The Battle has begun….well not yet apparently.

It’s Earth’s Mightiest vs. the Children of the Atom. The Phoenix is coming which is reason enough for Hero and Mutant to clash and the Marvel Universe will never be the same again! And Geek Hard will be there to report on the battles and advise on the aftermath (well, I will, at least). No issue will be forgotten and no plot point left unturned. Hard hitting analysis will ensue. Consider this you’re Avengers vs. X-men Post show.

Which brings us to Avengers vs. X-men issue #0, which was released in comic shops yesterday, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron with art by Frank Cho. Is the book off to a running start? We’ll, kind of.

Fighting a M.O.D.O.K. is always equal parts terrifying and hilarious.

As most #0 issues, there really isn’t much here but set up. We get a 13 page story starring the Scarlet Witch and a 15 page story on Hope from the X-men. Each is really just a window into each of their characters and where their headspace is right now. Wanda (The Scarlet Witch), since returning in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, has cut herself off from the other heroes and is flying solo. She intercepts an attack in Washington perpetrated by A.I.M. and ends up getting an assist from Ms. Marvel and Spiderwoman. After the battle, Ms. Marvel invites her back to New York to come for a visit to the mansion. A move that does not sit well with Vision (Wanda’s estranged husband) when they arrive. The meeting does not go well. In the X half of the book, Hope is a rebellious teen who has been sneaking off of Utopia, the island home of the mutants on the California coast, and has been going to the mainland to fight crime. Cyclops attempts to stop her from her latest excursion as he’s trying to protect her (as she is to be the mutant messiah). She doesn’t take to kindly to being held prisoner, so after a very brief altercation, she uses Scott’s jetpack to make his way to the city. There she intercepts the Serpent Society in the middle of a bank heist and some action ensue. Through the fight, we see that Hope is full of potential but not too much restraint. And the Phoenix is coming….of course.

Overall, this was an okay set up for the mini-series, but nothing all that fantastic. I know they’re saving the big stuff for the series itself, but the action scenes in this issue felt a bit underwhelming. In both stories, the villains (although not heavy hitters I understand) were each taken down in what felt like seconds. Granted, the Scarlet Witch is suppose to be the most powerful force on the planet and Hope is to be the future host of the Phoenix force (supposedly), so I can understand how M.O.D.O.K. and Cotton Mouth are not really be contenders for them. But if you’re going to put a fight scene in your book, don’t treat it like filler. The scene between Hope and Cyclops is also a bit stale as well. Maybe it’s because it’s been the main preview in all Marvel books for the past month, but I feel like that scene went on and on just to get out some simple exposition about Hope’s back story. I know that some people don’t know about her, but there could’ve been a better way to get all that out there. I love Jason Aaron, but this is not what we usually get from him. It felt forced. That being said, the story, while not great, was still good.

For Godsakes Cyclops, EAT SOMETHING!

The major problem I have with the issue lies in the art. For most part, this is passable fair from Cho. But in some instants, his choices for character portrayals leave much to be desired. At points, the Scarlet Witch looks like her headdress is eating her face. A nitpick, I know, but it felt a little distracting. But that wasn’t as bad as Cyclops, who Cho has decided to draw as if he’s on a hunger strike (I haven’t been reading X-Men, so if he has in fact been on a hunger strike, somebody, please let me know). This emaciated Scott Summers does not look like he could order Jarvis around, let alone Hope. The rest of the characters appeared fine for the most part, but these two really stuck out for me. At least he was consistent and drew them terribly throughout the book.

To say that the book is off to a great start would be a lie, but this is still the prologue. The real main event begins next week (unless you were at one of the few shops where they were trying to take advantage of the early shipping by selling the book this week at an inflated price. If that’s the case, hope you enjoyed getting overcharged so you can have the book a whole 6 days early, jackass).  We’ll see what it’s all about then. For now, I would suggest borrowing Avengers vs. X-Men #0 from a friend or passing on reading it all together. There’s nothing in this issue that a 2 line blurb at the front Issue #1 can’t fill you in on, unless you really want your own copy of super-skinny Cyclops-lad doling out fatherly advice. It’s your call.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!

It's the Scarlet Witch and Hope. What could possibly go wrong? Guys?