Many, many, many moons ago, I originally reviewed the first two issues of this series when I originally did them as video reviews and I was never really a fan of what I had produced. It was pretty sloppy, and I was really bad at doing it and since then I had taken them down and removed them from my old channel. I do have plans on a secondary channel for some plans to come somewhere down the future, but that is for a different time. Avengers vs X-Men was one of the first event comics that I read when I got into reading comics since I was reading that, Amazing Spider-Man as well as Batman and I thought that it was a rather interesting story, but if there is one thing that I wish I could do was to read the mini-series that came before hand and that was X-Sanctioned. X-Sanctioned was based around Cable discovering that a change had happened in which Hope had died and she wasn’t able to fix the future, he finds out that it was the Avengers that had killed her and that he plans on heading back and killing the Avengers to prevent her death and also the added caveat of him also having 24 hours to do it since he is infected with the Techno Organic Virus. So, let’s get on with the review.
Issue zero opens MODOK attacking a convoy in Washington D.C and he goes to kill an ex AIM scientist along with an array of freakishly looking monstrosities but before he gets the chance to kill the betrayer he is stopped by Scarlett Witch. She manages to get the upper hand on them with using her abilities well and she manages to get MODOK one-on-one for a short time before she starts to get overwhelmed by the lackies but she is rescued by Spider-Woman and Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) who manage take them down. Carol tries to talk with Wanda but Wanda doesn’t want to and tries to head off since previous events with Wanda have made her feel pretty much unwelcome with what had happened with the Avengers and also House of M, which I will get back around to later on this year.
Carol manages to talk her out of leaving and they arrive at Avengers Mansion and Wanda is still apprehensive about even setting foot on the property, but before she can even step foot Vision and he asks her why she is here and just as Carol is about to say something, he just says that he wants his wife to answer and she doesn’t say anything. He says that he does have empathy for what she has been through and what has happened but the one thing that he can’t forgive her for is what she did to him and that was overpowering him and using him as a weapon against the Avengers. We get a rather good put together page with panels of the Avengers reacting to Wanda saying that he is right and that she is sorry, Vision says that she isn’t welcome here and he asks if that is the reason why she came here and she says that she knew already that she wouldn’t have been accepted back to him and Carol flies her off and the Avengers that were there, that being Beast, Iron Man and Wolverine react to the way that Vision had treat her, with Tony saying that he liked them together and we see Vision starting to cry.
Over in Utopia, the home of the X-Men, Hope is trying to get away to do some superhero work in San Francisco but Cyclops sees her and tries to stop her since he has noticed her slipping out of the building for the past week and he hasn’t said anything about it to her about it, hoping that she comes to her sense, but now he is stepping in. She says the reason why that she hasn’t said anything is because he would have acted out like this and says that she is just out there flying around just to clear her head, but he calls her out on more. He says that there had been reports of criminals being attacked and a child molester having his legs broken and also notes the police scanner on her belt. Hope says that she was just doing her job, but Cyclops says that she is putting herself in danger and she goes off on him saying that Utopia is more of a prison than a home. Cyclops tells her that she is being rather childish about the situation that is happening, which he is rather correct in since that they want to protect her and she is going out of her way to put herself in danger since that it does only take for one minor slip-up to get her into a serious problem. She says that she can take care of herself and he knows that she can, since she is the mutant messiah and that she is the one that will restore balance to the force and so forth. Hope then asks him the million-dollar question, what makes her so special in which he says just plain answer that being everything, so she brings up an ace point that throws him off guard and wants the truth in about the Phoenix. He asks her where she heard about it and she brings up what she knows about it that it is a cosmic entity, it had killed Jean Grey and that everybody is scared when it is mentioned and she wants to know what is going to happen when it reaches Earth and he doesn’t say anything to her. Hope says that she is going to find out on her own and an alert comes across her scanner which she decides to answer to Cyclops’s dismay and he gets blasted back with a version of his own optic blast and Hope flies off.
Hope is flying over the city and we see her narrating that she is getting fed up at being treated like a child and she knows that she is ready for whatever is to come and she has been for the past fifteen years after being trained and raised by Cable. She arrives on the roof of the bank and ends up wrecking the jetpack in the process, and she makes her way in where she discovers the people that are robbing the bank and that turns out to be the Serpent Society as she manages to take down Bushmaster. One of them hears the commotion that is going on and they then get thrown through a wall leading Hope to take on three of their members, she gets caught up by Anaconda but manages to defeat her by repeatedly headbutting her. Next up for her is Puff Adder and she asks him if he is a mutant and he reveals that he is, since that Bushmaster was more of a cyborg and reading up on Anaconda’s seems that it could be up in the air but there is the super strength aspect and we see Hope puff up and punches him out. Cyclops and Emma Frost blast into the bank and stop Hope from possibly murdering Copperhead, he tells her to get back to Utopia and that they will deal with the fallout from this. Hope tells him that he knows that he is scared, thinking that the same is going to happen to her as what had happened to Jean but she is ready for what is about to come, Emma on the other hand doesn’t think that she is and that she is just a kid but Cyclops thinks that she can save the mutant race and the issue ends with Hope looking up at the night sky and seeing the Phoenix Force making it’s way towards Earth.
