Thursday, December 17, 2015

Avengers vs X-Men Comic Review

by The Wanderer

Authors: Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, and Jonathan Hickman
Illustrators: John Romita Jr., Adam Kubert, and Olivier Coipel
Publisher: Marvel
Genre: Crossover
Series: Avengers vs X-Men (0-12)

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Bam, Pow, Punch, Kick, Kablam!

2012’s Avengers and X-Men crossover event is underwhelming.  Marvel’s two biggest superhero groups doing battle with one another has been a long waited for event … that just can’t deliver on the hype.  The story gets bogged down by too many dropped plot threads, forced insertions of storylines, and a ton superhero vs superhero moments that result in pointless draws or no-contests.

Avengers vs. X-Men begins when both groups learn that the phoenix force is returning to Earth.
Everyone believes it plans on synergizing with Hope Summers. When the Avengers wish to take Hope into custody and contain the phoenix force when it arrives, Cyclops refuses, and instead advocates for using the phoenix force to help build Xavier’s dream and return mutant powers to the world after the Scarlet Witch’s curse. The two groups collide in a battle that will decide the fate of humans and mutants.

I’d like to see more superhero vs superhero or supergroup vs supergroup battles where one side definitively defeats the other.  In this regard, and quite expectedly, the comic doesn’t do that. That doesn’t mean it can be a bad comic though, and it certainly isn’t, but there are number of problematic issues at work here.

There are a lot of back-story from other comics that the reader has to be knowledgeable about, and quite frankly it feels disappointing to learn about so many different outcomes with getting to read those stories first.  It doesn’t make following Avengers vs. X-Men difficult to follow, rather there are so many different threads that I could’ve read before this comic to make it more enjoyable. I didn’t because there’s no way to really keep track of all the “previous” events.

Characterization really suffers with so many faces to account for. Hope becomes the focus of the story, at least early on, but that changes half way through and she starts to become more of an afterthought as the plot starts to shift its focus towards Cyclops. While Hope returns towards the end, she really doesn’t grow or develop much to warrant her big return.

Captain America, despite comparatively getting a lot of page time, changes little throughout the course of the story. As the man who’s supposed to idealize what the Avengers are about, not having there be any changes to the character or the Avengers belief system when there are world altering events occurring makes for some pretty unimaginative storytelling. Other big-name characters that have little to offer the plot get forced into the story to appease what I can only assume is Marvel’s fan base.  Wolverine, Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Iron Man don’t have much to offer here, yet they each get their own subsections that contribute little to the greater story.

The Avengers and X-Men full out start out fighting each other very early on.  This surprised me, and instead of teasing a long build … there we have it … right away.  Initially this is cool, but by the tenth, or God only knows how many times, these two groups decide to fight against each other, the fighting takes on a sterile quality.

I did like the ending and the possibilities it opens up for future comics.  It removes one the “strangleholds” that one major plot had on the X-Men/Avenger stories.  There is a lot of great artwork, especially towards the end when there’s an artist switch-up. Wishing this comic could have been so much more, it ultimately ends up being just a “meh.”

Score: 6.3

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