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Avengers vs X-Men #7

Story by Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, & Jonathan Hickman

Written by Matt Fraction

Art by Olivier Coipel

Review by Mara Whiteside

 

Every once in awhile a comic book series comes around that takes me by surprise. It usually starts as a ho-hum-I’ll-give-this-a-try and morphs into a gasp-inducing, goosebump growing, thought-provoking piece of work. Avengers vs X-Men is that series for me.  What started as pure fangirling over my favorite characters duking it out turned into a story that is pushing all the right buttons. Issue #7 raises the stakes when the Phoenix Five come out in full force against the Avengers.

Now that the Scarlet Witch is involved in the AvX tussle, everything is suddenly personal. No one has forgotten (or forgiven, for that matter) her little sentence fragment that changed the lives of mutants forever. With power that rivals the Witch’s, the X-Men are on a personal mission to confine and neutralize her as a threat. As a result, we start seeing some heavy firepower in the panels. My favorite moment is when Magik unleashes some of the Force on Wanda only to be met with return fire. The panels looked fantastic on my tablet, and it’s a shame that the claws of Magik’s Force is not a full two-page spread.

Anybody who grew up on the X-Men 90s cartoon knows that the Phoenix feeds off emotions of humans (I’m sure it was stated in the comic books as well, but I can only speak for the cartoon, seeing as I watched it obsessively growing up). Though split into five parts, the Phoenix does not seem diminished in any one of the X-Men it possesses. If anything, the Phoenix enhances the person’s most dominant characteristic. For Scott, his boy-scout attitude comes out in full force. Emma and Namor both start to show some dissonance with Scott’s decisions, and Namor’s narcissistic, power-hungry personality shines through. I’m starting to get the “with great power comes great responsibility” lesson as we are shown how ultimate power can ultimately corrupt, no matter how good the intentions are.

AvX has this tendency to try to one-up itself each issue. This issue introduced some brutal fighting and, notably, the very real possibility of heroes dying. The Avengers’ location is known, and they are about to feel the wrath of a wronged mutant. Their only hope? A reality-bending witch and a girl who could not accept the Phoenix.

 

VERDICT

If you haven’t been picking up Avengers vs X-Men, I strongly encourage you to do so, especially if you are a Marvel Universe fan. I am starting to get the feel that the resolution of the conflict will result in a universe-changing decision. The reveal that Scarlet Witch’s powers are connected to the Phoenix seems to point to her role in the development of Hope (I might be stretching it here, but she has the potential to make Hope very, very powerful). If you are already reading this book, KEEP READING! I want there to be people around as excited as I am to see the ending of this story.

About The Author

Columnist and Talking Comics Co-Host

Mara Wood holds a Ph. D. in School Psychology. Currently, she works for a public school system assessing students for educational placement. Her research focus is comic books and how they can be used in therapy and educational settings. She tends to spend most of her day reading comic books, writing about them, and thinking about comic books (kind of a one-track mind…). Mara’s other hobbies include reading manga and Star Wars novels, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. She co-hosts Talking Comics and Talking Shojo, and you can find her on twitter (@megamaramon) or on her blog, marawoodblog.com.

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4 Responses

  1. RepStones

    Good review, thanks. First off, how about oliver Coipel’s pencil work? Reading this after having read Uncanny X-Men 15, and not dissing Daniel Acuña here, but you really see that as far as this story goes – i think Coipel is the man for the job of portraying such an epic, expansive, world changing event. He gets the big stuff right, but also the beautiful little touches he adds, like the scene between Namor and Emma Frost on the balcony in Utopia. Namor is angry at some of Cyclops decisions – Coipel has him leaning over the balcony grasping the edges, grasping them so hard it cracks the structure slightly. Just a beautiful little touch conveying Namor’s intense frustration perfectly.
    The scene between Tony Stark and T’challa with the latter bitch slapping (sorry couldn’t think of a better description) the former to snap him out of his woe is me wannabe martyr routine. great dialouge between the two and in that respect Matt fraction does a fine job overall here on script duties.
    I do like Hawkeye, don’t get me wrong, but it is also finally nice to see one of our titular heroes be at the very least, nearly killed. I’m no sadist but an event of this magnitude really lacks any kind of gravitas unless death is close for some of those we hold dear. Hawkeye’s near death alos allows further exposition on how the Phoenix force has affected its respective hosts. In that sense the scene afterwards where Scott is kinda meditating and using the Phoenix force to heal Hawkeye allows for one of the key scenes in the book. Where Scott informs the others that they are not murderers and Namor disagrees, citing that they are at war. Its a vital interaction between the two and adds an element of foreboding to the coming issues because undoubtedly the Phoenix 5 are not all on the same page, as regards how they should conduct themselves.
    All in all this #7 continues the upwards trend of this event from #6.

    Just a side question if i may – do you read all your stuff on digital and is it a money saver? I’m thinking about making the jump.

    Best regards

  2. RepStones

    Just a final question – do you use that Guided View reading assistant thing from Comixology. I have heard good and bad things about it.
    Cheers.

  3. RepStones

    Final, final question. Do you think Marvel is burning the stew with too many writers on board for this arc? Looking at the crdiets page in each issue, it is a bit ridiculous.
    A lot of big names. You think ( and this is a question for all the TC family) that they all wanted on board or just Marvel shoehorned them in?

    best regards

    • Joey Braccino

      Well, the writer-stable approach has its pros and cons:

      The X-side of the Marvel U used a similar approach during the Messiah Complex, Messiah War, and Second Coming crossovers. The writers of each series involved (ex: Uncanny, X-Men, X-Factor, and New X-Men for the Messiah Complex story) wrote their respective chapters. This allowed for a more regular shipping schedule–weekly or biweekly–which in turn allowed for the story to be a little longer. Readers are more willing to stay on board when they only have to wait a week instead of month.

      Another advantage is that each writer is attuned to their own characters. Having an Avengers writer (Bendis, Brubaker) and an X-writer (Aaron, Brubaker, Fraction) on board should ensure that the story is balanced, at least in theory. Furthermore, each writer is (presumably) an expert in the canon of their characters, so all of the developments in the individual X- and Avengers series won’t be thrown away because an outsider is writing the characters.

      If Bendis was writing this story by himself after having been the lead Avengers architect for the last decade, then a few things would happen. We’d have to wait a little longer between issues, meaning the story would have to be crammed into 7 or 8 issues instead of 12 or 13! X-Men fans might be outraged that an Avengers writer was tampering with their corner of the U! And we’d have to sit through another Bendis-event…

      Of course, there are some negatives, particularly in practice. Theoretically, it sounds like a great idea, and its worked from time to time before (re: the aforementioned Messiah Complex and Second Coming events). But as we’ve seen in the first act of AvX, sometimes there are inconsistencies in voice and characterization between writers, and sometimes certain writers seem more comfortable with other characters than others.

      It’s a hard balancing act, but when done well, I think the pros of the stable system outweigh the cons. With Act II of AvX, it seems that the team has gotten their act together. Coipel’s art is also an incredible improvement over JRJR’s.

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