Uncanny Avengers Annual #1: Review

Nov 2015
James Robinson, Mark Laming

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Uncanny Avengers Annual #1 Review by (November 26, 2015)
This has a completely different creator list from the main series, except for letterer Clayton Cowles but including editor Mark Paniccia. But James Robinson will be the scripter of the Scarlet Witch series, which this is obviously a set up for. And this seems to be inker Jose Giles 1st job. Dakor was a Timely hero who only had 3 adventures described in Mystic Comics #1-3 in 1940. The Future Foundation yanked him out of 1942 to help fight Dr Doom in FF(2013)#14-16 and Fantastic Four(2013)#16. Presumably they sent him back because he's in this issue in 1947 (and 1945). (Even though it said they grabbed him because history reported that he disappeared then.) Posters on the bar wall mention other Timely wizards:- Magar the Mystic, Merzah the Mystic and Monako, Prince of Magic. Agatha Harkness of course was never actually in Timely comics. We just know her as the aged witch who was Franklin Richards' nanny and taught real magic to Scarlet Witch. She was killed by the insane SW in Avengers Disassembled. Possibly this is why the Emerald Warlock is after Wanda, because this issue says he had an unrequited love (or maybe just lust) for Agatha. Whizzer was a WWII speedster. At 1 time he believed he was the father of SW and Quicksilver, and his wife Miss America died giving birth to them. He was reunited with his 'children' in Giant-Size Avengers #1, and died in Scarlet Witch and Vision #2 before they learned that he wasn't really their dad. This is the future Ghost Dancer hints at. Jeff Mace (originally a Timely hero Patriot) was the 3rd Captain America. Steve Rogers was frozen in suspended animation in 1945 (Av#4). A hero named Spirit of '76 invented by Roy Thomas in Invaders was given the job as his replacement, but died in 1946 saving the life of John F Kennedy. Jeff Mace took over until 1949. (All this was described in What If #4, to explain why Cap's adventures continued for a while after the War.)

The current Captain America is of course Sam Wilson, ex-Falcon. But Declan and Steve know each other so they must have met in WWII before Steve was frozen, or in the modern era since he was revived by the Avengers. The St Croix family include Claudette, Monet and Nicole who have a complicated superheroic history starting in Generation X. Hatred claims to have had various names in history:- Greek Erida (sister of Ares), Armenian Sonnilion and Babylonian Veltis. The 1st 2 are goddesses of hate but the 3rd I can only find listed as a male demon.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Uncanny Avengers Annual #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The split opening page shows 2 similar scenes. In the present day Steve Rogers is leading a small team consisting of Dr Voodoo, Quicksilver and a new character with a green streak in his hair. In the past Captain America is accompanied by the same new character, Whizzer and another guy who we will learn has a connection to DrV.

That past is 1947 and an army Major enters a Manhattan club called The Bar With No Doors that caters strictly to magicians. He used to be known as Dakor the Detective Magician, but now he hunts ex-Nazi mages. He's here to recruit people for a new team, the Department of the Uncanny, for a special mission. The Irish guy with the green streak is Declan Dane, the Emerald Warlock. The other guy from the splash page is Andre Gastrade, the Ghost Dancer, from the Caribbean. And the 3rd person at the bar is Agatha Harkness (much younger than we've ever seen her before).

The mission Alan Dakor wants them for is to capture Hilda Von Hate, a witch who used to be in the SS. Dakor saw her escape through a dimensional fissure in 1945, but Gastrade has located her ruling the Caribbean island of Tani where she's turned the inhabitants into something like zombies.

3 hours later all 4 of them are on a plane with Captain America, Whizzer and some US troops. To his consternation Cap learns that the mages know he's really Jeff Mace, the 3rd man to wear the uniform. And Ghost Dancer gives Robert Frank/Whizzer some hints about his future.

This section ends with a 2-page spread showing the gang fighting Hilda and her zombies.

Now we see a much older Andre Gastrade who's retired from the magic business since Jericho Drumm became Brother/Dr Voodoo. He's now a married fruit farmer. But his visitor Declan Dane hasn't aged a bit (and claims to have lived for centuries). An Avengers quinjet arrives carrying Dr Voodoo, Quicksilver and Steve Rogers. Declan greets Steve as Captain America, but Rogers says someone else has that job now.

We learn that the Dept of the Uncanny killed Von Hate in 1947, and her zombie army was cured. But recently the 'walker sickness' has reappeared in descendants of the originals scattered all over the world, and it's infectious. We see the other members of the Unity Squad (Deadpool, Human Torch, Rogue and Synapse) fighting individual outbreaks. But Ghost Dancer thinks the root of the problem is on Tani.

The combined bunch of heroes fly to Tani, now a holiday resort owned by the St Croix hotel chain, where the inhabitants are now all walkers. Pietro rounds them up, Steve knocks them down and Jericho casts a containment spell. Andre and Declan head into the hotel ballroom where they sense Hilda Von Hate. Their previous experience against her gives them the best chance of defeating her.

But it's not Hilda. It's a bat-like demon called Hatred who has gone by many other names in the past. Von Hate used her power, and now the demon has used the dimensional fissure to reach Earth and reactivate the walkers.

Outside Dr Voodoo's spell is weakening. But inside Ghost Dancer and Emerald Warlock defeat the demon and absorb her energy. They tell the others that their magics are so different that the energy can't recombine to become effective again. Jericho Drumm agrees, and the Avengers leave.

Declan stays for a drink with Andre. But then kills him to absorb all the power of Hatred. Before he dies Ghost Dancer realises that the Warlock was always evil.

And we see that Emerald Warlock intends to use that power against Scarlet Witch.


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> Uncanny Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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Mark Laming
Jose Giles
Jordan Boyd
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Inker)
Frank Martin (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.