Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #9

My catch up of Avengers vs. X-Men continues. Before I get into it I want to point out that the length of this series is a bit ridiculous. I mean really; twelve issues? That’s twice as long as the average modern crossover event.\ This is in line with the old school twelve issue maxiseries of the 1980s (The Secret Wars, Crisis on Infinite Earths) but those books came out over the course of a year. AvX came out in half that time. It feels kind of like I’m drowning in issues of this book. That said DC has released fifty-two issues or so of book over a year (52, Countdown) and in comparison Marvel is almost being restrained. Of course 52 is considered one of the best superhero comics of the 2000s but I’m not convinced people will be calling AvX one of the best comics of the 2010s eight or nine years from now.

Anyway Avengers vs. X-Men #9 was written by Jason Aaron, whom I’m not overly fond of, and the art team remains the same as last time: Adam Kubert on pencils, John Dell on inks and Laura Martin with Larry Molinar on colors. Previous AvX reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

By the way; I've finally read up to issue 11 so  there's no need to protect myself from spoilers in the comment section; it's unlocked now.

More agony AvX after the jump.

[WARNING: Some minor (in my opinion) spoilers ahead]

This pretty much tells us where we're at in the story at this point
The Avengers have retreated to the mystical city of K’un Lun but the Phoenix 5 Minus One have them on the ropes. Every time they face the god-like mutants they are thoroughly defeated and lose members to capture. While they pin their survival on both Iron Man’s ability to find a way to stop the Phoenix and Hope Summers’ training they receive help from a surprising source: Storm and Professor Xavier, who help the Avengers attempt to rescue they imprisoned teammates.

This in another “mid-issue” where it’s mostly a connection between the destruction of Wakanda from last issue and the equally terrifying events from issue 10; it’s mostly a cool down/warm up issue. But unlike some previous mid-issues there is purpose to this one and it greatly raises the tension for the next issue, thus it’s a good read. The writing is solid, as it has been recently. The art is still damn weird in some frames but mostly still pretty good.

This issue also pretty much confirms all the shit talking Professor X previously doing as we actually seem the Phoenix 5 minus 1 actually doing evil, or at least extremely brutal things, meaning the Phoenix is indeed corrupting all of them. Having seen the future (i.e. “read the next two issues”) I can confirm that this will only get worst. On a related note I liked the stuff with Emma Frost from a storytelling point of view, though it does nothing to decrease my worry about her character.

What? The White Queen? Evil? No way, man, I don't buy it!
The only negative I really have is that the issue doesn’t live up to its own premise. Basically the idea, obvious from the cover, is that Spider-Man is going to have to fight these guys on his own. But I really thought the way it all ended was a total let down as he does the “self-sacrificing” thing without the actual “sacrificing” part. Oh well, we all knew Marvel wouldn’t kill off their signature character in a miniseries outside his own book (that’s more of a DC thing). It wasn’t as epic or bold as it could have been. It’s fine, not great.

There’s not much more to talk about the issue as a review than that. But I would like to briefly talk about Black Panther and Storm in this issue. Way back in Issue #2 I complained that the book didn’t deal with their marriage as much as they should have (briefly dealt with in on panel) but here it looks like Marvel may have ended it altogether as T’Challa makes a very brief statement to Ororo that he’s had their marriage annulled in light of what Namor (and thus all of the X-Men) did to Wakanda. This bothers me because, if this is truly how Marvel is ending their marriage, it’s a pretty lackluster way to go about it. It’s a whimper rather than the bang it began with. To be clear I hated the marriage for reasons that deserve their own blog but regardless of my feelings I sincerely believe this would be the wrong way to get rid of it. Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s split was a huge deal and while neither Panther or Storm have their own title right now it really deserved more than a few panels to dissolve. Hopefully there will be more to the status of their relationship (preferably not in this series, though) in the very near future.

Well...that was six years wasted, I guess
Also back in issue six I mentioned that it seemed like T’Challa was being treated like he was still King of Wakanda despite the fact that he very publicly lost throne a while back. But it’s plainly stated here that his current title is that he’s the High Priest of the Panther Clan. Okay, cool. I don’t recall this happening, but I haven’t kept up with T’Challa the last few years so I can’t say one way or the other. I’m going to say that they must have because otherwise it will be one more thing Marvel has done that annoys me.

Decent issue but also a better than average mid-issue that does its job well. It would have been a lot better had Spidey not made it out of that volcano (even if his fate was simply ambiguous) but that doesn’t ruin things here at all. It’s fine and AvX continues being better than it started. With only three issues left it’ll be interesting to see how marvel wraps this all up. 

Spider-Man's Plan A: Try to make a deal with the Phoenix Force
Avengers vs. X-Men #9 gets 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas


-Decent art 

-Strong story 

-Interesting, if worrying, character development 


-The climax is a bit of a let down

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