Avengers vs. X-Men #4 Review
- Published on Friday, 18 May 2012 01:00
- Written by Rokk
- Hits: 1352
Avengers vs. X-Men has had trouble getting off the ground. The biggest problem is that none of the writers seem determined to simply rewrite the same issue over and over during the course of the first three issues. Hopefully, Hickman will be able to kick-start this big event and actually deliver something that resembles plot progression. Let's hit this review and find out.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Hope using a trail of cans of beer to lead Wolverine, who is wearing a dead polar bear as a fur coat, to her jet. (What? Isn't Wolverine in Antarctica? There are no Polar Bears in Antarctica. Really, Hickman? And Polar Bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This makes Wolverine looks like a total asshole. Wolverine wouldn't need to kills a Polar Bear in order to survive. He has a healing factor that will keep him alive no matter the cold!) Wolverine is ready to kills Hope. (Well, why not? He's already slaughtered innocent Polar Bears. Let's keep the killing rolling!)
We cut to our team of Avengers in space. The Phoenix has knocked out Ms. Marvel, War Machine, Protector, Captain Britain, Beast, Valkyrie and Vision. Only Thor remains standing. He throws his hammer and the Phoenix. The Phoenix then blasts through Thor.
We hop back to Wolvie and Hope. We get the same re-hashed dialogue from the first three issues. Wolverine thinks that Hope cannot control the Phoenix Force and that the Phoenix will destroy the earth. Hope says that she can handle the power of the Phoenix and restore Mutantkind. Hope says that Logan must believe her and give her a chance. Hope says that if she is wrong then Wolverine can kill her. Wolverine agrees to a temporary truce to see if Hope is right about the Phoenix Force.
Hope then says that she needs a much larger ship. Wolverine then pilots their jet off to their destination while Hope takes a nap.
We zip to Cyclops and Emma Frost engaged in the same recycled dialogue from the previous three issues. That Hope can save them and that they need to find her before the Avengers. Emma uses her powers to take control of Toad at Xavier's Mansion and guide him to Cerebra. Toad puts on the Cerebra helmet and Emma begins looking for Hope.
Emma narrates the scene at Wakanda where a team of Avengers is battling some X-Men. Emma says that Hope is not here. Emma then narrates the scene at Tabula Rasa where more Avengers are battling X-Men. Emma notes that old rivalries are rekindled. We see Thing battling Namor and enjoying it. Emma notes that Hope is not here, either.
Emma zips to Latveria where more Avengers are battling X-Men. Hope isn't there. Emma pops into Wundagore Mountain where some more Avengers are battling other X-Men. No Hope there either.
Next up is the Savage Land. Emma sees more Avengers battling X-Men. At this location is Captain America so we spend more time at this location than just one page like we did for the other locations. Captain America contacts Iron Man who is back at Avengers Tower. Tony says that he is working on a weapon that can destroy the Phoenix but that it is going to take time and a ton of effort.
Emma fills Scott in on what she sees. Emma says that Hope is not in the Savage Land. Emma says Hope has successfully hidden herself. Scott tells Emma that he needs to know what the Avengers know. Emma then concentrates and says that she has "him."
We cut back to Captain America telling Tony to hold on while he takes another call. Steve then tells Tony that they know where Hope is located. Emma then yells to Scott that the Avengers know where Hope is.
We hop over to an AIM base and see Wolverine and Hope stealing a rocket ship. They blast off to the moon. They land in the Blue Area of the moon. Hope is stunned to see the Avengers standing there waiting for her. Wolverine says that he called Captain America while Hope napped. Hope yells that Wolverine betrayed her. Wolverine says that Hope is wrong about the Phoenix Force.
Suddenly, Cyclops and the X-Men appear on the scene and tell the Avengers to back off and give them Hope. Just as the Avengers and X-Men are about to battle, Iron Man screams "Look out!!" We see Thor crashing into the moon. Thor then feebly points up into the air. Hope says that it is here. Everyone looks stunned. We see the Phoenix Force in the sky right about them. End of issue.
The Good: Honestly, it is going to be hard to satisfy the Revolution's Rule of Positivity with this issue. I did like that Wolverine did not actually change his mind and decide to help Hope become the Phoenix. Having Wolverine flip over to Cyclops' side would have been way too predictable and uncreative. I am glad that Logan is still largely a loner in this story. Yes, he is more on the Avengers' side in that he agrees that Hope must not be allowed to join with the Phoenix. Yet, Wolverine is squarely in his own camp with his belief that Hope must be killed. This is exactly where Logan should be. Before he was a member of every Marvel super hero team and also the headmaster of a school, Logan was always a loner. And he hated working in a team. The writers have placed Wolverine back where he belongs: on a team of one.
