The penultimate issue of Avengers vs. X-Men is upon us with a promised death to send this summer event into its sunset. Each issue in this series has been hit or miss, and some might argue it should have started with issue #4, but for the most part it has delivered the summer blockbuster brainless fun we come to expect. Issue #11 is written by Brian Michael Bendis (Marvel Comics boy wonder) and drawn by Olivier Coipel (the strongest artist on this series so far). This is the column where I review the book and boil my criticism down to answering one question: Is it good?
Avengers vs. X-Men #11 (Marvel Comics)
The Phoenix Five is down to the Phoenix Two, as Cyclops and Emma Frost are the last to wield the power of the Phoenix. The book opens with the Avengers and X-Men joining sides (finally!) and Captain America delivering a rousing speech about this being the last stand for Earth to the Hulk.
Coipel delivers a lot of epic shots this issue.
Marvel has sort of shoehorned Xavier into being a larger part of this series over the last two or three months. To start he was sort of on the sidelines, but has been quietly been woven in to be a much larger player. This issue sees him take on a leadership role as he takes on Cyclops personally and passively-aggressively threatens him. It’s actually quite interesting to read how he frames the argument with Cyclops. He says to Cyclops at the start, “I’m not here to argue and I’m not here to fight. I’m here to help.” but then in the same breath states, “I’m shutting you down.” How do you do that without fighting? What a dick.
The Phoenix force has headache powers.
Love it or hate it, Bendis and company are framing Xavier as some kind of savior figure. When he speaks to Rogue and Iceman in the opening pages he’s cast in an angelic, almost god-like way. It’s rather odd to see, but I suppose it’s all just a setup for the big turn of events later.
I promised myself I wouldn’t cry!
Meanwhile, over in Phoenix-Force-land, Cyclops and Emma are flaming as if they’re demons from hell. I’m not sure Marvel could cast them more negatively. It was interesting to watch this series build up and ask readers to “pick a side” but now it’s quite clear anyone who picked the X-Men’s side was wrong.
That can’t be good.
If you haven’t seen the conclusion of this book coming…well I’m sorry but it’s not much of a surprise. Although Marvel did release a promo image of Jean in full Pheonix mode last week, maybe that was meant to be more of a symbolic reference as she isn’t present here. Either way, this issue doesn’t do much beyond show Cyclops get beaten down a couple times and make a terrible choice. Actually, he makes two.
Definition of a wacko.
I’m not going to spoil it, but let’s just say Cyclops is going to be in the Avengers in two months…yet makes some rather violent choices to those he loves. How he repents for his sins will be interesting to see next issue.
That moment before the moment.
Meanwhile, Coipel does an excellent job with the dramatic shots. Whether it’s Scarlet Witch standing up for Magneto, or the characters simply bearing witness to the events taking place, you get a sense that the events in this book matter. As if this is going into the history books.
Atomic bomb reference?
Aside from the preachy opening that seems to rewrite Xavier to be some kind of savior, this was a very well balanced issue. Much of the fighting is pointless (as has been the case this entire series due to the Phoenix characters being invulnerable) but there are two game-changing events that will leave one relationship potentially destroyed and a character dead. Coipel does an excellent job bringing the blockbuster shots a series like this needs and by issues end you’re going to want to read the next issue: Click here for a spoiler.
Disagree or agree with the characterization, it successfully accomplishes what it sets out to do: be a rather mindless action piece. Check back later today to see if it’s good enough to make it into our 10 dollar budget in our ComiX Weekly reviews.
Is It Good?
Yes, if you’re into blockbuster fun.