Hey everyone! Almost all of Multiversity is at NYCC right now, so most of these posts are being written in advance, leaving our trusty automated system to deliver them all to you. With that in mind, your trusty WWIR’s — Walt and myself — are not around to do this article the “right way,” since we’re busy covering the con to show off all sorts of fun stuff for you when it’s done. But you had to have your WWIR, right? Your W wouldn’t be the same without it!
So, since last week marked the end of Marvel’s big summer event “Avengers vs X-Men,” we thought it might be fun to show every edition of WWIR recapping of the event, from the very beginning with issue #0 all the way through to the dramatic conclusion. If you didn’t read the event, now you don’t have to! Full of continuity errors and general sass, this is the definitive assessment of the timeline of the Avengers fighting the X-Men (or, well, the closest thing to a definitive timeline you’re like to get).
We’ll be back with a regular WWIR next weekend. Enjoy!
As a note, all of these are written by yours truly, except for “AvX” #1 write-up. This was originally written by Gilbert Short.
“Avengers vs X-Men” kicked off this week from Marvel with a #0 issue co-written by Brian Bendis and Jason Aaron, with art throughout by Frank Cho. The book revolved around Hope and Scarlet Witch in two vignettes, assumedly because they will be important to the story of Avengers fighting X-Men.
In Bendis’ Witch half, the Scarlet Witch is off on her own fighting crime when Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman show up to lend a hand. Noting that she’d been gone for quite some time, they basically force Wanda to come with them to the Avengers Mansion to hang out and do… whatever it is that super gals do when they have a day off, I guess? Gossip? Talk about how handsome Hawkeye is? Unfortunately, when they get back to the mansion, they’re created by an angry Vision and an incredibly awkward situation:
Because of course robots make everything awkward. I saw Short Circuit. I know how it is.
The Vision chastises Wanda for abusing him with her powers and she is flown off by Ms. Marvel in tears. The Vision too turns around in tears, because crying is infectious. I can only imagine that at this point “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. was playing in the background.
And they say robots don’t have feelings! Apparently Bendis really liked A.I.
(Those folks over at Mindless Ones have a pretty nice and snarky write-up of this sequence as well.)
Over in Aaron’s Hope-centric portion of the book, Hope gave Cyclops the “YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD!” speech before flying away in a jetpack to stop a robbery at the Isotope Bank and Trust, located at 326 Fell Street in San Francisco — I’ve been there before, and it doesn’t look like much of a bank. Turns out the bank is being robbed by the Serpent Society (who, by the way, are also found, beaten and arrested in “Avenging Spider-Man” #4 and 5), and she does it all by herself! Turns out all that time being trained by Cable in a post-apocalyptic environment sliding through time until the end of the world does make you a capable adult! I just don’t understand why Cyclops doesn’t get that.
Oh, and then Hope stares up at the sky and waits for the Phoenix to arrive. It’s as if they want us to think Hope and the Phoenix are connected or something.
|That civilian is quite possibly the only one with sense in the Marvel Universe|
Over in AvX, there’s a completely contrived TOTALLY legit reason for the two teams to go head to head. It turns out the Phoenix Force is heading for Earth with a fixation on Jean Grey Hope Summers. Of course the Avengers, being the thoughtful individuals they are, decided to let the X-Men know they were taking Hope into custody for her own protection. From the Phoenix.
|No it’s not.|
Not because Cyclops was training her to fight by shooting her with optic blasts and kicking her when she’s down, but because the Phoenix may just be interested in her as a person.
There was a whole lot of talking and Cap consulted Wolverine, who was clearly torn because he’s both an X-Man AND an Avenger, see. There’s no way this will come back to haunt anyone.
This all started because some dude pretending to be Nova crashed into New York with a dire warning that had to be heeded. The Phoenix Force is coming! It’s coming y’all!
All of this urgency was enforced by the fact that just before he hit Earth, the new Nova went on and on about how much he loved the Cardinals and dubstep. Saving the world one doubled bassriff at a time, man; that’s what he does.
ANYWAY, onto characters that matter: Scott and Steve had a big pissing contest over who knew what was best for Hope, and by extension the whole world. They measured dicks for a while until Cyke blasted Cap in the Optic Blast Heard ‘Round the World.
Then Cap assembled the Avengers to invade Utopia to kidnap a single girl.
And look who was on the Helicarrier.
This week saw the first “Avengers vs X-Men” tie-in in the form of “New Avengers” #24. The issue was two-fold; on one hand, it gave us an explanation of who was on the helicarrier that descended on Utopia at the end of “AvX” #1. It did not, however, explain how a massive helicarrier could be somehow invisible while hanging above an island with a world class telepath, a girl who can use telepathic powers and someone who can SENSE metal objects near him. For an island full of mutants, you’d think at least one of them would have the power of observation.
On the other hand, it told the story of Luke Cake’s marital troubles with Jessica Jones post-“Fear Itself” and the return of Norman Osborn. For those not reading, Jessica has been very worried about the baby’s safety ever since the second volume of “New Avengers” started, and what with the nazi attacks and the riots outside her bedroom window, her anxiety is perfectly understandable. Unfortunately for her, Luke Cage is pretty committed to the hero thing, and as such the two unfortunately part ways.
Also, the Red Hulk delivers perhaps the weirdest pep talk of all time:Continued below
…Yeah? … YEAH!
This week sees four tie-ins to Marvel’s big-ass event “Avengers vs X-Men”, starting with “Vs”, the book designed to contain all the big fights so the book about big fights wouldn’t have to have too many big fights. It starts by berating the reader in what can only be described as a passive-aggressive pastiche of the cliches the event openly acknowledges it is guilty of.
Yeah, what are you, DENSE?
The first fight is that of Magneto vs. Iron Man. It reveals such interesting things as how Iron Man was really able to stand up to Magneto (by changing his body armor because… well, you know) and that Mangeto has magic magnetic counting abilities. I consider myself a Magneto scholar, but that is not something I ever knew about the guy. Go figure!
Of course, it all kind of falls apart when the fight barely syncs up with what actually happened in “AvX” #2 due to the lack of Quicksilver and Emma Frost. Of course, one could assume that this is mainly due to oversight by multiple writers writing the same scene. After all, it was Jason Aaron that wrote “AvX” #2 and this story in “Vs” was written by — … oh. Wait. Oops.
Regardless, Iron Man wins, and Magneto sheds a single tear.
The second fight features Namor and the Thing going at it, a story barely really touched upon in “AvX” #2 and thus being very open to interpretation. The story features exactly what you would expect: Namor punches the Thing, the Thing hits Namor, Namor and the Thing hit each other, Namor hits the Thing harder, Namor hits the Thing harder, the Thing uses fish against Namor and traps him underwater. But, like a classic horror villain, you can’t keep Namor down, and the story ends with Namor flying up behind the Thing, ready for another hit.
Yet, despite not actually winning, the Thing is declared the winner. Also, did you know the Thing can breathe underwater? And here I was thinking he needed to be in a full body suit when going underwater. My bad.
But hey, you want plot? Look elsewhere, chum.
In “New Avengers” #25, we’re given a diversionary little story dealing with a story that takes place in K’un Lun hundreds of years ago. Yu Ti, master of K’un Lun has a vision similar to the introduction of “AvX” #1 of a firey bird destroying a farm and a young girl embracing the power of the dragon fist to harness and control both the legendary kung fu forces learned at K’un Lun and the Phoenix itself. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Big Trouble in Little China, it’s that one can defeat a giant cosmic entity with a little kung fu.
Yu Ti travels out to the city to find this mysterious woman of his vision, eventually finding her as a mute servant girl named Fongji (which just happens to mean “Bird of Fire” — ooo!). She is brought back to the temple to be trained as the next Iron Fist, and we flash forward to present time in which Yu Ti realizes that is time to call on his secret weapon with the oncoming approach of the Phoenix.
How does it tie into “AvX”? Well… I mean, there’s a firey bird, right? I’m sure it’ll all make sense next issue. These things always line-up.
In “Secret Avengers”, the biggest potential cracks reveal themselves. Given that this book is a) not written by an architect of the event and b) is being released before the issue that covers this material (i.e. the Secret Avengers battling the Phoenix in space), there is plenty of room being left open for things not to line up. Risky business, this tie-in stuff!
The issue starts by apparently revealing that Beast’s secondary cat mutation has regressed and he now looks like the classic Claremont-era Beast we’re all familiar with:Continued below
Why? No idea! You tell me. In the mean time, Captain Britain, Thor and Valkyrie all get drunk and get ready to take on the Phoenix. Beast creates a special backpack that seems to operate in a similar fashion to the Ghostbusters’ proton packs, whose main job is to sit on War Machine’s back and capture the Phoenix. The Secret Avengers take on the Phoenix headfirst, with War Machine quickly taken out of the picture and Captain Britain brashly stepping up to the plate to sacrifice his life for the good of all and the annoyance of Beast. Long story short: they lose, but the Phoenix runs off, allowing them time to lick their wounds, patch up and argue before traveling to a near Kree planet to figure out what to do next.
All things considered, despite everyone else entering into another civil war on Earth, the Secret Avengers still managed to draw the raw end of the deal/short straw in the stack. I guess that’s what happens when Hawkeye isn’t around to call the shots.
At the same time, a group of Kree priests prepare the fallen body of Captain Mar-Vell to harness the power of the Phoenix and give their lives to resurrect his. When the Phoenix is lured away in that aforementioned bit, this system works, just in time for Captain Marvel to show up at the end of the comic and annonce he needs to kill the Avengers! It’s a shocking twist, but again – as great as Remender is, he’s not an architect of the event so you can probably imagine that this is a tie-in only in name and not in execution.
Finally, in the last “AvX” tie-in in this month’s “Uncanny X-Men”, we are given the Shot Heard ‘Round The World scenario through the X-Men’s eyes. This is notable because this is the first time we’ve been given a remotely sympathetic angle towards the X-Men, and it’s remarkable since the X-Men and Cyclops in particular are the arrogant ones here. Way to humanize the mutants, Kieron Gillen!
Through a lot of posing and posturing, the Avengers vs X-Men battle begins and is narrated by Namor, Colossus and Hope. Namor notes that he sides with the X-Men because he likes to fight for the little guy, he respects Scott and he wants to bang Emma. Colossus battles the Red Hulk underwater and gives into his new darker half, admitting that he does not have full control of himself when he enters rage mode, nearly killing Red Hulk. I’m sure most people wouldn’t mind that, but those people clearly haven’t been reading Jeff Parker’s excellent “Hulk” run, which has made the Red Hulk one of the best characters in the Marvel U, so screw those people!
Sorry. I got carried away. At any rate, Red Hulk wins, and there is a lot of punching.
And Hope? Well, Hope notes that she knows she told Wolverine to kill her if things got out of hand, but with a sassy little pose and an exposed belly she still kicks his ass and all her friends asses regardless before running away.
Of course, it ends with a rather frightening and vicious tactic on Cyclops’ behalf, which is proof positive that the pen is mightier than the sword:
I have no jokes to make about this element. That was just straight up awesome.
This week sees two “Avengers vs X-Men” tie-ins, including the next entry into the series and a crossover into “Avengers Academy”, which is arguably the title that needed to be tied into this event the least. Let’s talk about that one first!
In this week’s “Avengers Academy” (which takes place in between the beginning and end of “AvX” #3) Christos Gage is left to essentially pick up some of the pieces from the cancelled “Generation Hope” title while giving it an “AvX” banner at the same time. He does this in two ways: 1) he brings all the kids from Utopia to the Academy and 2) he continues the Sebastian Shaw Reborn storyline.Continued below
How does this all play out? I’m glad you asked.
1) The kids who are brought to the Academy are angry at first, but guest lecturer Hercules figures out how to defuse the situation and coerces the kids into healthy sport (as a faux history lesson about the Olympics), featuring Lightspeed racing Transonic and Loa surfing against Finesse. The friendliness of it all quickly ends, however, when Velocidad reminds everyone that there is a war going on and they probably shouldn’t be goofing around. Spoil sport.
2) Sebastian Shaw, despite being docile and having his mind-wiped, is imprisoned by the Avengers because (to paraphrase the discussion that explains why Cyclops left him loose) hell no, fuck that! Shaw is placed in a cell whose walls match his absorption powers with some books, and he proceeds to (literally) beat himself in the head with those books until he has developed enough of a charge to punch through the floor. Because with all that rushed planning the Avengers did when locking him up, they didn’t bother to make the floor as impenetrable as the walls, and it doesn’t take an evil genius to figure out how to break out of that scenario.
Oh, and despite this being a school, all the kids came face to face with Hercules’ dong (who is mysteriously in his old costume and not behaving like Herc anymore).
I guess when you’re training to be an Avenger, you really do have to be prepared for everything.
In this week’s lead book of the event, written by Marvel Architect Ed Brubaker, it turns out Hope running led the X-Men to surrender to the Avengers. Instead of bringing them into immediate custody, the Avengers stand around Utopia discussing the logical fallacies of this entire war as Iron Man points out rather obnoxiously that this is kinda sorta similar to “Civil War” and that Cap had a completely different reaction then.
It’s just about this time that Wolverine, newly dressed with skin regrown from being flayed alive by Hope, arrives to point out the obvious: Hey! The X-Men didn’t surrender for real real! Which is of couse the point where Cyclops’ Extinction Team (comprised of Magneto, Cyclops, Emma, Magik, Colossus, Namor, Storm and Danger) escapes, leaving the kids to be dragged off to Avengers Academy.
Meanwhile, Hope puts together a device that makes it impossible for the Avengers or the X-Men to accurately track her, because she’s from the future, trained by Cable and of course she can do something like that from bits and pieces found in a Radio Shack.
The Avengers (going off of misinformation delivered by Rachel Summers, who only Wolverine suspects of being dishonest despite the fact that she is Cyclops’ daughter), break into various teams, assumedly so that tie-ins can cover more ground and the story can be dispersed a bit more:
- Hawkeye, Red Hulk and Doctor Strange are off to Wundagore Mountain
- Black Panther and Iron Fist are off to Wakanda
- Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are off to Latveria
- The rest of the New Avengers (Luke Cage, Daredevil, Mockingbird, the Thing) are off to Tabula Rasa
- Captain America, Agent 13, Giant Man and Wolverine are off to the Savage Land
Iron Man doesn’t get to go out, though. He has to stay at home and figure out how to beat the Phoenix. Poor Iron Man.
