From the ashes, life is reborn. This metaphor applies fairly closely to how Marvel has handled the Avengers vs X-men (AvX) comic book event for 2012. Referring back to the House of M and Dark Pheonix events that rocked the Marvel U by essentially reducing the mutant population to a handful of stragglers, AvX brings back those key players into a story unlike any other.
The premise follows the Avengers and X-men as they both attempt to intercept the Phoenix Force as it approaches the earth. Last time, Jean Grey under the influence of the Dark Phoenix, became nigh unstoppable but was ultimately defeated causing the Phoenix force to return to the cosmos. As it arrives back at the Earth, the Avengers band together to destroy the powerful and evil entity before it causes more harm than good. Meanwhile, the X-men lead by Cyclops on Utopia, rush to welcome the Phoenix and use its power for the supposed god. Even I’m worn out by the premise and word ‘phoenix’ already.
Through the AvX saga, multiple marvel writers and artists were tapped to flesh out the story from issue to issue. These ‘dream teams’ all met in one place and worked out the initial plot, and each author was giving a few issues to write. This method is very unique as a typical arc is written by one author with a head penciler and a few guests as it progresses. However, changing from one author and penciler from one issue to the next, made the 12 issue series feel a bit rushed and disjointed, moreso than other events like Dark Reign and Siege.
The most standout issue involved Spider-man against Colossus and Magik, siblings both granted with different abilities, and the ultimate goal of eradicating the Phoenix force from the 5 X-men who had gained the power. Told through Spidey’s perspective, his brutal beating taken from these two is enough to make anyone cringe as the pages turned.
Ultimately, the event was has lasting ramifications on the marvel universe, at least the 616 universe, as the appearance of the Phoenix and manifestation within Scott Summers lead to the ultimate battle between him and Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch and Hope, the first mutant born after M-day. Without giving the ending away, the death of major characters and introduction of old ones again may provide more story variety in the future, especially with the upcoming release of Uncanny Avengers (review in the future).
If you’re suffering from event fatigue, this may be a huge miss for you, however for those who felt Fear Itself suffered from lack of issues, this may fill that craving. Check out issues from some of my favorite authors (Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction) or do it for the artwork alone, either way theres something for everyone.
Review 4 out of 5