The Battle rages on.
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.
Where Round 3 was a slow building page turner, Round 4 has more of a “WHAM-BAM, Thank you Maam” feel to it.
This issue is once again brought to you by the amazing pencils of John Romita Jr. with Jonathan Hickman on the helm in regards to scripting duties. The way things are laid out in this go around, it’s like Hickman decided to cut the scenes like a Michael Bay film but still keep a cohesive plot.
So just like last time, our story opens on Wolverine. Last time we saw him, he was just thrown out of a plane by Captain America. Just because Logan’s only plan to stop the Phoenix from destroying the planet was to find Hope and kill her, Cap thought that may be going a little to far and dropped him in the arctic. Well it appears that somebody was waiting for him up there and left a trail of beer cans for him to follow. That person just happens to be the girl he’s sworn to kill. Hope instead offers a truce. She believes that if she bonds with the Phoenix force, she will be able to control the power and bring about a new world for the mutant race. But if by chance she can’t control it, she wants Logan by her side to take her out. Wolverine agrees to the terms and two head off their next destination – to get themselves a rocket. Meanwhile, Cyclops and Emma Frost are hiding out and apparently have no better leads to tracking Hope down than to go peeping inside Cap’s brain. Captain America is busy at the time, duking it out with Gambit in the Savage Land. Cerebra (the mutant locator at the Jean Grey School for the Gifted) has pinpointed 5 possible places where Hope could be in the world. So the X-Men and the Avengers are split up into teams at these various locations. Must be nice to be able to sit on your ass while your X-Minions go do the grunt work of searching for you. After scanning the minds of the combatants at each of the locations and seeing that Hope is nowhere to be found, Emma camps out in Cap’s brain, proving once again that even she knows that Captain America will know where she is before the X-Men will. And it turns out he does. A trip to the moon is in store for all parties involved. Who knows what will happen next?
As I stated above, this was definitely the fastest issue of AvsX that I’ve read and that’s neither here nor there on whether it’s a bad thing. I like the start of the issue where we see that Hope has an immense amount of respect for Wolverine as a warrior. It’s a well played scene. I’m a little surprised that Cyke and Emma were able to get away with the mind probe, but then again, Cap’s probably exhausted and he is a regular dude, so his defenses would be down. The end of this issue has a good little twist that you might see coming, but it really brings up a bunch of questions regarding Wolverine and Cap. I will say that it’s interesting to see how the pendulum swings back and forth on who the antagonist and protagonist are as Hickman’s take tends to favour the Avengers whereas in Issue 3, Brubaker was more on the X-Men’s side of things.
I know I said this the last few times, but JR JR’s art is at the height of excellence here. He’s really put a lot of effort into making each character look bad-ass. I wish he was drawing all 3 acts for this story but I know that even he needs time to rest.
Going in, I really thought I wasn’t going to like Round 4. Although it wasn’t exactly an amazing issue, it still gave me hope that this event book may just stay the course. I like where the stories going and a part from a few quirks here and there, the characters appear to be presented in proper fashion. It’s a wild ride. Let’s just hope the payoff is worth it. Marvel EIC, Axel Alonzo stated that this event will “forever change the Marvel Universe”. Like we haven’t heard that one before. Time’s gonna tell on that one, Axel. Time’s gonna tell.
Rapid Tie-In Reviews
Christos Gage continues to deliver a story that might just be better than the Event Book it’s supporting. Tensions are mounting at the Academy as the Refugee X-Children and Avengers Academites are not really seeing eye to eye. The mutants that were at the Academy before AvsX, including X-23, are trying to figure out where they stand in this matter. In the end, it appears that they will stand with their mutant brotheren in what they believe is a raw deal. The kids are very close to kicking each others’ asses. And where are the adults you may ask? They’re trying to catch Sabastian Shaw, a dangerous mutant and grade-A asshole who may or may not have amnesia, who’s loose on the grounds. Are Hercules, Tigra, and the rest a match for Shaw? Read the issue to find out. It’s got great characters and perfect pacing.
The second issue of this companion mini-series that focuses on the knock-down, drag-out battles which are happening between Avenger and X-Man alike continues down the same path as the first issue did. The battles, while entertaining to a certain degree, have weak pacing and usually a contradiction to what happened within the pages of AvsX. In Steve McNiven drawn and written tale we see Captain America fight Gambit to the point where his uniform is shreaded from his body. It’s strange because Cap was fully clothed at the end of the fight in Issue 4 of the main series. Then we see Spiderman take on Colossus in Latveria solo. But in the main title, he’s getting help from Daredevil to stop the Juggerlossus. The more I read of this series, the more I’m likely to recommend avoiding it as it has little to do with the core title.
A few years back, Brian Michael Bendis wrote a one-shot story about The Protector (who was going by Captain Marvel at that time) in a Dark Avengers Annual. In it, he created some real depth to this character by giving him a love interest and a mission to get behind. It was a great story and really elevated the character. In this issue of Avengers, he attempts a follow up to this story. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same affect. The art by Walter Simonson doesn’t help much either. Unless you’re already reading this book, I would say pass.
I know I said I’d read everything for these reviews, but I have to take a stand somewhere. I’m sorry. Last month’s issue was just so bad, I cannot bring myself to read this month’s. I don’t want to see any characters I enjoy turning into Pokemon for no reason. I promise I will continue to read everything else until the end of AvsX, but I will not read this book.
That”s all for this week. Keep checking back here for more reviews and predictions with Geek Hard’s AvX post show.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!