Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Reads You Review: AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1

"Come back to the Five-and-Dime, Secret Wars, Secret Wars"

STORY: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction
SCRIPT: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: John Romita, Jr.
INKS: Scott Hanna
COLORS: Laura Martin
LETTERS: Chris Eliopoulos
COVERS: Jim Cheung and Justin Ponsor
40pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

Rated: T+

Marvel Comics’ latest big, event series is Avengers vs. X-Men. This planned 12-issue miniseries pits the Avengers and the X-Men against each other over the return of The Phoenix and its likely host, the Mutant Messiah, Hope Summers.

As Avengers vs. X-Men #1 begins, The Phoenix force makes itself known. Meanwhile, the Avengers deal with a crisis over New York City that threatens both civilians and landmarks. This crisis, however, is merely a harbinger of things to come concerning The Phoenix, a threat that both the Avengers and the White House take seriously. What they decide to do about it leads straight to the X-Men. When Captain America approaches Cyclops, will the mutant leader want to hear what the Avenger has to say?

I found the prologue to this event, Avengers vs. X-Men #0, to be surprisingly blasé. Avengers vs. X-Men #1 is a bit more exciting, mainly because its focus is conflict, whereas #0 offered character vignettes (and not very interesting ones, at that). From the destruction depicted early in this issue to the New York City disaster scene to the designation of the X-Men as a nexus point, this first issue clearly presages a superhero “pay-per-view” wrestling match.

One thing that certainly surprises me is how simply told this comic book is. None of that sophisticated, faux-Mamet drama here: this is Secret Wars-like in its punch-to-settle-differences ethos. Even John Romita, Jr.’s pencil art is retro-cool, lacking photo-realism and exaggerated detail in the figure drawing (especially on the musculature).

There is no telling where this narrative will go when new writers and artists take over in the later issues, but for now, I find this straight-forward superhero battle to be quaint, but fun to read. I won’t lie and say that it is great, but Avengers vs. X-Men #1 is nice.


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