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Avengers vs. X-Men Hardcover – November 21, 2012
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DC has their New 52, and Marvel has its NOW, an array of refurbished titles featuring its biggest characters. Precipitating that big event comes this big event, and for all the hoopla, Marvel has turned out its most engaging cataclysmic crossover since Civil War. The cosmic Phoenix Force is heading for Earth; the mutant X-Men believe it means a new lease on life for their dwindling species, while the planet-protecting Avengers thinks it’s just bad news. How do you solve this problem? By punching, kicking, slashing, and blasting each other in the face, of course. The assemblage of writers turns out a cohesive and interesting story featuring dire moral compromises and moments of heroism and desperation for several favorite characters, while a team of Marvel’s hottest artists showcase grimly determined faces and gleaming superhero visuals (John Romita Jr.’s Kirby-esque dynamism particularly stands out). The X-Men and, now more than ever, the Avengers are big crowd-pleasers, and with all the extras jam-packed into this edition (it includes the fight-centric VS. miniseries), you can’t go wrong. --Jesse Karp
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Avengers Vs X-Men is the culmination of a long and intricate Marvel macro-saga that started in the year 2004 with Avengers Disassembled and continued with House Of M, Messiah Complex, Second Coming and The Children's Crusade (and pretty much every other Marvel event from Civil War to Schism, though those mentioned before are the most relevant ones to AVX, as they deal directly with the Scarlet Witch and Hope). But AVX not only is the culmination of an entire age of Marvel events, it also sets the stage for a new era of storylines that start with the "Marvel NOW!" initiative.
* * * CONTENTS * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This volume includes:
- Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 to 12 - This is the main series, where pretty much everything happens.
- AVX: VS #1 to 6 - Each issue of this series features two 10-pages long short stories "expanding" fight scenes from the main series. Nothing really relevant happens here, it's only fight scenes, some of them pretty good, but others a little weak and irrelevant.
- Avengers Vs X-Men: Infinite Comics #1, 6 and 10 - Now for the first time in print, this issues were originaly released only in digital form, serving as prologues to issues #1, 6 and 10 of the main series respectively, as those are turning points in the story. (NOTE: These three issues are the only ones ever created for the Infinite Comics series, don't mind the interrupted numbering, issues #2, 3, 4, etc, DON'T EXIST)
- Point One - A 7-pages short story introducing the new Nova character for the first time. This story acts as a prologue to the AVX series. Point One originally featured seven different short-stories, but only this one is printed here, as the rest of them are not related to the AVX event.
IMPORTANT NOTE: AVX had a lot of tie-ins running in other ongoing series, such as Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine & The X-Men. Those tie-in issues are NOT INCLUDED in this volume. Don't worry, they are not really necessary to understand the story, as most of them rather focus on characters and situations of those specific ongoing series.
* * * ABOUT THE STORY * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I'll try to be as objective and spoiler-free as I can. This event is written by Brian Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman. All of them plotted the whole series and then each of them wrote the script for 2 (or 3, in some cases) individual issues. The Infinite Comics issues are written by Mark Waid with Ives Bigerel, and the short stories from AVX VS feature Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Rick Remender, Jeph Loeb, Christopher Yost, Kathryn Immonen, Kaare Andrews and Steve McNiven.
About Avengers Vs X-Men (main series): Issue #0 features two short stories, one focusing on the Scarlet Witch, the responsible for the near extinction of the mutant race and the other one features Hope, the first mutant to be born after the near extinction event caused by the Scarlet Witch. These two are going to be major player in the story, that's why they are introduced here. Issue #1 pretty much sets up the story: the Phoenix Force is coming to Earth and no one is safe. The X-Men lead by Cyclops think that Hope, the "Mutant Messiah", is destined to channel the Phoenix and kickstart the rebirth of the mutant race. However, the Avengers and Wolverine (who is leading his own team of X-Men) think that the arrival of the Phoenix can only mean the obliteration of our planet and want to stop it from reaching Hope. The problem comes with issues #2 to 5: they are a complete mess of inconsequentional fight after fight, which are cut in the middle of the action to then be ill-expanded in the respective AVX VS issues. This hurts the sense of narrative in a very serious way. I love action as anyone else (and expect it from this particular title), but this is completely senseless action and does no good to the book.
With issue #6 the story picks up: there's a major turning point, the writers start to put more meaning into the action and the narrative improves as well (the battles are much better accomplished and the AVX VS complements stories are well-designed to expand them without hurting the narrative so much). I won't tell what happens in issue #6, but suffice to say that the conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men escalates exponentially.
