Avengers vs. X-Men #9 Review
- Published on Friday, 03 August 2012 05:41
- Written by Kevin
- Hits: 1704
Though the Avengers were able to get a victory over Phoenix Five Namor in Avengers vs. X-Men #8, it seems that only made the other four Phoenix Five members stronger. With the other Phoenix Five X-Men getting stronger the odds are stacked against the Avengers. Making matters worse is the fact that their numbers continue to dwindle with each issue of AvX and its tie-ins while Hope trains in another dimension. With Avengers vs. X-Men #9 we have reached the beginning of the third and final act of the mega Marvel event. How do things turn out? Let’s find out.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Adam Kubert
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Laura Martin and Larry Molinar
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
In the present, Spider-Man watches over Hope’s training in K’un Lun. Spider-Man then notices that the opening of the portal with injured Avengers coming through it. Captain America tells Spider-Man that they lost Thor in their battle against Phoenix Five Colossus and Magik. (Is it me or has Thor been given the worst beatings in this event? The Thunder God never catches a break.)
Spider-Man tries to crack a joke but Captain America just asks where Tony is. We then see Tony in the library trying to figure out how Wanda, Iron Fist, Hope and the Phoenix Force are tied together.
Back outside, Hope tells Spider-Man she is tired of training and wants to go fight alongside the Avengers. Spider-Man gives Hope a speech that after being part of Avengers as long as he has been he has learned one thing: it doesn’t matter what your powers are because when you are an Avenger there will come a time you have to step up to save the day by yourself and that your job is to be ready. (Spider-Man has turned into Mr. Miyagi. Must be all the Spider-Fu training he has been getting.)
In Russia, Storm and the other X-Men watch as Colossus and Magik dump Thor into their volcanic prison. Seeing how far gone the Phoenix Five have become, Storm and others decide to leave their former teammates.
In Ethiopia, Cyclops meets up with Emma, where she reveals that since getting Namor’s portion of the Phoenix Force she has had the urge to kill everyone that oppose them with her psychic powers. She then reveals that she knows that the Avengers are hiding out in K’un Lun. Cyclops takes off with this new knowledge. As he leaves Emma silently calls Cyclops back because she is scared what she will do next.
Sometime later, Emma enters the house of a man who killed a mutant back in 1987. Emma kills the man right in front of his family while they eat dinner. (Damn, the cold-blooded White Queen Emma Frost is back in a big way.)
In the ruins of Wakanda, Storm meets up with her husband Black Panther. She tries to apologize and that she is there to help rebuild the city but Black Panther tells her to leave as she is not part of the city as the High Priest, who is Black Panther, has annulled their marriage. (No need for a lawyer to get a divorce in Wakanda.) Sadden by this news Storm tells her former husband that she has information for the Avengers that will help.
That night the Avengers have teleported to Russia and enter the Phoenix Five's volcanic prison. Inside they meet up with Professor X and Storm. Prof. X uses his powers to psychically hide the Avengers from detection of the demons Magik has brought into the prison as guards. As the Avengers sprint to free their teammates Colossus and Magik detect their presence and begin a big brawl between them and the Avengers.
As the fight intensifies, Spider-Man realizes that the Avengers will lose and pulls all the Avengers to a safe area and causes a cave in that keeps himself sectioned off with Colossus and Magik. Facing the two alone Spider-Man tries to use a combination of his spider and comedic powers to buy the Avengers time to save their other teammates. Unfortunately for Spider-Man, he is quickly overpowered and Colossus begins beating the hell out of him.
Even with his bones broken and covered in his own blood, Spider-Man continues to get up. He then hears Colossus and Magik arguing with one another because Magik wants to kill Spider-Man while Colossus does not. Using this to his advantage, Spider-Man tells them that they should know that if one of them goes down the other will become stronger. (Look at that Spider-Man is using his head not just his mouth in battle.)
After arriving back in K’un Lu, Hope tends to the injured Avengers and asks the other them where Spider-Man is.
Just then the volcano erupts and a couple Avengers go to try to find Spider-Man. They find him in the rubble standing over unconscious Colossus and Magik. He tells the Avengers that he turned the two on each other and that they took one another out.
Before the Avengers can celebrate this win Cyclops appears in K’un Lu now even more powerful than before. End of issue.
The Good: After starting out with some questionable decisions and setting low expectations after the first few issue I am happy to say Avengers vs. X-Men is just getting better and better. Avengers vs. X-Men #9 shows how much the series has grown from being a typical slugfest into something much more meaningful. Sure, there is still one continuous problem that has plagued the series since the beginning, but the positives of Avengers vs. X-Men #9 truly outweigh the negatives of the story.
The biggest sign of improvement over the past eight issues of the event is the fact that Avengers vs. X-Men #9 was able to build an emotional connection that had been lacking. Up until this point, one of the major problems the latest Marvel event has had is drawing me in as a reader emotionally. I never felt connected to what was going on as everything going on within the pages of the event lacked true emotion.
Because of that it is incredible to see how just changing the narrative of the event for at least one issue to change from two groups to one character. The way Jason Aaron handles this shift of narrative to spotlight Spider-Man is great because it could have easily blown up in his face but it did not. Instead, this choice for the issue made it so as a reader I get a much better sense of how this event has evolved and grown.