Conversely, Black Widow – despite showing up to the meeting – is not assigned to go anywhere.
The issue ends with Wolverine and Captain America having some less than friendly words, as Wolverine believes he has to kill Hope (since she asked him to back in “Uncanny X-Men”) and Cap decides to throw him out of the quinjet and dump him somewhere in the arctic. Despite Marvel’s AR for this section explaining that Wolverine should not have survived so easily, however, Wolverine gets up and starts walking. Look for him to appear in the final issue of the series, just in time to do something crazy.
In this week’s “AvX” tie-in selection, we have three books to go through: “New Avengers” #26, “Wolverine and the X-Men” #10 and “X-Men Legacy” #266. Let’s keep track of this timeline some more!Continued below
In “New Avengers”, we’re still given a side-story that seemingly has no direct tie-in to “AvX” yet as we learn more of Fongji, the Iron Fist “many years ago.” As it turns out, Leonardo Da Vinci (the comic book version from Jonathan Hickman’s “SHIELD”) was brought in by Chan Kong-Sang of K’un Lun to help the Immortal City deal with this pesky Phoenix problem they think they’re going to have. Granted, that’s why they’re training Fongji, to be the dragon that defeats the fire bird, but hey, doesn’t hurt to get the man truly behind the world’s most powerful and influential secret organization, right? The dude’s brought down Celestials, and those are for all intents and purposes mad gods. What’s a bird of fire to a man like that!
So Leonardo comes to K’un Lun and builds a giant gun/telescope. Or rather, I assume it is a gun because it looks like a gun, and I will also assume that this giant gun is to be used by an Ed McGuinness-esque monk character who is the K’un Lun Cable equivalent. Of course, Leonardo doesn’t believe that the Phoenix is evil. He thinks that it is rather the beginning of a cosmic awakening. But hey, if that’s all it was, people wouldn’t be going to war over it. Come on, Leonardo! Step up your game, man!
Meanwhile, Fongji unlocks her secret fire power in the middle of some heavy training, similar to how Hope “does it”, which frightens the crap out of everyone. Master Yu Ti takes her to the Scrying Vessel of Bo-ling to look into her future, which consists of the Phoenix fighting the dragon Shao Lao, and Yu Ti determines that it is time for Fongji to face the dragon herself, which is the ritual of the Iron Fist. After 2 days, she emerges from the cave of Shao Lao as the new Iron Fist, finally able to speak and saying “thank you.” Hey, if its her first words, at least she’s polite, right?
Meanwhile, Leonardo looks through his giant gunoscope and says — are you ready? — “It’s coming.” (Ooohhh, just like in the other book! When everyone keeps saying “it’s coming” over and over and over!)
The nice thing about “New Avengers” is that since this is some kind of ancillary story with unseen connecting elements to the main story, it doesn’t mess up the timeline of “AvX”. Well, not ostensibly anyway. This can not be said for the other two tie-ins this week, though, which contradict themselves and the main storyline. Let’s figure this out:
In “Wolverine and the X-Men,” Wolverine returns to the Jean Grey for a drink after the fight at Utopia. A simple enough task, but given the previously established timeline of “AvX”, we have to ask when. After all, as far as we knew after the fight Logan goes to drop off the Utopia kids at Avengers Academy. By the end of the issue, we see Wolverine called toAvengers Tower where he goes on a mission with Captain America where Captain America kicks him out of the Quinjet somewhere around the Savage Land. So when does he have time to come home and have a drink when he’s supposed to go to Avengers Academy?
Regardless of that, the issue finds Scott, Emma and Magik making an appearance at the school to try and talk Logan one last time to join the side of the mutants (which makes me think this happens before Captain America kicks Wolverine out of a moving plane). Cyclops attempts to appeal to Wolverine’s mutant pride, and the two argue about the “right” and “wrong” of the current Avengers/X-Men debate, eventually coming to a stalemate with Cyclops leaving. Cyclops reiterates the point that this conflict won’t end well and that Wolverine needs to pick a side, but as we saw in “AvX” #3 Wolverine is clearly on his own, so … whatever to that! There is a war on, people! We don’t have time for drinks and chatting!
As Cyclops leaves, Ice Man, Rachel Summers and Angel all leave to join with the X-Men, which doesn’t add up because Rachel is supposed to be Cyclops’ mole in the Jean Grey institution while Wolverine is off with Captain America, as also seen in “AvX” #3. What! Keep this in mind as we talk about “X-Men Legacy.”Continued below
Oh, and there’s a whole bit where Angel tries to prove he’s an actual angel by trying to fly to Heaven, which he fails to do. Kid Apocalypse — er, I mean, Genesis saves him, and Angel looks at him and sees a dark future, then lies about it. Oh, and then the Death Commandos show up on a mission from the Shi’ar. Dark issue, man, yeesh.
Meanwhile, in “X-Men Legacy”, Rogue calls a staff meeting to discuss what’s going on with the current war announced on television. During this scene, Iceman and Rachel announce they are leaving to join the X-Men’s side of the war — even though in “Wolverine and the X-Men” #10 out on the same day and written by one of the event architects, we saw a completely different version of this scene. OH SHI– THE TIMELINE DOESN’T ADD UP! CODE RED, EVERYONE, CODE RED! WE HAVE A CONTINUITY MALFUNCTION!!!
What I guess happened is that somewhere down the line when “X-Men Legacy” was decided as an “AvX” timeline, a memo was passed on to Christos Gage saying “Hey, these characters are gone” by X-Men editorial, so he wrote them out the best he could. Best not to dwell on this too much, unless you’re into that nit-picky stuff.
The rest of the issue deals with Falcon, She-Hulk and Moon Knight, three Avengers not seen in “AvX” so far, who are sent to watch the Jean Grey school to make sure the mutants don’t get feisty or violent. Because, you know, the Avengers aren’t turning into a weird fascist anti-mutant regime or anything. Things don’t go well and a sitcom-esque literal line in the sand is drawn, and it all goes to hell when Frenzy tricks Moon Knight into crossing the line. Because the whole issue isn’t metaphoric enough about the issue of race and the mutant’s role in that metaphor, we get this:
When the students come out to fight as well, everything gets chaotic, culminating in Iron Man showing up to punch Rogue in the face, which makes no real sense since Iron Man is supposedly in a lab somewhere trying to figure out how to stop the Phoenix. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems a lot more important than punching Rogue in the face, no?
This week’s Avengers fighting X-Men round-up is a big one! We’ve got a whopping five books involved with this event, either directly or not, and a lot happens without a lot actually happening. It’s like televisions sweeps, except it lasts a lot longer and features less celebrity.
When we last left the main “Avengers vs X-Men” title, Wolverine had just been kicked out of a quinjet by Captain America for wanting to murder Hope. Luckily for Wolverine, he’s able to get his murdering out on a polar bear who, just like everyone’s favorite character from LOST, does not belong in this environment. Tom Brevoort commented on his Formspring that this was explained in Jonathan Hickman’s AR video, but readers of the series know that no such thing exists. However, because this is a comic book and logic doesn’t always have to be present, we move on and simply accept this “cool image” and watch Wolverine hunt beer.
Oh, and Hope has flown out in a blackbird to pick him up, even though he’s trying to kill her. She tells Wolverine to hold off with the murdering because she believes she deserves the chance to take control of the Phoenix, and by bribing him with alcohol the two embark for an AIM base in order to steal a rocket to the moon.
MEANWHILE, IN SPACE! The Secret Avengers do battle with the cosmic firebird, the Phoenix! We last saw this sequence in “Secret Avengers” #26, in which the Phoenix kicked their collective asses and then flew away to help reincarnate the original Captain Marvel. This sequence plays out a bit differently, however, as Thor hits the Phoenix with his hammer and watches it collect energy of the Phoenix before smashing into a nearby planet and igniting it. Way to go, Thor. You do know the whole point of this exercise was to not destroy more planets, right? The rest of this scene, involving the Phoenix flying away, is not shown, assumedly to avoid as many continuity errors as possible; however, those of you who have read “Secret Avengers” should know that these scenes do not, in fact, line-up beyond the element of these characters fighting the Phoenix.Continued below
MEANWHILE, ON EARTH! We now see what teams of X-Men were sent to meet with matching teams of Avengers, whose destinations we saw in issue #3. We now get our second set of big brawls.
- Wakanda, which originally just had Black Panther and Iron Fist, now has Quicksilver and Black Widow (originally left out) on the Avengers are fighting with Danger, Storm, Dr. Nemesis, Magma and Rachel Summers, who has apparently officially betrayed Wolverine (as seen in “Wolverine and the X-Men #10”)
- Tabula Rasa features Luke Cage and the Thing from the Avengers (and was supposed to feature Mockingbird and Daredevil) fighting against Namor, Sunspot and Hepzibah (we’ll come back to this in the “Uncanny X-Men” tie-in of the week).
- Latveria, which originally featured just Spider-Man and Spider-Woman and now features the replaced Mockingbird and Daredevil represent the Avengers who battle against Colossus, Domino and Dazzler from the X-Men.
- Wungadore Mountain finds Red Hulk, Hawkeye and Doctor Strange of the Avengers battling against Magneto, Psylocke, Iceman and Angel (the last two of which joined the fight in “Wolverine and the X-Men” #10 as well).
- The Savage Land finds Captain America and Giant-Man of the Avengers (with a distinct lack of Agent 13, although I guess this makes a bit of sense she’s just a human) battling against Madison Jeffries, Warpath, Gambit, X-Man (whose appearance is not noted in the opening roster) and Magik of the X-Men
Man! Sometimes its like they don’t think we’re paying attention to these little details. The fighting breaks up when Captain America gets a call letting him know where Hope is headed, which Emma Frost intercepts and both teams recall their troops.
After tearing through the AIM facility, Hope and Wolverine land on the moon (in the blue area, where the Immortals live and you can breathe air like normal), she finds that Wolverine has betrayed her and called Captain America to pick her up. However Cyclops, having teams with telepaths, also knows her destination and intervenes. The Avengers and X-Men prepare for an epic battle on the moon, but its all broken up when Thor crash lands into the moon and points out that the Phoenix is behind him (again setting up a continuity error between “Secret Avengers” and this title as Thor was brought into protective care by his team, but I suppose there is time for this to work itself out). Now that’s what I call a sticky situation!
Alright. So that’s the main part. Now let’s break down into all the little bits and pieces that are elaborated upon further in tie-ins!
“AvX Vs” #2 features two match-ups: Captain America vs Gambit and Colossus vs Spider-Man.
In the Captain America vs Gambit match, we’re of course given a much larger iteration of the fight as the two wail on each other pretty mercilessly. There is only one major difference between this battle and the fight featured in “AvX”: Gambit blows up Captain America’s suit. That’s really about it. In “AvX”, when Cap defeats Gambit and gets the call about where Hope is his costume is whole, but in this story Steve McNiven blows up his shirt to show off some sexy man abs followed by Cap making a joke about needing a new suit. Oh, and in “AvX” Cap doesn’t seem to be even focusing on the fight since Gambit is so beneath him, but whatever, we’ll ignore that bit (since we all know it’s true).
In the Colossus vs Spider-Man fight, there are a few continuity errors we can point out for you. To start with, the Avengers and X-Men are shown fighting in what is ostensibly a Latverian field, not a city. Second, the battle takes place while surrounded by attacking Doombots, but in this story the Doombots are all defeated. Finally, in the end Daredevil does run interference for Spidey like he does in “AvX”, except instead of kicking Colossus in the face Daredevil simply tells Spider-Man, “Hey, we’re leaving.” It’s an amusing little end, though, which declares Colossus the winner of the fight, which is too bad because I like Spider-Man more.
Moving on to the architect-penned “Avengers” #26, we’re given what I can assume is the “official” version of the Secret Avengers fight against the Phoenix as more things begin to clash with the “Secret Avengers” depiction of the fight.Continued below
The Secret Avengers still lose and are forced to land on a Kree planet to recuperate, but after that the book changes paths. Whereas in “Secret Avengers” they simply sit and wait until Captain Marvel shows up (which, for the record, is referenced in an annotation), this book finds Noh-Var explaining through science (or the comic book version of it, anyway) how Thor’s hammer could be used to capture and trap the Phoenix. Using the magic/science combination, Thor does battle with the Phoenix, diverting it back for a bit as proof that the Phoenix can be hurt. However, just when the team decides its time to take this technology back to Earth, Noh-Var pulls a gun on everyone and betrays the team. Shucks. Now what are they gonna do to get this book to line-up with the rest of the event?!
Oh, and there’s also a sequence where Noh-Var goes to see Annie, who is now apparently a punk rawk chick, and he gives her a stone (that looks curiously like it could be an Infinity Gem) and flies away. On the plus side, he leaves lots of little stars on his flight away, which I assume is his version of a romantic gesture.
In “Uncanny X-Men” #12, we open by Cyclops acknowledging the events that happened in “Avengers Academy” (what with the children being brought to the school) dividing up the X-Men to go do battle with the Avengers. We don’t see most of it since we really just follow the Tabula Rasa team, but we do see enough for Boom Boom of Nextwave to randomly make an appearance before never being seen or heard from again. Ah well. Those of you who get the reference probably enjoyed it.
Over in Tabula Rasa, we’re reacquainted to Savage, who watches the Avengers — comprised of Luke Cage, the Thing and now She-Hulk, who is supposed to be watching the Jean Grey School over in “X-Men Legacy” (continuity!) — do battle with the local zoology and the X-Men comprised of Namor, Sunspot and Hepzibah. The fights here don’t match up with the battles taking place in “AvX” #4, but whatever, there’s time for people to switch dance partners (minus the appearance of She-Hulk, which is what it is). Namor and the Thing do get in a big round of punches before Savage shows up and asks if they’re going to bang now, which I imagine is the equivalent of the “Now Kiss!” meme. Of course, Magik pulls them out just in time to make a trip to the moon.
