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The main hinderance here is too much AvX!
on September 23, 2012
AVENGERS VS. X-MEN is the latest cash-grab "event" comic in the pantheon of bad Marvel event comics, and it's also probably one of the worst yet. Sadly, tie-in issues are a big selling point of the "main event" and since UNCANNY X-MEN is an X-Men comic, it has to tie in to what's going on, and that is mostly where this particular collection is barely readable.
Firstly, we have to deal with the titanic underwater smackdown with Red Hulk vs the Juggernautized Colossus, which is terribly unfortunate that we have to have that silliness in a supporting title, especially since there's already a tie-in comic called AVX, which is supposed to have all of the big solo Avenger vs. solo X-person fights in them. Why waste an issue of this comic with that?
Then we have more adventures in Tabula Rasa and the AI known as Unit. Unit is an interesting character who is a very unknown entity on the board here, but that ends up leading into a place that I think is bad for any book (and this happens a lot in tie-ins) is the requirement to be up on characters that are in a completely separate book, and I didn't know which book these particular characters were from, so it does hurt the flow of the issue. Billy Tan's artwork here is marginally better than Land's.
But after all that is set on its path, we get some exceptional insight into the first villain this book had: Mister Sinister and his Sinister World that is apparently miles below London. The level of detail that artist Dustin Weaver puts into the world Sinister has created is pretty breathtaking, and it allows Kieron Gillen to continue in the manner of the precedent set by Jason Aaron and Brian Michael Bendis who had their respective tie-in titles (Aaron with WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN and Bendis in particular with NEW AVENGERS) to do more character-based work that takes place outside the VERY restrictive confines of the AvX world. Of course, characters from that world show up, but they are in for a rather fascinating and wickedly evil surprise.
Sadly, this is the only place this collection shines. Apart from that, unless you're a big fan of him, you might want to avoid the issues with Greg Land as artist in general because his facial expression close-ups (particularly with female characters) are so similar, and his art just feels so overly slick that it actually becomes distracting from the storytelling. Really, just look at the Dustin Weaver issues and then look at Land's work. It's night and day, and Weaver's work is the real shining point of this collection.
I have to respect Gillen and the direction that he chose to take mid-tempo during the sound and fury of AvX (which truly is going to signify nothing other than the sounds of cash registers), and some of the character work is really nice when it doesn't necessitate that you're reading more than one other X-title, but I think there was a little too much editorial oversight that led him down to tying somewhat directly into what would ultimately be another in Marvel's long line of failed event comics.