Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #12

We’ve finally made it to the end of this long, long, long, series. I’m really late to the party on this because fans have already moved on to Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences and Uncanny X-Men #20, which continues deals with the aftermath. Still it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t do this last review.

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 was written by Jason Aaron with art by Adam Kubert (Pencils), John Dell with Mark Morales & Kubert (Inks), and Laura Martin with Justin Ponsor (Colors). I got most of my rage about Cyclops’ treatment last time so I think I can keep this from being a rant. I’ll discuss the issue itself and then conclude with my final thoughts on the series as a whole. Past reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Final AvX review after the jump.



Hey, if nothing else it's always nice to see Wolverine getting hurt
Cyclops has become Dark Phoenix. No longer is he out to fix the world’s problem; now he simply wants the world to burn. The combined might of the Avengers and the X-Men are simply no match for the crazed host of the Phoenix Force. Hope Summers and the Scarlett Witch are the world's only chance to stop Cyclops' mad rampage…but that’s assuming they can get along long enough to do it.

The art is pretty good here, possibly the best all-around of the entire series. I really like the coloring. The plot technically works out fine; the idea of this all powerful villain running through all of the word’s heroes in a giant melee is pretty much usually pretty good. I’m not sure if I like the exact way they were able to defeat said villain and I despise that said villain was Cyclops, but what are you going do? I’ll revisit those last points later. I also like the Scarlet Witch essentially receives the redemption she badly needed after the events of House of M seven years ago where she basically wiped out an entire race of people. I like that she was principally responsible for undoing her actions.

One tiny nitpick I had, before I explain my major problem with is issue, was the cover. The cover, heavily focusing on Iron Man and implies that Hope Summers and the Scarlet Witch are somehow powering him, is just flat out lying. That would have been a cool moment in the book but it just doesn’t happen. Wanda and Hope probably owe their victory to Stark’s planning but the cover is still pretty misleading. That’s a pet peeve of mine.

It took them 12 issues to think of doing this?
In order to really explain my issues with AvX #12 I need to spoil the ending. So here’s what happened: Hope and the Scarlet Witch use their combined might to knock Cyclops out but subsequently the Phoenix Force possesses Hope, as was its plan all along. Now calling herself the “White Phoenix” Hope fixes all of the devastation Cyclops caused as Dark Phoenix, all the while claiming she’ll be a force for good (much like the Phoenix Five did). However Wanda convinces her that she must let the power go and the two of them declare “No More Phoenix” which scatters the Phoenix Force while all re-powering the mutant race after years of having 99% of their population without their abilities. Which is exactly what Cyclops said would happen way back in Issue #1. Which means that Cyclops was right the whole time and it was Captain America and the Avengers’ bumbling that almost destroyed the world. Which means THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN SERIES WAS POINTLESS!!!!

What’s actually odd was that as the book did the dénouement it seemed like it was clear that Cyclops was in the wrong and Captain America practically cusses him out for even suggesting that this was a “Win” for mutant kind. The whole comic portrayed Cyclops as a crazed fanatic but in the end he was right and if the Avengers had come to Utopia to talk rather than to kidnap Hope Summers none of what happened would have happened. So, while the whole series wasn’t necessarily bad, the whole thing immediately felt incredibly unnecessary. Oh, and Cyclops is going to prison. Apparently Cyclops is guilty despite being influenced by an alien entity. Awesome.

Seriously, Captain America invades Utopia and makes demands without willing to compromise. Later Iron Man’s incompetence accidentally causes the Phoenix Force to be split which causes the creation of the Phoenix Five. Later it was Captain America’s obsession with stopping the Phoenix Five which results in the war escalating. Seriously, even Beast AND Hope comments on the fact that the Avengers seem more keen on stopping (i.e. “killing”) their friends rather than saving them. Plus Captain America takes advice from Wolverine of all people who, next to Cyclops, has the most reason to have a personal biased against the Phoenix Force. I guess I’m just shocked that Marvel had the balls to restore the mutant population in this way since it really made me feel like I wasted the past few months reading this stuff. This ending was so odd that it pretty much ruined the issue for me.

60 years of Cap ignoring mutants ends with him sending their leader to jail
#CyclopsWasRight   #FreeCyclops
Also the fate of Cyclops isn’t exactly what I wanted to happen at the end of this but thankfully it sounds like Marvel isn’t simply throwing him under the bus and his story will hopefully continue (it currently has been in aftermath issues). Still it’s so bizarre to basically have the comic tell you that Cyclops was right all along only to have him thrown in prison. Because of this ending it’s clear that Cyclops wasn’t a villain but rather the victim. If anything Cap was the villain here. As for how the Phoenix was defeated it’s pretty anti-climactic to after all these issues all it takes was Hope and the Scarlet Witch to double team the entity. I’m not sure why they couldn’t have done that four issues ago and I sure as hell don’t understand what he point of training in K’un Lun was.

Bottom line is that this issue is pretty good but the climax is sort of terrible in that way where if you put a lot of thought into it things don’t really add up. By itself this issue isn’t really bad at all and to say otherwise would be unfair. It’s fine; it has fun stuff going for it and bad stuff going for it. However it’s a weak ending to the series and doesn’t leave me all that interested in the new status quo. Also Cyclops’ Kill Count is at, what, three? Four? So why is Wolverine looking at him like he has the moral high ground? I’m pretty sure good old Wolvie killed more people than that in issue #4.

By the way; where the hell is Jean Grey if not merged with the Phoenix?
I give Avengers vs. X-Men #12 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


Pros 

-Good art

-Pretty good action

Cons 

-Misleading cover (Although with all these variants you may not even see it)

-Lame conclusion


With all twelve issues in the bag what’s my thoughts on the series as a whole? As you probably guessed I feel pretty bitter that the story ended the way it did. After that extremely flimsy excuse for the two teams to fight it out in #1 came an even flimsier resolution because the Avengers ended up being 1000% wrong; if they hadn’t started a clearly illegal war with Utopia none of the tragedies in this series would have not have happened. To that end this book needed to jettison at least six of its issues because the point should have come much sooner. While the story isn’t bad it feels so padded that it kind of seems like Marvel just wanted to collect a huge payday from a bloated maxiseries rather than tell a good story at a natural pace. The various characterizations for the important characters seems extremely off, especially for Captain America (Fascist), Cyclops (Raving Lunatic), and Professor X (Creepy Cult Leader Who Loves You). But at least they got something to do. Not nearly enough characters got to do something in this series and if you could have one really good reason for this ridiculous length it’d be to give time to characterize more of the cast (Seriously guys? Rogue basically has one line the entire goddamn comic?). But at least Black Panther got to do something.

Those problems aren’t deal breakers but that hurt the book. I am tremendously unhappy about seeing one of my favorite characters as a murdering Knight Templar but the plot was done in a way that made it interesting, which greatly softens the blow. The first few issues are complete crap and the last couple of issues take way too long to reach the “FINAL BATTLE” but if you want to see the Avengers taking on the X-Men it’s a decent read. It’s a ton better than X-Men: Schism and by most accounts I’ve heard it’s better than Civil War. When it hits trade paperback you might want to give it a read and see how you like it. If you’re a Cyclops fan you might want a strong drink before doing so. Personally I’m f**king sick of this “Heroes Fighting Heroes” B.S. they keep making.

And then the Phoenix was destroyed forever
...until Marvel brings it back for no reason in three years or less
Avengers vs. X-Men as a series gets 3 Adorable Pandas out of 5 (Not an average).

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