Phew! That got awkward fast, lolamirite!
There are also a lot of jokes made via Hepzibah about Namor being a big ol’ slut. If there is one thing you will learn about anyone via this issue, it is that Namor is a big ol’ slut.
This week’s “Avengers Academy” is basically the only tie-in that really has nothing to do with anything other than it continues its own story — or rather, it continues the story last seen in “Generation Hope,” in which a mind-wiped Sebastian Shaw gets to see a list of all the bad things he has ever done. As seen in last issue, Shaw gets free of his prison by hitting himself in the face with a book for a while then punching through the floor, and this issue sees him trying to find the children while tearing through the staff (comprised of Madison Jeffries, who I believe is supposed to be in the Savage Land on the side of the X-Men as mentioned earlier, Herclues and Tigra) via a series of convenient deus ex machinas on his apparent quest for vengeance against Emma Frost after being docile and admitting he has no interest in his former life.
However, the main story is about X-23 trying to decide which side she’s on, which means the book is basically comprised of this: historical allusion, metaphor, feelings feelings feelings, punch!, feelings metaphor feelings, punch punch!, metaphor feelings metaphor, punch punch punch!, metaphor punch feelings, foreboding splash-page ending. That’s not to meant to undermine the book because “Avengers Academy” is quite great, but it has certainly been laying it on a bit thick lately. To cut a long story short, she sides with the X-Men because the Avengers are dicks.Continued below
So there you have it. Five tie-ins, and continuity errors in all of them! Hoorah, continuity errors for all!! But hey, what’s a massive event without a few goof-ups?
“Secret Avengers”, this week’s one and only “AvX” tie-in, opens with a point of clarification, assumedly because nerds like me have been badgering it to so hard. This issue states “This story takes place before the events of “Avengers” #26-27″, which offers up some sort of explanation as to how Remender and Bendis are telling such different stories starring the exact same characters. Granted, it seems a little bit improbably that we’d get this Kree-related story of the honor and religion of the Kree followed up with another story about the honor of the Kree, but, hey, the Marvel U is a busy place. It happens.
The book opens by asserting Captain Marvel’s new policy: to exist as a puppet for a brainwashed Kree nation. The Protector bows to him, Ms Marvel swoons for him and every other Kree follows his word as religious doctrine. Of course, the issue shows that he and, in turn, the Supremor, are puppets of other characters, so it accidentally offers up another continuity stumble between this and “Avengers” which features the Supremor as an autonomous character. But hey, who’s tracking? Besides us. He also reveals that he still has cancer, but the Phoenix force inside him that resurrected him is keeping it stable somehow.
The Avengers, recouping from their battle with the Phoenix, get thrashed by the Marvel family (Captain, Ms. and Boy i.e. Protector). Valkyrie, Captain Britain and an unconscious War Machine are brought into custody while Thor, Vision and Beast escape with their lives. After licking their wounds ever so slightly and leaving time for Captain Marvel to have some exposition about how cool the Phoenix probably will be, the remaining secret trio show up to help un-brainwash the Kree, save their lives and take down Captain Marvel. They do this by having the Vision tell everyone that the Phoenix is bad on a specific frequency while Thor throws his hammer around and Beast shoots off a few solid kicks, which just goes to show you that words can be used instead of weapons, but they’re infinitely less cool.
It all comes down to a sad finale when Captain Marvel realizes that the brainwashed Kree soldiers are committing genocide on the non-brainwashed citizens, at which point he realizes, “Oh. I’m the bad guy.” You’d think all the grand-standing and the punching of his friends would’ve given it away, but nope. Oh, and the Phoenix is coming too. Guy comes back to life and he just can’t catch a break.
This week gives us but two “AvX” tie-ins, one that clarifies a continuity error and one that creates a new one. Let’s start with the second item first.
In “Wolverine and the X-Men” #11, all the familiar fight groups are re-hashed that were established in “AvX” #4 remain true (at least, to what I can see when comparing my notes), which leads me to believe that there is probably a board at the Marvel office somewhere designating who goes where, even though the dance partners keep getting switched around. Then again, this is a brawl which, in dance, is most similar to a rodeo. Pick whichever partner you like of the moment and just go for it!
But that’s not the continuity error part. No, that comes later. This issue seeks to establish the moments between Hope and Wolverine that happen in “AvX” #4 we don’t see in between when he is picked up by her and when they raid an AIM base to fly to the moon. (Admittedly, just writing that right now, I realize how silly comics are sometimes.) In this story we find out that Wolverine and Hope are waylayed by the Death Commandos, who have arrived on Earth to kill Hope before the Phoenix arrive. Their inherent logic is that by killing the assumed host they can save lives while conveniently forgetting that the Phoenix just destroys whatever is in its path indiscriminately. It’s ok, though; great planning like this shows why the Shi’Ar is still such a powerful intergalactic organizatioh wait a minute.Continued below
Suffice it to say, Hope and Wolverine beat the tar out of them while other X-Men beat the tar out of Avengers, leaving a massive influx of stock in the tar industry. Hope and Wolverine win in a different way, though; they win because Hope manifests the Phoenix force for a brief enough time to knock out and burn all of her enemies, as well as singe Wolverine. Wolverine debates killing her, but instead decides to call Captain America and tell him where they’re headed, thus establishing a timeline and screwing it all up since Wolverine said he called Captain America while Hope napped. Clearly there was no time for naps here. Oops.
But hey, that’s why these tie-ins aren’t necessary reads, right? Right.
Oh, and there’s also a brief subplot thing about how Kid Gladiator is brought by Warbird away from the planet, but he returns to Earth to punch Rulk in the face over in Wungadore while his father arrives at the mansion to pick him up from school.
Then there’s “X-Men Legacy” #267. Last time we talked about this issue, I noticed that there was a continuity error in that Iron Man arrives at the school despite implicitly being “benched” for this event so he can develop a technological way to stop the Phoenix. As it turns out in this issue, it’s not Iron Man who arrived but a drone. Whew! Glad that got cleared up. Now the only continuity errors here are Gambit and She-Hulk being around when they should be in the Savage Land and Tabula Rasa respectively.
Outside of that, this issue is largely just a big punch-up. Rogue punches not-Iron Man, Falcon punches Mimic, not-Iron Man punches Cannonball, Rogue punches She-Hulk, Rogue punches Falcon punching Mimic, Rogue punches She-Hulk some more, Rogue punches Frenzy… Ok, really, this issue is about Rogue punching. She absorbs She-Hulk’s strength and Moon Knight’s insanity powers (accidentally), but it all comes down to her spouting one-liners while destroying not-Iron Man, then bragging about how she took down the Avengers.
For the record, she didn’t take down the Avengers here. She beat up a man suffering with multiple personality disorder, a woman suffering anger issues, a black guy and a robot who showed up originally to be peace keepers during a global conflict. There is literally nothing to brag about here.
Tie-ins. Am I right?
Alright, fanboys and girls, it is time for your weekly look at all things “AvX!” This week brings us three entries into the “AvX” saga with “Avengers Academy” #31, “Uncanny X-Men” #13 and “Avengers vs X-Men” #5. Let’s look at them in assumed chronological order.
“Academy” #31 begins with Shaw’s appearance in front of both the X-Kids and the Academy kids at the end of last issue, assumedly in a menacing fashion. However, the twist is that it couldn’t be farther from the opposite: Shaw isn’t here to hurt the children! That would just be so unlike Sebastian Shaw, now wouldn’t it? No, he’s hear to free the children from the forced protection of the X-Men. How noble.
Unfortunately, the kids are impulsive, so rather than stop to listen to him speak there is a bit of a punch fest. Mettle punches Transonic, White Tiger refuses to mate with Primal and Reptil morphs into a giant snake and captures Shaw in his grip. Of course it stands for X-23 and Finesse, two characters who operate with cold hard logic alone, to put some sense into everybody — including the teachers. As Tigra, Hercules, Rao and Jeffries show up, X-23 delivers an empassioned speech about choice and freedom because apparently we can’t get an issue of “Avengers Academy” that isn’t, on some level, an after-school special.
So what do the teachers do? They challenge the students to a fight. But don’t worry: it’s just a fake fight because there are cameras everywhere that have never been mentioned before nor seen, and Tigra doesn’t want to look bad in front of Captain America. It’s generally ok to punch the heck out of these teenagers. It would be way worse to let these kids make their own decisions.Continued below
Never the less, the entire fight is stolen by Hercules dramatic acting.
In the end, the kids “win,” Shaw dives into the ocean and the X-Kids are teleported out by Pixie. X-23 chooses to stay with the Academy as well as Loa, and it all ends with the kids going surfing.
No, seriously. War? What war?
We hop over now to “Uncanny X-Men” #13 where Pixie, assumedly having teleported every other X-Kid to wherever they want to go, brings the Four Lights to Utopia. Apparently, before beating the tar out of them in “AvX” #2, Hope left Velocidad with a note that read “Sorry. Ask UNIT.”, which leads the kids down to the dungeons of Utopia to converse with the bastard. Oh, I’m sorry — that was a biased remark because UNIT lacks what we judge as morality and ethics based on his willingness to sacrifice all life so he can just see what happens. Sorry about that!
So what does UNIT tell the kids? Well, he admits that he told Hope all about the Phoenix and reveals that the reason the Phoenix is coming to Earth (which had heretofore not been officially stated, although heavily implied) was in fact to fix the mutant situation. Given that it is a universal constant and it “dislikes having anything interfere with that,” the Phoenix is on its way to Earth because of Wanda’s “no more mutants” stunt from a few years ago. UNIT notes that it would appear that Hope is the logical choice for the hostess of the Phoenix because he’s seen what happens when the Phoenix gets its way on a different planet where a Hope-esque entity and her five acolytes led an uprising. Our Lights realize what he’s getting at here and believe they need to rush to Hope’s side, at which point UNIT points out his purpose of being: to watch things happen. He’s already seen what happens when the Phoenix and her host get what they need. Now he’s going to see what happens when they don’t. Ooooo, that basta– er. Sorry.
So UNIT brings in Danger, under his control, who beats the Four Lights unconscious, then they erase the kids memories and leave them on the beach outside. Meanwhile, in space —
Wait! Wait. No. We’ll get there. Let’s rewind. There’s a second story here.
Magneto, Psylocke, Storm and Dr. Nemesis sit around in some X-Stronghold and recover from their various wounds: Nemesis from his defeat at the hands of Black Widow and her neurotoxin, Psylocke from a broken arm given by the Red Hulk, Storm being punched unconscious by her husband and Magneto — actually, it never implicitly states who beat Magneto. He just didn’t get to go to the moon, I guess. Regardless of this slight, everyone but Nemesis (who is dizzy with intoxication via neurotoxin) have a toast to the team who went to the moon and make plans to ask Danger politely to turn into a ship to fly them there, unaware of the events that will transpire in “AvX” #5 and the end of this issue. However, Psylocke receives a massive psychic blast, which basically tells them not to bother, at which point it’s revealed —
Wait! No! Not yet! You wouldn’t want to be spoiled, would you? Well… Ok, spoiled early.
As “Avengers vs X-Men” begins, a battle wages on the moon between the Thing, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Rulk against Colossus, Cyclops, Emma, Magik and Namor, with Hope and Wolverine (not quite) in the middle. Hope manages to break up the fight by manifesting the Phoenix force, but it’s only here, after everything that’s happened, that she realizes — “Hey. I don’t think I can control this.” Well, that’s what the whole story is about, isn’t it? She begs Wolverine to kill her, but Cyclops blasts Wolverine in the face. As if they don’t have personal problems and bad blood between them enough problems as it is.
Meanwhile, Iron Man is finally shown unleashing the monster he’s been off-panel designing. Alongside Hank Pym, fresh from a stint kicking ass in the Savage Land, Iron Man dons the Phoenix Buster armor, which is essentially just a big giant block. It kind of looks like Voltron if Voltron didn’t have a head and was also like Megatron and could turn into a giant gun. So there’s your visual: the Phoenix Buster is Voltomegatron, and he does this:Continued below
As the Phoenix approaches, we’re also shown three scenes which will assumedly have pay-off later. We see Professor Xavier and Legion in Spain (wait, what?), we see the Mystical City of K’un Lun and Lei Kung making a remark about history repeating itself (which explains the “New Avengers” Iron Phoenix storyline) and Wanda freaking out in what I suppose is supposed to be her apartment. You know, given “AvX” #0, you would assume that Wanda would have a much bigger role in all of this, but apparently that is yet to come. It’s only really Xavier, Legion and Kung showing up that is ostensibly “weird”, and I’m using that word in which a giant block gun is used to shoot a fire bird on the moon.
But hey, none of that matters, right? Because the big reveal here is who the Phoenix chooses as its host. And if you thought it was going to be Hope, boy howdy were you wrong! It’s not just a host, kids. It is hosts, plural:
That’s right: Cyclops, Namor, Emma, Colossus and Magik are now collectively the Phoenix Host together, and you know what they don’t give a crap about? The Avengers. Because when you’re a universal constant with infinite power who can destroy planets on a whim, who gives a crap about a guy who wears a flag and throws a shield? The Phoenix also totally gives the Extinction Team a brand new and firey (pun intended) sense of style, with Namor bearing his chest like a mofo and Cyclops sporting a sweet new visor. Now Cyclops’ constant frown is turned from “pouty face” to “bad ass grimace.” Who knew the Phoenix was so fashionable? I thought it just made your green suit red.
So the Phoenix Hosts fly off with Host towards the Earth and leave the Avengers on the Moon, and, long story short, the Avengers are totally boned. This is what we call in the biz “turning the tables.”
This week’s “AvX” tie-ins go to the number of three, in the forms of “X-Men Legacy” #268, “AvX Versus” #3 and “Avengers” #27. They’re three wildly different tie-ins, they don’t really inform too much of anything and are all basically their own entities in a form or fashion — but hey, what would a tie-in be if it actually tied in to the book it flew the banner of?