Equally as impressive is how Aaron made all of Spider-Man’s dialogue and inner monologues sound natural. He gets us inside of Spider-Man’s head as we understand that the character is trying his best to stay positive for Hope, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers but feels like he should be doing more, just like Hope feels. Instead of just throwing out meaningless jokes at the other Avengers he provides a lot of insight in what is going on.
Spider-Man’s whole conversation with Hope after the Avengers come back from losing Thor in a battle against Colossus and Magik was some of the best character moment he has had since joining the Avengers. Aaron highlights how Spider-Man at his core is based on what Uncle Ben taught him about “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The entire speech he gives Hope also helps to give the reader a sense of how important being an Avenger is. Because it is not about being the strongest, fastest or most invincible. What being an Avenger means is that they are ready to step up no matter how impossible the odds. This is something that whether you are a new or long time reader of the Avengers can appreciate as Aaron is able to efficiently give the Avengers a definition and some hope that they will win in the end of the event.
With all that said I will not lie and say I did have a huge smile on my face when I saw Spider-Man sacrifice himself to save the rest of the Avengers in order to take on Colossus and Magik by himself. After seeing Thor so easily dominated by the two for Spider-Man to step up on his own was fantastic. It is one of those moments even though he does not stand a chance, as a Spider-Man fan, I wanted to see how he would get out of it. With this Aaron does a great job keeping Spider-Man from looking weak as he mixes in humor and quick action.
It is the small things such as adding blood to the inner monologue boxes that make the action feel much more intense and edge on your seat worthy. Seeing how Spider-Man uses his mouth instead of his fist to defeat both Colossus and Magik, essentially turning the brother/sister on each other, was perfect.
But with three issues still left in Avengers vs. X-Men Aaron makes sure that there is still a lot of story left to be told. Even with such a big victory Aaron makes it so the Avengers and X-Men do not have time to rest because now the final two members of the former Phoenix Five have become even stronger than before. that the Avengers have saved the two most dangerous wielders of the Phoenix Force for last.
As much as AvX #9 was about Spider-Man it was also an issue that puts some of the spotlight on both Cyclops and Emma Frost. Emma specifically gets some of the best character work of the series as she is slowly being consumed by the Phoenix Force. Seeing how absolutely brutal she has become is fantastic because there is such a balance between how dangerous she is with how she has become the damsel in distress.
Her whole conversation with Cyclops highlights how much the Phoenix Force has affected the most extreme parts of the character’s emotions. She has now reverted to an even more dangerous version of the White Queen. At the same time there is still some of the old Emma, the X-Men and Cyclops girlfriend, still in there as she quietly pleads for Cyclops to help her after he already left. It was a short one page scene that was very important in building to what comes next in the event.
At the same time, even though she has been forced to the side, Hope gets some very good character work in this issue. Aaron supplies enough time to Hope’s mindset of what is going on so she stay relevant but doesn’t get involved. Her frustration over not being taken with the other Avengers to fight helps build to what her involvement will become as she along with Iron Fist and Scarlet Witch will be important in future issues, as Iron Man’s quick scene attest too.
Another major improvement in this issue is the fact that we do get more time dedicated to the X-Men side of the conflict. Not only do we get more development for the Phoenix Five/Four but Storm and Professor X final enter the conflict. Storm specifically steals some of the spotlight as she finally takes action against her former teammates.
Aaron treats Storm finally taking action as being real because as she chooses to stand on the sidelines for the majority of the conflict it caused her personal life to crumble with Black Panther annulling their marriage. It helps to show that there are and will be ramifications for the choices that the characters make during this event.
With a strong balance between talking head and action sequences, Adam Kubert is given a lot of room to flex his muscle as an artist. He is able to provide a lot of stunning action scenes while showing how great he is at drawing character shots. He makes sure that every punch can be felt through the pages especially with how brutal of a beating Spider-Man gets in this issue in his fight against Colossus and Magik. Also, the three big conversations in this issue of Spider-Man and Hope, Cyclops and Emma Frost and Storm and Black Panther are given more weight thanks to how Kubert was able to properly frame all the various expressions from one panel to the next.
The Bad: The one downside of the issue, and one that has existed throughout the event, is the continued lack of development for the X-Men side. While Storm gets some time to develop her opinions on what is going on there still exists an unbalance between the Avengers and X-Men. Even with X-Men like Wolverine and Beast being part of the Avengers there is almost zero development dedicated to what the non-Phoenix X-Men. Especially when compared to all the time we have spent with the Avengers. This is called Avengers vs. X-Men not “The Avengers Guest Starring the X-Men.” It is too bad that the X-Men have gotten the shaft in this event because there is a lot of untapped potential with their involvement.
Overall: As we have gotten further into the latest Marvel event the better it has gotten. Avengers vs. X-Men #9 is a testament to this improvement from where it started. Jason Aaron is able to build an emotional connection to what is going on in the conflict. By focusing on three key character relationships we are able to see how far the conflict between the Avengers and X-Men has developed. Spider-Man specifically steps up as the star of the show in this issue which put a big smile on this Spider-Man fan. If you stuck with Avengers vs. X-Men this long than you will be happy to know that the event has been getting better and better. I am now even more excited to see how things turn out in the end.
Kevin started reading comics as a kid when he watched the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After that his parents bought him a few random Spider-Man and Batman comics and he has been hooked ever since. When he is not reading and writing about comics you can find Kevin as the destroyer of worlds, champion of fighting tournaments and ace Madden player on the PS3. You can catch up with Kevin and all his thoughts at the following links: