Back in 1993, Marvel Comics was just coming off some of a hot streak with their X-Men line of books. X-Force by Rob Liefeld and X-Men by Jim Lee were breaking records in the years leading up to 1993, which has to make you think editorial was looking to expand that success elsewhere. Enter Avengers #360 which was the start of a new arc involving a Vision imposter, a villain named Proctor from another universe, and an Avengers lineup that wasn’t necessarily familiar. The melodrama runs thick in this story arc, which is being collected in Epic Collection format for the first time and runs 488 pages. Giving it a read I was taken by how similar it reads to X-Men stories at the time and here are the three biggest reasons why.
#1: Proctor is a villain with a love-torn heart
The main villain is Proctor, an alternate dimension version of Black Knight who ended up killing his wife Sersi on their Earth, killed her again in another dimension, captured that dimension’s version of The Watcher, and eventually led him to kill all versions of Sersi. This guy can’t take a breakup, eh? This leads him to enter the 616 dimensions to kill Sersi, who he dubs the prime Sersi. If you’ve ever read an X-Men comic, you know love is a heavy burden and ends up ruining lives. Also, this is totally backward, but he reminds me of Vulcan.
#2: This book has its own Cable and Sentinels!
Added to this is a group of Sentinel-looking robots controlled by Kree Admiral Galen-Kor, who looks a lot like Cable. A Shi’Ar character named Deathcry ends up aiding the Avengers, turning the middle section of this book into a Kree vs. Shi’Ar battle.
Admiral Galen-Kor blames the Avengers and Earth for his people’s failure and thus begins an all-out war plot. This leads to Galen-Kor attempting to blow up Earth, but luckily he’s stopped after Vision joins back up with the team and Giant-Man chipping in too.
The robots are actually Kree sentries, but the design is unmistakably similar to the Sentinels in X-men. Typically they are purple like Sentinels, but the design is clearly a bit augmented away from the traditional Kree sentry design.
#3: Wide variety of Avengers you may not know very well
A common element of X-Men titles is how there are always a few mutants that are lesser-known hanging around. You see it with the main team here, as many of the more well-known Avengers like Thor or Hawkeye are absent. The main lineup includes Black Knight, Crystal, Sersi, Hercules, and the addition of Captain America after the first issue. Not a traditional Avengers lineup.
That’s on the team proper, but added to this are characters who are in the background too. Marilla is the major character that comes to mind, who is actually Crystal’s nanny. Black Widow pops in but in a casual manner. The team as a whole feels like a family with moving parts, much like the X-Men.
Cause for concern when reading this collection?
Like I said, the melodrama runs thick in this series. We’re talking Sersi lamenting to Jarvis about her troubles and Black Knight losing it every page turn. This collection houses a similarly loopy melodrama in the four-part Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective that ends this collection. Utilizing pretender Avengers like War Machine, U.S. Agent, and Thunderstrike, this story involves Kang and time travel, so expect paradoxes and silly twists as the story goes on. There’s even a character named Terminatrix who dubs herself a “time tramp.” This tale feels a bit pointless partly due to the time travel loopholes, but also the fact that Ravonna is the real focus and the Avengers are simply there to mindlessly fight.
Aside from the heavy dose of melodrama–which admittedly many will like–and the somewhat pointless “The Terminatrix Objective,” this is quite an interesting Avengers read if you’re an X-Men fan. It has a lot of the trappings of classic X-Men tales and it feels very much like the creators were trying to capture the same magic. Give this one a shot if you’re looking to branch out of the X-Men, but still want that same feel.