With "Uncanny Avengers" #13, Rick Remender and Daniel Acuña drive our heroes toward a battle that promises to be both epic and incredibly personal. The stakes are high and our heroes are split, both in their ideologies and in the knowledge that they each carry, so it will be exciting to see how Remender plans to resolve it all in the forthcoming issues.
In the meantime, while this issue is filled with solid character work and plotting that drives this piece of the story forward nicely, Remender's writing works better in some places than others. A temporarily deaf Captain America is good for pages of very welcome chuckles, even if it is an old gag; but a joke about Ant-Man falls pretty flat and tasteless. The shifting point of views remain a frustrating element of this series, even though the writing on the whole itself is strong. Some characters are narrated in third person (Wolverine and Thor), while others narrate themselves in first (Havok, Wasp) and it's an odd choice that jars the seamlessness of the book. Again, the writing itself is good, but in those shifting moments it's frustrating to be pulled from the narrative.
There's really something to be said for well-written action in comic books. Too often writers rely on a super powered punch or energy blast, but it's so much more engaging when they think outside the box as Remender does in this issue. How The Wasp disables Banshee is clever and brutal (not to mention effective) and how Thor solves an potentially impossible problem for a city on the verge of destruction is both epic and inspired. And then there are the classics that are referenced (and never get old) such as Rogue lifting Wolverine's powers and heading out for revenge (among other things). Seeing that kind of creativity in even the smaller battles lends confidence to the idea that Remender knows exactly how he wants to wrap all this up and that it will be well worth the wait.
None of that out the box writing would matter however without an artist of Acuña's caliber to deliver, and deliver he does. Acuña is one of those rare artists that easily excels at the intimate -- a kiss between The Wasp and Havok, more than a kiss between Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man, and promised declarations between Rogue and Wolverine -- finding a perfect balance between beauty and pain. But he's also an artist that doesn't blink twice at grand action set pieces, brutal beatings, and cosmic landscapes. There's really not a missed moment in the entire book. It's fantastically consistent and exceptional in its execution -- somehow both disturbingly dark and magnificently light all at once.
"Uncanny Avengers" on the whole has been an interesting book with incredibly strong visuals, and this is one of the better issues as the plot and character work drives toward a powerful conclusion. Plus, even though I am endlessly tired of seeing heroes fighting heroes, I confess that Rogue vs. Scarlet Witch (as is promised in the next book) holds some guilty pleasure appeal.