Comics Anonymous

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0-12 by G-Man

Some comic book events will miss the mark and most these days seem to get a bad reception for another event being rolled out but in the case of Avengers vs X-Men….would we see anything new?

The answer to that is yes and no – it’s certainly the biggest names I remember being involved in a single event spanning 13-issues (#0-12).  We see the likes of Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Hickman sharing the writing duties, all backed up with art from John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert – so you’d think with those names involved it’d be a sure fire winner but there had to be much more substance to the story to ensure that was the case.

An ambitious title with the return of the Phoenix Force as its focal point and the mix of mystical and raw power would see the entire Marvel Universe drawn into this battle in one form or another.  With scientists and warriors struggling to come up with a way to tackle the impending doom.  Central character for this was the apparent new host for the Phoenix Force, Hope Summers and follows on from the Avengers: X-Sanction series featuring Hope’s father, Cable.  A series hinting at the impact The Avengers would have on the life of Hope and the X-Men as a whole and that’s what we see as Captain America and Cyclops go toe-to-toe in a clear clash of personalities.  What worried me about this release early on was how it could keep itself fresh and different from previous events such as House of M or even Schism.  For the most part there is a definite newness to the face-off’s we see but somehow there’s no real feel for the writer involved, no real definitive moments that would show who’s in charge of that issue or episode – settling for a much more generic feel and although that keeps it consistent over the series there’s a feeling of an opportunity missed here.

The art holds strong throughout with a strong emphasis on the action set-pieces and some nifty 2-page spreads but overall there has been something lacking on the substance side.  Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the event but as I stick to the main title I’m maybe missing out on some of that key character driven aspect but then why can’t we capture all of that in JUST the main title?  A 13-issue run is more than enough space to incorporate the action, the personal clashes, the inner demons and make us feel that the event itself has a start, middle and satisfying conclusion……instead, I get the feeling that we just fall short of that.

I did manage to follow the 6-issue AvsX: Versus tie-in and that did add a break away from a disjointed feeling from the main title – never promising to be more than a basic no-holds-barred fight title – there was alot of fun to be had in the switch between Avenger and X-Man….and the outcome of these battles.  One other aspect across these titles was the back-up material – the AR App (reviewed previously here) and the regular appearance of the Infinite digital comic helped to fill in some of the gaps as the event progressed.

On the eve of the Post-AvsX releases coming out and ahead of the Marvel Now! releases taking the characters in a new direction – I’m still excited by the prospect of that move.  Firmly highlighted as not being a reboot and I’m assuming to keep it separate from the New 52 approach from DC – there’s high hopes in the new direction being taken, a chance to reshuffle creative teams and push on from the AvsX at its centre.

All in all I think that Marvel have scraped through with AvsX and managed to make it a notable addition to their universe-spanning events – it may well feel like a much more rounded release read in graphic novel form as following this as an issue by issue release seems to have helped highlight the lows much more than it helped pick out the highs.  Hopefully we can see the new creative teams build on the highs from AvsX and in time we may come to appreciate it more it much the same way we do other events.



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