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November 18, 2012

Marvel Snapshot: AvX Requiem

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Written by: Billy
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Hey everybody out there in comic book land! In lieu of the typical character spotlight, I’d like to talk a bit about the last big story from the House of Ideas. It was called AvX (Avengers versus X-Men) if you hadn’t heard, and plenty of opinions are swirling about the story and the repercussions, so I thought it appropriate that I chimed in.

First off, I read the main title, and the Avengers books that tied in as well (as they are regularly on my pull list). Something may have happened outside of those books, and affected some of the story that I’m not aware of, but honestly, the main book relayed the point as most have told me.

Much ado was made about AvX, as is always the case anytime Marvel solicits hit the interwebs, but this was going to feature good vs. good, and throw in a moral dilemma, and you’ve got a can’t miss story…right? OK, first off you have Scott Summers. The guy that everybody loves to hate. Why? Because he’s the typical big-mouthed, follow the leader kind of sheep that not many people think is someone they want to look up to. Recently, though, Marvel has been building him up to be the James Dean of the 616 universe. Not very believable by some standards and barely by others. Point being, Scott wasn’t Scott anymore. He seemed more like a two-faced brat that would whine and cry if he didn’t get his way. He did, however, show some foresight when he made it a priority to try and use Cable to mentor Hope, and certainly make her the mutants’ next messiah.

In the zero issue, we saw Scott try and tell Hope what she can and can’t do. We saw her answer to that when she knocked him out of her personal space with an optic blast of her own. OK, fair enough. The first issue brought us more angst between Hope and Scott, but also some Avengers action. The team has brought a problem to the President of the U.S.A. with the hope that he’ll do what about it? It’s the Avengers, Earths’ Mightiest Heroes, and they’re asking the President what to do or how to do it? Seriously? Did they consult the President during the Kree/Skrull War or Secret Invasion? The end of the issue was actually pretty cool with the showdown between Scott and Cap, and I’ll give credit where it’s due.

Issues #2 and 3 gave us more of the all out fighting between the two teams. Also, we saw the Avengers get duped by the X-Men like a bunch of rookies. One interesting thing was the fight between Cap and Logan. Enjoyable, for sure, but it wasn’t the first time or anything, so it lacked some “oomf.” Issue #4 brought us one-panel shots of “fights,” then Hope trying to convince Logan that she can control the Phoenix. He double-crosses her, then another fight with the X-Men and Avengers looks imminent. This is also known as filler. Nothing really happened of any significance whatsoever. Next issue brings more of the same, but also with the Phoenix looming ever so closely that Hope freaks out and blasts everybody. Such a powerful blast, that in mere seconds everyone is back on their feet as if nothing really happened at all. Then Tony Stark uses Voltron to attack the Phoenix, and it goes terribly wrong. Instead of destroying it, the blast separates the Phoenix into five pieces that inhabit the bodies of Cyclops, Emma, Colossus, Namor, and Magik. Why the Phoenix picked them, nobody knows.

In chapter six, the action and story seemed to get better, but for what reason I’m not sure. We see that inexplicably, K’Un Lun and the Iron Fist have something to do with all this, although never before has this connection been made in any Phoenix Force appearance. We also watch as the Scarlet Witch is somehow the Kryptonite for the Phoenix. Again, never before has this scenario happened in all the times that Jean, Emma, or anyone else that’s had the Phoenix inside them has appeared. The “Phoenix Five” get rattled and want war, when suddenly the Avengers want to take Hope. This just after a few scenes where Scott tells Hope she isn’t worthy, and that her, along with everyone else on Earth, are nothing compared to them. Then why fear Hope leaving with the Avengers?

Issues #7 and 8, more fighting, Namor and Emma making out, and going behind Scott’s back to attack Wakanda, where the Avengers have gone to hide from the Phoenix Five. Why they thought that would work, who knows? Namor gets beaten by Wanda, and his powers are then given to the Phoenix Four, it seems. The K’Un Lun angle comes up again, and the Avengers hide there for now.

The next two chapters show a fight in Limbo, where Spider-Man somehow outwits Magik and Colossus. Now, if they’re supposedly omnipotent and all, why can’t they see through his B.S.? Why resort to a fist fight when they can supposedly just wrinkle their noses like Samantha Stephens and make him disappear? I guess that makes the most sense, but not a very good comic book. Hope is being groomed to be the next Iron Fist or to wield the power of it or something like that. Some funny moments with her, but not enough to carry an entire issue for sure. At this point, Emma begins to lose control of her power. Why, no one knows. She’s probably the most powerful out of all of the remaining members, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Then the all-powerful Cyclops comes to K’Un Lun to reclaim Hope. He can’t, because apparently Hope has absorbed the power of a mystical dragon, and also some of Wanda’s powers. This combined force throws Cyclops to the Moon. He now realizes that he needs Emma’s portion of the power to end this war.

In the last two issues, Scott is almost killed by the Avengers and Professor Xavier, but then he realizes he needs the entire Phoenix Force to stop them. Wow, so half of the Phoenix Force can’t get it done? A few issues back, the Phoenix split into five pieces made everyone run like scared rabbits from its awesome power, didn’t it? Anyway, overall a good issue, and the death of Xavier was a bit of a shock, but he’s been dead before (several times on the brink, as well), so no real wow factor there. In the big closing everything falls neatly into place, as Wanda and Hope defeat Cyclops, and then drive the Phoenix away or kill it or something. A nice little bow is wrapped around the series. The end.

OK, now what did we learn? First off that the issues written by Brubaker and Bendis were decent. Fraction’s were alright, too, but Hickman and Aaron didn’t get it done. Filler issues or just all out fighting from cover to cover. Also, Romita Jr. can’t even compare to Coipel or Kubert. That’s nothing new, though, and it begs the question of why he was even used in this huge event. Speaking of huge events, this one didn’t live up to the hype, but it wasn’t quite as bad as a lot of people are saying. I guess in the end, there were too many loose ends, and too many creative hands in the proverbial pot. Marvel Now, you’re up.

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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