Written By: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Kickman and Matt Fraction
Pencils By: Adam Kubert
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (VIA COMIXOLOGY)
Phoenix-Cyclops has finally found Hope and Avengers vs. X-Men opens up with the promise that this is ‘The Beginning of the End’. For a fair few pages it even feels like that could be true, given Cyclop’s terminator-like pursuit of Hope and even a squabble with Iron Man that feels like it might be a last stand for the red and gold genius. Xavier seems to be ready to kick Scott’s ass, Emma Frost seems to be on the edge of going crazy evil and… hey wait a minute, it’s been like this for like three issues now. Once again, AvX has tricked me. I thought it was finally going for the big epic climax but nope, its just treading water again.
Everything feels so hollow in this event at this point. For all the spectacle and the pretty artwork, we’re given nothing of any real substance Cyclops is evil and will stop at nothing to get Hope, well except kill anyone, use his powers for anything but shock and awe and decide slowly chasing someone is better than just taking them. He’s desperate to get to Hope but pisses about with fights we know don’t even hurt him (and once again doesn’t kill his attackers). Tony Stark is doing something to fix all this Phoenix stuff but every time we are told he’s worked it out the next issue rolls around and he’s still working on it. There’s just too much built up and when stuff plays out it proves to be nothing. This week’s Iron Fist stuff with the dragon that can hurt a Phoenix came and went in the blink of an eye and even though we’re left with enough to think it might help towards the endgame , I just wish everything was more focused and felt less like a random act that might just come into play later on. AvX just seems to need more of what it doesn’t have and less of what it does. Less pissing about. More genuine shocks. Less running and hiding and more characters getting taken out. Less throwing every element of Marvel into the mix (this week we even got a Watcher) and more focusing on who this story is actually about. Avengers vs X-Men seems to be a story that would have fit in three issues at this point but Marvel have just let it get away from them.
I’ve been down on AvX for a while now but man, nothing is really happening here. Sure there’s a hint Magneto might do something, all the Iron Fist elements might actually amount to something else (did I mention that there’s a dragon in this issue) and I can’t deny my intrigue of just how crazy Emma Frost is going to go soon but every single issue of this event is the same. Lots of hints, lots of promise and then a big not so shocking moment. Then we get another hint Tony Stark might have worked out something to beat the Phoenix
Five Two and then it’s ‘To Be Continued’. In fact to add more salt to the wounds this thing doesn’t continue for another four weeks this time. Jeez Marvel, talk about drag it out. On top of that you know that if Cyclops comes out alive at the end of this, all of his wrong doing will be blamed on “The Phoenix” controlling him and making him more extreme and then we’re stuck with a Green Lantern/ Parralax sized cop out, writing off all the drama in this series as some sort of possession. Two issues to go and this event may have just run out of time to redeem itself as far as I’m concerned.