Monday, October 6, 2014

Comic Review: Avengers vs. X-Men 0-12 (April to October 2012)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Language: English

The Writers:
1. Jason Aaron
2. Brian Michael Bendis (winner of 5 Eisner Awards)
3. Ed Brubaker (winner of 4 Eisner Awards)
4. Matt Fraction (winner of 1 Eisner Award)
5. Jonathan Hickman

The Pencillers:
1. John Romita, Jr.
2. Oliver Coipel
3. Adam Kubert

by Rogue

The Phoenix Force is approaching Earth, and in the events of Avengers: X-Sanction we
learn Hope Summers is its next host. Unfortunately the X-Men and Avengers have very
different ideas on how to handle the situation and it breaks out into a war.
*NOTE: This event closes an arc that started with House of M in 2005 and it launches
Marvel into their Marvel NOW! relaunch initiative.


The concept is not particularly original since we’ve already read heroes battling heroes
(Civil War), but AvX does contain some unexpected twists and turns. It should not be read
as a stand alone, it has a poor introduction to the events and characters, and references
past events. I suggest reading the “Dark Phoenix Saga” (The X-Men #129-138), Avengers:
Disassembled (Avengers #500-503), House of M, Messiah Complex, X-Men: Second
Coming, and Avengers:X-Sanction. The event starts out action packed and well written,
but as it reaches the middle it loses focus, it gets boring and drags on forever. If the writers
would have used a couple more issues for the set up and premise of the story instead of
rushing headfirst into the action and conflict, they wouldn’t have had a climax at the 5th
issue and then had to drag out 7 issues of falling action. It’s not a bad story, it simply didn’t
need 12 issues to be told.

Some issues were more successful than others. Issues by Brian Michael Bendis (#0, #1,
#8, and #11) were the best executed in my opinion, but sometime after issue #6 it gets
messy. Everything from issue #7 to #10 is the equivalent of a Zack Snyder movie (300,
Watchmen, Man of Steel), loud, lots of explosions, and could be done in one issue. It was
just too much. The most worrying thing was that I could identify which writer wrote which
issue, they had their stamp all over the page making it impossible for the story to flow. One
writer (or two at the most) should have done the script for the entire 12 issues to keep the
event clean and consistent.

Out of the three artists that illustrated AvX, I would have to single out Oliver Coipel as the
most successful, and occasionally John Romita, Jr. They were able to illustrate clean and
concisely a battle between a cast of 78+ characters. Unfortunately Adam Kubert wasn’t as
successful and it shows in his panels, they’re crowded, muddled and inconsistent.
Characterization and Character Development:

For an event called Avengers vs. X-Men, there’s not a whole lot of Avenger action going
on with the exception of Captain America and the Scarlet Witch (who is not exactly an
Avenger at this moment). On the other hand the X-Men are everywhere; Cyclops, Hope
Summers, and a random cast that I still don’t understand why they were chosen.
Personally, the only character who I saw change throughout the event was Cyclops, who
despite not being a favorite of mine, I was glad in the shift in his demeanor after 48+ years.
Issue #11 is my favorite out of the entire event, because it illustrates the relationship
between Cyclops and Xavier that has been strained since the events of X-Men:Deadly
Genesis (I highly recommend this title). Other than that, the characters weren’t nearly as
interesting as they have been in past events.

This event is not essential for anyone interested in reading Marvel NOW! I appreciated
some aspects of it but it is not at the quality that it should have been. It’s not awful, but it’s
not great either.

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