Avengers Versus X-Men Act Two (Issues 6-8)
Written by: Hickman, Fraction, Bendis
Art by: Coipel, Morales, Kubert, Dell, Martin
Well we’re a little late, but as they say better late than never, back on July 18th the eighth issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men was released. This issue closed out the second act of this year’s Marvel crossover event. Much like the first act there were ups and downs to the story telling, and the tie-ins usually felt forced or out of place. On a whole act two was an improvement in several aspects. The big reveal at the end of the previous act was the Phoenix Five. As any X-Men fan knows, the Phoenix usually just possesses whatever redhead it can find. Only this time things went wrong and it got broken into five parts, each going to a different member of the X-Men, none of which have red hair.
But we already knew that, it happened back in issue five, so nothing new there. If you haven’t been reading since then though you probably don’t know that the Phoenix Five decided to make the world a better place, they’re stopping bad guys, fixing clients all that stuff like they’re gods or something. Oh they also still hate the Avengers and try very hard to capture and detain them. Much like the Avengers are doing with the non-Phoenix powered mutants. Most of this act has been pre and post battle stuff. We see the Avengers coming up with plans, and the X-Men having some internal problems because so many of them don’t trust the Phoenix. All in all it’s interesting, but not enough so. Every issue is too similar for my taste, which is strange since it’s so many different writers.
I do like what they’re doing with the story, and at certain points you only really see the impact in the tie-ins. That’s a problem though, I don’t want to have to go read a bunch of other books to find out what the outcome is. I understand you can only fit so much into a single issue, but if you can’t fit everything you need to get the point across then you’re doing it wrong. Not to mention with the shipping of various issues being completely out of order, and making it hard to know what you’re reading. In the main AVX books Hope just recently went to the mystical city of K’un-L’un. But we found out in June that she was there, really if you’re going to have books run that closely together release them in better order. If I hadn’t already known Hope made it to K’un-L’un while reading AVX it would have been a much tenser situation not knowing what would happen.
Release schedule aside, the story has been a little slow these past few issues. It started out with so much fighting and now with the X-Men being nearly unstoppable it forces the Avengers, who lets face it just punch people till they give up, into being sneaky and it doesn’t always work for some of these characters. I have however enjoyed seeing the reactions of the characters, like the hatred and fear the mutants have for the Scarlet Witch. Not only was she responsible for nearly causing their entire race to go extinct she is the only person with the power to harm the Phoenix Five. Even with the disappointments in these series, I have hope for the last Act. There are 4 issues left, one of which was released yesterday. And with all the build up and planning that both sides keep doing if these final issues are anything but mind blowing then Marvel should probably give up on these crossovers, even though they never will.
As we all know, comics aren’t all about the written story, they’re equally about the artwork. Anyone who read the review of Avengers Vs. X-Men Act One knows I’m not a fan of John Romita Jr. I just think he’s overrated and his artwork is dated. He’s not bad, definitely way better than I am, but still his stuff doesn’t look good for a big event like this. Olivier Coipel with Mark Morales and Adam Kubert with John Dell on art duties for Act Two, and Kubert I believe is continuing on through Act Three, not sure about Coipel though. Regardless I thought the artwork was a huge improvement and enjoyed it a whole lot more. Like everyone I had a list of names I would have loved to see doing these books, like Greg Capullo who got an offer for it prior to taking the job doing Batman over at DC. I’ve said it before and it still holds true, when you get these big event comics, especially one that ships as frequently as AVX has, quality isn’t at it’s highest. So the artwork isn’t the greatest either of these artists have done in the past, but it’s good, and gets the story across and that’s the most important thing.
On to the tie-ins, as mentioned earlier on they felt a little forced. Like it was decided after the fact to add them in. Some of that might have to do with a lot of the aftermath from the main story happening in these books. I will say some highlights for me were the New Avengers 28 which I found entertaining, especially where Hawkeye was concerned. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you have been avoiding the books because it’s a tie-in give that one a shot. It’s a good stand alone story. The next one would be Wolverine and the X-Men 14, which actually has no Wolverine in it at all, but plenty of interesting story anyway. We get to see what’s happening at the Jean Grey School and how things aren’t going so well with most of the staff off fighting. We also get an interesting date between Phoenix powered Colossus and Kitty. It was one of the better issues of Wolverine and the X-Men recently.
One last thing I’d like to touch on before we wrap this up is about the Phoenix Five and how they’re “Making the world better”. They say multiple times that they’re using their powers to change the world, turning deserts into something more habitable. The problem is if they’re changing the world like that what about all ecosystems of those areas? Or for that matter the overall effect it would have on the rest of the planet. Anyone who read the last Silver Surfer limited series knows this was just done by the High Evolutionary and all the problems about it were pointed out. So far we haven’t had any of that in AVX and it makes me wonder if we ever will. The Phoenix Five may be helping some of the world, but they’re screwing over the rest of it.
To finish up, over all AVX is decent not necessarily decent enough to pick up each and every issue unless you’re a die hard fan or something. You’re probably better off waiting for the trades and reading it that way. It will hopefully flow much better. Besides if you’ve followed Marvel news recently we already know the basic outcome of this due to the Marvel NOW teasers that have been released over the last several weeks. The only real surprise left is how they’re going to get to that conclusion. And on that note make sure to check back for the review of the final act of Avengers Vs. X-Men.