couple of years. Wondy owns that insane behavior, and still claims that he’s going to be a pacifist hero, but his motivations and goals are in line with what we know about the character. Wasp is there to help integrate the mutants into pop culture. I love that she’s bankrolling the team, running the PR, AND an effective team member. At this point, Sunfire’s history is a tad complicated, and I don’t’ think I’m remembering all of it (didn’t Rogue get Sunfire’s powers for awhile?) In any case, Remender does a good job addressing the continuity questions before maneuvering Sunfire to a good starting point on the new team.
What I like about Remender is that even when he’s working on this much set-up, he still delivers a fight. The Grim Reaper is a fantastic, classic villain, and since he is Wonder Man’s brother, there is a good personal connection. His involvement immediately draws in Scarlet Witch too. And Rogue’s cliffhanger is a great way to end the book. It feels so classic Marvel for a hero to underestimate her own power and possibly kill a villain. That’s like West Coast Avengers 101. (Plus she gets to say how amazingly powerful Wonder Man is.)
Olivier Coipel comes in on art, and he does a great job keeping the look of the book consistent. Rogue is still rocking the hood and sullen attitude; it’s new, but I still love the character. Sunfire’s look is fantastic, and Wonder Man has yet another costume incorporating elements from his past looks. I do wish Wasp would ditch the gold-plated look and go a bit more classic, and I’m still annoyed by Cap’s battle armor, but I can deal with that if everyone else looks this good.
Excellent (but again, I’m partial to these characters)