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 opening of this issue feels like we’ve walked into the middle of a war and something big is going to change. There’s talk of Colonel Thomas Ferebee and the atomic bomb. Hope looks like she’s losing control and surprise, surprise the X-men and about to fight he Avengers… on the moon. Hope tries to stop the madness with a big old Phoenix blast that all but takes out Wolverine but when Wolvy attempts to keep his promise and kill Hope, Cyclops steps in and it all kicks off again.
Despite the fact this is essentially being happening for months now, within X-men, and AvX alike, the drama is heightened here somewhat and as I said at the opening of this review, something feels like it going to going to change. Romita Jrs work feels more explosive than ever and characters are genuinely getting pretty messed up here. The fights between teams feel more intense, brutal and seem more likely to get someone killed. The stuff between Wolverine, Captain America and Cyclops suddenly feels like not all of them could come out of this one unharmed. Wolverine even takes a good slice out of Cyclops at one point and backed in to a bit of a stalemate, Scott Summers’s recent insanity over what Hope could be suddenly feels fractured and I found myself feeling something for Cyclops again, like I wanted him to be right about all this almost.
I’ve been pretty down on this event. It’s not been terrible but it’s felt like it’s been going through the motions, especially in this central limited series at the core of the ongoing monthly books. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve widened my net and read all the spin offs and ties ins and re-read a lot of Hope stuff recently but seeing Cyclops standing in a crater, with a downed Hope in turmoil as the Phoenix gets ever closer, I suddenly felt the enormity of the events here. Then Iron Man wades in with his giant Generation 1 Transformers looking suit thing, firing a disruptor and Avengers vs. X-Men finally throws out it’s first real twist.
I won’t spoil anything (I’ve been doing that all week with my Prometheus articles) but in this issue we find out who The Phoenix was aiming for as well as a new twist with The Phoenix that is either going to be devastating and be our first step towards the end of this event or it just gives the writers an excuse to get the X and the A’s into one team to fight a common foe. I can’t say much more but I have to say I’m torn. We’ve seen stuff like this time and time again and all it ever does is rectify itself. I’ll talk about it more next issue, when everyone is up to speed but I’m hoping the twist in this new Phoenix saga has some permanent effects to the Marvel universe and not all of them pretty. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.