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Avengers Vs. X-Men

Avengers X-Men Marvel

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

AvX was Marvel's big summer blockbuster. They have just released it in a giant hardback trade that includes AvX issues 0-12, Vs. issues 1-6, three issues of their Infinite online comic, and material from Point 1. That's a lot of content. The trade is expensive, but you're definitely getting the bang for your buck.

The plot is this: The Phoenix Force(which had previously possessed Jean Grey and turned her into Dark Phoenix before she killed herself) is heading towards Earth to bond with the Mutant Messiah Hope. Cyclops and the rest of the mutant population(which at this point only numbers in the low hundreds)see this as a good thing because they believe it will save their race from extinction. The other heroes on Earth, led by Captain America and the Avengers, see this as a disaster because the Phoenix is a destructive force that always turns its host into evil, planet destroying madmen. So the Avengers and X-Men battle it out to either try to stop or help the Phoenix.

Overall, AvX is a success. That's not shocking considering the talent involved. On the writing side there is Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jonathan Hickman. John Romita Jr. draws the first five issues, while Olivier Coipel draws two, with Adam Kubert drawing the rest.

The first five issues are arguably the least interesting of the series. They do a good job of setting up the conflict and moving the pieces where they need to go, but in the end they are just five issues of the Avengers and X-Men fighting, retreating, and fighting again.

The series really gets interesting with the end of the fifth issue and the sixth issue. Iron Man creates what he hopes is a Phoenix killing weapon, but instead of killing the Phoenix it simply splinters it. So Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magick, Colossus, and Namor become the Phoenix Five. They begin using their god-like powers to transform the Earth into a virtual paradise and eliminate war, poverty, disease, famine, etc. But all the time you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Phoenix always goes dark. And eventually all of the Phoenix Five start to succumb to the darker urges of the Phoenix.

This is a great blockbuster event that is well worth a read. What I like about it is that neither side is really in the wrong. The Avengers are right to fear the Phoenix and the X-Men are right to think that it will restore their race. It's only after the Phoenix Five start to go dark and abuse their power that the Avengers become the real heroes.

That is one of my complaints. It takes a very long time for the other mutants to come around and see that the Phoenix Five are no longer a benevolent group. Even after Namor declares war on Wakanda and basically destroys it most of the X-Men stay with the Phoenix Five. Even Storm, married to Wakandan leader Black Panther, stays with the X-Men.

Another complaint is that twelve issues is just too many. The story does drag in places and a shorter amount of issues would have tightened the story up and made it a better experience overall.

The Vs. issues focus on the fights between an individual X-Men and Avenger. For the most part, these are skippable. I love me a superhero fight but here they're pretty lackluster. It doesn't help that Colossus is used twice. The match-ups just weren't as interesting as I would have liked, but YMMV.

If you're a fan of either group this is a great buy. The main story is an engaging, gorgeously drawn epic and the additional issues are icing on the cake.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#2 Bobby

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

This storyline was okay but it was stretched out too long.  I had the individual issues on my pull list and by issue six I started counting how much I was paying for the issues which I normally don't do.  I'd rather they had used Rachel Summers/Grey/Marvel Girl, Nate Grey/X-Man, and the Stepford Cuckoos instead of Colossus, Magik, and Namor.  I'm one of the fans who actually like stories involving the Phoenix force but this one was just a big "meh".

#3 BklnScott

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

Parts of it were interesting, particularly at the outset, but it kind of got away from them by the end ... as is often the case in these big event limited series.  So many moving parts, and a finite page count from the outset but no finished script.  Just an outline.  

They really dropped the ball on the power corrupts part - the core of any Phoenix story but particularly this one where 5 characters get the power of the Phoenix and resolve to use it to create paradise on earth.  Cool so far, but none of the Phoenix 5 are really seen grappling with the implications of their newfound power or engaging meaningfully with their freaked out friends and allies.  They're just gonna do what they're gonna do and be absolutely certain while they do it that everyone else will eventually come around.  And if anyone gets in the way, it's clobberin' time.  Meh.