Issue one opens up on an alien world as we see a child and their father witnessing a light coming towards them and we see on a two page spread that it is the Phoenix Force, destroying the planet and then flying off to another world to destroy. Back on Earth we see the Avengers grouping around the roof where they notice an object hurtling through the atmosphere and striking a plane in the process. Thor, Iron Man, Ms Marvel and Protector head off to rescue the passengers of the plane as well as trying to keep casualties to a minimum and it works rather well. Ms Marvel was able to catch a part of the top of what I believe is the Chrysler Building, but Spider-Man is there, and he is able to save the people falling by spraying a large web to catch them. Thor is able to land the plan to safety in the street and Cap leads a team to investigate the crash site where they discover that what crashed was in fact Nova who tries to warm them that it is coming. This is actually a really good homage to The Infinity Gauntlet in which the Silver Surfer crashed through the Sanctum Strange to warn them about Thanos.
In Utopia, Cyclops is training Hope into not using her powers and she is getting rather frustrated with the way that he has been treating her. He hits her with a blast and she gets annoyed about the fact that she thought that neither of them could use their abilities but he says that he can use his since that she is the one that is training and the two continue on sparring. Magneto and Emma are overlooking the sparring and they note about the training even them thinking that it is rather rough. Hope is getting more annoyed with how Cyclops has been pushing her and it gives her a outburst that explodes with Phoenix energy which manages to knock him back to the shock of him, Magneto and Emma.
Over in Washington, Cap and Iron Man are giving a presentation to the President and his advisors about what is currently happening saying that Nova had crashed to Earth with a vague message and he falls into a coma. They then did some tests on him and discover an energy trace that they have been searching for years, apparently, since the incident that had happened with Jean Grey and reveals that the entity is coming back to Earth. Iron Man informs them on what the Phoenix Force does, it attaches on to a host and then lays waste to the environment and Cap saying that they are going have to find whoever the host is and deal with them. They have a team sent away into space to try and to stop the Phoenix Force coming to Earth and they then get an alert that Tony had set up to try and trace any energy signature that matches and they know where it is. On a brief stop, Cap arrives at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning where he goes there to recruit Wolverine in help on tackling the Phoenix and Wolverine and the entire mutant community knows where it is going and Cap says that they are going to need the help of Cyclops as well, but Wolverine doesn’t think that he is going to help then. Cap then asks if he can count on Wolverine to help him and he seems to be uncertain on his stance.
Back over on Utopia, the X-Men are talking over what Cyclops is currently has on his mind, that being the Phoenix and hoping that it will help restore their numbers after the events of House of M that had decimated the mutant population and also why does the Phoenix end up coming back to their team and that even with all the death and destruction that it brings with it rebirth. Emma asks him what he is going to do with Hope and he says that he is going to train her up and prepare her for what is to come, but Emma brings up a good point, it’s up to Hope what she does and not Cyclops, and she also notices something else, Captain America waiting on the beach. Cyclops and the team head down to the beach and Colossus asks why he is her and Emma says that he is here for Hope and that they aren’t going to get involved with them. Cap says that they need to take Hope into protective custody because they also know that the Phoenix is heading for Earth and they know that it is coming for Hope, but Cyclops isn’t having any of this as he says that this is a matter for mutants and not humans. He goes on to say the reasoning why he wants the Phoenix to come and that is to help the mutant population and that it seems like that the Avengers and humans didn’t help them when it came to help them in their time of need and they only come to the mutant if they need their help. Cap gets more upfront with Cyclops but he isn’t going to say anymore to him and tells him to leave Utopia and it looks like that Cap is going to take Hope by force so Cyclops blasts him back further down the beach and we see a Helicarrier descending from the sky with a team of Avengers. Cyclops tells Emma to make sure that they protect Hope at any cost, and we see on the last panel Hope’s eyes with the Phoenix in them, ending issue one.
Issue two opens a shot of the SHIELD Helicarrier, with several jets flying off, and the X-Men discussing what Cyclops has done, but Cyclops defends his actions since that the Avengers were the ones that came here to take Hope away, with very few questions asked. Over with the Avengers, we get our first title drop for the series by Spider-Man and they are going over how insane Cyclops is since that Utopia is also a home for mutants and that there are children on the island and they think that Cyclops is using that to make them come off more as the bad guys, which in my view point they still are since they are the ones that are massing towards a island to try and extract a person against their will. But before they can launch their own attack on the island, they are attacked first by Colossus and Magneto doing a rather awesome twist on the Fastball Special, with this being Magneto throwing Colossus towards the Helicarrier, this then leads on to the part of the comic where it is going to get rather fun.
