Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #6

By now you’ve likely heard of the upcoming project called Marvel NOW! If you haven’t basically it’s the Marvel Comics’ answer to DC’s New 52, or The Great DC Reboot of 2011, with the difference that instead of being a huge continuity reboot it’s supposedly a new wide spread status quo with new #1s and new costumes for many characters. I’ve heard some people saying it’s more of an equivalent of the “DC Explosion” from the 1970s. It’s really hard to tell right now, especially since the new line will supposedly be the follow-up to Avengers vs. X-Men.

Anyway I bring this up because, just like I was with X-Men: Schism, I’m a bit worried that Cyclops may not survive. Mainly it’s for two reasons: 1) During crossover, and really just the last couple of years, Cyclops has been portrayed in such a way that he needs redemption but I’m worried it will be at the cost of his life due to how low he seems to keep falling. I can totally see, from a storytelling perspective, Scott at the climax of this series as gesture of his him making up for everything he’s done. 2) One of the upcoming Marvel NOW! titles, All New X-Men, features the original X-Men (from the 60s) pulled the past into the present, meaning that there’d be duplicates of Iceman, Angel, Beast and Cyclops. I’m one of the biggest Cyclops fans you’ll talk to and even I don’t see the point of having two Scott Summers running around the main Marvel Universe. Killing off the main one would sure solve the problem. We’ll see.

If you want to catch up on my previous AvX reviews check out 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. This issue features Jonathan Hickman on writing duties and different art team of Olivier Coipel on pencils, Mark Morales on inks, and Laura Martin on colors; the artwork changes up starting this issue.

More Phoenix Force hijinks after the jump.

This is not unlike a wearing your dead wife's clothes
Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik and Namor have all been possessed by the Phoenix Force. Ten days after the battle on the moon has concluded the now godlike X-Men have launched a campaign to solve all the world’s problems with their new found power. Despite their good intentions Captain America and the Avengers don’t trust their rivals and plan to find a way to stop them before they threaten the Earth rather than aide it.

As I mentioned before the art style is different. For the most part I prefer how it is now compared to previous issues, mainly because I feel the coloring and art style work better together, but I’m not sure I’m a fan of the faces. Mostly everyone looks bored or they look inhuman and pretty much no in-between. Also I hate the way Hope Summers is drawn here because she looks like she’s twelve when she’s in fact seventeen. Still that aside I like costume details and I feel that the look of The Phoenix Five works better here than last issue.

Actually she kind of looks like that obviously evil little girl from One More Day
I also like that the writers have finally made the conflict a bit more grey than black and white. Previously it felt like it was an issue of Cyclops going crazy and Captain America trying to stop him from dooming the Earth. But now that Scott has used the godlike power to solve all of Earth’s problems there’s now a serious question as to whether or not the Avengers even should try to stop them. It’s such a problem that Beast quits the Avengers because he’s so uncomfortable with the whole idea of figuring out ways to kill his oldest friends for the crime of “making the world a tolerable place to live” (meanwhile Wolverine is all like “Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out”. Why is this assholes so f**king popular?). Meanwhile there’s the question whether it’s right for a godlike being to suddenly up and lord over the Earth with its power like the Phoenix Five are doing, even if what they’re doing benefits the world. Even Black Panther isn’t certain that the Avengers are doing the right thing.

Speaking of Black Panther he actually shows up and strongly contributes to the narrative of the story. Wow, it’s almost like Marvel considered him a major character or something (there’s a cool panel where he is standing with Captain America and Iron Man as if on equal terms. Awesome). Although I haven’t been following him much lately and I was confused that he seemed to be King of Wakanda again. Last time I checked T’Challa gave the throne and the title of “Black Panther” to his sister. Did this change recently? Because Wikipedia certainly doesn’t mention it. If it turns out Marvel just forgot then this is a huge hole, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since I don't know either way.

Pictured: Black Panther (in formal ware) and his two white aides
Honestly there wasn’t really anything to dislike about this comic. The idea of five X-Men becoming all-powerful, the dilemma of what can stop them or even if they should be stopped, the return of the Scarlet Witch (who is pretty much the #1 enemy of mutant kind right now); everything was entertaining and about seven time more interesting and tension filled than what came before it. I finally feel like I’m not just throwing away money in this series…it only took six goddamn issues to get there. 

I give Avengers vs. X-Men #6 4 Adorable Pandas out of 5


-The plot finally becomes interesting 

-Hell yes, Black Panther! 

-The art is mostly good… 


-…except for a few problems here and there

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