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Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #2

And lo, it was on like Donkey Kong! The epic battle of the Avengers vs. the X-Men has begun! Friend against friend! Husband against wife! Hero against hero! And with that, I’ve pretty much summed up the entire comic. The two teams come to blows very quickly in this issue, and it’s a little bit disappointing. I realize all of these characters are superheroes, and so fighting just comes natural to them. But holy cow does every single character just jump straight into a big brawl without a moment’s hesitation. All of the motivation behind the fighting seems to have dried up.

Avengers vs. X-Men #2

This is just a big, dumb fight issue with far too many characters to keep track of any of them. Though this comic tries its hardest. No wonder Marvel is also publishing a spin-off title that is nothing but fights – because none of them actually happen in this issue.

Comic rating: 4/5: Good.

But none of that is to say this was a bad issue. It’s still a very entertaining comic, and the end reveals that maybe we won’t just have 12 issues of boring fisticuffs. Because quite honestly, if this is all we can expect from the fights for this series, then count me out. This’ll be the most boring Big Event comic ever. Very little of the characters’ histories with one another are touched upon when they come to blows, and most of the fights happen off panel – or in that other comic book. And I’m not even sure if that spin-off comic is even out yet.

So basically what we get here are a few very short vignettes about fights that don’t happen in this comic, and then a medium-sized twist for the ending to catapult us into next issue. Cyclops and Captain America have another discussion during the fighting, but it’s not as good as the one last issue that kicked off the fight. But then this comic has a new scripter, so that could explain it.

That would also explain the silly purple prose found throughout the issue…Join me after the jump for a full synopsis, spoilers and more hot Avenger on X -Men action!

Sadly, I’m once again going to have to say that John Romita Jr’s art in this issue is disappointing. It’s fairly straightforward and easy to tell which characters are which, but it just looks so rushed and sloppy. Characters in the background get little more than squiggles for their faces, and characters in the foreground still looked hurried. This is far from his best work.

Also, for those curious, I’m totally on the side of the X-Men.

We open exactly where we left off, with the X-Men on the beach looking up at a giant helicarrier, which is not only carrying the Avengers, but is also launching several fighter jets for some reason. I don’t think they ever show up again in the comic. Are there civilian pilots flying those? SHIELD agents? Who knows. It’s an awesome picture at least.

Now I want the two bases to fight! Utopia vs. Helicarrier!

On the beach, Storm is mad at Cyclops for what he’s done. But Cyclops points out that the Avengers came after them, the Avengers were the ones with the ultimatum trying to take one of the X-Men into custody (that would be Hope). Cyclops then rallies the various X-Men on the beach by proclaiming that the Avengers only ever saw the X-Men as “ugly stepchildren”. And as soon as the X-Men get a Messiah of their own, the Avengers want to swoop in and take her! It’s an acceptable rallying speech.

Up on the helicarrier, the Avengers are mostly fretting about what this means. Iron Fist is upset that Cyclops would start a fight with the various X-children so close. Iron Man points out that Cyclops is playing them, trying to make the Avengers look like bullies. Luke Cage asks why nobody told him that Cyclops was so crazy. Wolverine points out that he’s been saying it to anyone who would listen.

And there we may have the entire crux of this story…but I’ll get to it later. Right now: INCOMING!!

Thing stuff fanboy dreams are made of

That’s just plain awesome. No doubt Marvel was saving that bit of badassery for this series.

So yeah, Colossus sets about wrecking house, with most of the Avengers abandoning ship. But as he’s smashing his way through the floating fortress, he’s attacked from behind by the Red Hulk! Soon it’s a battle of the heavyweights…for about a panel or two. That’s all we get of this potentially epic fight. Who wouldn’t want to see the Red Hulk face off against Colossusnaut? That Colossus + Juggernaut for those of you who don’t know that Colossus has the power of the Juggernaut now. Yay comics!

Anyway, the Avengers who can’t fly end up falling into the ocean, where Namor the Sub-Mariner is waiting for them. He swims up and punches the Thing! But sadly, absolutely no mention is made of the fact that the Thing and the Sub-Mariner have been friends/enemies for years! Nope, we just go straight to that punch. Also, here’s some of that purple prose I mentioned. Writer Jason Aaron adds a little bit of this color to each face off. It’s supposed to be poetic, but is kind of silly.

Talk about a ‘poetry slam’

Namor is then cold-clocked by Luke Cage, and those two start duking it out underwater.

