Avengers vs. X-Men #2 Review
- Published on Friday, 20 April 2012 01:00
- Written by Rokk
- Hits: 1430
Avengers vs. X-Men #1 was a rather uninspiring start. To be fair, much of that was due to the fact that Marvel spoiled nearly the entire issue with all of their advance previews of the big event. Hopefully, the creative team can get this big event moving with a purpose and more of a sense of urgency with this second issue. Let's not waste any more time and go ahead and get to this slobber-knocker of an issue.
Plot: Jason Aaron, Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction
Script: Jason Aaron
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a braaaawll!!! Spider-Man says that he cannot believe that Avengers v. X-Men is really happening. (Why? It has happened before! And in Marvel years an event in the 1980's took place maybe a couple of years ago.) Magneto and Colossus team up for a magnetic fastball special as Colossus smashes through the hull of the helicarrier causing it to begin to crash.
We cut to Captain America's shield smashing into the side of Cyclops' head. (I'm talking right into his temple. And the narrator even says how this was the first of the day's concussions.) Yet, the next panel Cyclops is still standing and seemingly just fine. (What? If he had a concussion he should have been knocked out. Then he would be totally woozy. He looks perfectly fine! Really?)
Red Hulk attacks Colossus. Red Hulk then locks horns with Colossus. Namor punches Thing out of the water. Then Namor and Luke Cage begin to fight each other.
Cap tells Cyclops to back down and hand over Hope. Cyclops says no. The Avengers and X-Men then renew their attacks on each other.
We cut to Emma Frost telling Hope to stay put inside of the building along with the other children and students. Emma charges outside and tells Scott that she will use her mental powers to shut down the Avengers in just a minute or two. Suddenly, she is shocked with electricity. Iron Man appears and says that he doused the air with microscopic telepathic tasers so that if Emma uses her powers she gets shocked. Emma then turns into diamond form and begins attacks Iron Man. Iron Man blasts Emma and then Magneto shows up and attacks Iron Man.
Quicksilver watches the entire fight on a live news report. Pietro tells Scarlet Witch that they need to be there and help the Avengers. We then see Quicksilver racing to the fight scene and attacking Magneto. We cut back to the Scarlet Witch turning off the news report and walking away. We see her journal with a drawing of the Phoenix and the words "This is how the world ends!"
We cut back to the brawl. The X-Men call Wolverine a traitor. We see husband and wife fight as Storm takes on Black Panther. (This brings a whole new definition of domestic dispute!)
We hop back over to Hope who refuses to sit out the fight and punches one of the X-Men students guarding her and keeping her from joining the fight.
We zip back to Cyclops blasting away and Cap who is blocking the blasts with his shield. We get the same debate between Scott and Steve from last issue. Scott says Cap and the Avengers being fascist and hateful. Steve says Cyclops and the X-Men are zealots who are attacking for no reason when all the Avengers want to do is help and save the planet. Cyclops then tells Magik to initiate the "backdoor." Cap tells Dr. Strange to follow Magik.
We see Magik and Dr. Strange teleported to a place that looks like Hell and is full of demons. Magik says that she cannot believe that Dr. Strange was dumb enough to fall for their trap.
We slide over to Wolverine and Spider-Man sneaking into the X-Men's building via a sewer line. Then sneak into the building just in time to see Hope powered up with the Phoenix Force and the X-Men students knocked out around her feet. Hope then uses the Phoenix Force to take down Spidey and Wolvie. Hope then disappears from the room just as the X-Men and the Avengers bust into the room. We see Hope full of the Phoenix Force running at super speed across the water.
We cut to outer space where Beast, War Machine, The Protector, Vision, Valkyrie, Thor, Vision and someone in a space suit that looks like Ms. Marvel. The Beast says that the Phoenix Force is almost here and now is the time for them to keep it from getting on Earth. Thor talks about how this is as good a day as any to die. (Oh, that line is so fresh. It just never gets old.) We see the Phoenix force in front of our heroes. End of issue.
The Good & The Bad: Normally, I break down the commentary into "The Good" and "The Bad." However, with Avengers vs. X-Men #2 I am going to eschew this normal format. The reason is that it is virtually impossible to separate the good and the bad in this issue. What makes this comic bad is also what makes it good. So, I am simply going to roll it all together and tackle everything at the same time.
Avengers vs. X-Men #2 has all the type of defects that I normally rip a comic book apart over. However, I just cannot do that with this issue. Because as bad as the defects are in this issue, and to be sure they are pretty awful, they also bring a level of charm and fun to this issue. I am beginning to abandon my customary act of properly dinging on issues that are decompressed. The fact is that decompression is rampant and the complaint that the pacing is slow and that the plot development is anemic is now a perfunctory complaint that applies to just about any comic book from Marvel and DC.
So, yes, it goes without saying that Avengers vs. X-Men #2 is way too decompressed. The plot is barely nudged forward. All that happens in this issue is that the Avengers and X-Men pound on each other and Hope begins to merge with the Phoenix Force and runs away. That is it. We still are awaiting the Phoenix Force to arrive on Earth. We see that about to happen with the final panel.
We get no real plot development at all since the story is so slowly paced. And all of the dialogue in this issue? It is exactly the same dialogue that we got in the last issue as Cyclops and Captain America re-hash and then re-hash once more the same basic and rather uncomplicated grounds for their dispute.
Let's talk about the dialogue. It is awful. But, after a few pages the dialogue becomes bad in a fun and enjoyable manner. I have to imagine that Aaron purposely wrote the dialogue in such an over the top manner. Or at least I hope he did.
