Comic: Avengers vs X-Men #11

Written By: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Kickman and Matt Fraction

Pencils By: Oliver Coipel

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Release Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (VIA COMIXOLOGY)

Rating: ★★★★½

We’re down to two Phoenix powered mutants, Scott Summers and Emma Frost and as the two discuss who might take out who, to gain the pure Phoenix power, the Avengers and X-Men unite to make the last stand. A villain falls and a hero dies. It’s taken 11 issues of this miniseries (as well as multiple other comics) but Avengers vs. X-men finally delivers a chapter with real clout and it has events that feel every bit as important as this summer crossover has been promising.

From the very first page where Captain America is asking an unknown character for help, this issue feels special. The situation suddenly feels dire, Cap’s words feel genuine and the anticipation of who he’s asking help for is built fantastically with the reveal of who he’s talking to feeling like a totally kick ass pay off, rather than an “oh that guy” moment like I was worried it would be.

The coming together of heroes continues when Rogue approaches Charles Xavier, asking to join the fight. Incidentally Rogue looks more like the Rogue I know and love here than she has in bloody years. Green costume and brown jacket combo joygasm much? Man I love Rogue!! But that’s not all. It seems that all of the X-Men have finally cottoned on to the fact Scott Summers is losing his shit and Avengers vs. X-Men becomes Avengers and X-Men vs. Scott Summers and Emma Frost.

This whole issue builds with all the things that this epic event has been missing out on for the most part. Suddenly everything in these pages feels important. The right people feel dangerous and what we love the X-Men for is used with absolute perfection. The X-Men have been and always will be a family. Brothers, sisters, lovers, bad seeds, idealists and realists. They are all children of the atom and even when fists are flying and blasts are firing they still love one another. It’s these same qualities that have held this summer event back from having an impact because the fights between heroes on show here, while pretty, have no weight because you know no one is going to get hurt and no one is going to take that killer blow. Well the penultimate issue of  AvX puts the kid gloves down and now it’s about stopping those who stand in the way.

The father and son themes are played on heavily here as Charles Xavier calmly arrives on Scott Summer’s doorstep to give him one last chance to stop all this Phoenix nonsense before he has to shut him down. I like this Xavier. It harks backs to when he threatened Magneto with the same thing after Eric removed Wolverine’s adamantium in the 90s and Charlie X shut his friend down in dark, disturbing ways. The drama between hero gone bad Scott and mentor here to clean up his mess Charles, suddenly gives AvX a spine and when the shit kicks off you know this is a battle that isn’t going to end well for somebody.

Yeah, okay, sure. There’s a few side battles here that feel about as hollow as all the others in the previous AvX issues, Storm and Emma Frost is a pretty dull side order, but Coipel’s art here is the best AvX has offered so far and it just makes everything okay. The main focus, which almost becomes Everyone vs Scott Summers, is tight. He gets everything thrown at him from anger, disappointment and just plain frustration. These characters are hurt by what Scott has done and it’s gone too far now.

To say any more about this wonderful issue would be mean because anything beyond this point is heavy in the way of spoilers. I will say the death is about as felt as a death in an X-Men comic can be (of course they’ll be back one day) and the final set up for the finale for the last issue is enough to be excited about. I can see issue #11 being the very best issue in this entire 12 issue run and I’d imagine next issue won’t bring too much in the way of shocks but more just going over everything that’s happened as this mess gets cleared up for Marvel: Now. In all, Avengers vs. X-Men has been a mixed bag of fun, silly, dumb, boring and not following through but if you are as good as your latest issue, AvX is currently exactly what I’d hoped this event would be.

See you next issue folks for the FINALE and an overview of the series. Lets see how Marvel will leave their universe after all of this playfighting.

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This article was first posted on September 12, 2012