See all reviews of Avengers vs. X-Men (8)

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 brings to a close an event that feels like it lasted forever. Stories are wrapped up, characters make choices and a bunch of punching takes place. This is the column where we answer the simple question, “is it good?” while sharing some of the imagery within. Let’s see if we can find an answer, shall we?

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 (Marvel Comics)

For a story about heroes who are already practically gods becoming full on gods by acquiring the Phoenix Force there sure is a lot of deus ex machina going on in this issue. Sadly it’s not a literal god saving the day, but characters popping up all over the place to chime in on the final chapter. It speaks to some of the poor planning this series has suffered from. Good writing is like air. It sustains you (or the story), but it’s not visible unless you look for it. This issue opens with a beefy explanation of what Scarlet Witch did during House of M and how it relates to this story. Funny, considering she’s barely been in this series up until this issue.

Phoenix then added, “Mutants nom nom nom nom nom!”

The book flashes back and forth between “now” and “72 hours ago” where we find Tony Stark waxing spiritual about faith. His little diatribe is confusing, especially considering there isn’t much substance beyond, “we need to let Hope and Scarlet Witch fix this.” Also it’s quite odd when Wolverine makes an Iron Fist ying and yang connection out of nowhere.

But..he didn’t say anything about that…huh?

After a few pages of what feels like filler to “raise the stakes” we cut to:

Dude…Iron Man is bleeding out of his armor. Equal parts ew and awesome.

Clearly Marvel wants you to know this is a global battle, be it Captain America proclaiming it’s the end of the world, or seeing Cyclops beat up heroes in multiple locations. I have to say it was pretty cool to see Hulk be punched in Sydney and land in Sacramento. Aside from some flames in the sky, the Eiffel Tower burning and being told volcanoes are erupting and the “ocean is burning” you don’t get much in the way of just how bad Cyclops is ruining the Earth. All the visuals are spent showing Cyclops punch people…but I guess this is a comic after all.

The stakes are so very high!

And that’s mainly where I take issue with this comic. Be it pacing or plotting, things are done in a heavy-handed way that leaves the explanation of things unsatisfying.

“We didn’t start the fire / It was always burning / Since the world’s been turning!”

It’s fascinating to see how Marvel is portraying Captain America. He’s pretty much a dick from end to end here, be it a crabby comment to Tony…

Yeah, dummy!

…or his handling of the fallout of the event. For a guy who’s seen a lot of his friends possessed he sure isn’t very nice to Cyclops. I’m not sure how Marvel wants us to feel about him since he’s been so schizophrenic during this series, but if they want him to be a grumpy old man who tells people what to do, they’ve nailed it.

Phoenix Force, AKA cosmic Hulk mood swing.

That’s not what folks will be talking about though. No, they’ll be talking about the way in which the heroes beat the Phoenix…for good! It seems Tony started it with his giant Phoenix splitting robot and ends it by letting Hope and Scarlet Witch fix it for him.


With our powers combined!

Did that really just happen? Did Marvel just erase the Phoenix for good by essentially pulling the same card they pulled at the end of House of M? I suppose it’s a cute way to make the prophecy come true and it allows mutants to populate the Earth once again. Since it comes from the power of the Phoenix, one might wonder if these new mutants have some kind of special ability, or maybe the switch is just turned back on. Probably the latter.

Two points: one, nice head gear. Two, does Captain America have to look like a complete asshole? Also, check out that glossy wall. Sweet effect.

Because of the heavy-handed writing and sometimes sloppy composition to a few of the pages within (this was delayed after all), this issue appears to be more interested in hitting the important story beats Marvel set out to achieve in order to kick off Marvel NOW!. That spells doom as far as an interesting and satisfying conclusion to a story.

Talk about stuffing a story with unnecessary Jean Grey pointlessness.

When you find out a comic is “oversized” it typically means more story for a slightly steeper price. Here it’s more like they needed a couple extra pages to warrant the delay and hit a few story elements that will kick off a bunch of books in the coming months. I can just see the editor saying, “Alright, what do we need to have happen so all the comics coming out in the next month make sense?” On top of that there are quite a few pages here that tell the story in a sloppy way and make you the reader feel a bit cheated. The issue is 35 pages but reads like its 25 pages…all for the low low price of $5.00! When it comes to budgets this is an easy comic to skip and will most definitely not make it into ComiX Weekly later today.