Romita, Jr's artwork was average. Much like the previous issues, there are panels where the art looks absolutely brilliant. And then there are panels that look sloppy and dull. This is the main reason why I have never been much of a John Romita, Jr. fan. His artwork is simply too inconsistent from panel to panel. Still, for the most part, Romita, Jr. does the best he can with a rather dull script. The more action the better for Romita, Jr. since that is where his artwork shines.
The Bad: As this event progressing, I am reminded of how much Marvel is like a bad girlfriend. You are madly in love with this woman. She is hot, funny and pretty much everything you would want in a woman. But, she cheats on you. And she brings home an SDT from her sleeping around and you get it. After a trip to the doctor some penicillin and a tearful promise from her that she loves you and will never cheat on you again you decide that she is worth another chance. Unfortunately, about six months later you are peeing fire once again and you know that your girlfriend is just never going to treat you well. And you are never going to learn your lesson.
Marvel promised that Avengers vs. X-Men was going to be an awesome event. Instead of one writer writing an eight issue big event that came out monthly, we were told that AvX was going to be written by a committee of writers and delivered in bi-weekly fashion for twelve issues. The concept was that by using multiple writers Marvel could keep a much faster shipping schedule with no big delays like what have plagued some of their prior big events. Also, the faster shipping schedule meant that this story would move at a greater pace than the notoriously decompressed and shallow big events that Marvel has given us over the years. And to op it all off, Marvel promised AvX would be a fun action adventure story with the goal of delivering pure entertainment.
Just like the slow witted boyfriend, I believed Marvel. I figured that Avengers vs. X-Men would move at a fairly brisk pace and be a more exciting read compared to previous big events like Fear Itself, Siege and Secret Invasion. instead of a lively paced adventure romp we have gotten a ridiculously decompressed and repetitive story. The first four issues of Avengers vs. X-Men are like the movie Ground Hog Day. I feel like I am just re-reading the same issue over and over.
All we get in Avengers vs. X-Men #4 is the same recycled dialogue about how Scott believes Hope will save mutantkind, how Captain America believes Hope will end the world and how Wolverine thinks she must be killed. I get it already. AvX is an extraordinarily simple story. The reader understands all of the viewpoints and concepts within just the first issue. We do not need them repeated ad nauseum over the course of four issues.
Avengers vs. X-Men #4 delivers some random fighting, the same debates and discussions between the characters and then ends almost exactly at the same spot as it ended with issue #3 with the Phoenix Force right outside of Earth. Absolutely nothing happens at all in this issue. Nothing new occurs in the least bit. Since there is zero plot progression the reader can easily skip this issue, purchase issue #5 and not miss anything at all.
This issue read like nothing more than pure filler. It is clear that the committee of writers had enough material and substance for an eight issue event but were forced by editorial to stretch it out over twelve issues. The result has been some shallow reads over the course of the first four issues.
What was also incredibly disappointing was that the action scenes were told in a series of vignettes narrated by Emma Frost. This passive and cursory manner of delivering these action scenes served to make them as boring as possible. By having Emma narrate theses brief moments the reader is separated from the fight scenes and feels rather remote from the action going on in the issue. The result is any impact or excitement that the action scenes might have had is completely muted by Hickman's delivery. If nothing else, Avengers vs. X-Men should deliver gobs of adventure and action. Hickman utterly fails in that endeavor with this dull issue.
The character work continues to be largely absent from the story. The spotlight also continues to shine exclusively on Cyclops, Wolverine and Captain America with Iron Man and Emma Frost getting whatever spotlight is left over. Everyone else? Nothing more than background props. And why are we seeing just the same Avengers and X-Men over and over? There are lots of other members of both teams that could be added into the mix. After all, this is THE big event of the year. The more players the better.
There are also gaps in internal logic between the core Avengers vs. X-Men title and all of the various tie-in issues scattered across the other titles. I know it is not an easy job, but editors do get paid money to do something other than simply take up space in an office. It would be nice to see the editors actually doing their job and making sure all the internal inconsistencies are caught and corrected.
I know that the character work has been pathetic and the continuity gaffes present as various issues are not syncing up with the main event properly. But, the fact is I could completely forgive those defects if AvX delivered action and plot progression. I do not purchase a big event story looking for great character work. No, I want big blockbuster movie styled action and adventure. Give me that and I can forgive any lack of character work and gaps in internal logic. Unfortunately, when the writers do not deliver in plot progression and action, the other defects begin to become far more annoying.
Overall: Avengers vs. X-Men #4 was a completely superfluous issue. I see no reason in the world why anyone should waste their hard earned money on this pointless read. Save your money and go buy Versus #2 instead. It is a far more entertaining read. I would also suggest looking into some of the tie-in issues since they have been more entertaining than what we have gotten on the core Avengers vs. X-Men title.
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.