Back on the beach, the X-Men are dealing with the flying Avengers who didn’t fall into the ocean. Cyclops tells Emma Frost to get Hope to safety. Then he’s struck in the head by Captain America’s shield. Let’s hope Cyclops’ mask doubles as a helmet, because ouch! Cap then marches to the beach with a chorus line of Avengers. It looks rather silly at first – and you can see what I mean by sloppy art – but the page itself is pretty badass.

Now everybody high kick!

We cut upstairs to Utopia, where the teenagers of Generation Hope and some of the X-students are watching the fight from the safety of one of the buildings. Emma shows up with Hope, who wants to be down in the fight because they’re all fighting because of her. Emma tells her no, and tells the other students to keep an eye on Hope. Emma then heads outside, only to get blasted by Iron Man as soon as she’s out the door. They used to have a thing, and Iron Man hopes that Emma will let him make it up to her with dinner one of these days.

Emma turns to diamond and punches him in the stomach – so no such luck for Tony. Then he says he’ll settle for Emma telling her boyfriend to stop being a lunatic. They didn’t come to arrest the girl, they want to help. Emma points out that the ‘girl’ has a name. And the X-Men never asked for their help. Iron Man is ready to dish out some more damage when he gets a pretty important warning: he has a visitor.

Magneto, Master of Magnets, welcomes the Avengers…to die!!

But alas, we are denied this fight!

Though, again, I do believe it’s one of the fights that is featured in the spin-off title I keep mentioning. I saw a few preview pages, and to spoil it for you: Iron Man’s suit isn’t actually made of iron. He’s far too hi tech these days to actually use plain, ordinary metal. So no, Magneto cannot simply tear the suit off of Iron Man. Sorry to spoil all the fun.

We cut to a white-haired guy sitting and watching the fight on the news. It seems some news copter is flying over Utopia. Good job, helicarrier. Way to keep the sky clear of civilians. At any rate, this white-haired guy turns out to be Quicksilver, who decides to speed across the ocean and join in the fight.

That is one ugly green costume

Don’t you just love family reunions? Also, in deciding to join the fight, Quicksilver left his sister the Scarlet Witch behind. She’s still watching the news for a moment, before she shuts off the TV and leaves the room. We get a glimpse of her diary, which has a drawing of the Phoenix and the phrase, “Wanda’s Dream Journal: This is how the world ends!” Ooooo, spooky!

We cut back to the fight on the beach, which is mostly just a bunch of random brawling at this point. I see Spider-Man, Warpath, Daredevil, Domino, Sunfire, Magma, and a few others. Most importantly though, we focus on Wolverine and what the X-Men think of Wolverine fighting against them. It’s a pretty cool scene, for the entire two panels that it lasts.

Benverine Arnold

Then we get three panels of Storm arguing with the Black Panther. They are husband and wife, and she’s mad that he didn’t tell her this would happen. He replies that she should have told him that the X-Men had a girl that could blow up planets. Storm wants to end this, but Panther says there is only one way to end this. Storm gets angry and calls him “pigheaded”, and that this is why they have a marriage counselor.

This little scene annoyed me, and I mentioned it earlier: all of these characters jump into the fight pretty damn quickly without any regard for anything but what side they are on. You’re telling me Black Panther and Storm, a married couple, can’t put aside this argument and discuss this like rational adults? Apparently not. She’s X-Men, he’s Avengers, and that’s all that matters – to him, at least. Everyone seems to be just blindly following the side of their leader.

We cut yet again back to Hope, who still wants to get into the fight. Her friends tell her not to go, so Hope just starts beating up her friends. What a nice young girl.

Down on the beach, we finally check back in with Cyclops and Captain America. Their fight is basically just Cyclops blasting Cap’s shield while the two talk. Though considering Cyclops’ optic blasts are constantly in the ‘on’ position, I guess this is just a matter of Cyclops looking at Captain America really, really hard.

I’m dismayed that Cyclops so quickly jumps to calling Cap a ‘fascist.’

Both of these guys played the ‘Facist’ and ‘Dead Wife’ cards too soon

And I think that picture explains things pretty clearly. If Cap really just wanted to help, he should have come to talk, not come loaded to fight with a whole team of Avengers. And Cap tries too easily to play the ‘think of your dead wife’ card. Cyclops doesn’t take the bait. Cyclops also gets a dig in at Wolverine.

I also mentioned that earlier. Remember in the first issue, when Captain America went to consult with Wolverine about what they should do about Hope and Cyclops? Well if you remember the Schism from last year, Wolverine has a pretty low opinion of Cyclops these days. He kind of hates the guy. So of course Wolverine’s opinion of Cyclops is going to be biased when Cap asks for that opinion. So could this entire brawl be Wolverine’s fault? Wolverine let his anger towards Cyclops cloud his judgement, a judgement that Captain America asked for before going to war.

