Friday, August 03, 2012

Graphic Novel Review – Avengers vs. X-Men: It’s Coming

I make no excuses for my love of Marvel comics and I tend to enjoy most of their giant crossover events – and this year’s Avengers vs. X-Men is no exception. If you’ve been reading various Marvel comics over the past decade or so, you know that things have been leading up to this point for some time. If you haven’t been reading Marvel comics and want to get a brief history into how things got to the point where the Avengers and X-Men would go to war with each other, It’s Coming might be worth your while. But I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly.

What you get in this book is a random assortment of comic issues from a bunch of different series that help to set up the state of the Marvel Universe just before AvX. The last issue of House of M (an alternate universe tale) starts things off, showing how the Scarlett Witch used her powers to eliminate most of the Mutants on the planet and bring them to the edge of extinction. That last part is not in an alternate universe, it’s in the main Marvel timeline. While this issue is at the very heart of the war, it’s terribly ineffectual as a stand-alone issue. I had no idea why any of the Avengers reacted as strongly as they did (though I have decided to seek out the Spider-Man House of M story to see what caused such a strong reaction in Peter), though at least I could follow why the Mutants were despairing.

Things progress from there to the first issue of the X-Men event called Second Coming – which skips ahead of the first new mutant born (named Hope) in a different event, to when she returns as a teenager from the future with her adopted father Cable. They’re still on the run, and now there’s an anti-Mutant terrorist group that wants to ensure Hope dies and takes the Mutant race with her. Honestly, this was the most interesting issue in the whole book, and also made me seek out Second Coming so I could read the rest of the story. It only gives a brief glimpse though, and other than introducing Hope (and maybe showing that Wolverine is leading a covert X-Men group on Cyclops’ behalf) I’m not sure what it really had to do with AvX.

Moving ahead in the timeline, comes X-Men Schism, a fairly recent event in which Wolverine breaks from Cyclops and forms his own Mutant school. Most of this issue showed a battle between the two heroes, but very little of the reasoning is shown and ultimately Wolverine is allowed to just walk away. I had an odd sense, just like I did when reading Civil War, that I was rooting for the guy who was supposed to be on the wrong side – because he just made more sense to me. Either way, I wasn’t intrigued enough to want to seek out that particular event.

I’d already read Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, so reading a random issue from that series wasn’t worth my time. Other than showing Wanda back in action, I’m again not sure of the significance to using this particular issue. And the Magneto comic featured next didn’t seem to me to have anything whatsoever to do with AvX, other than showing that the Avengers are keeping a watch on Magneto because of his former terrorist ways.

Avengers: X-Santion really seems to be the prologue to AvX, showing Cable trying to take down the Avengers before they can harm his daughter Hope. Between that and the excerpt from Marvel Point One which shows the Phoenix as it cuts a path of destruction (and rebirth) across the galaxy on its way back to Earth – they both provide a nice teaser for AvX itself.

But in all, I think there were better ways that a comic collection could be put together to bring potential readers of AvX up to speed. At the very least, things that have no context in the issues that are pertinent to the event should have been edited out of this collection. Marvel’s done this before, the X-Tinction Agenda collected book has some unrelated panels edited out because they have no relation to the rest of the story. I’d have probably added more scenes from some of these series to make up for it (as well as removed some of these issues completely), and then maybe even put some text pages in to explain what had happened in between issues/stories. The book succeeded in making me want to check out the Spider-man: House of M story, as well as X-Men: Second Coming and Avengers: X-Sanction, so I guess it wins some points for that, but I’m not convinced this would do a really great job of priming those folks who may be intrigued by the idea of Avengers battling X-Men coming off of hit movies for these characters.

1 comment:

Maurice Mitchell said...

Jim, it sounds like a good primer for people that don't read the comics, but not for regular readers.