Red Skull's attack is underway and he's proving to be quite the foe. Let's be honest, we've seen so many Red Skull stories and this could have easily been just another one. The way Red Skull has improved himself is questionable but it has added a new twist to him. It also makes him the perfect first foe for this unification of the Avengers and X-Men.
Another interesting dynamic I've waited to see was the question of leadership. It seems strange to have a team with Captain America and even Wolverine yet Havok is the one calling the shots against Red Skull. This isn't to say that Havok is not a good or capable leader. He's proven that in the past with X-Factor. If Havok had any doubts before, he's definitely put them aside as he display quite a bit of comfort and attitude while the action heats up.
Whether it's the full meshing of both teams but the action here has a different feel compared to what we've seen before. Red Skull is taking a different approach, especially in the allies he's chosen. The team dynamic of the Avengers is different as well. You can see that this is still a new team as they don't quite have the teamwork angle figured out.
This Red Skull is still a little hard to get used to. I'm still finding it odd how he was able to gain his new powers. I wasn't aware it worked that way plus the fact that there should have been more security around the...body he used. His teammates are providing a good challenge to the Avengers but they feel really far off from the types he usually allies himself with.
It could be the pressure of the battle but the way Havok speaks to Captain America felt a little out of line. I understand that there is a lot going on but it seemed he had his doubts about leading the team and now is doing it full force with plenty of attitude to back it up.
John Cassaday's art is a mixed bag. In the past I've been a huge fan but there are moments characters almost look comical. Another factor might be the colors that need to be used. This isn't to say that Laura Martin does a bad job but the team has such brightly colored costumes (like Wolverine's yellow suit) and the battle scene looks too bright. We also get a lot of bright backgrounds. Some is justified by flames from the destruction around but there's too many yellow and and orange plain backgrounds.
We're seeing a different type of Avengers story and that's the whole point of this series. Rather than give us more of what we've seen many times, Rick Remender is mixing up different concepts from the Avengers and X-Men. Some of these are a little hard to get used to but that's what gives this book an edge. You're not quite sure what to expect. John Cassaday's art has its moments where it shines but there are many scenes that fall a little flat. We also get too many brightly colored plain backgrounds. With the chaos and destruction, it should have a darker feel to it. It's great seeing this new team try to function together. If they survive, this will definitely make them stronger but seeing them try to mesh together is what sets this apart from the other Avengers (and X-Men) titles.