Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Reads You Review: AVX: VERSUS #2


WRITERS: Steve McNiven, Kieron Gillen
PENCILS: Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca
INKS: John Dell, Salvador Larroca
COLORS: Morry Hollowell, Jim Charalampidis
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER: Salvador Larroca
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

Rated: T+

Avengers Vs. X-Men was Marvel Comics’ most recent, big event, crossover series. The final issue was just released, but I mostly ignored the entire thing except for reading the #0 and #1 issues. However, I was recently going through a box of comic books given to me by fellow comics aficionado and comic book reviewer, Albert Avilla, when I came across AVX: VS #2.

I was confused by the title. Was this Avengers Vs. X-Men? But the first page of this comic book explains it all. This is Avengers versus the X-Men, but instead of big, sprawling team brawls, AVX: VS features one-on-one battles between individual members of the Avengers and the X-Men. To paraphrase the introduction: it’s not about plot, but about two superheroes pounding the snot out of each other. AVX: VS is a six-issue, tie-in miniseries to the main event, but even more than the main series, AVX: VS is pure fight comics.

AVX: VS #2 has two heavyweight bouts – Match 3 and 4 of this series. First, Avenger Captain America takes on X-Man, Gambit, in a story written and penciled by Steve McNiven with inks by John Dell. Then, Avenger, the Amazing Spider-Man, takes on a Juggernaut-enhanced Colossus of the X-Men in a story written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Salvador Larroca.

I thought that Steven McNiven’s delicate line work and intricate cross-hatching would not work when trying to depict a fight between two superheroes that seem to be in constant motion. However, refined lines and precise cross-hatching are perfect for capturing combatants in static images with grace and beauty. When the panels are connected in the way that comics are read, this gracefully rendered artwork creates the illusion that these two characters are in motion and are fighting.

Salvador Larroca is quite good at drawing the exaggerated anatomy that has practically been the standard over the better part of the last three decades. It’s usually a mixed bag with Larroca. Sometimes, his superhero figure drawing looks ugly or even anal in its delineation of every nook and cranny of bulging muscles. Other times, Larroca gets it just right, as he does here.

He captures the inherent gangly nature of Spider-Man’s physique while giving him the grace of a dancer and the precise skill of an acrobat. Larroca turns Colossus into a body-building mass of destruction and transforms his body into a force of nature driven by muscle power. The second and third pages of the Spider-Man/Colossus bout form a double-page spread that encapsulates how fittingly Larroca depicts the two characters.

Story? Who needs story with fight comic book art like this?


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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