A+X #1 Review
Written by Dan Slott (Captain America and Cable) and Jeph Loeb (Hulk and Wolverine)
Art by Ron Garney (Captain America and Cable) and Dale Keown (Hulk and Wolverine)
Review by Travis McCollum
At this point most people are pretty tired of seeing “A” and “X” together on the cover of a comic. Even if you were a fan of Avengers vs X-Men, most people can tell when a company wants to beat a concept into the ground when it should have ended with the main story. But, like A-Babies vs X-Babies, sometimes the concept can end up surprising you and for at least half of it, A+X #1 is a good example of taking a done to death concept and turning it into something positive.
The idea behind A+X is similar to that of AvX, the six-issue battle book that ran concurrently with Avengers vs X-Men, but with a unique twist. In AvX there were two battles between an X-Men and an Avenger. In A+X, we see the same two pair concept but have the Avenger and the X-Men team up. I realize Marvel team-ups aren’t the most original concept in the world but if it’s utilized well and provides entertainment then I’m not really complaining.
The two stories presented in A+X involve a WWII team-up between Cable and Captain America taking on a time traveler intent on burying sentinels to be used by the Germans in the future, and Wolverine and Hulk arguing over cake. Granted there is a little more to the second story than an argument over cake, but the second story feels unfinished and without a whole lot of substance to go on besides the aforementioned cake argument.
The first story, written by Dan Slott, is a fun and entertaining team-up that proves how the concept can work. Put two people together, give them a reason to beat up bad guys and make it a good read. Jeph Loeb, the writer of the second story, starts off on the right foot but quickly decides to bog down the story with an unnecessary cliffhanger and only a few pages of actual action. I can understand if Loeb wants to take the story further and make it something to come back to in the future, but the book prides itself on being simple, accessible fun and Loeb’s story seems counter-intuitive to the whole reason for the books existence.
The art is uniformly solid across both stories. Both Keown and Garney do a good job with the designs of each character and their backgrounds and action scenes are quite impressive. If I had to choose one story’s art over the other it would probably be Garney’s work on Slott’s story, but only because I prefer his lighting and splash page (both stories have one big splash page) over Keown’s. Keown’s splash page is an intense burst of color and light, introducing us to the villain of the story, but Garney’s splash intro of Cable is just too awesome to ignore. It really made me remember how much I love the character of Cable.
A+X is a solid book but it would have benefited from being $2.99 instead of $3.99. Had it been an extended version of the Dan Slott story instead of splitting it with the underwhelming Jeph Loeb story I could justify the $3.99 price tag, but with only half the book being good, it becomes a harder book to recommend buying. I am extremely optimistic for the series though. With a plethora of potential team-ups and more than enough people capable of writing a fun action comic, I know I’ll definitely continue to buy this series. Just remember what you’re getting into if you pick this issue up.