In “X-Men Legacy” (which airs precisely when you arrive home from elementary school and plop your keester in front of the TV), we’re given the story of Frenzy in a post-Phoenix Five world. Apparently now that the Phoenix has taken on five mutant hosts, it now believes itself to be the Authority circa-Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s run, and the mutants are going out to make the world a better place for the people who fear and hate them by force! Frenzy is sent out to Narobia to take care of the one thing Cyclops didn’t while he disarmed rebel warlords and militias (spoilers for “AvX” #6?): the people of the country. For a Godlike entity, you’d think he’d do a bit better than just blasting people with Phoenix-y optic blasts and calling it a day, no?
So Frenzy air-drops (literally) into Narobia and proceeds to enter a small town in which a man beats his wife for the sole reason that she is his wife and he can. After saving the woman, the two travel to another nearby village full of guns so that Frenzy can disarm them (both in the generally understood definition of disarm, as in to take away weapons, and disarm as in take away arms). During this trip, Frenzy spends the entire time waxing nostalgic about when she was a young girl and punched through her father for being an ass. The nice thing is, though, that most mutants who manifested their powers ended up killing someone at the time, so you’re not alone, Frenzy! It gets better!
After saving the girl and saving the village, the Cuckoo’s arrive in town to mind wipe all the people who lived there in order to make them happier, because if there is one thing in comics that has proven to make people happy, it’s having their memories (good and bad) taken from them by choice. That’s definitely not the sign of a wayward sense of benevolence from any particular group. Frenzy talks them down and insists that the villagers get a choice in the matter, at which point the Cuckoos shrug and leave, leaving everyone in Narobia miserable and without weapons to defend themselves.Continued below
It looks like the one thing that the Phoenix Force can’t help… is us.
This after-school special was brought to you by Christos Gage and David Baldeon, in association with Marvel Comics.
This week’s “AvX: Versus” is subtitled ‘The Embarrassing Issue’, because it’s completely embarrassing. Here’s the breakdown:
In the fist battle, the Thing vs Colossus, the Red Hulk and Juggernaut punch each other for a while before Rulk punches Colossus so hard he ends up by the Thing. Then the Thing and Colossus punch each other for a while resulting in a Kirby tribute, a grand pose with the American flag in the background (which, for the record, makes no sense since the mutants ceded from America to form their own union and Colossus is Russian) and Colossus stands the victor.
When the opening recap page mentions no interest in plot, they weren’t kidding.
In the second battle, Black Widow vs Magik — you know what? I’m not even going to bother explaining this one. You get it. They fight! What’s really silly about the issue is this:
In an attempt to boost the AR output of Marvel’s AR app, part of the story is done in Russian dialogue, since Magik and Black Widow both speak Russian. Let’s ignore the fact that these characters have notoriously spoken strictly English for the past who knows how many years, even to other Russians, and point out the fact that nobody of any foreign language speaking origin will randomly insert a Russian sentence in the middle of an English dialogue. That just doesn’t happen. Heck, I grew up in a Russian speaking home: you either spoke Russian or you spoke English. There is literally one exception to that rule, and that is if you’re going to curse.
So yay for having an excuse to use the AR app, but what a tedious way to try and incorporate it outside of behind-the-scenes looks at things.
I would explain if this all syncs up with what we know of the bigger battle from “AvX” #5, but you know what? I just don’t think it matters at this point.
This week’s “Avengers” book seems to cap off the Protector/Noh-Var story, and it does so pretty simply. In fact, the book can easily be broken down like this:
The Space Avengers wake-up in their broken down ship, which Good Guy Noh-Var has sent hurling into a sun. Thor wakes up and saves the day, because any excuse to make Walt Simonson draw big epic Thor sequences is one you take. Like this:
Noh-Var brings the stolen Phoenix capturing device and brings it to the Kree Supremor, who reveals that the Kree don’t care about Earth or protecting it. That is basically the biggest shock ever because Noh-Var, who just betrayed his friends and sent them off to die by flying into the sun, thought that all he was doing would save his friends and the Earth. Geez, Noh-Var! Get a clue, will ya? So Noh-Var betrays the Kree and runs outside only to find the Avengers, pissed off and totally unwilling to hangout, despite his attempts at an Arrested Development quote.
Noh-Var is banned from Earth (which is the crime you pay for misquoting Arrested Development) and has his powers stripped of him by the Kree, who take even less kindly to betrayal than the Avengers did. He escapes from the rampaging Accusers and sneakily commandeers a ship, flying off into the unknown, while back on Earth, his girlfriend is a bit sad because she now has cancer.
Alright kids, strap in because this week’s “AvX” output comes with a whopping six titles! We’ve got the main book, “Avengers vs X-Men,” the second installation of the Infinite Comics, and then “Avengers Academy” #32, “New Avengers” #28, “Secret Avengers” #28 and “Uncanny X-Men” #14. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of Avengers and X-Men and fighting and punching and omnipotent characters and god complexes and general alpha-male cock waving.
So let’s start with the cream of the crop: “Avengers vs X-Men” #6. The book sees Hickman returning to the title (to the elation of many) as well as John Romita Jr leaving, to be replaced with Olivier Coipel of “House of M” and “Siege” fame (again, to the elation of many). Opening ten days after the events of the previous issue, it seems that the Phoenix Five have gone ahead and taken over the world, for better or for worse. Rebuilding their island home into a city in the clouds and disarming the entire world of weapons by force for what is now referred to as Pax Utopia, Cyclops has gone ahead and gotten it into his head that he should now be in charge of protecting the world, whether they want to be protect or not. Keep in mind that this is the same guy who Wolverine didn’t think was fit enough to protect children. You know you’ve got a flaw in your plan when genocidal/part-time hate-monger Magneto is your biggest supporter.Continued below
Suffice it to say, the President of the United States of America, a man in a position also known for believing it has the right to police the entire world as a dominant superpower, is not a fan of being told what to do. Subtlety, thy name is Marvel Comics!
On the plus side, there’s still plenty of time for omnipotent Cyclops to take some time out of his day to read Moebius (as seen in the header).
An elite squad of Avengers are formed comprising of Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Black Widow, Thor, Iron Fist and Spider-Woman, all equipped with special additional extra armor to protect them from the might of the Phoenix. Suffice it to say, when they come into Utopia firing rocket arrows at kids playing videogames and attempt to kidnap Hope, it doesn’t go so well. The super-powered Cyclops and Emma Frost wipe the floor with them a bit until Wanda and her Chaos Magic shows up to turn the tide of battle and take Hope (willingly, mind you) away from all the madness. There’s also an instance with Iron Man blocking the Phoenix powers with —
Oh, crap, I skipped a bunch. OK, some other stuff happens: Xavier comes to Utopia sans Legion to talk to Scott, Scott has an awkward/menacing conversation with Hope about why she needs to stay with the X-Men, Beast and Black Panther disassociate themselves from the Avengers, Wanda has a vision that the Phoenix is going to destroy the original line-up of Avengers (assumedly meaning it’s going to destroy all Avengers, which lines up with the final line of the book), Lei Kung is shown acknowledging all the stuff happening in “New Avengers” (which we’ll get to) and making it obvious that Iron Fist is important to the story, which is what I was getting at earlier when some weird Iron Fist-y DHARMA-looking shield appears to protect Fist from a full blast of Phoenix fire.
At any rate, Cyclops goes on a brief rant about how the Avengers are, like, the worst ever, y’know? And he declares “No More Avengers.” Oh, so THAT’S what all that teaser campaign stuff was about. I would’ve never guessed.
(There’s also a neat moment here for those of you using the AR app where the final panel of the comic is animated. It’s super cheesy, but hey, at least it’s something new?)
In “AvX Infinite” #2 (or is that #6.1?), Cyclops takes a moment just to himself to sit and think about all he is doing. If the main book seems to insinuate that Cyclops has turned into a megalomaniacal God-thing, this installment seems to imply that no, a conscience and instance of self-doubt does exist. How does Cyclops, a character notorious for being filled with self-doubt, react to his newfound power? By flying to the moon and “resurrecting” his ex-wife’s corpse out of moon dust.
Yeah, that’s probably healthy.
That’s basically it, though. It’s a bit of a talky, and it’s written by Mark Waid that plays on the assumption that you care about Cyclops and his emotions, because boy, let me tell you, HE CANT CONTAIN ALL THESE FEELS
Alright, let’s move onto tie-ins.
“Avengers Academy” is probably the simplest tie-in this week, in that there really isn’t too much to discuss. It basically goes like this: Emma has been flying around the world de-powering Sentinels, and she finally comes down her long list to end up at Avengers Academy to take care of Juston Seyfert’s best friend, a goddamn Sentinel! Juston says no, Emma says yes, X-23 says “how do I feel?”, Sentinel says “DESTROY ALL MUTANTS” and Hank Pym says, “Hey, untrained kids, let’s fight the omnipotent super mutant!” And they wonder why Avengers Academy is going to get shut down.
Also, it seems Chris Sotomayor is attempting to do his best Liefeld impression with some of the art:
Strike a pose, everyone!
This week’s “New Avengers” draws to a close as young Fongji, the Iron Fist, is brought face to face with the Phoenix in K’un Lun. Using her power, she manifests the power of the dragon Shou-Lao and defeats the Phoenix, becoming the new hostess of the beast while also being Iron Fist. Talk about over-powered! However, instead of sticking around to do all the stuff the Phoenix Five did, she leaves the planet, fearing the power of the Phoenix and taking towards the stars as “the world isn’t ready” for the might of the Phoenix. I wonder what she could’ve meant by that? The world isn’t ready… to be destroyed? To be corrupted? To be dominated? To be enslaved? WHICH IS IT, FONGJI, WHAT ARE WE NOT READY TO DO?!Continued below
As it turns out and comes full circle to relate with “AvX” a bit more (outside of the whole Phoenix thing I guess), Hope, having absconded with the Avengers at the end of “AvX” #6, is now shown to be in K’un Lun, being lectured by Iron Fist (who assumedly came to K’un Lun after his weird experience in “AvX” for explanation), who is telling Hope the story we just heard ourselves. She is given the same treatment that Fongji had, being brought to the Scrying Vessel and seeing a vision of “the Spider”, which leads Yu Ti to believe she needs to be trained by Spider-Man who himself was recently taught the ways of kung-fu.
Everything goes about as well as expected:
However, I think the “great power/great responsibility” thing is probably what she needs to learn, and not so much the whole “how to punch people well” thing. She’s already pretty good at that.
“Secret Avengers” kicks off by reminding everyone that this story takes place before the events of “Avengers” #26-27, basically saying, “Hey, ok, we know this doesn’t really match up, but let’s just pretend that all these guys hang out and do friend stuff and then Protector/Noh-Var is a real dick because, uh, that’s how it goes.” Take that as you will.
So, last issue revealed that the resurrected Captain Marvel was actually brainwashed by the Minister Marvel, who’s a real patoot, and he, Noh-Var and Ms. Marvel fly against the oncoming onslaught of the Phoenix Force to unbrainwash Hala and save the day. This is basically Mar-Vell’s “I’ve made a huge mistake” moment (before Noh-Varr’s similar moment in “Avengers” #27 before the Secret Avengers kick him out for misquoting Arrested Development). It only kinda works. The people are un-brainwashed and told to evacuate, but before the Secret Avengers can secretly avenge anything the Minister Marvel kills his son and shoots himself in the head to forever — and bear with me here — reclaim the Marvel family honor in the history books who tricked the Phoenix force into bestowing its gift upon all the Kree (as the family apparently feels slighted that Captain Marvel was so fond of humanity).
It is what it is.
Suffice it to say, the Avengers drive back to the Phoenix force to the best of their ability. Ms. Marvel once again becomes Binary and dukes it out with the Phoenix alongside Thor, although they’re both defeated quickly. Captain Marvel steps up his game to hold back the Phoenix briefly, but it’s ultimately down to Captain Marvel to sacrifice himself to send away the Phoenix, giving away his own life for the benefit of others before falling onto a planet and being surrounded by flowers (foreshadowing something, according to Rick Remender on Twitter).
If you try and line up the continuity of it all (in that the Secret Avengers go to space to fight back the Phoenix), this basically amounts to a really long and weird pitstop. I’d liken it to when you’re on a roadtrip across America and you stop off at a Chipotle and find yourself in the middle of a robbery or something. I don’t know. It’s all kind of weird, but whatever, continuity doesn’t matter! … Right?
Finally, in “Uncanny X-Men,” we’re given an explanation for what Kieron Gillen has been trying to do with Sinister since bringing him back. We learned that Sinister is now a large, multi-faceted system, and now we know what he’s done with all that:
He’s made a big ol’ Sinister London underneath the Earth’s surface, a city full of Sinisters acting sinister for sinister purposes and Sinister’s purposes. That’s a lot of Sinister.
The issue follows one of Sinister’s Sinisters as he embarks on a sinister quest to usurp Sinister and take down Sinister through sinister means. He does this through the sinister act of interviewing Sinister as a Sinister fan of Sinister. Sinister and Sinister talk about Sinister’s sinister plans for Sinister London and the eventual sinister takeover of the world (Sinister Earth?), but reporter Sinister plays his card against real Sinister too early, only to learn that real Sinister is actually fake Sinister and real Sinister has been tricking reporter Sinister through a sinister plot to work out the kinks of his sinister system. It’s all part of a game Sinister is playing to be the perfect sinister Sinister for when omni-potent Cyclops and his gang of friends come after him. Oh, and Sinister’s final sinister reveal is that he has several sinister clones of sinister versions of the X-Men (and associated mutants) alongside six sinister clones of Madelyne Pryor for whom he hopes to sinisterly use against Cyclops, because that’s the kind of sinister thing Sinister likes to do.Continued below
You know, if you say “sinister” enough, the word just kind of loses its meaning.
LONG STORY SHORT: Mr. Sinister has a bunch of clones of Cyclops, his friends and his other dead (maybe?) ex-wife, and he’s going to use those clones and an army of himself to fight the Phoenix Five, whom he assumes is going to come after him because he’s vain. How sinister.
