• Heroes from the Avengers and X-Men fill the image
    Free Comic Book Day: Uncanny Avengers #1
    Gerry Duggan
    Joshua Cassara
    VC's Clayton Cowles
    Cover Artist:
    Javier Garrón, Morry Hollowell
    Release Date:
    Marte Gracia

The next era for the mutants of Krakoa looms ominously on the horizon as "Fall of X" rapidly approaches. Marvel has a trio of titles releasing for Free Comic Book Day this year, one of them being Uncanny Avengers #1. This issue features a pair of stories that set the stage for this year's Hellfire Gala. Readers know something disastrous is going to happen at the Gala, leading directly into the Fall of X that follows, but specifics have been kept under wraps. Uncanny Avengers #1, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Joshua Cassara and Javier Garrón, colors by Marte Gracia and Morry Hollowell, letters by Clayton Cowles and Travis Lanham, and design by Tom Muller, Jay Bowen, and Carlos Lao, gives readers an exciting tease for Uncanny Avengers and the future of the X-Men.

The issue consists of two main stories. The first is a prelude presented by the current X-Men creative team, Duggan and Cassara. This story focuses on an unknown agent infiltrating the X-Men's tree house base in Central Park as the Hellfire Gala starts. For the second story, Duggan is joined by Garrón in a prelude to their upcoming Uncanny Avengers series. The focus here shifts to more specific human/mutant relations as the Avengers Unity Squad is reformed.

RELATED: X-Men: Rasputin IV, Marvel's Five-Powered Mutant, Debuts Her First Hellfire Gala Outfit

Cyclops gets elbowed then punches back

Duggan does an excellent job of ramping up the suspense ahead of a tragedy readers know is coming. The third annual Hellfire Gala is the perfect stage for a precisely planned attack against mutantkind, and that's exactly what's happening. Cyclops finds himself evenly matched, while the inclusion of Destiny and the severity of her reaction lets readers know how dire the situation is. The prelude to Uncanny Avengers brings up some compelling points regarding the relationship between Krakoa and the rest of the world. The actions the anti-mutant organization Orchis is taking are extreme and require mutants to reach for help beyond their borders.

Cassara draws Destiny and Mystique in stunning high fashion at the Hellfire Gala while rendering a tangible slugfest between Cyclops and an unknown agent. The page layouts are clean and create a coherent rhythm across the short story. Garrón brings the action in the Uncanny Avengers prelude with explosions and underwater fights. Heroes look larger than life under Garrón's hand.

Cyclops greets a foe

Gracia's colors bring extra depth and vibrancy to Cassara's work. Destiny and Mystique are perfect examples of contrast, while the overall cool palette of the story creates a calm before a storm. When Cyclops' powers fire, the red cuts through the page with a burning intensity. Hollowell's colors are smooth and bright, with green hues being a particular standout. The lettering for both stories is consistently strong, with deftly placed bubbles and creative, immersive sound effects.

These stories are short but exciting glimpses of the near future of these characters. The Krakoan era has been thrilling because of the trials and tribulations, and things only seem to be getting more intense. The Hellfire Gala is poised to be a can't-miss event with a fallout felt across the Marvel Universe. With Free Comic Book Day 2023 Avengers/X-Men #1, Duggan and the rest of the creative team deliver an action-packed primer for some of Marvel's upcoming stories.