WARNING: This article contains spoilers!!!
Cyclops is no stranger to grief; as leader of the X-men, he’s lost friends, allies, and the trust of his mentor. Thanks to the Phoenix force and its destructive influence, he’s even lost his wife. Now the Avengers have found that the Phoenix force is returning to earth, and everyone believes it is coming for Hope, the girl that Cable saved during the Messiah War. But is she really the mutant messiah that everyone thinks she is?
The Avengers are convinced so and won’t be turned away when they literally show up at the X-men’s door ready for a full-scale war. The X-men believe hope is the only thing that will prevent their extinction and are willing to die to protect her. Hope starts manifesting Phoenix powers in Round 1, long before the cosmic entity reaches Earth, and becomes convinced that she must try to outrun her fate.
But the battle over Hope and the Phoenix force feels a lot like random slap fights thrown together due to the rushed nature of this event. The biggest moment so far happens in Round 2 when Magneto hurls Colossus through the SHIELD Helicarrier. Even when the Phoenix Force finally arrives during Round 5 and we learn that it isn’t possessing Hope after all, the event moves too fast to really have the impact of previous Marvel game-changers.
Recent events like Secret Invasion and Fear Itself have been distinguished by their careful writing and detailed artwork. But Avengers vs. X-men lacks much that its predecessors had down. Fear Itself, last years major event, had the stunning visuals of Stuart Immonen while AVX is being covered by Marvel mainstay John Romita Jr. Romita Jr. has had a long-standing run with Marvel carrying titles like Daredevil and Spider-man, but while his style on regular titles feels fine, something about it seems to break down with both the grand scale and the rate of release for this huge event (issues of AVX come out biweekly rather than the usual monthly release).
The writing for Avengers vs. X-men feels fresh and hits hard with situations that longtime fans can appreciate. However, AVX seems to be the breaking point for Marvel’s model of event releases. The model of years past is that each individual event like AVX receives its own seven to nine issue title while regular titles like Iron Man and Spider-man have AVX banners and tie into the major events of the grand scale title. However, this event seems to be doing the opposite; the major title misses all of the action that is happening in the regular title tie-ins. Round 3 of AVX passed far too quickly with single shots of characters fighting before moving on to… well, single shots of other characters fighting. The pacing forces the reader to feel like they are watching the event on television rather than feel immersed in it.
By Round 5 we have found that the Phoenix force has possessed five different X-men because of meddling by Tony Stark that drove the Phoenix apart. Now instead of one problem, the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have six. Marvel is moving this event quickly to the Cosmic side of its titles, much the way it made Uncanny X-Force an event driven by the Celestials (an unknowable cosmic race). While seeing Cyclops possessed by the Phoenix seems unbelievable and exciting, we have to wonder how Hope is supposed to fit into this story that has been building around her since 2009. Will three years’ worth of anticipation fizzle out in the return of the fiery Phoenix?
Possibly Related Posts:
- Sneak Peek – New Sci-Fi Film
- Returning To The Old Republic
- Being a Vampire Sucks
- Arkham Horror: Maddeningly Fun and Difficult
- Top 5 Worst Sci-Fi Films