The narration that serves as the spine for this issue is incredibly ham-handed and extremely melodramatic. Aaron's use of hyperbole would make even Stan Lee blush. But, that is just the point. While the narration is so wildly cheesy and overly dramatic it reminds the reader of a classic 1960's Marvel comic book. Aaron does a fine job channeling his inner Stan Lee and delivers such overly wrought narration that the reader begins to smile as we realize that the bombastic Stan Lee himself would approve of this type of story telling.
The dialogue is certainly cheesy and reminiscent of what you will find in a 1980's action flick. But, the silly dialogue helps give this event a lighter tone and a sense of fun despite the serious nature of what is at stake in this story. The reader is reassured that no matter what happens that this story is meant to be enjoyed. That this is supposed to be a fun fight filled romp.
Sure, some of the dialogue is absolutely groan inducing. But, it evokes the older Marvel comics where characters would spit out the most obvious statements in order to clue in even the laziest reader into knowing how they should be reacting and feeling about what is going on in the pages of the comic.
Yes, the reader slaps their forehead as Spider-Man utters his line of shock that the Avengers are really fighting the X-Men. And the reader groans as Thor utters the hackneyed line about today being a good day to die. Those are but two examples of many lines of cliched and clunky dialogue that litters this issue. However, the fact is that this type of dialogue populates comic books and action movies through out the decades for a reason. Because it contributes to the light and fun attitude of the adventure story. It is definitely formulaic, but it is a formula that has been successful for decades. Just like that low budget action film that you love or the old 1960's or 1970's Marvel comic book that you adore, the bad dialogue in Avengers vs. X-Men #2 becomes part of the quirky charm of the issue.
Avengers vs. X-Men is a very basic story that lacks much originality or intricate aspects. It is a straight forward action story that relies on super heroes with gaudy super powers bashing each other. You have Hope who is nothing more than a MacGuffin that serves as the goal, motivation and desired object that causes our protagonists to do what they do. Hope is a mere plot device rather than an actual fully developed character. And the rest of the X-Men and the Avengers are just caricatures dutifully carrying out their assigned roles in this story. There is nothing organic to this story that gives the reader the feeling that the characters own the story and are springing to life and telling the writer what should happen next. There is also a lack of internal logic to the story at certain points.
However, the lack of character work, silly dialogue and questionable internal logic fits with the old school style of story to Avengers vs. X-Men. Nothing gets in the way of the action and adventure. Complex plot lines, heavy character work and dense dialogue would simply get in the way of the old school super hero action heavy story that the writers are trying to deliver with Avengers vs. X-Men. None of the writers involved in this big event are what I would consider true super hero genre writers. Therefore, it appears that the writers have looked to the formula created by Lee and Kirby in the 60's and dutifully carried out by later Marvel writers in the 70's and 80's as their inspiration and cookbook in how to craft and deliver this story.
And there is fun to be found in Avengers vs. X-Men #2. This big event most definitely feels huge. The reader gets a clear sense that something massive is occurring that is going to shake the very foundations of the Marvel Universe. This is an extremely important ingredient for any big event. And it was one that was missing from Marvel's last few big events in Fear Itself, Siege and Secret Invasion. Those events felt small and muted. Not Avengers vs. X-Men. This feels like a proper big event.
This story also feels important. The reader gets the clear sense that the outcome to Avengers vs. X-Men is going to have a long lasting impact on the Marvel Universe. That the ending of this big event will result is several important changes to the 616 Universe. This is another critical aspect of a big event that seemed to be missing from all of Marvel's big events since Civil War.
Of course, the most important ingredient to any big event is action. Like a blockbuster summer movie, a comic book big event must deliver big explosions and tons of action. Avengers vs. X-Men #2 certainly delivers this main ingredient in a piping hot fashion. The reader never has to go more than a panel or two without seeing someone in a brightly colored outfit smashing another spandex wearing character in the face. There is lots of shouting, trash talking, explosions, fisticuffs, lasers and weapons crashing through each and every panel.
I must admit that 13 year old Rokk would absolutely adore this issue. And that is where the success of Avengers vs. X-Men is going to be found. Unlike some big events in the recent past, Avengers vs. X-Men is not targeting the aging hipster in his mid to late 30's. This big event is tailor made for younger readers and for new readers. It is loud with lots of fighting. It also eschews unnecessary gore that would prevent this from being kid friendly. Avengers vs. X-Men #2 is an issue made for any comic book reader of absolutely any age.
The best part is how Avengers vs. X-Men is extremely new reader friendly. Absolutely no knowledge of the Marvel Universe is needed in order to enjoy this big event. Reader do not need to know anything at all about either the X-Men or the Avengers. All the reader needs to know is that Hope is the messiah, the X-Men want her, the Avengers wnat her and the Phoenix is really, really bad. Now, fight!
The artwork is average. Again, I am not the biggest John Romita, Jr. fan so any issue with his pencils is not going to excite me that much. The art is rather inconsistent from panel to panel. Some look great and others not so much. Having said that, Romita is capable of delivering some dynamic action scenes. The real treat of the artwork is Laura Martin's colors. She always makes for a pleasing looking comic.
Overall: Avengers vs. X-Men #2 is shallow, lacks character work, has some bad dialogue and narration and lacks internal logic at times. And that is also part of its charm as it effectively channels the style of super hero stories that Marvel cranked out in the 60's, 70's and 80's. If you are a fan of traditional super hero stories or old school Marvel comics then check out Avengers vs. X-Men #2. I think you will enjoy what Marvel is serving. For the rest of you? I would recommend staying as far away from this big event as possible.
Rokk began his little Blogger blog known as Rokk's Comic Book Revolution on January 24, 2006. One wife and two little boys later he is now the Editor In Chief of the Comic Book Revolution and works with some great fellow comic book fanatics. You can keep up with Rokk and his musings through various formats.