Artist: Daniel Acuña
This series has a rocky start, with shipping the delayed schedule's hurting the flow of the series, and effecting the quality at the same time. The series has however recently stepped up, and is quickly becoming the series I always expected it to be, and if it continues this way it's only a matter of time before it's the best Marvel NOW! series there is.
Following the Apocalypse Twins, Uriel, and Eimin's attack, Thor, and Sunfire have to save Rio de Janeiro, whilst Captain America is trapped in Sudan, and the rest of the Avengers Unity Squad go after Apocalypse's followers.
This was a brilliant issue, and although not quite as good as the last issue, or the prequel issue, it was still amazing, and the story as a whole is shaping up very nicely, and hopefully will be as good as I hope it will, which it should do if the last three issues show anything. I always had faith that Rick Remender would make this series a sensation, as although it's taken longer than I'd initially expected, after seeing his work on Venom, Secret Avengers, and more importantly Uncanny X-Force, I expected great things in this series, especially due to continuing Wolverine's journey, as well as now continuing the stories told in Uncanny X-Force. At the same time I love how this story is stand alone, meaning that new readers can get into it without reading Uncanny X-Force, whilst still making it more exciting, and meaningful to people who have. The way Remender has managed to continue the development of the Apocalypse Twins, whilst still having a mysterious, and dramatic feel, which is also exciting, and suspenseful. I've also loved how Remender is starting to show that this story has more to it than it originally appeared to have, with it tying in perfectly with everything that has happened in this series, as well as the character's, and past events, and I look forward to seeing how he progresses this fabulous story.
The art from Daniel Acuña was once again amazing, and I'm ecstatic that he's been able to work on this series, as although the previous art from John Cassaday, and Olivier Coipel was amazing, I just feel that Acuña's art suits this series much more, and especially for this story. The detail in Acuña's art is so brilliant, and amazing that it really makes the entire issue brilliant, and although Remender's script itself is amazing, there's a very good chance I'd get this series purely for the art (but gladly the script is amazing as well). The fact that Acuña does his own inks, and colours however is what I truly love about his art, especially in this series, as although there were times during Uncanny X-Men were it just didn't suit the character's, and story, it does in this series, and especially in this story, as everything from Thor, to the Apocalypse Twins look outstanding, and that's due to Acuña's awesome style. I also loved how Acuña handled the action in this issue, as like the previous issues in this series he's worked on, it just exploded with excitement, and the tone just made it that more awesome. This however isn't all that Acuña is brilliant at when it comes to his art, as the facial expressions are simply outstanding, and although there are other artists I can think of that can do even better than Acuña can, there aren't many who's art's as visually stunning as Acuña's.
This issue started with Thor trying to protect Rio de Janeiro from being destroyed, later getting help from Starfire. Now this was a very interesting, and exciting sequence, and although overall it wasn't anything stunning, what came out of it was. The best thing about the start of this sequence was when Thor, and Starfire started to team-up, as although they're both from the same team, this is the first chance they've had to work together, which was brilliant, and the way they interacted was simply amazing. As I said though it was what would come out of this, and the continuation of their journey that drew my attention, as without going into details as to avoid spoilers, it was a very interesting, and exciting moment, with ton's of drama, and suspense, as well as plenty of speculation, and mystery.
Whilst this is happening Captain America's escape pod lands in the Sudan, leaving him in hostile territory, having to improvise to get to safety. Now to be honest Cap doesn't really feature a lot in this issue, but for the small part that he does it is very interesting, and mysterious. He also has a conversation with a mysterious person who isn't revealed in this issue, but I do have my suspicions as to who it is. Besides this the Avengers Unity Squad don't know where Cap is, just knowing that he's missing, which itself adds an extra kink in the team, as without one of their biggest members it leaves them at a huge disadvantage.
Talking of the Avengers Unity Squad although three of the members (Cap, Thor, and Sunfire) are away from the group, the rest continue to work together, trying to stop the Apocalypse Twins. This starts with them heading towards the North Pole where they hope to find Apocalypse followers. Now again this didn't actually have a huge impact on the issue, but there was a small part of it that did have a huge impact. Now I won't go into details as to avoid spoilers, but it was very entertaining, and made the slightly slower parts worth while, as it was perfectly set-up, and looks to have ton's of potential moving forward.
There was another thing that was brought up during this issue, and that was secrets, whether it Wolverine's secrets from X-Force, or Thor's secrets from the prequel issue, and it really put a rift in the team, with certain members not knowing whether they could trust one another. Now to be honest I always expected Wolverine's secrets to be focused on at some point, and after reading the prequel issue it was obvious that Thor's secret would factor a lot in this story, but to see it unravel, with the team being slightly hostile to one another was brilliant, and I'm sure this will continue. Another thing that I liked was that despite secrets being looked at, there was also light shone on other past discretions that have either featured in this series, or from certain character's, which was brilliant, making the series, and team feel so much more appropriate, and necessary.
Now the big thing for me in this issue was seeing the development of the Apocalypse Twins, and to be honest there's a lot I could say about there actions in this issue, but I won't be going into too much detail as to avoid spoilers. The main thing that I've been thinking about since last issue was the absence of Kang. The reasons for this was talked about throughout this issue, and it really showed how Kang's influence has affected the Apocalypse Twins, and not in a good way. I do however believe, and hope that this isn't the end of Kang in the main storyline, as although I know he will feature in the Age of Ultron issue, he could easily be kept out of the story, and although I very much doubt that, I also seriously hope that he will return. I also think that Remender has subtly left hints as to his return.
Although this has probably been the worst issue in the storyline so far, this was still an outstanding issue, and it really goes to show how good the story is, when such a good issue like this is the worst so far. This issue showed excitement, and mystery, as well as drama, and speculation, and although there were times I questioned whether it was structured right, overall I felt it was awesome, and truly worth reading. This means that I'd highly recommend this issue, and the storyline so far, and look forward to seeing how Remender progresses this story.