Standard Deviations vol. 15:
Marvel’s Uncanny Avengers #1 variants

Posted by under *mixed, Comics |

The Marvel Now! movement begins today with the release of Uncanny Avengers #1 in comic shops across the country. The publisher is pulling out all the stops with its line wide “refresh” including an appearance by Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. The inaugural series of the Marvel Universe’s new direction spills directly out of this Summer’s Avengers versus X-Men, and this marquee title features the debut of a new mutant-infused team of Avengers team as the X-Men’s Havok, Rogue and Wolverine join forces with Earth’s mightiest mainstays the Scarlet Witch, Thor and Captain America.

This series is getting a big push and the inclusion of Havok in the Marvel spotlight like never before has had me on board since the first announcement. However, what merits an edition of Standard Deviations dedicated to it are the first issue’s nineteen cover images. Read on for a look at the many faces of Uncanny Avengers #1.

While there’s some great artwork showcased on the covers you’re about to see, I feel the need to state the obvious that nineteen covers is simply overkill. Much like Avengers versus X-Men, which had it’s own set of nine covers for the first issue, John Cassaday’s regular cover will be joined by a wealth of polychromatic team editions, retailer exclusives, and other variants when the issue arrives in stores today. This includes five images that repurpose Cassaday’s familiar image of the new team into a sketch variant, Avengers and Uncanny “team” variants depicting their respective characters in full color with the others in black and white, and a color gradient “party” variant to celebrate the launch. An obligatory “blank” variant joins the mix that removes any remaining pigment right along with Cassaday’s line work.

The sketch variant is the only one of the group that should be at all difficult to come by shipping at a ratio of 1 in 300. This version of the book is listed at $200 from New York’s Midtown Comics with current asking prices from $100-$200 on eBay. All of the others versions of the book from this group should be readily available for collectors with an affinity for a particular color scheme or those seeking a complete set.

Arriving with the Cassaday assortment at most comic shops will be an array of alternate cover images by top name artists Daniel Acuna, Adi Granov, Olivier Coipel, Skottie Young, Sara Pichelli, and Mark Brooks. Acuna’s image has a nice balance with Captain America leading the charge and I really like the way his style showcases the designs for Havok and Rogue particularly. The Coipel image of the team also looks particularly great to my eyes, but Skottie Young’s “baby” image of the team is the real winner here. Thankfully, from all indications Young’s cover, along with Pichelli’s and Brooks’, will be readily available in stores today as these are not incentive variants like the others that are shipping at 1:50 (Acuna), 1:75 (Granov), and 1:100 (Coipel) ratios respectively and could carry price tags ranging from $20-$80.

While the Granov Scarlet Witch cover is a bit racy, I do like it. The prospect of seeing covers from him featuring each of the individual team members on subsequent issues holds a lot of promise as his covers for X-Men: Second Coming were stellar. I haven’t seen any announcement to that effect for Uncanny Avengers specifically, but variants featuring individual team members over the first few issues have been a part of a number of recent Marvel series launches (including the Marvel NOW! Thunderbolts series) and the individual focus stands out in this group. Also standing out from the rest is the Mark Brooks’ Deadpool variant, the first of a number of such images is gracing the Marvel NOW! books paying homage to various internet memes beginning with this “Call Me Maybe” variant for Uncanny Avengers #1.

Versions of the Uncanny Avengers #1 that may prove slightly harder to come by include retailer exclusive variants of Uncanny Avengers #1 from Hastings Entertainment, Midtown Comics, and a Bronx comic shop, The Lair.

Hastings has offered exclusive covers for a number of books recently and drew my attention most notably with their villain-themed variants for Avengers versus X-Men #1 and #12. This time around they’ve embraced the Halloween season (and what are variant covers if not just costumes for these books) with an image by Mark Texeira depicting the X-Men trick-or-treating at Avengers Mansion. If you’re in an area served by a Hastings location (and no one in the Northeast is), the book is reportedly available at cover price while supplies last. Anyone else looking to pick up the Hastings cover will be at the mercy of eBay and the like where prices are currently hovering between $25 and $30.

I’m not sure how decisions for these retailer variants are made exactly, but the editions of Uncanny Avengers #1 from Midtown Comics and The Lair will double as New York Comic Con show exclusives this weekend at the sold-out Javits Center in Manhattan. Prices should run anywhere from $6-$8 for either online orders or at the show. The Midtown cover is part of a set of three interlocking covers by J. Scott Campbell along with Avengers #1 and All New X-Men #1 shipping later this month. The Lair’s variant is particularly intriguing to me as it’s drawn by Neal Adams who gave us Havok’s first cover appearance on X-Men #58 back in 1969. The images feature a similar design with Havok superimposed over his teammates, but the makeup of those teams couldn’t be more different. As a big fan of the character, I’m keenly interested to see where this new role leads.

Another version of Uncanny Avengers #1 that you won’t find in stores is the Detroit Fanfare edition. This variant by artist Ryan Stegman will be a show exclusive for this year’s event running from October 26th-28th. Stegman provided a great set of covers for Avengers versus X-Men over the course of the event, but this one doesn’t do much for me. I think the decision not to include the entire line up has a lot to do with that and the image is very heavy and dark.

In stark contrast to the weight of Stegman’s cover, a few of the images from the Uncanny Avengers #1 variant set will also ship as “sketch” variants. The Neal Adams sketch variant from The Lair is currently listed at $20 through their site and either of their editions can be pre-ordered for pick up at this weekend’s New York Comic Con. The Coipel cover will ship in a 1:200 ratio with an asking price around $100. Meanwhile, I can’t find an exact number for the Deadpool sketch variant, but Midtown lists the book at an outrageous $500.

Ultimately what matters is the story wrapped inside all of the various covers and I hope it lives up to the hype. Clearly I’m on board, but the sheer number of variants and the marketing strategy they’re a part of is excessive and could easily detract from how the book is received for some fans. As a collector, there are a few here I intend to seek out, but nineteen covers is beyond excessive even though they feature some beautiful artwork.

Below is a list of all nineteen editions of today’s Uncanny Avengers #1 and their respective availabilities. We’ve also included a full gallery for your browsing ease.

  • Standard cover by John Cassaday
  • 1:50 variant by Daniel Acuna
  • 1:75 variant Adi Granov
  • 1:100 variant by Olivier Coipel
  • 1:200 sketch variant by Olivier Coipel
  • 1:300 sketch variant by John Cassaday
  • Skottie Young “baby” variant
  • Sara Pichelli “Marvel NOW!” variant
  • Team Avengers variant by John Cassaday
  • Team Uncanny variant by John Cassaday
  • Blank cover variant
  • Deadpool “Call Me Maybe” variant by Mark Brooks
  • Deadpool “Call Me Maybe” sketch variant by Mark Brooks
  • Party variant by John Cassaday
  • Hastings Entertainment exclusive variant by Mark Texeiera
  • Midtown Comics exclusive variant by J. Scott Campbell
  • The Lair exclusive variant by Neal Adams
  • The Lair exclusive sketch variant by Neal Adams
  • Detroit Fanfar exclusive variant by Ryan Stegman
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is a scientist by trade and a fan by nature. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he has spent a lifetime attending local educational institutions, collecting comic books, and watching professional wrestling. He is the founder of Break Even, an independent microlabel that specializes in releasing music from unknown artists.