Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: John Romita Jr
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Well, it didn’t take long to get the party started. Avengers vs. X-Men didn’t waste much time getting to the main event of…well, Avengers battling X-Men. After the slow boil of the first issue, everything boils over in Avengers vs. X-Men #2 and the big event is off and running. Best of all, it’s delivering exactly what we were expecting; big battles between superheroes, all in the shadow of the imminent threat of the Phoenix.
There isn’t a lot of exposition here, just a whole lot of fisticuffs. Well, there are some brief interludes where Cyclops and Captain America still try to hash things out, but on the whole, this is all about the battle. Every now and then we get little snippets of the personal side of this war – how many feel Wolverine has betrayed his kind, how Cyclops believes giving up Hope means mutant extinction, how the Avenger feel they’re once again just saving the world – but most of that is swallowed up in the spectacle of it all. This issue mostly zooms out just lets the action happen. Then there’s Hope, caught in the middle of it all, and starting to exhibit some of the power of the Phoenix. And it all ends with hints of even bigger things to come.
This issue also does a good job of hinting at the fact that when heroes fight, everyone loses. Truth is, a lot of this could have been avoided had some sort of common sense and humility broken out and both sides decided to rationally talk things out. That, however, would make for a very boring comic “event”, so of course hostilities must ensue while characters act out of character to make said hostilities happen. Cyclops and Cap are both right, and both wrong (Cyclops comes off seeming the more unreasonable one, but still, both sides could bend some). It’s kind of like what happens when two teams head out onto the field after both prayed for victory. Which side does God choose? Truth be told, I don’t think God chooses sides in those situations; he’s more concerned with conduct and character than with W’s. When Samuel was given the task of choosing Israel’s king, he naturally leaned towards the mostly kingly looking candidate. God, however told him “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7-8) Sure, both teams may pray for victory, but God is more concerned about where the hearts of players on both sides are; on winning, or on humbly glorifying God win or lose. The problem with a hero vs. hero conflict like the Avengers vs. X-Men, however, is there is no higher Person to glorify in their world, no One to whom conduct is accountable to, and hence my original statement; when heroes fight, everyone loses because it just makes everyone look bad.
I was pleased that AvX #2 didn’t pull any punches as it were. It got right to the action, right to the meat of what the event is about; and rightfully so. Having scratched that particular itch, going forward I hope this series raises the stakes by giving more insight on just what the combination of Phoenix and Hope might mean for the world; just how dangerous is this situation? I also hope there’s a little more exploration of the personal side of this war, and how it will affect the various heroes in the years to come. In short, I hope the spectacle gets more substance to help give its impact meaning. Still, it’s off to a fast and fun start. Let’s hope that continues throughout.
Score: 6 of 7
Note: This issue of Avengers vs. X-Men has a fun little feature worth checking out. The helpful guys over at Astro Zombies demoed it for me, and it almost made me wish I had a “smart” phone. If you download the free Marvel AR app, there are a couple pages in this issue with the AR symbol on them. Open the app and hold it over that panel and you’ll see a video from the creators of the series with a behind-the-scenes look. Cool stuff. Comics are going interactive. If you have a “smart” phone, but sure to check it out; it’s like enjoying the bonus features of a movie on Blu-Ray.
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.