Daniel Acuna – Uncanny Avengers vol. 2 #1-5

Daniel Acuna (1974 – ), who worked for almost half of the first version of the Uncanny Avengers (2012-2014), continued his job with the second version of the series. Rick Remender is still the writer for this new team compound of Rogue, Scarlett Witch, Captain America – Sam Wilson – Doctor Voodoo and Quicksilver, in addition to two new members, the repented Sabretooth and Vision. This relaunch lasted only five issues, before the massive summer event, Secret Wars. and another relaunch, which will start on October 2015. For this third time, Ryan Stegman (who we already meet with Inhuman) and Gerry Duggan will be the artistic time, whereas Daniel Acuna will work on Sam Wilson, Captain America (with Nick Spencer), and Rick Remender will take a break from Marvel comics, after eight years of hard work on amazing stories.

In five issues, Daniel Acuna and Rick Remender told a retcon version of Scarlet Witch’s and Quicksilver’s origins. According to Wanda’s spell (see AXIS #7), the twins are not Magneto’s children anymore. In order to find where they come from, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff went back in Europe, in Mount Wundagore to see the High Evolutionary, who created an other Counter Earth located behind the Sun, at the exact opposite of the Earth. This Counter Earth’s inhabitants are the new men, who are animals with human postures, behaviors and language created by the High Evolutionary. One of them, a cheetah-man, is trying to outrun Quicksilver to warn the High Evolutionary that the twins are back home. The double page spread is wonderfully drawn with the race and the idea of the speed with the yellow and blue lines. The yellow lines of the cheetah-man are the common thread of this page. They are the lines the reader has to follow to read. The transition between the third and the fourth panel is specially well-designed : the cheetah-man’s jump led to the running Quicksilver; the end of the yellow lines led to the beginning of the blue lines. But Quicksilver is running towards the left corner of the page, whereas the reader has to turn the page from the right corner, so there might be a problem of continuity … if there wasn’t a speech balloons on this exact right corner from the Scarlet Witch “I apologize for my brother’s abrupt exit …“.

Daniel Acuna - Uncanny Avengers #1, p.2-3
Daniel Acuna – Uncanny Avengers #1, p.2-3 © Daniel Acuna / Marvel

Unfortunately, the new men’s behaviors disappointed their creator, the High Evolutionary. Herbert Edgar Wyndham, the High Evolutionary’s real identity, has been searching for a perfect race of creatures, flawless and perfect, since the middle of the 20th century when he was still a man. His only solution now is to exterminate his new men, like he’s done before and like he’ll probably do after that for he’s never completely satisfied with his new creation. The redeemed Sabretooth is trying to stop him, but the will of Wyndham is made and nothing can change that. Even if his doesn’t know what creatures will replace the new men, he’s determined to eradicate them, like a merciless god. Isn’t he one after all ? His statue sits in the middle of the central square, he created the new men and he shines like a god. But his quest for perfection led him on the path of mass murder and destruction, and for that he must be vanquished by the Avengers.

Daniel Acuna - Uncanny Avengers #2, p.8
Daniel Acuna – Uncanny Avengers #2, p.8 © Daniel Acuna / Marvel

The new men aren’t the only creation of the High Evolutionary. His most successful one is Luminous, who was created using the genetic material of both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Therefore, she has both their powers : she’s as fast as Quicksilver, and she has access to the chaos magic. Besides, Luminous has control over the chaos magic, unlike Wanda who can just use it. Luminous is more powerful than both the Maximoff twins, perhaps because she was created by the High Evolutionary and not just enhanced by him. This fight scene is magnificent, and unlike many other artists, Daniel Acuna chose to keep a regular cutting of the panels instead of an irregular one. The action lies in the drawings and in the alternating viewpoints, rather than a dynamic cutting and plenty of onomatopoeias. The manifestation of the chaos magic surrounding the characters is amazing, like a little darkness falling on Luminous before she explode it and return back to the Scarlet Witch. But her chaos magic isn’t dark but light – how is this possible ? Could Wanda do the same thing with years and years of practice ? Or is this the true form of the chaos magic ?

Daniel Acuna - Uncanny Avengers #3, p.16
Daniel Acuna – Uncanny Avengers #3, p.16 © Daniel Acuna / Marvel

Even if Wanda can’t control the chaos magic, she now knows the truth about her origin and who her parents are, Django and Marya Maximoff. The High Evolutionary experimented on her and her twin brother, Pietro, before sending them back to their family, disguised as regular mutants. So they are mutants, but made and not born. Or aren’t they mutants, just genetic experiments ? If they are such experiments, there is a problem with the House of M crossover (2005) and particularly its ending, “No more mutants”. Because of this spell, 91.4% of the mutant population was erased from the Earth, including Pietro and apparently Wanda (she was amnesic, but still has her powers). But if Wanda and Pietro aren’t regular mutants, how could they lose their powers as the others ? Is it because Wanda thought she and her brother were regular mutants, so her powers worked anyway ? Or is it because despite the High Evolutionary’s experiments, they are in fact mutants – not born, but created ? This hypothesis sounds like the most believable and the only one that can explain everything. The next page is a flashback, where Magneto learned Wanda and Pietro are is long-lost children and apologises for all he’s done to them. Kneeled in front of them, he looks miserable. But as a true hero and a true father, he’s trying to do what’s best for his children. This is a very moving page Daniel Acuna drew, one of the few on which Magneto acts truly like a hero.

Daniel Acuna - Uncanny Avengers #5, p.1
Daniel Acuna – Uncanny Avengers #5, p.1 © Daniel Acuna / Marvel

And not all hero wears helmet, for instance the High Evolutionary. His body armor hides his true form, and after Quicksilver punched him as fast and as hard as he can, his face is finally revealed to us. Wyndham is no longer human, but he’s not an animal either. He’s in between. His face is a mix of a lizard, a bull and a skeletal human. What about his body ? Will we ever see what he’s hiding under his armor ? How did he end up like this ? Is this the consequences of his many experiments, explaining why he’s looking for perfection ? I look forward to learn all about this in a further issue of a Marvel comic book series.

Daniel Acuna - Uncanny Avengers #5, p.17
Daniel Acuna – Uncanny Avengers #5, p.17 © Daniel Acuna / Marvel

If the idea of a retcon for the Maximoff twins’ origin is not a bad idea, it’s a shame sa many questions ended up without answers. Let’s hope the new version of Uncanny Avengers will answer those. Daniel Acuna‘s style was perfect for this story, which took place on a different Earth than ours, and I’m sure he’ll be doing a great job on Sam Wilson, Captain America.

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