There are only two “AvX” tie-ins this week with “Wolverine and the X-Men” #12 and “X-Men Legacy” #269. They both feature the post-“AvX” #6 anti-Avenger world, but only one major continuity error between the two of them! Can you guess which title holds it? It’s the one we’re discussing first…
If you said “Wolverine and the X-Men,” written by Jason Aaron (one of the architects of the event), then you’d be right! Starring Rachel Grey, her past (but our future!) as a mutant hunter returns as she’s charged with attempting to hunt down Wolverine and Hope after the duo absconded at the end of the previous issue. She tracks Wolverine and the merry band of Avengers on the run, which feature Giant Man, Spider-Woman, Thor, War Machine, Captain America, Quicksilver and Beast — who quit the Avengers in “AvX” #6 due to not agreeing with their plans to kidnap hope and combat the Phoenix Five. Uh… oops?
Suffice it to say, a battle ensues as Rachel reveals her crew: Kid Gladiator, Iceman , Angel (who is, for the record, mentally as naive as a pre-teen) and Iceman. Oh, and super-powered Phoenix member Namor, with all his ab glory. The battle sees friend fighting friend as Beast battles (and partially eats) Iceman and Angel develops a new power, while Kid Gladiator runs around saying “HEY, EVERYBODY! LOOK HOW COOL I AM! I’M SO COOL! HA HA!” which goes well until Wolverine stabs him in the gut.
To be fair, he totally had it coming.
Generally speaking, it all goes about as well as could be expected until Rachel finds Hope, choosing to let Hope get away rather than bring her into custody for Cyclops. If she had, “AvX” probably would end a lot sooner. It’s at this point, though, that Gladiator finally arrives to pick up his son. Yeesh. That whole “it’s coming” marketing campaign should’ve been about Gladiator in this book, as the Phoenix showed up much quicker than his slow alien butt.
Over in “X-Men Legacy,” Gage once again continues the morality play of the month motif he’s been using for “X-Men Legacy” and “Avengers Academy” with a story about the dangers of not listening to your friends and trusting Russians. Magik, Iceman (wait, wasn’t he in– … forget it) and Rogue are out irrigating barren lands by creating ice tracks to melt and help create an ecosystem. Everything’s going OK until Ms. Marvel shows up and asks to talk. Rogue responds about as rationally as she’s been responding in the book since, oh, forever, and has her fists do the talking:
Muhh indeed! The rest of the issue basically consists of Ms. Marvel and Rogue punching each other back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, all the while engaged in a perfectly reasonable conversation that could’ve been had by two rational people sitting down and treating one another like adults. The conversation basically consists of Ms. Marvel telling Rogue that absolute power corrupts absolutely, with Rogue responding, “Nuh uh! You’re just jelly!” and punching Ms. Marvel in the face again. When she eventually defeats Ms. Marvel, Rogue entraps her using borrowed ice powers and hands her over to Magik, assuring Ms. Marvel that it’s all going to be ok and that this is just a temporary thing.
Then Magik throws Ms. Marvel into the bowels of Limbo via a volcano portal she created in Russia.
This week in “AvX” was a small but big week, as we had the main “AvX” title come out but with only one tie-in. You’d think that this would make “my job” easier, but really, it doesn’t.
So what happened in “AvX” #7? Well, we know from tie-ins from the past week that the Avengers are now Public Enemy #1 (minus Flava Flav) and that the X-Men are hunting them down fairly mercilessly (Fear of an Avenged Planet?). Namor has taken their mansion, Cyclops has taken the Avengers Tower an Colossus has gone after Avengers Academy (wait, isn’t Emma doing that over in “Avengers Academy”?), all the while Emma Frost just poses. However, it’s Magik that finds them, with her team of X-Man, Warpath, Polaris, Havok and Gambit, who discover the Avengers team in… well, it’s never really said. An unidentifiable room with no features, apparently. However, battle ensues between Magik’s team and Iron Fist, Vision, Captain America, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch, who were apparently just sitting around.Continued below
(Compare this with the scene from “Wolverine and the X-Men” #10 and try and place it in your own form of continuity.)
The fight mainly comes down Magik vs Scarlet Witch. Wanda is apparently the only mutant who can do any kind of damage to the Phoenix Five because her powers are inherently chaos, so while Tony Stark scans their battle from afar to try and understand how he messed up back in “AvX” #5, Wanda somehow manages to take Magik out, which leads to Emma Frost stopping her posing and joining the fray. (If one were to make a particularly bad joke, they might say “Where were you, Emma?” But I like to think I’m better at jokes than that.) Emma goes all Phoenix all over everybody’s asses, and while she means to take out Wanda she only ends up burning Hawkeye alive, because Hawkeye has notoriously bad luck in Marvel events (see: Avengers: Disassembled and House of M, also illustrated by Coipel). The Avengers retreat to another base, and Emma says “oops.”
The Phoenix Five convene for a meeting to try and figure out where they went wrong (while Hawkeye’s burned body floats near them, as he’s apparently not dead and is getting better). Cyclops seems to still believe that what they’re doing is “right,” while Namor demands that the X-en march to war as they should’ve been doing all this time. Scott won’t have any of it, though, because he’s got his god complex going, and while he hates the Avengers he still doesn’t believe in murder.
The Avengers, on the other hand, convene a meeting of their own, which consists of (ready for this?) Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Giant Man, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Beast (hey, didn’t you quit??), She-Hulk, Agent 13, Falcon, Mockingbird, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Valkyrie, Thor and Hope, who has suddenly de-aged from half a woman grown to a pre-pubescent girl in some odd twist of fate. They split into (undefined) teams and Doctor Strange gives everyone an Enchantment of Ikonn (I like the name!) which will allow a certain member to appear like the Scarlet Witch in order to throw the X-Men off their trail. Apparently when you almost wipe out an entire race, you become the stuff of nightmares even for godlike entities.
Oh, and apparently Black Panther, who wanted no part of this in “AvX” #6, is now back and is helping Tony Stark rebuild his giant block robot. Er, Phoenix Buster. Apparently what Tony Stark did wrong was “not enough magic.”
So they split. Here are your fight breakdowns.
- In New York, Captain America leads a team of Agent 13, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Spider-Man against Colossus, Magma, Sunspot, Psylocke and Danger.
- In the Ukraine, Thor, Falcon, Quicksilver, Wolverine and someone playing Wanda fight against Emma, Velocidad, Warpath (who just keeps showing up to get hit in the face, apparently), Boom Boom, Surge and some unidentifiable mutant.
- In the Arctic Circle, Giant Man, She-Hulk, Beast, Rulk and “Wanda” (revealed to be Valkyrie) square off with Cyclops, Magneto, Dr. Nemesis and Cyclops.
- In the Pacific Ocean, Doctor Strange, Mockingbird, the Thing and the real Wanda face Namor, Polaris, Iceman and Transonic.
Magik is apparently still resting, even though she was up and about in an earlier sequence.
Everyone proceeds to punch and kick, but the main focus of the fight is where the real Wanda is. Doctor Strange teleports everyone out and accidentally grabs Transonic in the chaos, while Wanda blasts Namor all the way to Utopia. (The other fights just “end.”) This infuriates Namor and pushes him off into a tantrum, at which point Emma Frost comes after him and uses her feminine wiles and a well-placed smooch to push him off the deep end (GET IT?!) and send him raging all the way to Wakanda, where the Avengers are all currently hiding and holding Transonic captive. Apparently, besides the X-Men taking every Avenger they can find prisoner and burning Hawkeye alive, this is a big deal.
The Avengers, meanwhile, are conferring with Lei Kung the Thunderer of K’un Lun (thus bringing in the Iron Fist element teased in “New Avengers”) as they begin to evacuate Wakanda over to the celestial city. However, the “Oh, shit” moment comes when Namor shows up amidst a tsunami outside their door. Imperius Rex!Continued below
Over in “Uncanny X-Men” #15, the only other “AvX” tie-in of the week, quite a few little things happen, most of which seem to be either little seeds planted or little seeds blooming.
We begin with a dialogue between Psylocke and Magneto about the sheer improbability of their current situation. The two try and figure out why the old Utopia (Asteroid M) is being kept floating amongst the new and improved Utopia, with both agreeing that it seems odd to keep it around, now that it — like them — is a bit outdated in the face of the Phoenix Five. However, they are interrupted by Danger as she calls them to a meeting and is forced to tell a joke due to her still being under UNIT’s spell. It’s not as good of a joke as “What did the one robot say to the other robot?” “011000100110010101100101011100000010000001100010011011110110111101110000.” But, hey, they can’t all be winners.
In the meanwhile, Colossus tries to convince Cyttorak to release him from bondage. Now that Colossus is part Phoenix, he doesn’t want to be the avatar of Cyttorak’s rage and destruction anymore. However, Cyttorak points out that he is now an extreme bringer of destruction and chaos that there is no way Cyttorak will let him go, so he kicks him out of the Crimson Cosmos and leaves Colossus to go mope around. Oh, poor baby. He has the powers of a god but he can’t get rid of a lousy demon who is a fan of his work. ALL OUR CREYS R 4 U, CLAWSUS.
At the meeting, Cyclops reveals that he finally cares about “the Sinister situation.” Apparently the Phoenix Five are under the impression that Hope was told about the Phoenix by Sinister (with the twist being that UNIT told her everything), so rather than deal with the problem on their doorstep they’re going to deal with the problem some hundreds of feet underground Anchorage, Alaska.
In Sinister London, Sinister notices the psychic prying of the Phoenix to suss out his location and begins to build up his massive army, donning his fanciest gear and preparing for war with the Phoenix Five.
War, that will come next issue, mind you. That’s all we had time for in this installment! Tune in next issue for some fun and fanciful slaughter as only the X-Men can bring you!
Wait, this is in Alaska now? Huh. I wonder if the 4 Color News and Brews team are hidden in Sinister London somewhere?
This week in Avengers punching X-Men, we’ve got three books: “AvX: Vs” #4, “New Avengers” #28, “Wolverine and the X-Men” #13. That’s a nice mix of Avengers vs X-Men vs readership, if you ask me.
Let’s start with the easiest one to dissect: “AvX: Vs.” This issue features two match-ups (surprise?) as Daredevil fights Psylocke with pointers from Rick Remender and Brandon Peterson while Thor fights Emma Frost thanks to Kaare Andrews.
In the battle against Daredevil and Psylocke, it’s very much a battle of mind over matter as the two ninja-trained warriors battle on the rooftops of New York while Psylocke attempts to bring Daredevil in for imprisonment for not being an X-Man. They punch, they kick, and when Psylocke attempts to attack with psychic powers her brain overloads a bit due to Daredevil’s enhanced senses. This temporarily gives Daredevil the upper hand, allowing him to flee and use some ninja tricks on Psylocke before, ultimately, she tricks him by playing damsel in distress and throwing him into a building.
The battle ends with a draw as Daredevil runs away, assumedly because Remender just likes both characters so much.
In Thor vs. Emma Frost, it’s all style over substance as Kaare Andrews arts the hell out of the story in as keen of a way as possible. Panels are made to parallel and mirror one another and the two characters with godlike abilities battle in a series of TOOM!s, KOOOM!s, THUMPs and SMACK!s. The battle is seemingly won by Thor when smashes Emma while she’s in diamond form so hard, she smashes to bits — leading to the most hilarious gratuitous butt shot of all time:Continued below
Of course, because she’s a Phoenix now, she reforms herself and proceeds to kick Thor’s ass. That’s how these things work. Now for the comics with stories!
In “New Avengers” #28, Bendis shows just how far he’s willing to push things just to upset you. Opening in the post-“No More Avengers” world, Spider-Woman, Luke Cake and Hawkeye are all caged in Utopia, under the watchful eyes of the Stepford Cuckoo Phoebe, Warpath and Magma. Both Spider-Woman and Luke Cage refuse to eat, but Hawkeye – despite being kept in special quarantine to avoid him having anything to use as a weapon – tricks Magma by throwing his plate of food at her and then pulling her partially into his cage, threatening to break her arm if she doesn’t let him free. Warpath arrives just in time to defuse the situation, but the damage is done; Hawkeye has stolen a key and the escape plan is in motion.
Spider-Woman tricks Phoebe in a similar fashion, getting Phoebe to open the door and taking out Warpath as well with her awesome powers and kung fu skills. In her escape, she encounters Hawkeye, who distrusts her for fear that she might be a shapechanger (due to the Skrull invasion) and attacks her.She in turn proves herself by telling him something only she could know:
The two together free Luke Cage, who has since grown a beard as apparently he doesn’t have alopecia and that’s a surprise for some reason. The trio escape only to have their path blocked by Colossus, Polaris, Havoc, Gambit and Psylocke, and Luke Cage sacrifices himself to hold the group off while Hawkeye and Spider-Woman make a run for it — straight into the vantage point of Cyclops and Emma.
Yet still, through some clever cleverness, the duo pushes on and escape to freedom. Victory! Absolution! Hooray for the New Avengers! They’ve won the day…
…Only to find out that this was all a simulation put upon them by Danger to reveal to her how they’d escape and to develop appropriate precautions. INCEPTED! HA HA, SCREW YOU AVENGERS, HA HA HA. NO HOPE! NO HOPE!
Finally, in “Wolverine and the X-Men,” we’re given a Warbird-centric issue as Gladiator arrives on Earth to battle everyone in search of his son. Well, that and to punch the heck out of some Phoenixes, because the Shi’ar flipping hate the Phoenix, man.
It’s a gruesome battle in an undisclosed location (assumedly Utopia), with Gladiator thrashing Colossus and Warbird gutting Emma Frost with her sword. The issue finds Warbird on the hunt for Kid Gladiator, who has thrown his lot in with the X-Men and watches from afar. Warbird thrashes her way through the facility, smashing Iceman (and, to be fair, giving him a smooch which makes it all better!) before finding Kid Gladiator and telling him that if he does not leave willing, she will take him by force because “a warbird always follows order.”
Of course, this runs parallel with a tory from Warbird’s past, in which she was sent to murder a child and didn’t. Looks like a warbird doesn’t always follow orders, because killing children is just a bit grim. Better just to thrash him.
In the end, Gladiator is taken down by the Phoenix Five, and Warbird brings his smashed up body and the remaining Shi’ar forces to the Jean Grey School. Apparently it’s ok to be traitors to a cause in war, sometimes. That’s what I think the moral of the story is, anyway.
