Written By: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Kickman and Matt Fraction
Pencils By: John Romita Jr.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: OUT NOW IN STORES & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD (VIA COMIXOLOGY)
The last issue of AvX lit the fuse, this second issue blew it up but rather than causing a stir, the fallout is a rather typical crossover event that was all show and not really the explosion you’d imagine given the power on show here. For the most part this is just a series of fights, putting hero against hero and having the narrator (whoever that might be) informing us readers how powerful these blows are and just how epic the face offs are supposed to be. This works well at first but with stuff like “Hand that has touched the floor of the marianas trench meets a jaw made of living stone. They hear the punch all the way in Oakland, Point made” this soon becomes pretty tired because I found myself questioning, if these blows are as strong as the narrator says they are why isn’t anyone getting all that hurt?
With the whole Avengers / X-Men stand off turning fighty after Colossus (-anaut) is magneticly cannonballed into the helicarrier with a little help from Magneto, the battle commences with both sides scraping to get their hands on Hope (the mutant that will either end the world or save mutant kind). The heavy handed strokes painting Cyclop’s ever growing insanity come thick and fast with Wolverine and The Avengers all commenting on the optic blast firing leader of the X-men’s current zero tolerance towards letting Hope become the ‘mutant messiah’ .
The writers here really are trying to set up Cyclops up as a future Magneto type figure in the X-men world (while never really convincing us it will actually happen when it comes to it) and having him battle Captain America one on one would be selling drama if there was ever any sense that anyone could get hurt in these fights. On paper Avengers Vs. X-men is something that should feel absolutely epic and visually it kind of is but really there’s a problem inherit with hero vs hero showdowns. No one is ever really going to hurt each other. Iron Man is never going to kill or even badly hurt Emma Frost because if he did he’d be a villain in the audiences eyes. Same goes for Namor vs The Thing and all the others fighting as well as the main focus here, Cyclops vs Captain America. There’s a segment where Cyclops head gets whipped around when Cap throws some stones at him (yup- lame, right?) his optic blast misfiring on the crowd of Avengers fighting X-men equates to no more than a teacher caning a student it seems. There’s also a bit where Captain America’s shield slams into the side of Cyclops head, merely putting a dink in his visor. Its stuff like this that undermines the power of this battle and ends up feeling like a play fight as opposed to a no holds barred face off.
With the battling put to one side and a real sense that this issue is just a teaser for the individual characters’ issues that will focus more closely on their fights, Wolverine and Spider-man (who really isn’t picking up on the drama here as his smart mouth just keeps on running) head towards Hope, who has taken out all of her fellow team mates. This issue’s show of Phoenix power really levels the playing field (albeit that the character that gets the brunt of the flames will knowingly be fine) and with a little cut away to Scarlet Witch who’s dream diary states “This is how the world will end” with a picture of a flaming bird next to it, the point of all this fighting becomes clear again. The issue ends with the Thor and his space bound Avengers (including Beast in a weird ass space-car) facing the oncoming threat and there we’re left for two more weeks awaiting round three to see who’s going to argue about Hope and The Phoenix next.
Romita Jr’s art is as solid as ever with some odd faces from time to time (namely Emma Frost looking very manly) and now with the first batch of fighting out of the way the story feels like it might start unfolding a bit more in the next issue or we’ll just see a big space fight and the story will come in Round 4. Either way, Marvel’s big event has it’s first proper fight out of the way, a couple of heroes are done but far from out, Hope can now run on water (struck me as weird enough to mention) and Thor and his team are about to get into a space fight. The scale just keeps on growing with Avengers vs X-men, I’m just waiting for the drama to arrive. What about you Hope?