Marvel is run by a pretty bright company. What better way to garner more comic book readers by making the Avengers the main characters in their Summer event book Avengers vs. X-Men? Whether or not they get more readers remains to be seen. It is clear though, that this series is focused on two things: Paint the Avengers as the good guys, and prove the Avengers are just as good as the X-Men. A smart marketing tactic given how popular the X-Men are. But, Is It Good?
Avengers vs. X-Men #3 (of 12) (Marvel)
Three issues in and the main players have been clearly laid out. First up, Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men, is attempting to secure Hope before the Phoenix takes her over and kills the Earth. He is holding out hope that Hope, pun intended, will save the mutant race. Then there is Captain America, leader of the Avengers who is attempting to secure Hope without hurting her and in doing so save the world. Finally there is Wolverine, who thinks the only way to stop the Phoenix is to kill Hope. It’s something he’s known he might need to do for a long time. As far as other characters go, they’re merely background characters in this main event book.
Ever had a baked Canadian? Similar to a baked Alaska.
This issue opens where the last issue left off. Wolverine was burned up by Hope because she seems to think she can handle this Phoenix thing on her own. A teenage girl handling a world-destroying cosmic force? No big deal. You’ll notice this issue doesn’t progress the story too far. Basically put, the Avengers and the X-Men are chasing down Hope and are attempting to be the first to reach her. Hope learned how to scramble her whereabouts from Cable, and both teams are spreading out to find her in the five locations she’s appearing. Wow, what a great way to separate the teams so they can battle in smaller mano-a-mano formats! Gimmicks aside, there isn’t much here for the reader to chew on.
And yet you’re still teamates. Superheroes are so understanding.
Ed Brubaker takes over the writing duties in this issue and he does an okay job. It’s not really his fault considering how little there is in this issue. This issue is going to be remembered more for the Captain America vs. Wolverine fight than anything and that rests on artist John Romita Jr.’s shoulders. There’s not a lot here concerning character development or story. The plot is moving forward, but slowly.
Doomsday is looming and you have no plan? Good one.
Cyclops continues to not have a plan nor seem to know what he’s doing. I’ve said this before, but it’s frustrating to see Cyclops winging it when one of his strongest character traits is that of a master strategist. Maybe he’s duping his teammates and the reader to allow for some surprises down the road, but it makes him appear shortsighted and idiotic. Be that as it may, the X-Men are barely in this issue and only have a few panels to let us know they’re on Hope’s trail.
Cap probably hasn’t seen one horror movie. NEVER SPLIT UP!
You might be thinking, “wait, it’s called Avengers vs. X-Men and the teams don’t even run into each other?!” Oh no gentle reader, we do get a fight, only it’s one Avenger vs. one X-Man. 7 of the 22 pages in this issue are a glorious fist-to-face Captain America vs. Wolverine battle. John Romita Jr. outdoes himself here as the scene is choreographed well and actually makes sense to each hero. Nobody is getting any cheap shots in as we saw in AVX: VS #1 last week.
Love the Wolverine drool.
Not that it matters, since this is a comic book and logic typically takes a back seat, but should Wolverine be taking kill shots at Captain America in this fight? Sure the fight looks cool, but does it make sense for Wolverine to attempt murder?
Wolverine kicking in a fight. A rare thing.
The pretense to the fight is also a bit silly. Wolverine refuses to stand down because he knows for a fact the only way to stop the Phoenix is to kill Hope. Obviously Captain America is too idealistic to agree, but do you really punch a guy in the face because he’s not listening?
Maybe this will open your ears!
All of those things aside, what makes this fight so enjoyable is how brutal it is and I wouldn’t have it any other way. By the end both guys are drooling, bleeding and are severely winded. These guys are traditional fighters and they both use hand to hand combat, so this makes sense.
Something about that “Wham” makes me think of a guy hitting a brick wall with his car.
The book also does something that is symbolic of and a good explanation of the difference between the X-Men and the Avengers. At one point, Captain America gets a helping hand from a teammate.
Now available! Avengers chiropractic services!
What does this mean? The Avengers are a team first and a family second. The X-Men are a family first and a team second and in more cases than the Avengers they break away from the team and go on their own adventures. It suits the fight then, that Captain America gets help from a teammate and has no guilt about making it two against one. Maybe I’m reaching, but I think this is a good example of what makes these teams different.
This issue was good but not great. The problems it has, be it the slow pace or not a lot happening, is due to this event stretching across 12 issues and downtime is necessary to let the reader breathe. The fight between Captain America and Wolverine is great, but does it warrant the $3.99 price tag? I’d say no.
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