It’s Avengers versus X-Men time, kids! And boy, is this a big week for the event that people will assuredly be talking about in ten years!! This week sees three books in soon-to-be staple of comicdom, with “AvX” #8, “Uncanny X-Men” #16 and “Avengers Academy” #33 rocking stands and making history.
As “AvX” #8 opens, Namor has brought the sea to Wakanda in the form of a devastating tsunami, leveling the city and causing mayhem everywhere. So much for Wakanda’s UN representative saying that they wanted no part in the Avengers/X-Men war, huh? That’s what you get for harboring fugitives and accepting their prisoners, ya goof! War, man. Makes people do crazy things.Continued below
As Namor Fs S up outside, Cap rallies the troops so that Iron Man and Lei Kung can go to K’un Lun (the “magical city of kung fu”) and shut the mystical portal before the Phoenix Five can get through. It’s a fairly fierce battle, with all kinds of punches being thrown against the omnipotent sea prince: Cap hits him in the head with his shield, Iron fist fists him, Black Panther tries to shoot him with a gun and then all of the available Avengers (Beast, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Rulk, Vision, Thor, Falcon, Thing, Doc Strange, Valkyrie and Quiksilver) whack, crack, fathom and wham on him for a while.
Ow. I guess that’s why he doesn’t have a book in October.
So the tides turn, Namor Phoenixes out a bit, and in turn the Avengers call in Wanda to do her little magic dance against Namor. Whatever it is she does (it’s largely undefined, because magic) defeats Namor and causes the Phoenix Force to leave him — but at that exact moment, the other Phoenix members show up and absorb the energy evenly between them, thus making them that much more powerful. Luckily for the Avengers, Tony Stark opens a portal to Kung Fu Land because science and they escape.
Cue Professor Xavier and the weakest threat ever given to anyone ever via a psychic connection for no other reason than because, I guess. The full scene basically reads like this:
Prof X: Hey, you better stop!
Prof X: I mean it!
Prof X: I’m gonna get real mad!
Prof X: Come on, don’t be a dick about this!
So now the Avengers are in K’un Lun, preparing for a final battle of sorts, and the X-Men are down a man but that much stronger for it. As Spider-Man puts it,
Outside of Namor being taken off the table, the plot is moved forward just a smudge with little else to it, but that’s ok because punching is cool and stuff.
“Uncanny X-Men” #16 is a bit more simple. The Phoenix Five wage war on Sinister London, an underground city controlled by Mr Sinister created beneath Alaska as a big middle finger to Cyclops and a massive headgame. Sinister unleashes thousands upon thousands of monstrosities on the Five, including twisted X-Clones and variations on Scott’s wife Madelyne Pryor while his castle attacks from atop a krakoa.
Seriously. In the history of Gillen written fracases, this is the fracasiost. (Or something.)
Scott has the magnificent idea to split the X-Men up, with an overpowered Colossus matching wits with the Krakoa, Emma razing the countryside, Magik confining the city with magic and Namor destroying soldiers. However, between an army of clone kamikaze Gambits, evil cows and other such Sinister monstrosities, Sinister reigns victorious in a battle that was rigged from the start. Mostly thanks to evil cows.
At which point Magneto, Psylocke, Storm and Danger show up to save the day, only to find the city in ruins and the entire Phoenix Five laying in defeat. It’s not a great save, all things considered.
Finally, in “Avengers Academy” #33, we return to our story about the boy and his sentinel, and the evil lady who would see it destroyed because the machine is notorious for hunting down her species and murdering them at every possible opportunity. It’s like the Iron Giant, except in this story the Giant is incredibly racist and his death is 100% justified.
As our story begins, Juston has a brief memory in which he notes that he will never abandon his sentinel, defending to his father that it’s a “he” and not an “it.” This of course immediately segues to Emma Frost battling children in an attempt to destroy the machine, which should be easy because she’s an omnipotent being possessed by a firebird from space and yet somehow isn’t over in two pages. Alas, it does not, and the battle rages on via heavy exposition towards an obvious message before the Sentinel attempts to sacrifice its life to save Juston and BAM! Emma destroys the Sentinel and its parts rain down on the students. And the Iron Giant comparison continues.Continued below
Of course, that’s not the real point of the issue. No, not at all! “Avengers Academy” and “X-Men Legacy” have both somewhat turned into After School Specials as of late (is that an outdated joke?), and this story is about what makes a “monster.” Is it who we are born as, or who we choose to be? Is the sentinel evil because he was programmed to kill all mutants, or is he good because an additional program has pushed that objective down a few notches in his programming?
It’s also full of some heavy handed dialogue, like this:
I really like “Avengers Academy,” and I like comics that try and push positive messages about acceptance and tolerance, peace and understanding. All things considered, that’s a bit too on the nose, isn’t it? Not even a hint of subtlety here! More The Iron Giant, less The More You Know! please!
Alls well that ends well, however, as it is revealed that in the blink of an eye Quicksilver saved the Sentinel’s CPU before Emma could destroy it. 10 minutes later, the Sentinel is rebuilt, and Quicksilver runs off in the coolest running position ever:
Oh, and then Tigra announces that Avengers Academy is closing. Aw, shucks.
This week in “AvX” almost didn’t get written because holy crud was this a dull week for “AvX” stuff. I mean, fine, maybe every “AvX” week is a boring week, but when the coolest thing to happen in “AvX” is someone on the internet realizes that the combined names of the Phoenix Five can be an acronym for PENIS, I think that tells you something in terms of the event.
So, whatever, what happened?
Well, in “Avengers”, the Red Hulk tries to assassinate Cyclops.
In “Wolverine and the X-Men,” Colossus tries to take Kitty out on a date.
In “X-Men Legacy,” Rogue tries to rescue Ms. Marvel from Magik’s twisted limbo prison.
Wasn’t that exciting? Wasn’t it riveting? Congrats, “AvX!” You’re full of fail!
Oh, fine, I’m being a bit sassy. But in all reality, there really isn’t anything worthwhile to report. None of the stories have any major nuance and all end with the same basic point: the Phoenix Five are insane. This was something you could’ve understood from one panel in the main “AvX” title, but for whatever reason we got sixty pages reiterating the point this week in a bunch of one-off stories that don’t do anything to remove the stigma that tie-ins are inherently useless.
But hey, the Olympics Opening Ceremony was pretty fun, right? Did you see the part where Danny Boyle ripped off Alan Moore? Ha ha!
Only one “Avengers vs X-Men” book this week (thank the lucky stars!), but it is a big one folks. A doozy, in fact. After last week’s glorified fail-trifecta, this issue sees Jason Aaron return to the book to deliver a series of smashes, clashes and bashes as only Aaron and Kubert can.
Putting a focus on good ol’ Peter Parker (now the second time Aaron and Kubert have teamed up to work on his tragic form of heroism), the opening of “AvX” #9 operates mostly as a place-setting tool and a continuity cleanser. For starters, the events of last week’s “Avengers” are clarified as Rulk is dragged in post-assassination attempt to K’un Lun, and all of the stuff Bendis did in his initial “New Avengers” tie-in (featuring an Iron Fist/Phoenix mash-up) is beginning to pay-off as Spider-Man and Hope work on our kung fu. Numerous Avengers, such as Captain Britain, Giant-Man and Mockingbird are shown in recovery from the events of their respective tie-ins, Iron Man is shown researching ways to fix his massive screw-up from “AvX” #5 and — are you ready for the big one? — Thor is defeated by Colossus and Magik and thrown into her limbo volcano, as seen in “X-Men Legacy.”
Meanwhile, Emma Frost is shown as teetering on the edge of madness as the ramped up Phoenix powers push her psychic abilities over the edge and cause her to travel to some random dude’s house to kill him for something he did in 1987. This simply goes to fuel the fire that Emma is going to end up dead at the end of this story as the eventual Big Bad/poster-child for corruption, and the mirroring of her inability to handle the power against Jean Grey’s is actually quite ironic (and not just Alanis Morisette ironic).Continued below
The other big emotional of the story is that Black Panther and Storm get a divorce. Or, more specifically, Black Panther decides that Storm isn’t his wife, and he can do that because:
To be king!
Oh, sure, there are a few minor inconsistencies in who is appearing where (Spider-Woman appears in limbo, for example, when she’s actually in Danger-created prison over in Utopia), but hey, we can move beyond that.
So, let’s get to the plot (now 13 pages into the issue): the Avengers — or, more specifically, Cap, She-Hulk, Black Panther, Wolverine, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and what looks to be Daredevil in one panel (though he is never again seen) — are led into Limbo by turn-coat Soam and Charles Xavier, whose great threat against Cyclops last issue turns out to be not much more than “I’m going to get other people to do my work for me. Again.” Of course, Colossus and Magik are there waiting for them, and a massive brawl ensues. This is “Avengers vs X-Men” after all!
Because he’s so noble and awesome and the best character ever, Spider-Man decides to distract Colossus and Magik as a callback tribute to his heroism, allowing the rest of the Avengers to save those captured and escape. Spider-Man is then punched and punched and punched and punched and punched and punched by powers way outside of his average rogue gallery, and although he should be dead he does manage to trick Colossus and Magik into kicking each others ass with a classic Yojimbo mind-game.
While this does save his bacon and allow the Avengers to save him, it does distribute the Phoenix force to two players — the mentally unstable Emma Frost, who spent this issue asking Scott to kill her and then murdering some dude, and Scott himself, who now has the ability to tear through the dimensional walls to enter K’un Lun and say what every child dreads hearing a parent say:
Awww, but daaad, the party was just getting staaarrtteedddd!
(On the plus side, nice man-kini there, Cyclops. Looking good, buddy!)
This week in “AvX,” we only had one tie-in: “New Avengers” #29. It doesn’t offer much in the ways of — .. well, anything really. But hey, if you’re into what Bendis has been doing on the Avengers and really like his Illuminati concept, then have we got news for you!
The issue opens with Captain America calling a meeting of the Illuminati, the secret group that has been manipulating important Marvel events from behind the scenes, to hopefully bring all of the Avengers fighting X-Men nonsense to an end. It is Cap’s belief that, due to his personal connection with Namor via their collective Nazi battling from WWII, he and the rest of the Illuminati can bring an end to all of the violence. All of the Illuminati (sans Blackbolt) arrive, all of whom admit that Cap’s efforts are basically futile. Xavier sounds particularly exasperated, because he feels like a failure as a father. (Humorously enough, Xavier feels zero guilt over his failure as a father to his actual son.)
The meeting essentially falls apart as soon as it begins, as no one believes that Namor will arrive. Xavier storms out in disgust at himself, Reed Richards saunters out basically absolving himself of the entire ordeal, Strange magics away using magical magicness and Tony — amidst various quips and sass to seemingly lighten the otherwise dark mood — strolls off to go be suave or something somewhere. Seeing as Tony has been 90% useless during this event, having caused the birth of the Phoenix Five, he probably has better things to do.
Just as Cap has lost all hope, he sees Namor’s reflection in his shield. Apparently Namor had waited until everyone had left assuming this was some kind of trap. Namor stands in front of Cap, abs glistening in the moody light of the abandoned room of Funtime, Inc, absolutely immersed in what can only be describe as “gangnam style.” Cap attempts to plead to Namor’s abs for solidarity and a peaceful resolution, but Namor is having none of it. Bringing his open palm to Cap’s cheek, he whispers tenderly that there is no way to avoid the oncoming war, but here, in this private moment, the two of them might find a way to put differences behind for just a night before things go to far. Reluctantly and with nervous trepidation, Cap begins to unbuckle his belt buckle as Namor pulls him close and —Continued below
— Wait. No, that’s from my fan fic. I apologize! Sometimes I forget where I am. In actuality, Namor tells Cap to shove it, makes a sassy remark about how much more fun World War II was, and the end. Bleak, bleak, bleak. And that is the last time that Bendis will write the Illuminati during his run of the Avengers.
This week in Avengers versusing X-Men, we have three entries: the main title hits #10 and brings with it the third Infinite comic as well as “Avengers” #29, in which Bendis explains that thing you didn’t think needed explaining but apparently had to be explained anyway. Let’s start with that.
In “Avengers” #29, the X-Men decide that they need to take out the psychics the X-Men have to help in the battle against the Phoenix Five. This is based on a military technique developed by Nick Fury, whose battle plans have proven so well (like that time he launched a preemptive strike on a nation and caused an international incident). The team decides that Rachel Summers is their best option to take down out of the options of Emma Frost and Rachel Summers, and Wolverine goes off to a bar in the middle of nowhere to lure out the X-Men and Namor.
Now: A few months ago, you may remember “Wolverine and the X-Men” #12, in which a bunch of the Avengers and a bunch of the X-Men fight after Hope absconds with the Avengers to get away from the crazy Phoenix Five. The issue focuses on Rachel Summers and attempts to add a little bit of emotion to the overall war going on as Rachel has to decide what to do when confronting Hope. This issue revisits that sequence, but with a twist that ends up in a minor continuity error, albeit one that intrinsically doesn’t matter. Why? Because it’s a throw away tie-in!
So, outside of the various battles only mildly syncing up (you’d guess that Bendis and Aaron exchanged notes of who punches who), the big change comes with the epic revelation that Hope was actually Xavier in disguise all along. Apparently she was never there, and the entire thing was a ruse to take down Rachel. Of course, during the battle, Xavier has a change of heart as he witnesses the chaos around him and changes his mind, wiping the minds of everyone who was at the battle and leaving. This is of course in direct contrast with “Wolverine and the X-Men” #12 in which Rachel Summers has a change of heart and chooses to let Hope get away, no longer trusting implicitly in the wise rule of Cyclops the Great. It was a nice moment that showed the cracks in the wall, and now it apparently never happened.
Well, ok, it’s either that, or Xavier decided to be a hypocrite and plant false memories in everyone about what really happened, which in and of itself doesn’t seem to line up with what happens in “AvX” #10 and seems to point towards Xavier’s death being imminent (as he mentions that his dream is “all but dead”).
Either way, there is no resolution to the end of either story, because in “WatX” #12 everyone apparently just walks away and in “Avengers” #29 everyone falls asleep. A bit meta on the inevitable fan reaction to it all, no?