Interesting that the writers didn't even attempt to have the Phoenix 5 point out the hypocrisy of the Avengers.  You've got characters like Iron Man, Cap, et al, lecturing about power corrupting while sitting on the aptly named "Illuminati Council" that secretly rules the world and harbors the Infinity Gauntlet, the most powerful cosmic artifact in the Marvel universe.   The writers missed an opportunity to flip the script there in a way that would have made everything much more interesting and messy and human.  A shame, that.  (Also, why did they never consider USING the Gauntlet to stop the Phoenix 5?)  

I give Marvel credit for tackling an ambitious storyline, but I do wish they had been able to dig a little - or a lot - deeper (as Bendis' House of M did and Millar's Civil War did).  They often seemed more interested in the "heroes fight each other" element of the story than in the morality play.  I'd argue their priorities should have been reversed.  The fisticuffs should have been the sauce, not the goose.

The end game for Cyclops was particularly disappointing not for where they went with him or what they had him do, per se, but because after spending years building him into such an interesting, multi-faceted and conflicted wartime leader post-House of M - and doing the whole power corrupts thing on slow boil (which was way more interesting) - they just reduced him to a two dimensional heavy who would kill his father (figure).  

Ballsy idea but only if you get him to the point where I believe he would do that.  Cyclops did a lot of things in the years that followed House of M, things he never, ever would have done before, and I believed he would do all of them because they laid the pipe for each development to the point where you understood he had no choice.  Not this, though.

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#4 Virgil Vox

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:14 PM

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This storyline was okay but it was stretched out too long.

I agree. They didn't need twelve issues to tell this story.

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Cool so far, but none of the Phoenix 5 are really seen grappling with the implications of their newfound power or engaging meaningfully with their freaked out friends and allies.  They're just gonna do what they're gonna do and be absolutely certain while they do it that everyone else will eventually come around.  And if anyone gets in the way, it's clobberin' time.  Meh.

That was a problem I had as well. I always figured that scenes of those types were taking place in the cross-over issues. Even if they did, it's something that needed to be seen in the main book.

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Interesting that the writers didn't even attempt to have the Phoenix 5 point out the hypocrisy of the Avengers.  You've got characters like Iron Man, Cap, et al, lecturing about power corrupting while sitting on the aptly named "Illuminati Council" that secretly rules the world and harbors the Infinity Gauntlet, the most powerful cosmic artifact in the Marvel universe.   The writers missed an opportunity to flip the script there in a way that would have made everything much more interesting and messy and human.  A shame, that.  (Also, why did they never consider USING the Gauntlet to stop the Phoenix 5?)

I didn't know any of this. Outside of some of the big events and books like Captain Marvel, I don't read Marvel at all. It would have been cool to see them using the Gauntlet to stop the Phoenix. You'd think, with all their talk about this is the end of everything and that nothing they've tried has worked and science can't help, they would have pulled out the Gauntlet.

I do wish they had painted the Avengers in a darker light, at least at first. They did go to Utopia to take Hope away and they went expecting a fight. Then, after the initial fight was over, Cap wants to lock all the X-Men up even though they haven't really done anything wrong.

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I give Marvel credit for tackling an ambitious storyline, but I do wish they had been able to dig a little - or a lot - deeper (as Bendis' House of M did and Millar's Civil War did).  They often seemed more interested in the "heroes fight each other" element of the story than in the morality play.  I'd argue their priorities should have been reversed.  The fisticuffs should have been the sauce, not the goose.

I like seeing heroes fighting each other as much as the next person, but it did get old pretty quickly. Like you, I'd much rather have had them dig deeper. There was so much for them to play with. Aside from Beast and Black Panther, we didn't really see anyone on the Avengers side question whether they should be trying to stop the Phoenix 5. I would have liked to see that explored more.

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Ballsy idea but only if you get him to the point where I believe he would do that.  Cyclops did a lot of things in the years that followed House of M, things he never, ever would have done before, and I believed he would do all of them because they laid the pipe for each development to the point where you understood he had no choice.  Not this, though.

Honestly, I didn't even realize Xavier was dead at first. It just seemed like such an obvious thing to do, and it's not like they haven't "killed" Xavier recently anyways. His death really had no impact. And Cyclops really just became a caricature of himself. I used to be a big Cyclops fan, but it's hard to like his character after this.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman



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