Avengers Vs. X-Men #1
Script by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by John Romita Jr.
Inks by Scott Hanna
Colors by Laura Martin
We’ve all seen the story about the two heroes thrown into conflict with one another, only to realize at the last possible moment that they are not truly enemies, and that they must band together to take on the true antagonist of the tale. Avengers Vs. X-Men #1 is not that kind of story.
This is not a story of “misunderstandings”, but a fundamental difference in philosophy. The Phoenix force is headed back to Earth, and with it the promise of destruction, but also of rebirth. So, the question becomes, do you save the world you know, or hope for a better future in a world reborn.
Since House of M, Cyclops and The X-Men have fought for the very survival of their species. In AVX #1 Scott Summers sees the chance to restore what mutant kind has lost. This puts him and his team in direct opposition with The Avengers. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, we’re brought together to stop the kind of danger the Phoenix brings in its wake and they cannot abide letting it just run its course here on Earth.
There are a lot of big ideas behind this mega event and I think Round 1 writer Brian Michael Bendis does a stellar job of layering in the underlying, and not so underlying tensions that exist between the two teams. Most importantly, he begins the issue with a rousing and heroic action scene that showcases the powers of nearly all the main Avengers. It’s a tenant of good writing to show your main characters performing their everyday actions the right way. It provides us with context, so when the team falters later it hits home in a real way.
Bendis also creates an effective juxtaposition between the well funded, and universally accepted large roster of The Avengers vs. the small outcast X-Men. This brings a weighty feeling of desperation to Cyclop’s team. Which is a smart move by Bendis and co. because on the surface the X-Men’s desire for the Phoenix force could seem selfish, but instead feels almost righteous.
My gripes with the book are few and most of those I believe will be solved as we delve deeper into the grayer areas of Avengers vs X-Men. The largest of those gripes is that the story here seems to strongly favor The Avengers, in both page count and sympathies. The X-Men aren’t the bad guys, but I certainly found myself thinking, “boy I wonder what The Avengers will have to do to beat these guys!” I hope that this allegiance doesn’t stay so cut and dry, because there is great opportunity to make the reader question whose side they are on. I fear though that it will be squandered in favor of a run of the mill right vs. wrong.
That being said, I’m quite pleased about how this story has gotten off the ground and I am looking forward to how the other writers enhance and expand what is all ready set forth.
What You Need To Know
A general knowledge of X-Men lore would be a plus, but I think that the writers do a great job of leveraging what you know from the recent Marvel movies into this issue. If you are worried about being left behind why not take a listen to our podcast with Alan Kistler which covers all you need to know about AVX!
A very strong start to a huge event, Avengers vs. X-Men Round 1 does a lot to ratchet up the tension and fire the opening salvo of the war between the two groups. I think that it could have been less Avengers leaning, but my hope is that in future issues, with the help of other writers, that AVX will bring a more nuanced and complicated approach to who you should be rooting for. Other than that the book is great popcorn literature and I recommend it to those looking for stellar action and beautiful art.