Perhaps if Cap hadn’t asked for Wolverine’s advice, he would have shown up at Utopia like a gentleman and they could have talked all of this out. I think Wolverine has some kind of agenda here. A get-back-at-Cyclops agenda.

Anyway, Cap THWACKS Cyclops again with his shield.

Cap is really focusing on Cyclops’ head

We then do a little montage of all the fights: Red Hulk vs. Colossus, Namor vs. Thing and Cage, Iron Man vs. Dr. Nemesis. There are a few brawls going on. Cyclops tries to use Magik to open a getaway through the Limbo dimension, and Dr. Strange follows her in – but it was a trap for Strange. So there’s another fight that happens off-panel. There’s very little actual fighting in this issue. It’s all just glimpses of fighting.

But you know who isn’t fighting? Wolverine! He’s snuck away from the battle to slip into Utopia undetected. I guess those X-Men who were calling him “traitor” must have fallen for the old “Look over there!” ruse.  And he’s not alone.

The real stars of the show

Gotta love the comedic relief. This little scene works. Wolverine would definitely try something like this, and Spider-Man would definitely tag along.

They make it upstairs (easily enough) and find that Hope has indeed beat up all her friends. She can feel the Phoenix power inside herself growing. Once upstairs, Wolverine doesn’t hesitate to go through with his secret agenda of killing Hope. Spider-Man asks what Wolverine thinks he’s doing, and Wolverine pops his claws and says “What has to be done.”

Hope then goes all Phoenix and fries Wolverine alive.

This is what traitors get!

A moment later, the X-Men and Avengers both burst into the room – from different doors, no less. Did they all just stop the fight and then take separate routes to get up to the room where Hope was hiding? I guess. Hope has flown the coop, and now seems fully possessed by the Phoenix as she runs across the ocean away from Utopia.

Up in space, meanwhile, Beast has led a team of Avengers to try to stop the cosmic Phoenix. Beast looks adorable in his little space car.

Surviving the vacuum of space is optional

And that’s how the issue ends, with the Avengers team ready to face down the Phoenix.

All in all, it was a good issue. It flowed nicely, and was entertaining, but there was very little depth. All of the fights take place either off-panel or in another comic book. How boring. But at the same time, if we played the fights out it would take 3 or 4 issues. Nobody wants to sit through that. So I suppose I would rather read actual story than just boring fighting, so I should stop complaining. Maybe I’ll pick up that spin-off title to see what all the fuss is about.

Otherwise, this Big Event is definitely still moving right along. More power to it.

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About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on April 19, 2012, in Avengers, Comics, Marvel, Reviews, Spider-Man, X-Men and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Brittany Mendiola

    I’ve been wondering what was happening with the Avengers vs. X-Men arc. I had a feeling Hope would end up playing host to the Phoenix. But, all the heroes just jumped into fighting? Perhaps, it’s because they feel their trust was betrayed…maybe? I dunno. I haven’t read it. But I do agree with you. I do like an actual story. With awesome fighting!

    • Hope does seem to be the #1 pick for who will be host…but I think there are some surprises in store. Hope seems too obvious at this point. But yeah, everybody just jumped into the fight. But I don’t think there was any motivation beyond “Cap or Cyclops told us to fight, so let’s fight!”

      • Brittany Mendiola

        Yeah, I see what you mean.It sounds like blind faith. One of those “I’ve know him for years so he must be right!” kinda things.

        But the last comic I read was Fear Itself book 6. So, I think I got a lot of catching up to do.

  2. As we can all imagine, the Phoenix entity likely holds a bit of a grudge against Wolverine, what with stabbing her in the chest while she occupied Jean and all.

    Did it really have to be done? Really? If I were the Phoenix, I’d likely hate both Cyclops AND Logan for what they did to Jean. That’s what I’m predicting. Sins of the past coming back to haunt everyone.

    My prediction is that Jean will return in the end and set everything right. Far-fetched, perhaps, but thematically, it’s brilliant. Years of upheaval and distrust sown between not just the X-Men, but their allies and friends, including Xavier. All of this since the death of Jean Grey, which severely darkened the tone of the titles. And a major title such as this should really have that sort of continuity-altering affect at the end.

    • Marvel is claiming that there will be wide-ranging changes by the end of this, signified by the fact that Brian Michael Bendis’ tenure on The Avengers comes to an end later this year, as well as other major writer changes. Something big is in the offing.

      Bigger than Jean Grey coming back from the dead, though I kind of anticipate that happening too.

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