Marvel Comics announced the April 2012 launch of what they claim to be “The biggest comic book event in history”: AVENGERS VS X-MEN. In what will be a 12-issue, bi-monthly limited series, the biggest names in the Marvel super-hero biz will be going up against each other in a clash-of-the-Titans style epic battle that, according to Marvel’s Editor In Chief Axel Alonso: “brings together the most powerful forces in comics for a super hero war like you’ve never seen before and will never see again. We all want to see the best of the best go against each other—Lakers & Celtics; Ali & Frazier; Yankees & Red Sox; and in comics it’s the Avengers fighting the X-Men. We’ve brought together the biggest writers, biggest artists and biggest characters for the biggest story we’ve ever told. This is the kind of high-octane action-packed story that fans demand while also having a profound effect on every character involved—and reshaping the Marvel Universe in its wake.”
They really are bringing out all of their big guns for the showdown, too. Acclaimed authors Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction, and Jason Aaron are working with legendary artists John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert on project “AvX” to bring the battles that fans have always wondered about into paper reality.
Iron Man taking on Wolverine, Thor battling Cyclops, The Hulk smashing against Magneto, and your friendly neighborhood Spiderman fighting The Mistress of The Elements- who would come out on top? You have to admit that part of you is dying to see some of these fights; but what I’m curious about is what terrible conflict could force such great allies to a place where the only solution they come to is all-out war?
The only description Marvel gives is that The Avengers and X-Men have learned that the all-powerful Phoenix Force is on a crash course for Earth in search of a new host, and that a “shocking decision tied to the Phoenix’s return will pit the Avengers against the X-Men.” The synopsis also questions how this conflict will affect the rest of the Marvel Universe.
Well things always seem to go strait to Hell whenever the Phoenix comes to town. Maybe it’ll show up with another plan to resurrect Jean Grey in some kind of clone/android body and The Avengers are just so tired of her dying-but-not really-dying and dying-but-it’s-not-really-her-dying and dying-then-coming-back-again-anyway-dying that they just say “Enough already!” and throw down with the X-Men.
Personally? I think The Phoenix Force is causing trouble in reaction to a cataclysmic event of such powerful hype that it was felt throughout the universe. This event was called The DC Re-Boot and the damage left in its wake called to Phoenix and commanded that it travel to Earth and start a conflict between the most popular and attention-grabbing Marvel warriors: The Avengers and The X-Men. So a battle of such overly-large proportions as to justify changes in every aspect of the Marvel universe began, setting off another event of extreme hype with as-yet-unforeseeable but apparently massive consequences!
Let’s just hope the fights are as good as we expect them to be and the writing tells a story that isn’t blatantly obvious its only purpose is to set up and explain them. But honestly; how well written can it be when you have so many well-established complex personalities that are best experienced when we as readers live through the subtleties of their interactions and dialog all crammed into one giant conflict? In short: how can the essence of characters like Wolverine, Magneto, The Hulk, or Iron Man be adequately represented when you have all of them together and fighting each other and additional characters like Storm, Spiderman, Black Widow, etc? Then you have The Phoenix Force to deal with, and that’s always an indication of a convoluted plot. The whole story is supposed to be told in 12 issues, too. These are either going to be 12 of the most awesome issues Marvel has released in a very, very long time, or 12 issues telling the tale of the lamest publicity stunt by Marvel to date.
There is one little perk that I did think was pretty cool and worth mentioning: each print issue of AvX also includes a code for a free digital copy of that issue. I like things that are included free. More things should be given for free. Why don’t all comics come with that? Take note and work on that, publishers.
“I love the smell of freshly printed comic books in the morning!”