Here we are, Act II, issue #6 in the Avengers vs. X-Men summer event. Maybe it’s just me, but typically in a three act structure we’d already be halfway through act II. I suppose this event did have a heavy introduction. This could be why I’ve had so much trouble with the first 5 issues. Those issues, made up of pointless fights and posturing, has finally ended and now in this issue there are meatier and more interesting questions being asked. So, is it good?
Avengers vs. X-Men #6 (Marvel)
Jonathan Hickman is back after writing issue #4 and that issue, while full of crisp and interesting dialogue, had a pointless feel to it. This is less his fault than the general plotting of this event. Methinks this series could have been boiled down to 10 issues, but hey, I don’t have a degree in sales so…
Magneto gets what he wants. Looks miserable.
This issue says goodbye to artist John Romita Jr. and says hello to Olivier Coipel. While I love me some Romita Jr., it’s pretty clear Coipel is bringing more of a cinematic artistic style to the book, which is exactly what this book needed. Instead of moments between fistfights being micro intensified as Romita did, in classic comic book style, we get a much more dramatic and larger scope this issue. Things feel bigger and more epic. This of course is aided with the Phoenix Five fixing issues on a global scale.
The Phoenix fashion sense goes by the mantra, “less is more”. Not sure why Emma needs to be wearing a single piece of metal strapped to her front.
Characters are actually making choices in this issue, rather than the previous where they were fighting for no real discernible reason. I know they were looking for Hope…but can’t they do that without punching each other? Here we have Beast and Black Panther having trouble going along with the Avengers. Luckily, they aren’t taking sides, but rather making the choice to bow out. That humanizes the characters and helps create a semblance of an honest story.
Sad Beast is so, so sad.
Scott Summers is clearly going through some trying times, attempting to make sense of his power but also keep his humanity. This is explored in depth in the $2.00 digital comic Avengers vs. X-Men #6: Infinite, which is also out today. That book is a perfect complement to this issue. If given the ability to read minds and do nearly everything, how might your values and perceptions change? There’s a touch of that in this issue which helps make Cyclops more of a conflicted hero than an outright villain. The dumbing down of heroes to make them villains is a frustrating one. This was one issue I had with Civil War a few years back, where characters became irrational simply to progress the plot so there were no villains per se.
This shot proceeds the Iron Fist as Phoenix deterrent explanation. Visual storytelling!
One problem anyone reading this series and none of the spinoff books is the Iron Fist connection. Over in New Avengers Brian Bendis has been rewriting the Iron Fist backstory so that they aren’t just a mystical order of fighters… but the chosen people to fight the Phoenix. Love or hate this idea, it’s here to stay, so it’s definintely nice to get a portion of this issue devoted to this story element. That said, anyone only reading the main series may see this as a cheap turn of events considering it came out of nowhere.
Anyone else get an Ultimates vibe from this? Also, why does the shield need a shield?
This issue does a great job jumping backward and forward in time to explain what has been going on and how opinions of changed because of events. For instance, when the Avengers are suiting up to steal Hope, we cut to “3 Hours Earlier”. This gives the book a brisk feel, yet there is a ton of content. When reading issue #5 things move linearly, and while there wasn’t a lot of story in that issue, it could be read in mere minutes. This issue delivers, due to the pacing and action, and feels like you’re getting your money’s worth.
Thor: Punching little kids since 1985.
Ultimately this issue contains two revelations. The first is how the Phoenix Five have shown they are invincible, they do what they like but… are making choices for the better. But they are also making choices without any insight from anyone but themselves. That doesn’t sound like freedom. The second are a few clues explaining how they might be beaten and two characters capable of this are revealed. This sets up some exciting, “underdogs versus the champions” elements.
Pretty awesome panel if I do say so myself.
In previous issues, Cyclops appeared to be flying off the handle and making choices based on emotions rather than hard evidence. He’s pretty clearly in an immoral place right now, but he’s doing so with powers that appear to be heightening his sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately they are based on a cosmic scale. Expect this to be in the running to make our 10 dollar budget in ComiX Weekly later today.
Is It Good?