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.

A Domestic Dispute is the Main Event.

We’re still a couple of weeks away from the next issue of AvsX, but this week, issue 5 of VS. is out to keep us busy. You all know the drill here. It’s the fights and nothing  but. Originally, these battles fit into the continuity of the main title. Now it seems its more about individual fights behind the scenes. So let’s get to the off panel action!

As I said last time, this book has really turned a corner for me as the last two issues have been well thought out matches showcased with unlikely victors and smart uses of the characters’ powers. This book has always been about top name talent telling the fights as they unfold. As we get closer to the end of AvsX, the core talent from the main series is now getting involved. Is this good for the book or bad? Well, as it turns out, a bit of both.

 

Hawkeye’s Wolvie Berserker Rage!

The first fight (Angel vs. Hawkeye) is care of the team of Matt Fraction, Leinil Fracis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan. If you’ve read any previous installment of the AvX Post Show, you know my feelings about Fraction, aka The Michael Bay of Comics. He’s all style and no substance. Yu on the other hand, is a creator that I find  interesting. While some dislike his work due to the large amount of lines, I dig his ability to raise the tension in a scene. So I didn’t know how I would react to this story. But after reading it, I really should have. The logistics and beats of the fight itself works. Angel’s original plan is to shower down the pain on Clint Barton, while Hawkeye’s stradegy involves luring him out and forcing him into a ground game. Also, both men don’t really play fair as Angel has help in the form of Psylocke working recon and Hawkeye knows how to use that against him. The action and tension is high….except that alot of it doesn’t make any sense. First of all, if you’ve been following Uncanny X-Force and Wolverine and the X-Men, Angel isn’t really Angel anymore. He’s lost most of his memories and is almost like a crazy teenager who likes to fly around naked. Yes, he did join up with the X-Men’s side when Iceman did, but he’s not the same Warren that he used to be. In this story, he appears to act much like the  Angel we’ve known for years. He’s a vet in the field and that does not fit the current continuity. Even his connection to Psylocke would be different, but here it’s like they’ve been friends and lovers for ages. That’s not how the current Angel would act and that’s a bit annoying from a current reader’s perspective. Also, most of the dialogue is absolute goobledygook! The two aren’t having a coherent conversation and they’re not talking to themselves. I know it’s suppose to look like stuff you would say under your breath or in anger in the heat of the moment, but it does not come off that way. Also, when Hawkeye tries to use a “Wolverine” attack, I don’t know when he would have the the time to set that up. There’s a little too much to be desired here. The art by Yu is enjoyable and both characters look pretty badass.

Cats don’t like the rain.

The second battle (Black Panther vs. Storm) is from the mind of Jason Aaron with Tom Raney on Pencils and is the true star of this issue. The story is a showdown in Wakanda during the time when the Avengers and X-Men were looking for Hope in four different locations around the globe. The stakes are already high in this fight as the two characters are husband and wife.  As the fight begins, we see Storm doing her thing, bringing the lightning and the thunder down on T’Challa and he’s, of course, got a way to counteract it. During the fight, there are two narratives unfolding: what they are saying to each other during the fight and what they are really thinking. Some very harsh things are said that would wound worse that any of the actual blows they give each other. It’s amazing to see that while Storm is throwing herself into the fight, she is all the while thinking loving thoughts that are breaking her heart. Panther on the other hand is more cold and calculated in his battle and more stoic and regretful in his internal monologue. The outcome is as it should be and signifies not just the end of a battle but the end of their marriage as well. It’s a tragic piece that is written beautifully. You really feel for the characters and both act accordingly. Aaron always does a great job of delivering a strong, character driven story where you can relate to and understand the motivations of all the players involved. Add to that the fantastic art by Raney and you’ve got a home run of a story.

While the first tale was a stinker, the second story kept my interest and faith in this miniseries. With one more issue to go, I suggest you keep picking up this companion series. While VS. is not necessary to the enjoyment of AvsX, it is a hell of a lot of fun to read and see some of your favourite creators bring you dream matches of hero vs. mutant action. And for the record, if Jason Aaron were to write a Black Panther and Storm series, I would read it.

Rapid Tie-In Reviews

  Wolverine and the X-Men #15

 This book continues to be a fun read. While the connections to AvsX were at the forefront of this story, the real focus was on the arcs of the characters. Jason Aaron shines with his character work as we see Iceman, Wolverine, Hope, Beast and others as they get ready to face off with Cyclops. Ironman, Iron Fist and Agent Brand also guest star and are pretty solid. The real star is Broo. He’s the one that figures out how to make sense of the Phoenix Force information they’ve collected and use it to their advantage. Favourite interaction of the story is between Tony Stark and Broo, hands down. There’s also a great scene with Angel (where he’s acting like he should be). If you like X-Men and you’re not reading this book , you should be ashamed of yourself. Some of the best X-stories in years are within these pages. Pick up this issue today.

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!