“Avengers”: In this alternate reality tie-in issue to the Age of X story line currently running in X-Men: Legacy and New Mutants, we get a look at a very different Avengers team. Under the command of General Castle, this team is charged with keeping the mutants in check, and we get to see their first mission together as they attempt to stop a mutant riot. We get a brief intro and bio to most of the team through Captain America’s inner dialog, which is great as he’s analyzing how they work together as a team. After their debriefing, they are sent on another mission to the mutant’s base to deal with the problem directly. However, after the parameters of it are changed midway, it seems as if there may be some inner turmoil next issue.
Spurrier moves the story a bit fast, but that allows him to just give you the good stuff without any filler. I loved the back stories for many of the Avengers, and it was great seeing some of the mutants that haven’t shown up in the core story like Omega Red, Maggot, and Marrow, to name a few. This new team’s persona effectively reflects the times they live in, as several members are dark and twisted versions of what we’ve come to know. Tony Stark is now fused into his armor and is more of a sadistic machine, while Banner has a serious hatred for all mutants and is just one mean SOB. Spurrier does give us a moral compass of the team in Cap and Invisible Woman, which adds to the team dynamic and I’m sure will cause some problems soon.
The art of Khoi Pham was just as fun to look at as Spurrier’s story was to read. The over-the-top action is just as good as the static scenes, though there aren’t too many of those in this issue. One particular sequence between Chamber and Ghost Rider was one of my favorites, even though it was just a few panels. I also liked the redesign for Sabretooth just for the mere shock value of his disfigurement.
Now, the back up story simply titled “Spider-Man,” written by Jim McCann with art from Paul Davidson, was a nice way to cap off the issue. The story shows Peter on the run because he’s got the potential to create a mutant child due to his irradiated blood. If he’s caught it’s off to the sterilization facility and whatever other horrors the Human Coalition has in store. He and Mary Jane are married and she is pregnant with his child, so he does what he can to buy her time to get to safety. It’s a strong story on an emotional level, and I would actually like to see what would happen next, but it seems as if it’s one of those “use your imagination” type of endings. Davidson was able to capture a lot of the action in the story perfectly, but I think the more intimate moments between Peter and M.J. were a bit rigid.
The great thing about Age of X Universe #1 is that it’s not a necessary tie-in to pick up if you want to enjoy the story line in the core Age of X books. However, it is a great little peek at what else is going on in this alternate world and what has happened to the other heroes who aren’t mutants. I’m only hoping that the second issue is just as fun and filled with a huge over-the-top battle between the Avengers and Magneto’s freedom fighters.
For more mutant mayhem, check out The Uncanny X-Piles!
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