Is It Good?

Nope. However, if you like long-winded, heavy-handed, ill paced stories, then this is an A+.

  • RLStinesDad

    So basically Scarlet Witch gets all the stuff she did swept under the rug while Cyclops is immediately incarcerated? Talk about your double standard.

    • Robert Hayes

      I think Cyclops was somewhat in control of his actions while Wanda wasn’t. He did show little to no remorse at the end.

      • boobot

        Cyclops did nothing wrong until the Avengers provoked him into becoming Dark Phoenix – then he was no longer in control. But, in the end, he willingly gave up the power of the Phoenix, and mutants were restored. So, for him, the ends justified the means, plus he gets the realization that Hope made it possible, as he said it would from the beginning. There was absolutely no reason for the Avengers to interfere, and it is that decision that led to every bad outcome in AvX, including Phoenix-powered Namor, Emma, Colossus, and Magik.

        • Robert Hayes

          There was no guarantee that with the Avengers involvement that Hope would be able to handle the Phoenix force.

          • boobot

            There was no guarantee either way. But the problem here is, the X-Men had a plan, and the Avengers, despite no real experience with the PF, decided to invade a sovereign nation and kidnap a teenage girl on an outside hope that maybe that could keep the PF and its host separate long enough to figure out what to do. Then they ended up going with Cyclops’s original plan anyway. It’s entirely their fault, and now Cyclops is under arrest for it. Ridiculous.

          • Robert Hayes

            Sovereign nation? Ha!

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  • LDP

    I love how Tony’s plan to save the world was just to let what Scott wanted to happen in the first place happen. So Cyclops was right the whole time. But He’s a villain and Tony is a hero? I never saw the Avengers as fascist bigots until now. Good going, Marvel.

    • HouseArrest

      Aside from nearly destroying the Earth he was right. It is dumb that the Phoenix Five is Tony’s fault and he gets to have Hope and Scarlet Witch fix it for him.

      • boobot

        He nearly destroyed the Earth at the point where he was no longer in control and reverted to Dark Phoenix. Which, BTW, occurred because of the Avengers.

        • HouseArrest

          You could say Captain America was prodding Scott the whole way through too. He sure looked like a jerk in that last image posted on this site. If you read Unacnny we find out it’s Scott’s fault for not handling the Phoenix correctly. His weakness.

          • boobot

            Except Scott never asked to be the host in the first place – his original plan is what the Avengers ended up deciding on anyway. He only became host because of Iron Man’s interference. There is literally no negative aspect of AvX that isn’t a direct result of some boneheaded action by an Avenger.

          • HouseArrest

            @boobot:disqus I’d agree to some extent. But Scott could have given up the power once he got it. I can’t see how he could be absolved of all his sins.

          • boobot

            Once someone gets possessed by the Phoenix, all bets are off. He didn’t give up the Phoenix until “Jean” convinced him to. Whether that is the essence of Jean that remains in the Phoenix, or a figment of Scott’s imagination, is irrelevant. The simple fact is, when first possessed, Scott was to a great extent under the Phoenix’s influence and already not totally accountable for his own actions, and his initial actions were benevolent anyway. He didn’t become Dark Phoenix until the Avengers decided they didn’t enjoy being relegated to irrelevance and decided to undo all of Scott’s good work.

            And you’re talking to someone who hated Cyclops before this event.

          • HouseArrest

            @boobot:disqus I don’t know if he “gave up” the force. Hope and Scarlet Witch had something to do with that. Plus Hope became the “White Phoenix so it shows you can use the power for good.

          • boobot

            I think that the panels with “Jean” telling Scott to let go clearly show that Scott was giving up at that point. But that could be a matter of interpretation. Still, the point stands that Scott didn’t ask for the Phoenix in the first place, and the Phoenix is very difficult to control and the hosts tend to become overwhelmed by its power. That’s not the same thing as saying it can’t be used for good – not only did Hope as “White Phoenix” prove that, but when Hope almost doesn’t give up the Phoenix without Wanda’s help, it also proves that the Phoenix is difficult to control. Cyclops had no such help when he became host, again, through no fault of his own.

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