The first fight in the issue we get is between Colossus and Red Hulk, since the two of them are the main powerhouses for the two teams, but this collision doesn’t go too well for the Avengers as it sends them overboard into the ocean where Namor is waiting for them and he also socks The Thing sending him flying, only for Luke Cage to start sparring with him. A few aerial based Avengers, like Iron Man and Doctor Strange try to make their assault downwards, Cyclops and the X-Men try to defend with the own abilities trying to shoot them down, but he is interrupted when Cap throws his shield at his head, and we see a team of Avengers, emerging from the see like it’s D-Day to attack the X-Men. We do get a great panel arrangement with a close up shots of both Cap and Cyclops with them both telling their teams orders on what to do and then the collision of the two teams that is really well done since there is enough space between the teams where there is a split down the middle of the page.
Over in one of the buildings a small group of X-Men are observing the fight, wondering what is actually going on and we see Emma dragging in Hope and tells them not to let her out no matter what she says and then she heads back to the fight and to end it quick for them, but she is stopped when Iron Man blasts her with ‘Microscopic Telepathic Tasers’ which supress her telepathic abilities. Emma then decides to use her other ability, turning into her diamond form and punches Iron Man, who then proceeds to blast her more with his repulse blast when his suit notices an electromagnetic disturbance as we see in the helmet reflected stands Magneto, he goes to blast Magneto but he manages to block it. Elsewhere, we see Pietro aka Quicksilver, watching the events unfold as it also appears that there is, at least one news chopper in the air reporting on the fight between the two teams. He says to somebody that this is there fight and asks them to come with him and then in a short while we see Pietro punch Magneto knocking him down to the ground as well as who he was talking to as well, Wanda who turns off the television and walks away and we see a sketch in her dream journal of the Phoenix and the words ‘this is how the world ends’.
We get a few panels covering the fight and we see quite a bit of crossover with the X-Men calling Wolverine a traitor for siding with the Avengers, then with Storm and Black Panther having a bit of a go at each other, but this one being more verbal since they are still married at this point and are on opposite sides. Hope is overseeing the fight from the room and is wanting to get out there to help since that the Avengers brought all of their big guns with them to get Hope with her coming to the realisation that she is the biggest gun that they have for the X-Men. Back to the fight on the beach, Cap and Cyclops are still going at it with Cap being on the defensive and he also ends up pushing Cyclops’s buttons when he brings up what the Phoenix did to his wife and he continues the pressure and says that if Cap really wanted his help, he should have went to him first instead of Wolverine. Cap manages to press on towards Cyclops and he manages to knock him back and he tells him that this could have been handled a different way and asks for them to stand down, Cyclops tells Magik to open a portal and Cap has Strange go after her and we see Strange enter Limbo to the delight of her. Back on the battlefield Danger alerts Cyclops that Utopia is falling under the control of Iron Man and he then realises something, Wolverine has left to go after Hope.
Along with Wolverine is Spider-Man who seems to be there to be more of a peacekeeper and to make sure that things don’t escalate further, but it seems like things have escalated since they arrive where Hope is to find out that she has knocked out the X-Men with her and now has a fiery aura around her. She says that with the closer that the Phoenix gets the more the power inside of her grows, Wolverine tells Spidey to get out of the way as it looks like that Wolverine is going to kill her, but Hope manages to stop him in his tracks and sets him alight with fire. Both the X-Men and the Avengers arrive in the room from different direction and we see the destruction that she has left and running away from Utopia. Meanwhile in space, the issue ends with the Avengers team that was sent to stop the Phoenix finally come face to face with it, with Thor stating that today is a good day to die.
Overall, the first three issues of the series are rather good. It continues the over arcing story of how the mutant population is suffering still years after the events from House of M and that even now with a messiah they are taking it as a sign that there is going to be a change coming for them and for the good with the Phoenix. The way that the Avengers are portrayed do make them come off as the bad guys since they are the ones that are out to make sure that the Phoenix is taken care of and that they also planned on taking Hope off Utopia by force if the X-Men weren’t going to give her up. One problem I did have with the series was more down to the artwork and even though the pencils were done by John Romita Jr, there is something about it that I just find to be rather lack-lustre. It could be down to the fact that a lot of the characters seem to look rather stocky and bold, which is a rather turn off for me and I think that the designs for the covers are a lot more better than the art work for several characters.
Next comic review next week, we are heading back to Shoen Jump and the next three volumes of Pokémon Adventures.