Well, <b>Uncanny Avengers #14</b> sure was a doozy. Ahem, <b>SPOILERS AHOY</b> so unless you want to sail into some heavily spoiler-laden waters, ye best turn that ship around (sorry, been playing too much <i>Assassin's Creed IV</i> lately). <p>I digress. In the pages of <b>Uncanny Avengers #14</b>, so much happened, with so many wild twists, turns, and apparent deaths, that it felt like the penultimate issue to a story - but it's not, as this story continues all the way through February 2014. The biggest moments, of course, were the three "deaths" of major characters and Avengers Unity Squad members: Rogue, Wonder Man, and Scarlet Witch. <p>But you know what? We don't think a darn one of them is actually dead. Now, it's not just cynicism talking here, but actual story analysis. And yes, we know that December's solicitations say "after the numerous deaths last issue," but then January says "the death of a teammate" in the singular. So they already, in their own teases, brought it down from three to one - and we've been over before how solicitations and covers can sometimes be misleading. So, in this short analysis, we look to why we don't think Remender and Marvel actually just killed three Avengers, how they'll "come back" within this story, and why if they <i>did</i> die, it just doesn't make any darn sense at all.
<p>Before the big battle goes down, we see Kang in a time-hopping adventure, pulling together an eclectic, to say the least, team of warriors from throughout time - and <i>timelines</i>. There's Doom 2099, Venom of <i>Earth X</i> (May Parker, daughter of Peter & MJ), Ahab, and more, yanked out of their time for a battle. Whose side is this team on (or is it just a third side of their own)? What exactly does Kang have planned for these people? And with apparently alternate timelines coming into play and all being altered by the Apocalypse Twins, doesn't that mean <i>anything</i> we've seen so far in this story is up for grabs in a sudden and complete reversal? <p>And that of course is to say nothing of the other members of the team that didn't make an appearance in this issue.
<p>Rogue took Wolverine's powers to get into the fight and accomplish her mission. Yes, that meant she had nice long bone claws with which to get all stabby - but don't forget, Wolverine has that nice handy healing factor. Assuming this is pre-"Killable," and of course the pseudoscience of Rogue's powers (does she copy them at fullest potential? If someone's are hampered, can she only draw from some X-Gene reservoir or from the best it ever was?), then Rogue got Wolverine's healing factor here, too. <p>Wolverine once had adamantium pulled from every pore in his body. He once was burned down to a skeleton and partial survival of his brain and some internal organs. He came back from that without a hitch. <p>All we're saying here is, don't eulogize Rogue quite yet. A stab and electrocution really doesn't mean all that much when you're dealing with the healing factor that most other healing factors in the Marvel Universe have been derived from. If Wolverine can survive everything that's come his way in the last 200 years, Rogue can survive a little poke-and-shock. <p>Likewise for the other two "deaths" here, and more on that below.
If you need more about death not being quite what it seems, let's take a look at Wonder Man. For quite some time now, this character, though he can assume a dense human form, has in fact been made purely out of Ionic Energy. In fact, he has even seemingly died before, too (not to mention actually died…) The beauty of Simon's powers is that they are <i>him</i>. He is energy, and that can be neither created nor destroyed. When Scarlet Witch took in his energy, only to release it as part of her big spell, that then puts Simon Williams back out into the atmosphere, where he can (and let's face it, will) re-form once again. <p>Wonder Man said it himself, it isn't the end, not for him, not for her (more on that in a minute) and obviously not for this story.
Let's assume that Scarlet Witch's plan works. Her plan, of course, is to in fact summon everyone with an X-gene onto this floating fortress of the Apocalypse Twins, but not in the stasis chambers they've provided. Instead, she'll bring <i>every mutant alive</i> to the fortress as a massive free army to take down the twin children of Archangel. <p>What does that mean for our heroes' survival chances? Well, Scarlet Witch, first of all, has magic and probability-based powers on her side, so if anyone can find a way to survive on their own, it is her. Failing that, we know there are more than a couple of mutant healers out there. Triage, one of the new mutants on the <i>Uncanny X-Men</i> squad, for instance, has already been seen to be able to heal someone who is <i>technically dead</i>. If the healers get there as soon as the spell is cast, wouldn't their first priority be, pardon the pun, triage? <p>We could get even deeper here, and say that maybe, just <i>maybe</i> everything we saw here was part of the plan, but Remender would have a <i>lot</i> of plot untwisting to do to make that happen.
But enough about how, technically, none of these characters are dead, nor likely to stay dead due to things like powers and time travel. Let's face it, death is used primarily as a story tool, when it needs to be done to serve the story (or at least ideally, it is), and in this instance, it will be infinitely more interesting to see the fallout of the decisions, betrayals, and mistrust here than to just see someone forlorn about yet another temporary superhero death. <p>Need examples? So glad you asked. Scarlet Witch's intentions and plans were pure all along, but no one simply trusted her, chief amongst them Rogue and Wolverine. They're mistrustful as Avengers, as teammates, as mutants - they simply do not believe in her <i>at all</i>. The fact that Rogue had every intention of killing Scarlet Witch based solely on this mistrust, and no actual evidence, says a lot about character dynamics and needs to be followed-up on. What does Captain America think of this? Havok? Heck, even the other mutants that they are <i>all</i> ostensibly trying to save? <p>Likewise, there was much trumpeting of the four horsemen of death and their emotional impact on the characters they returned to haunt. We can't see much emotional impact without people to <i>have</i> those emotions, now can we? <p>Ultimately, death just doesn't fit the higher plan, as far as we can tell. There's far more drama and exciting storytelling that can be done with the survival of all three of these characters than can be done without even one of them.