It was bound to happen. Marvel Comics’ two most powerful—and now most popular—super teams are being pitted against each other in an earthshaking, moneymaking miniseries event. “Earth’s mightiest heroes” and “the children of the atom” fight over a cosmic entity in “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” a biweekly, 12-part series running until September.
The two teams are fighting to control an earth-bound Phoenix, an ancient being with power to eradicate planets. The Avengers go after the teen mutant “messiah” Hope Summers, the potential Phoenix host. But the X-Men are keeping the other team from taking her into protective custody, believing that Hope can use the Phoenix to restart the mutant race, most of which was magically depowered by the ex-Avenger Scarlet Witch.
Co-written by Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, and Matt Fraction, “Avengers Vs. X-Men” is the comic book event of the year for Marvel devotees, an epic crossover that will have a definite winner (although at this point, the victor is clearly Marvel; the main book is a hit and related titles are doing really well).
So far, the miniseries impresses with its big, foreboding confrontations, although there are some disappointing continuity inconsistencies with the tie-ins. The Avengers’ Helicarrier was attacked by Magneto and Colossus (AVX # 2), but in another book (New Avengers # 24), there are no signs whatsoever of that attack, and shows an entirely different scenario.
Five issues into “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” something totally unexpected finally happens, which will undoubtedly lead to more brawls and escalated conflicts between the super-groups.
Art-wise, John Romita Jr. surprises with tighter-than-usual illustrations, but his work looks rushed by issue 4. Olivier Coipel will take over penciling duties by issue 6.
It’s far from perfect, and knowing the whole story requires reading several other connected comic books. But whether you’re an X-Men or Avengers fan, or both, “Avengers Vs. X-Men” is good old-fashioned comic book fun, accessible enough for newbies, but more rewarding for longtime fans of the Marvel Universe’s premier teams.