The Battle has begun.
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.
I would like to start off by apologizing for the lateness of this article. I have not had access to the internet in the past couple of days and before that, I was dealing with the fallout from the fall of Mr. Green.
But that’s enough of that. Let’s get down to the AvsX books that came out LAST week.
There was no proper issue to the mini-series out, so this review will focus on the latest issue of VS. I haven’t been all that impressed with this tie-in series so far, but I have remained optimistic that with this concept, at least one of the issues would bring me some enjoyment. I mean, come on. It’s superheroes fighting as told by different creators. That’s it. I figured that at some point a creative team would gel and tell an awesome metahuman throwdown for the ages. Thankfully, it looks like my optimism has paid off. Not only did I get one great fight story, I got two!
The first fight (Thing vs. Colossus) is surprisingly brought to us by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. This is no slag on the talents of either of these men but I can’t help but be honest. I really haven’t enjoyed a comic written by Jeph Loeb for quite some time. Where I used to consume everything he produced, these days, I find myself usually wincing at his plot reveals and character choices. Or his plot choices and character reveals. Either way, I just wasn’t diggin’ Loeb for awhile. But in this story, we get a well crafted fight that plays to both characters’ strengths. Not only that, but this is the first time during the entirety of AvsX that a writer has decided to kind of give a little bit of back story on why and how Colossus is the Juggernaught. I know that this was actually covered in the X-Books before, but I don’t read the X-books regularly. So it’s nice to get some back story on that, no matter how small it was. It was much appreciated. The art is top shelf with McGuinness pulling out all the stops. This looked and felt epic. And considering who’s involved in this battle, it needed to feel like that. Great job on delivering a slobber-knocker for the ages.
The second fight (Black Widow vs. Magik) was the real star attraction of this issue. This story, written by Christopher Yost with art by Terry and Rachel Dodson, was the best example of how this title could transcend just being a book about heroes punching and kicking eachother. This mainly has to do with the inventiveness of the piece. On paper, this is not a fair fight as Magik has the clear advantage. She’s got powers. Black Widow does not. But with a little bit of ingenuity and using the characters’ back stories to tell a more well-rounded story, you get the feeling that that both combantants are on an even playing field. Each beat of this battle is well thought out. There is no waisted moments. It really speaks to Yost’s abilities as a comic scribe as he made this small little fight have more weight to it than most of the tie-books for this series. To top that off, the best pencils I’ve seen by the Dodsons in years. The girls looked good. The fight looked good. The story flowed.
My only complaint about this book has nothing to do with the story itself, but with the choice on the part of the editor/marketing team to use this book to pimp the Marvel AR (Augmented Reality) App. Both the Widow and Magik are Russian, so it makes sense that they would speak in Russian. Now normally, in a comic book, the lines of dialogue would have brackets around them with a small note at the bottom that the lines in brackets are translated from Russian. But instead, they put actual Russian in the book with the expressed purpose for the reader to get the AR app to translate the lines. That’s all well and good, but what about those of us that don’t have a smart phone? If it was just for a few lines, that would be fine (I’d have thought it was cool it was in Russian) but there’s a few pages of story that I didn’t get to read just because I can’t speak Russian and I don’t have this app. Not a big complaint, but a bit of a pet peeve with technology in general.
If this issue is a sign of things to come for the rest of the VS. mini, I welcome more issues my way. If you are avoiding the VS. series and all the other tie-ins, I recommend picking up this issue as it is some of the best storytelling that Marvel has produced during the AvsX series.
Rapid Tie-In Reviews
X-Men Legacy #268
Finally, after complaining about the last two issues, I get to praise Christos Gage for the fantastic storyteller that he is. As you may or may not know, the Phoenix Five have returned to earth and they’ve made it their mission to end all war. They targeted the country of Narobia with Cyclops disarming the Warlords of their weapons. But just because you’ve blown up all the weapons doesn’t mean you don’t need to send someone in for damage control. Enter Frenzy and the Stepford Cuckoos. It’s their job to protect and calm down the populous in this wartorn country. Frenzy’s got the worst of it being the only ground troop for the affair. Protecting a woman from spousal abuse and dealing with the kill-crazy militia becomes a more personal mission as it causes her to reflect on her own past. Great character work, especially considering I am not too familiar with Frenzy, yet there’s more than enough here for me to relate to her. This one’s worth the read.
Here’s another personal story, but I don’t think it has the same impact. In the latest Avengers written by Brian Bendis, the focus is on the Protector who’s just betrayed the rest of his fellow space hopping heroes (the team lead by Thor) and stolen the Phoenix fragment that they were able to harness. He brings it back to the Supreme Intelligence and finds out that the Kree have a different agenda and it has nothing to do with protection. The shit hits the fan in this one as Marvel Boy’s got no allies to turn to. The story is pretty good on a whole, however the art is much to be desired. I feel bad for putting down Walt Simonson, but it begs the question from High Fidelity – should a once great artist be forgiven for his latter-day sins? I’m not sure.
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!