Ok, so we’ve had the appetizer. We’ve whet our appetite for Avengers fighting X-Men. Now it’s time for the main course: “Avengers X-Men” #10, and the end of Act 2.
As this issue opens, Cyclops has invaded K’un Lun in his wonderful Phoenix Banana Hammock. The Avengers try to get away from Hope by distracting him with Iron Fist (Cyclops blasts him), Iron Man (Cyclops smashes him), Hawkeye, Thing and Thor (Cyclops blasts them and steals Thing’s line) before Hope rides in on the back of a dragon. That’s right: the way to defeat an omnipotent power-crazed mutant god is with a dragon. After all, Bendis’ “New Avengers” tie-in was about how the Iron Fist could supposedly beat the Phoenix, right? All that build up, and here you go! The only problem is: the fight’s over in two seconds because it’s a newborn dragon, and was therefore no challenge. Oops.Continued below
Seriously. One blast. That’s all it took for this epic build-up of a scene.
However, Hope accidentally absorbs/imitates some of the power of the dragon and is confused about it (despite it being her mutant power) and, in a feat of strength, manages to steal some power from Wanda Maximoff as well, whose Chaos Magic no longer works against Cyclops. Fortunately for us, Hope + Dragon + Witch Powers = the strength to teleport punch Cyclops onto the surface of the moon. Damn, girl. Cyclops wakes up at the feet of the Watcher and decides he needs to go beat up Emma and steal her power for his own, because his power is not enough.
But what’s Emma been up to this entire issue?
Oh. Right. Just enslaving her own people. That’s normal. Magneto attempts to call her out on her behavior, but as he isn’t wearing his helmet she manages to screw with his brain and remind him, oh yeah, that’s why he made the helmet. As revenge, he mentally calls out to Xavier for help, who just said he was too upset to be part of any of this anymore in “Avengers” #29. Poor Chuck. No one gets a break in this book.
There’s also an “AvX Infinite” digital download that comes along with the issue, in which Tony Stark and Beast develop a hat that allows them to access Wanda Maxmioff’s brain, reveals her most intimate secrets and then try and exploit her chaos magic powers to reveal who can defeat the Phoenix Duo now. What they learn is that no matter which one of their power players they send, they’ll inevitably lose. Defeated, they resound to crushing disappointment until Hope pops her head in the room and allows Mark Waid to make an oh-so-clever line based on her arrival.
That’s just too easy. Come on, Mark. What is this, Hope Springs? (…heh.)
This week in Avengers fighting X-Men sees but one tie-in, ‘Uncanny X-Men’ #17, and it features only X-Men who are not fighting Avengers. In fact, this tie-in to the event is so loose that you’d hardly think they were related, and if not for the inclusion of the Phoenix Five you’d imagine the “AvX” banner could be done away with entirely.
So what happens? Well, Storm, Magneto, Danger and Psylocke break into Sinister’s compound to free the Phoenix Five, who have been contained by Sinister and his Madelyn Pryors, all of whom have stolen a piece of the Phoenix force from the Phoenix Five (say that five times fast) for Sinister’s use. This is his victory, so he says, even if it is an ultimately hollow and short-lived one. The strike team invades the city and do battle against the Pryors, who take Magneto hostage and use him as a weapon against the X-Men. However, Psylocke is able to step up her game and save the day due to the fact that she is a ninja. Don’t believe me? Here:
See? Ninja beats Phoenix-Powered Magneto-Wielding Psycho Clone.
The defeat of the Pryor in this situation causes a distraction to Sinister, which in turn allows Emma Frost to reconnect mentally with the Phoenix, and in doing so she convinces the Phoenix to return to the Phoenix Five, who then destroy all of the Pryors, laugh at Sinister and then burn him and his city to the ground, effectively wiping out his “species.” Or, in other words, committing genocide. But it’s ok, because it was genocide against a system/virus/evil guy.
Of course, in the beginning of the issue Sinister sets some of his drones to play Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod” to be the orchestra for the final fight. Here it is, in all it’s beauty:
It’s a wonderful piece, and depending how fast you read it actually syncs up quite well with the issue, with the final swell matching beautifully towards the revenge of the Phoenix and Sinister’s death. Of course, the downside to this is that it basically shows that you bought a $3.99 20-page comic and read it under five minutes. But hey, take the good with the bad, right?Continued below
This week in Avengers fighting X-Men, we’ve got two installments: the “AvX: Vs” series with it’s fifth installment, and a new “Wolverine and the X-Men.” We’ll start with the easy to pick apart one first, obviously.
This week in “AvX: Vs” gives us two tales of battle, starting with a bout between Hawkeye and Angel. What’s amusing about this is that the writer of the story, Matt Fraction, has actually written a story in which Hawkeye fights Angel back in the finale of “Utopia.” However, the catch to that is that back then, Hawkeye was Bullseye and Angel was Archangel — oh, yeah, and you never actually saw it. It was a page of grand standing before we moved on! So you have to imagine that, at least in some form or fashion, this is him “making up” for that. And if not, it’s a pretty hilarious coincidence regardless.
So Hawkeye, a long time Avenger who has recently discovered a fashion sense, and Angel, a mentally stunted recovering mutant, go at it in true battle-style. It’s actually pretty much exactly what you’d expect: Hawkeye fires some arrows, Angel fires some feathers (which, realistically, he probably shouldn’t know how to do given his whole mental condition), and Psylocke watches from afar. Angel has the upper hand here, quite literally, because he can fly above Hawkeye, but thanks to some cocky behavior Angel comes down to his level, at which point Hawkeye puts three arrows in each hand like Wolverine claws and starts beating him. It might be cool if Angel weren’t — again — currently mentally stunted, but since he is the whole scene just comes off as if Hawkeye was a dick. And the ending does little to change that, as Hawkeye spots Psylocke and threatens to shoot an arrow in her head, which of course Angel falls for — so Hawkeye shoots Angel in the gut and runs away.
Now, in defense of Hawkeye, he’s had a pretty rough time in “AvX,” having been burned alive in issue #7, also written by Fraction. However, with the end of the story seeing Emma Frost say “to be continued,” one would imagine that this comes before her attack on him, which really just means that Hawkeye is a bit of a bastard. But, hey, what else would you expect from a former villain, right?
Meanwhile, a second story finds Black Panther and Storm having an epic battle of power and mind. It starts with Storm fighting dirty and electrocuting her husband, but of course Panther is smart enough to have insulated himself against such an attack, to the point that he can actually discharge it back at her. This leaves Storm no other option than to come to the ground so she and her husband can punch each other in the face for a while. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s the definition of a marriage on the rocks, wouldn’t you?
So they punch, and they punch, and they punch, and they punch. They punch some more, and punch some more, and then they even punch some more. Of course, timed with all of this is an inner monologue from both character, thinking about the decisions that they have made and how they used to love one another, but are so glad that they didn’t have any children. (Seriously!) And it all comes to a head when, while charging for a running jump kick or something, Storm leaps into the Panthers arms for a smooch, before punching him in the face and being extracted by fellow X-Men. She then removes her wedding band and tosses it in the ground, because in this fight there are no winners.
It is worth reminding you that Black Panther and Storm have decided to get a divorce in the wake of Namor’s attack on Wakanda back in “AvX” #9, but this issue seems to contradict that in a big way, having their marriage dissolve at the end of their bout. Then again, “AvX: Vs” opens with the note that it is a completely worthless throwaway title where the only reason to pick it up is if you like the writer and/or artist, so hey, who gives a damn, right?Continued below
Now let’s discuss the book whose continuity is supposed to “matter:” “Wolverine and the X-Men” #15.
Taking place immediately after “AvX” #10, Wolverine and Hope are in a graveyard/memorial site at the Jean Grey school. Hope tells Logan that she should’ve come with him at the end of “Schism,” to which Logan responds “duh-doy.” He also casually alludes to the story of Jean Grey, the previous host of the Phoenix, specifically to assumedly foreshadow her involvement in the finale, before we move away from these two and discover that now a fraction of the X-Men and the Avengers are working together against Scott and Emma.
So what do we have with the new team-up? Well, Agent Brand, Beast, Iron Man, Iron Fist and Broo are all working together in Beast’s lab to figure out a way to defeat the Phoenix Two, and of course Broo is the one to figure out a plausible solution. Beast and Iron Man only have doctorates, not anything important that would qualify them as solve the situation.
Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde, fresh off her hot/terrible date with Colossus, sits with Iceman and muses about when their next potential date is, while their conversation slowly reveals what X-Men have now come over to the school in the wake of Cyclops’ epic fuck-up. The Cuckoos (much to the enjoyment of all teenage boys at the school) and the other members of Generation Hope have arrived, as well as others like Dust, Pixie and Martha Johnson, who apparently finds young Kid Apocalypse — er, I mean, Genesis quite fetching. It seems that as Year Two of the Wolverine School rolls along, we’re looking at a lot of teenage romance! Finally, a mainstream comic for the MTV generation!
Additionally, Professor X (dead man walking) and Rachel Summers, despite their epic battle just two weeks ago in “Avengers,” are now pals again and walking through the schools speaking telepathically to try and figure out a solution to their problem, only to run into Quentin Quire who is eaves dropping. In but a page, Xavier smack talks Quire and then “messes” with him by announcing that Quentin will be running for student council president, which is such a good zinger! Man, never underestimate modern comics ability to take a character who was an incredibly viable threat to a massive extent when first introduced and then dumb him down into the butt of every potential joke. (Er, uh, no offense, Aaron. Morrison did invite you to his massive party, after all.)
It also turns out that Husk and Toad are dating, and having secret disgusting rendezvous underneath the school in a bunch of caves. ‘Nuff said.
As the issue begins to close out, we get a few changes. Kid Gladiator is forced to leave with his father, but Warbird is left behind, which is convenient since she’s co-starring in “Astonishing X-Men.” Angel — again, despite being mentally stunted — gets to graduate and become a Graduate Assistant, which is a glorified title that means very, very little. Iceman and Wolverine resolve their differences, Idie and Hope reconnect after being apart for so long, and as it all closes out, Beast, Wolverine, Rachel, Iceman, Xavier and Angel march on to battle with Cyclops and Emma.
So, long story short, it’s pretty much the most interesting issue of the series we’ve had since “AvX” started and this book got mixed up in tie-ins and whatnot. As “AvX” closes out, expect a lot more interesting things to happen from this book in the future.
It’s a big week in “AvX”. After no titles last week, this week bombards us me with four titles that I have to now write about for you people. Three of them are relevant, one of them just kinda happens in the same timeline as the others but gets the “AvX” stamp anyway. Not that that’s surprising or anything, but you should at least know you only really need to read about the first three books. Stick around for the last one only if you find my writing style charming.
As “AvX” #11 opens, it is a dark time for the Marvel U. Most of the X-Men led by Rogue (who is currently trapped in an alternate universe in “X-Men Legacy”, for those wondering) have abandoned Scott and Emma, choosing to side with the Avengers after realizing that those two are batshit crazy. Meanwhile, Captain America seeks out the Hulk to ask him to help, which is funny because honestly — how the heck did we not notice that the Hulk was not part of this event? He’s in Avengers Assemble so he’s not “missing from continuity” or anything, and yet somehow we just … never noticed. I guess that just goes to show you what an essential tool the Hulk is to the Marvel U.Continued below
It’s also humorous to note that between “Avengers Assemble,” “Incredible Hulk” and “AvX,” there still isn’t a singular way for the Hulk to be written. You’d think with the particular Architect in charge of setting the Hulk up for Marvel NOW! that he might have called Bendis to say no, the Hulk doesn’t speak like a third-grader obsessed with third person narration, but I guess not.
So the Avengers have an army and march on Utopia, where Cyclops and Emma are having a bit of tiff on how to control the known universe (more on this later). Emma says burn everything to the ground, Cyclops says “uh, no, that’s crazy,” and just when things get really heated (eh? eh?), Xavier shows up on the beach, giving Scott one last chance to stand down. Scott being Scott, he of course says no to such a statement, choosing instead to do the sanest thing his idiot brain can come up with: he steals Emma’s portion of the Phoenix Force, kills Professor Xavier and goes all Dark Phoenix on everybody’s asses.
They say that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Reading “AvX”, you’d see that they’e correct. You know what else corrupts? Years upon years upon years of being a B-List hero, always playing second fiddle to a short angry Canadian with better catch phrases. You know what else corrupts? Spending years upon years upon years training to be a leader, only to have the man who trained you tell you you’re worthless, leading you on a downward spiral as you do your best to protect your people from extinction while they work against you until your best friend leaves to go form his own club on the other half of the country leaving you with glorified “reformed” villains.
You know what? Destroy them all, Cyclops. You deserve this.
Hey, anyone know what’s up with Hope? Or Scarlet Witch? Weren’t they supposed to be important? …. Anyone? …. Anyone at all?
In “Uncanny X-Men” #18, we see the scene of Cyclops and Emma from a different angle. “AvX” #11 featured them very vocally having it out with one another before realizing Xavier and the Avengers are on the beach, ready for a throwdown. In the “UXM” version, Scott and Emma are in their shared psychic space having a lovely dinner whilst in the midst of the battle. Of course, they still discuss the same basic thing — Emma wants to burn to the ground, Scott think’s that’s a bad idea — but with this, there’s a little twist: “AvX” sees Cyclops take Emma’s power selfishly to overthrow his enemies; “UXM” sees Cyclops take Emma’s power because she mentally cheated on him with Namor.
Let’s all pause for a second. Everybody, go grab your Grant Morrison “New X-Men” omnibi or trades or whatever you’ve got, and look up how Emma and Scott got together. I’ll even give you a hint: it involved mental infidelity. Are we all on the same page about how hypocritical it all is? Ok, cool. Especially since Namor and Emma already had a brief physical affair in the arc right before “AvX.” I mean, that’s a lot worse, isn’t it?
Ah well. On the plus side, the book features what may be Scott’s best line in quite a while:
Yeah! Tell ’em, Scotty! (He does the phrase more justice than Charlie Sheen ever did, that’s for sure.)
