‘Dark Avenger/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia’ #1 Review: Opening Salvo

Hey, everyone… Here is my second review. Continuing the big story trend, I am doing the first issue of the big crossover, ‘Utopia’. Hope you enjoy it.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1 cover Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1
(preview | thread)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencilers: Marc Silvestri with Michael Broussaro, Eric Basaldua, Tyler Kirkham, & Sheldon Mitchell
Inkers: Joe Weems with Marco Galli, Eric Basaldua, Rick Basaldua, Jason Gorder, Jay Leisten, Sal Regla, Jon Sibal & Ryan Winn

Note: Wolverine appears in only one panel this issue.

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: The issue opens with a march by Simon Trask and his mutant haters towards the San Francisco City Hall. They are met by Hank McCoy and a group of his friends and human rights activists who peacefully try to divert them. Unfortunately Hellion and some of the younger mutants’ tempers flare and soon there is an outright riot.

Several mutants, including Pixie  and a number of Trask’s people are hurt. Hellion blasts Trask and he and Beast are arrested. The press naturally has a field day and the X-Men hold up at their base waiting for the fall out.

The next day the mayor calls Scott and Emma in and berates Scott for not being able to control his people. At the same time Trask calls a press conference reaffirming his desire to march on City Hall and it is announced that Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. will be stepping in to control the situation.

That night things get worse  after a confrontation between mutants and Trask’s people, riots begin to break out all over the city. The events are escalated because some of the mutants, like Rockslide and Toad, are more interested in fighting then in keeping the peace and they have to be beaten.

Norman calls out H.A.M.M.E.R. and his Avengers to keep the peace. The Avengers are ordered to arrest any mutant breaking a law no matter how minor. The Avengers make an immediate impact, Moonstone takes down several rioting mutant women and Venom attacks Colossus who had just beaten Rockslide.

Hawkeye stops a group of protesters from entering the Embarcadero just by showing up although he laments not getting to kill any of them. Meanwhile a mob has arrived at City Hall and despite Cyclop’s arrival things are getting seriously out of hand until Ares shows up. He faces down the mob single handed.

Norman Osborn has called Emma to task for not keeping to her end of the deal and keeping the mutants under control. He tells her he is making a new plan and she is going to have to be the leader of a new team.

More H.A.M.M.E.R. troops show up and Osborn takes a personal hand calling a press conference. He identifies Scott as a person of interest to be arrested and introduces Professor Xavier as a character witnesses denouncing Summers. This man is in a wheelchair and is obviously a duplicate.  Intercut with that, we see Beast in prison being weakly contacted mentally by Charles Xavier. It ends with a picture of Emma in her new black uniform and an obviously hurt Xavier saying their powers are being taken.

MY TAKE: This is just a setup issue and it feels that way. There are no surprises to be found, everything is in the previews somewhere. The revelation with Xavier was a personal surprise but the hints were there, I just did not pick up on it.

That being said, it is effective at setting up the conflict. It does a masterful job at breaking the mutants into three factions and giving them both a mob and a bunch of police, H.A.M.M.E.R and Avengers to deal with. One of my concerns was that considering the number of X-Men it would be impossible to make it seem like legitimate struggle. But those concerns are gone.

What is better is that it all made sense. I can see Beast leading a group of mutants on a peaceful march to support their rights and I can see some of the younger kids simply wanting to lash out at someone. The core X-Men have been through this before and their concern is merely keeping people safe but even some of them have doubts.

It really came through in the kids though. Many of them want to do the right thing but simply do not know what that is. When the adults are on both sides, who do you pick? It effortlessly transformed the extended family into a bunch of divided groups that would have a hard time standing up to each other much less the Avengers.

I think the characterization was strong in general although Cyclops really steals the issue. My favorite part was his line after he got hit with a brick. Nice to see the sense of humor there.

My only real complaints are the predictability, and I do not know how that could be avoided, and the level of respect and awe Norman’s Avengers are given. For groups that are willing to attack dozens of powered mutants, I do not see them backing off because one Avenger says to. Perhaps it just speaks to their level of respect, but if so it makes Norman’s abuse even worse.

In the end we have a good comic with a strong political and social message which is rare these days. The ending is interesting enough to make me want to read more. I was a bit concerned about this series but if this level of quality keeps up it should be a fun read.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again next time.

Facebook comments:

  1. Spot on, jrpbsp.

  2. Thanks Ace.

Leave a Reply