The last 3 issues of the series take the conflict to its climax, setting up the stage for a new status quo in the Marvel Universe, at least for short-term and maybe medium-term future (probably in the same way Avengers Disassembled and House Of M did a few years ago). The problem with the resolution of the story is that it becomes a bit predicatable and feels too editorially-driven. There are some shocking events nearing the end of the book, but they aren't surprising at all: maybe event after event, year after year, developed a numbing effect to this kind of shocks and nothing surprises anymore.
* * * ABOUT THE ART * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
John Romita Jr. illustrates the 5 first issues of the series, and they are the most unattractive of the whole book. I usually like (even love) Romita Jr.'s art, but in this case his pages look very rushed and uninspired. Fortunately issues 6, 7 and 11 are illustrated by Oliver Coipel, and issues 8 to 10 and 12 by Adam Kubert. Both of them do a great job, showcasing beautiful art and raising the bar of the series immediately.
Additional art in the AVX VS series and Infinite Comics feature a cast of notable artists, including: Ed McGuiness, Stuart Immonen, Adam Kubert, Steve McNiven, Leinil Yu, Salvador Larroca, Terry Dodson, Brandon Peterson, Kaare Andrews, Tom Raney, Carlo Barberi and Reilly Brown. Many of them are well-known stars and deliver high quality performances, so you won't be disappointed with their art.
* * * ABOUT THE EDITION * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
+ This is an over-sized hardcover edition (with larger trim size than standard comic-books).
+ It's a high quality book, with glossy paper stock and excellent printing quality: colors are vibrant and line art is sharp.
+ Extras include 9 pages of pencil pages, sketches and designs by the main artists and a 4-pages "Scorecard" with a well-designed index of all the battles accross the book. There's also a 2-pages introduction by WWE Champion CM Punk.
+ This edition includes a code to be redeemed for a FREE Digital Copy if you use the Marvel Comics app. (Unfortunately I can't give you any insight about this feature, because I don't use the Marvel Comics app).
- This is NOT a sewn-binding book. This hardcover features a glued-binding and this causes gutter loss that prevents from fully appreciating the art in double-page spreads. The book still reads well and the binding is solid, so it will last for a very long time, but with an expensive $75 edition, one would expect the highest quality standards of the Marvel Omnibus line.
- The variant covers are NOT reproduced in full-page size, instead we get a gallery that showcases 4 variant covers per page. These covers are illustrated by some top talent artists like Jerome Opeña and Esad Ribic among many others, so they'd deserve to be printed in full size so one could appreciate the detail properly.
The issues are NOT presented in chronological order. They are printed in the following order: Point One's Nova story, Avengers Vs X-Men #0 to 12, AVX #1 to 6, Avengers Vs X-Men Infinite Comics.
* * * CONCLUSION * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Avengers Vs X-Men could have been an epic series, but in the end I can't help but feel it formulaic and flawed. I really wanted to enjoy the series and had high hopes in the star-ensemble of writers, featuring veteran Marvel architects like Bendis and Brubaker and promising newcomers like Aaron and Hickman, but in the end there's not really a lot of difference between AVX and other Marvel events like Siege or Civil War: rushed action, some out of character depictions and incidents for editorial sake. However this story has its positive aspects also: I think it sucessfuly closes a lot of loose ends and brings closure to the 9-years of continued events that Bendis inaugurated with Avengers Disassembled, while setting up a new and promising status for the Marvel Universe, for both Avengers and X-Men franchises. In the end Avengers Vs X-Men is just a "good" story: it's not bad at all, but it doesn't really excel in any aspect. It could have been epic, but it just limits itself to decently tell a story in order to set up a new stage for new stories in the Marvel Universe.
If you're a fan of the X-Men, the Avengers, Marvel characters, or really superheros in general, this trade is a must have! Following the Schism trade, this event is a great starting point for the modern era of Marvel comics.
I also suggest purchasing the AvX Consequences trade.
In all, it felt too compact like watching a really good movie on a 240p 12" screen. It focused way too much on a singular conflict (which can be bad in some situations) and not enough on character and if their was any it jumped characters too quickly to appreciate it. The sense of danger in the story was nonexistent and the conflicts lightly handled.
I did however enjoy some of the battles and sure you can play on the imagination of the matchups but like I said they were very lightly handled.
It did have heart which is always their and I felt it covered a lot of the flaws, something I feel a lot of comic readers forget what makes superhero comics so good and what attracts us to them. If this is the just the beginning of Marvel Now, then I pray the journey I'll put myself through is worth it.
I'm a fan from back in the 90's and the stories in the last decade have the original characters and the original continuity reimagined many many times.
It was fun and entertaining and puts the characters you recognize in a larger story where you may have to relearn their current context & universe.
Most recent customer reviews
All the old characters duking it out and Summers going totes gaga it's action packed Marvel mayhem