Oh, and we also get a sequence between Magik and Colossus, de-powered but still in their Phoenix costumes (more on that later) as Magik reveals that she tricked Colossus into becoming Cyttorak’s champion so that she could show him what it’s like to be a monster like her all the time. The ironic element of the matter is that by doing this to her own brother, she actually became more monstrous, so Colossus can’t actually relate to her on the monster element since he didn’t fuck over his own sister to prove some kind of point. Better luck next time, Magik!
In “New Avengers” #30, we begin to see the aftermath of “AvX” — before “AvX” actually ends mind you. In it, we see Emma being carted off by Daredevil, Luke Cage, Mockingbird and Thing, assumedly to take her to superhero jail. Of course, what’s notable about this is that Emma is in her “regular” “costume,” unlike her Phoenix brethren who have also had their asses kicked recently. I’m just glad they gave her time to change.Continued below
But, really, that doesn’t have much to do with anything. I’m just being finicky over the foolish illusion that continuity matters. Because it doesn’t.
The issue is really about Luke Cage, like so many issues of Brian Bendis’ “New Avengers” run. In this one, Luke Cage decides that he is LUKE CAGE NO MORE, choosing to leave the Avengers lifestyle in order to focus on his family. Can you blame him, though? What would you rather do: hang out with your hot wife and adorable daughter, or fight nazi robots and megalomaniac god beings? And yes, a bunch of other stuff happens. Purifiers show up to try and kill Emma and spend the issue spouting off biblical quotes while fighting the four previously mentioned New Avengers — but really, none of that matters. It’s kind of like a Prologue chapter from the A Song Of Ice And Fire series — all that really matters is the first page so you know where you are followed by the last page so you know what happens. Everything else in between is pure fluff.
Finally, we have “Wolverine and the X-Men” #16, which doesn’t really tie into “AvX” in any way that matters but does tell the “origin” story of Kade Kilgore, the current Black King of the Hellfire club. It turns out that he was a disturbed seven year old to the same extent that he’s a disturbed twelve year old, and after his father murdered his mother he went out into the world to murder random people to see if he could. It turns out he can, and he’s great at getting others to kill for him. So one evening when his father brings him to the Hellfire Club to have some alone time with two lovely young ladies, Kade convinces the other members of the Hellfire Club to kill his father — and once they do, he kills them all for the lulz. Kids these days, am I right?
However, if you want to know what the “AvX” tie-in element is, it’s this: Having repurposed the Hellfire Club into an organization that sells Sentinels, the Phoenix Five show up to dismantle all Sentinels and arrest the five young brats that comprise the Hellfire Club. That’s about it. The origin story I already relayed is retold in a fourth-wall breaking sequence by Kade while in prison, and then he breaks himself and his “friends” out as they march on to Salem Center in Westchester County. How? By being sinfully rich.
So, like I said, not really a tie-in. But hey, most tie-ins aren’t really tie-ins anyway. It all evens out in the end.
This week marks the second to last week of “AvX” tie-ins (I think) as “Avengers” #30 comes out, marking the end of Walter Simonson’s run on the book with Brian Bendis. Like most of this arc, though, it has little to do with anything, offering the tiniest bit of connection to the main action in a way that Marvel can justify — by their logic, not mine or assumedly yours — calling it a tie-in.
How do they do that? By an opening two-page spread of the final battle of X-Men and Avengers fighting Scott and Emma. We then immediately transition to a warehouse being infiltrated by Mr. Negative, who mentions that he is using the opportunity of Avengers fighting X-Men to get some new hardware. That’s it. That’s where the tie-in ends. It basically proves that tie-ins are a useless entity in this day and age, because hey, I might as well say Cabin in the Woods is a tie-in to the Avengers because at least they both have Chris Hemsworth and Joss Whedon.
BUT ANYWAY. The issue is dedicated to the relationship of Hawkeye and Spider-Woman who, in light of “Fear Itself”, started getting intimate. (I should also mention that this warehouse is full of leftover Nazi robots from “Fear Itself,” which is what Mr. Negative is after.) As the battle rages, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman don’t really banter so much as they argue. You see, Spider-Woman talked to Scarlet Witch on the ride home from the epic battle for existence against Crazy God Dark Phoenix Cyclops and hears that at one point years ago, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye had a bit of a relationship. Oh. My. God. HOW DARE HE! Doesn’t he know that he was never supposed to date anyone before he met Spider-Woman?Continued below
Relationships, am I right?
Anyway, as the battle dies down, Spider-Woman dials down the crazy and realizes, oh yeah, that shit doesn’t matter. Iron Man, Thor and Cap show up to help too little too late, and decide to ask how they got tipped off to the attack in the first place. Spider-Woman mentions that her old pal Madame Hydra called to let her know, and as it happens used this opportunity to pull of a heist of her own… of stuff from “Secret Invasion!” Oh snap, y’all! First Bendis tries to rob Fraction’s event, and then he robs his own, that big one he did! I guess when Bendis kept saying he had plans to tie all of his Avengers run together, he wasn’t kidding. We can only hope it doesn’t meander as much as all these “tie-ins” did.
It also, curiously enough, features a picture of Iron Man drawn as Apocalypse:
Does anyone else remember this? No? Well, ok.
This week marks the final week of Avengers fighting X-Men as —
Wait. Hold on. This week had “AvX” #12, but next week has an “AvX” tie-in of “Wolverine and the X-Men” and the beginning of “AvX: Consequences”, only to be followed by other tie-ins like “A-Babies v X-Baibes” and “A+X”? Aw, crap. I was looking forward to covering another series for once.
Alright, so this week marks another week of Avengers fighting X-Men as the main series comes to a dramatic conclusion, followed up by a very, very silly tie-in and a very, very serious one. Let’s give it our best:
As “Avengers vs X-Men” #12 opens, things are kind of screwed. The Phoenix has arrived on Earth and is fully inhabiting Scott Summers, who has become the new Dark Phoenix after being driven insane due to years and years and years on a dark road. The Avengers are essentially clueless now, as most people are who try to take down God, and Tony Stark has come up with the only ptoential solution: mixing science and faith. It’s like a summary of the finale of LOST, except at the end of this one an island gets condemned.
In the present, the Dark Phoenix is essentially schooling the Avengers, the X-Men and Planet Earth in general on what happen when you piss off a cosmic entity that can destroy planets and universes at a whim. He punches the Hulk from Sydney to Sacramento, reigns terror down on everywhere from Beijing to Paris in the blink of an eye, and is generally unstoppable all around. This is in stark contrast to the original Dark Phoenix storyline, where the X-Men could “defeat” her alone. I guess that’s what happens when you give an anal-retentive boy scout with parent-issues the power to shape and crush the universe as he sees fit. We really need to stop doing that in comics.
However, just when you forgot he ever had any involvement, NOVA happens to show up out of nowhere to tackle Dark Phoenix into the Tibet. You remember Nova, right? He’s the one who showed up at the beginning of the event to warn that the Phoenix was coming and then disappeared entirely from the rest of the story. Nova’s return seems basically like a way to get a character into a story enough to make him relevant and on people’s minds, yet not enough to actually do anything with him because, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as they hit the ground Nova is unconscious and out of the event.
However, as we see in flashbacks, Hope and Wanda are the “saviors” of the day, who despite hating each other at first and attacking each other, realize that by banding Wanda’s chaos magic with Hope’s mimic abilities, they can double the pleasure and double the fun to use magic and beat the Phoenix into submission. While they have a throwdown at first (elaborated more upon in “AvX: Vs” #6, which we’ll lampoon soon), the two of them are able to weaken the Dark Phoenix enough so that Scott can be taken out by every ineffective measure before: Wolverine claws, a Cap shield to the face, an Iron Man blast. Go figure, right? The only way to destroy a being with unlimited abilities is to just change the world around him so that a shield to the face can hurt again!Continued below
The defeat of Scott allows Hope to take over the Phoenix as a host and extract the entity from his being, which is essentially what Hope has been training to do all her life. Hope’s connection to the Phoenix was never something that wasn’t obvious, and while she does refuse to change her outfits she still seems to have fixated on a destiny, now fulfilled. Hope uses her abilities to fix all of the damage Scott caused (well, to an extent — hard to resurrect all those dead people who were killed during his rampage… but she puts out fires with her fire, like a David Bowie song!) before deciding that she is the White Phoenix, who can save everyone. I guess when possessed with the power of the Phoenix, she forgets that trying to save everyone with the Phoenix is what got everyone into this mess in the first place.
Luckily for the Avengers and the X-Men, Wanda is still on hand to talk Hope down from her crazypants position and remind her — oh yeah, the Phoenix is nuts! Together, the two decide to use the deus ex machina that was used back in “House of M” — no more Phoenix. And with their powers combined, they are Captain Planet! … which, of course, means that they save the planet.
The after effect of this, however, is the widespread reawakening of the mutant gene. New mutants begin springing up to be integrated into the population, which means that in the battle of Avengers vs X-Men, Cyclops wins on a technicality. See, his goal all along was to harness the Phoenix for the rebirth of the mutant population, so while he went crazy and got his ass kicked and murdered his father figure, his goal was ultimately reached — whereas the Avengers, who were trying to save the planet, kinda sorta failed given all the people he killed.
Way to go, Cyclops. You murdered innocent civilians, but you still won!
There are a few elements of the finale that tease future storylines once the main issues are all wrapped up. Cyclops is put into a ruby quartz cell while also being forced to wear shackles and a new special helmet to contain his blast. It’s a bit overkill, but can you blame them? While the mutant population is beginning to boom, there are still quite a few X-Men who were loyal to Cyclops who have gone missing (even if, at the last minute, they fought against him) — folks like Colossus, Magneto and Emma Frost, who was last scene arrested in “Avengers.” Captain America has begun to form the Uncanny Avengers, a mix of X-Men and Avengers to help show the world that mutants should be welcomed and integrated into the population. All the while, a few smaller things have taken place: Black Panther and Storm have separated, Iron Man has found faith, Nova is being welcome into the Avengers (why, I have no idea) and Utopia has been shut down and condemned.
However, as Cyclops points out, “there always has to be destruction before the rebirth,” and a single flower is shown growing on Utopia — just like the “AvX” prelude from Marvel’s “Point One” in which Nova fought Terrax before the coming of the Phoenix!! It all ties together!!!
But wait, how did “House of M” end again? Didn’t they say, “No More Mutants” and all the mutant energy went up into space but then all the energy collected and had to go somewhere and ended up in Michael Pointer during the sixth arc of “New Avengers”? Wouldn’t that inherently mean that the Phoenix power isn’t just “gone,” especially since it is a cosmic entity that serves a purpose within the universe and would therefore always need to exist in some capacity to continuously fullfil said purpose?
There you go, Marvel. Your “AvX” sequel awaits.
So “AvX” wraps up, but the fun doesn’t stop there. “AvX” continues with “Versus” #6, which features one big fight, and then a bunch of little ones. Here’s how it breaks down.
Kieron Gillen and Jim Cheung elaborate on the scene in which Hope and Wanda fight, which largely boils down to Gillen making jokes, Cheung churning out some pretty awesome artwork and one huge catfight. We get hilarity like this:Continued below
And symmetry like this:
Until it all ends with a truce. And by truce, I mean Captain America says stop, so they do, and then Hope knocks out Wanda with a sucker punch. OH HOPE!
The rest of the issue is the equivalent of the books Marvel usually puts out after an event to make fun of it, like last year’s Shame Itself.” We get Bendis and Jim Mahfood having Cyclops and Captain America with a verbal throwdown:
Kathryn and Stuart Immonen showing off every major scientist in the Marvel Universe having a science battle, Mike Deodato illustrating Havok kicking Captain America’ ass (which would make the upcoming “Uncanny Avengers” a bit weird), Domino beating the Hulk thanks to her luck powers in a scene written and illustrated by Ed McGuinness, Jarvis throwing Toad out of the Avengers tower window for being dirty in a scene written and illustrated by Christopher Hastings, the first team-up of Jason Aaron and Ramon Perez as Iceman beats up Iron Fist, and finally Dan Slott and Katie Cook showing how Squirrel Girl and Pixie caused the entire disaster by playing with voodoo dolls accidentally.
Oh, and this little number in which Jeph Loeb and Art Adams make YOU the winner by having Hawkeye fantasze about his girlfriend Spider-Woman have sexy fights with sexy X-Men:
Cue my complete and utter shock that this hasn’t been a bit more controversial on comic sites that usually have issues with superhero comics doing relatively sexist looks at superheroes like this. Or maybe this time it’s just sexy? I don’t know. I never do.
Then there’s “Uncanny X-Men” #19, this week’s serious entry into the “AvX” fracas (which I reviewed quite favorably here, if you’re interested). In this issue we’re given a direct look into the mind of Scott Summers as he reigns chaos upon the world, from the brief moments where he still retains his sanity and into the direct moment in which he becomes the Dark Phoenix in… “The Passion of Scott Summers.”
On the one hand, this is a Greatest Hits for Cyclops. We see his origin, from jumping out of a plane with his brother, his life in boarding school, his meeting with Xavier and Jean Grey, his early interactions with Wolverine, the loss of Jean Grey (the first time), his romance with Emma, Schism and his recent murder of Charles Xavier.
That in mind, it’s very easy to call this Cyclops’ Greatest Misses as well, as he brutally attacks his friends, levels cities, and — oh yeah — murders Charles Xavier. And we thought Emma would be the villain!
As know, however, Cyclops is defeated by the combined efforts of Hope and Wanda, and in the immediate wake of the battle he is detained by Beast, who reveals to him that the Phoenix’s defeat did result in the birth of the new mutant population, as we discussed in “AvX” #12. Now, even though Scott is morally and ethically lost and viewed as a monster by the general population of the world, let alone his friends and co-workers, he reveals that he’s just a wee bit crazy given that he’s proud of everything he’s done due to the results. That and a goofy smile.
But mostly the bit about how he did a lot of horrible things.
It’s a tricky line that Scott walks. We don’t want to call him a monster because he’s a childhood hero of ours, but at the same time it’s hard to condone any of his actions. Thank god this is just a silly comic book, though, so it’s not like we have to deal with these kinds of heavy subjects in the real world!