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Posts Tagged ‘X-Men’

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

June 5, 2012

Title: Round 2

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Script:
Jason Aaron
Pencils:
John Romita Jr.
Inks:
Scott Hanna
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Laura Martin
Cover Art:
Jim Cheung & Laura Martin
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With the Phoenix Force returning to Earth, Hope Summers seems to be the logical candidate for its chosen host. The Avengers have come to Utopia so that Captain America can ask Cyclops to turn the girl over into their custody. Cyclops isn’t having any of that, though, and this issue, war breaks out.

This issue is almost entirely action – it’s the Avengers vs. the X-Men, just as the title of the book promises. On that front, at least, it delivers. There’s a lot of fighting and a lot of property damage and a lot of hero-on-hero violence as the characters draw their sides and decide quickly who’s going to fight who. Some of this is fairly logical – Doctor Strange battling Magik, for instance, or Quicksilver heading straight in to trade blows with his father, Magneto.

The problem is still that the whole book is lacking in logical sense. Cyclops seemed ready for a fight long before Captain America arrived, and the rest of the X-Men with him. Captain America came in with an entire helicarrier full of Avengers. The thing that just doesn’t make sense, though, is why. Given the number of times these characters have worked together in the past, the notion that these two heroes would go in expecting a battle, having basically decided that negotiation is not an option, is absurd. There’s never any chance that this issue could be talked out, because Captain America comes in with his big guns and Cyclops is already waiting to throw a punch from the moment he arrives. This issue, which basically just follows the violence, is notable only for a pretty effective scene where it becomes clear exactly what Wolverine’s priorities are. Although he’s not the only character to have a foot in both the Avenger and X-Men camps, he’s probably the most interesting one, and it’s not hard to see this entire miniseries shaking out to be the ultimate Wolverine showcase.

John Romita Jr., as I’ve said before, is a strong artist, but not particularly suited for large-scale cosmic events like this one. He’s more of a street level artist, and the way the moments of big power fall flat here makes that clear.

After two issues, I already feel like this miniseries – one I hoped would escape the problems of Civil War, is simply doomed to repeat them.

Rating: 6/10

New Avengers (2010 Series) #24

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

April 14, 2012

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art:
Mike Deodato, Will Conrad
Letters:
Joe Caramagna
Colors:
Rain Beredo
Cover Art:
Mike Deodato
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

This issue takes place between panels of Avengers Vs. X-Men #1. In that moment between Captain America calling the Avengers down to face Cyclops and their leap from the SHIELD Helicarrier, Luke Cage flashes to the day before. As his wife, Jessica Jones, returns to the mansion, the two of them get into a pretty intense discussion about the wisdom of raising a child in Avengers Mansion.

A valid argument, to be certain. The Avengers lead dangerous lives, after all. But am I the only one who thinks they should have had this conversation a long time ago? When the baby was born, perhaps, or before they moved into Avengers Mansion and Luke agreed to lead his own squad? Not only does it feel like a case of too little, too late, but even worse it removes us from the focus of the issue for a huge portion of it. I got this book because it’s an AVX crossover. Instead, I got pages of angst that don’t really have anything to do with the main story.

It gets better when Captain America calls the team together. There’s a bit of a surprise when we’re all reminded that Storm has joined the Avengers just in time for her to walk out on the team, then Cap gives one of his trademark rousing speeches. It’s okay stuff, but in the end it feels like a largely inconsequential issue.

Mike Deodato does some good work here, and that helps, but there’s only so far even the best artist can take you. If you’ve been with this series for a while it’s probably not bad. If you’re getting it just for the crossover, you can pass.

Rating: 6/10

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

April 14, 2012

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction
Script:
Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:
John Romita Jr.
Inks:
Scott Hanna
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Laura Martin
Cover Art:
Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Force is coming to Earth, and the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe are about to go to war over it. I’ve said before that I like the basic idea behind this event. There’s a natural conflict here. Captain America sees a force of globally-devastating power headed to Earth and wants to stop it. Cyclops sees a force that may well be able to reverse the devastation of the mutant race the Scarlet Witch caused on M Day. And in fact, they’re both right.

The execution, however, is very flawed. The scene with Cap and Cyclops, where all this is spelled out, is clunky and overwritten. Scott is spoiling for a fight at the outset, which I suppose isn’t totally out of character for him these days, but still feels off in the presentation.

Wolverine actually comes off best here. As a member of both teams, he’s got his own conflict to deal with… not to mention the personal relationship he had with Jean Grey and the fact that he’s seen firsthand just how destructive the Phoenix Force can be. If there’s anyone here who can legitimately seem divided, it’s him.

I’m not terribly pleased with John Romita Jr.‘s work on this issue either. I’ve always liked his work on street-level heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil, but when he goes for the big-scale cosmic stuff, it doesn’t really. Work there are two large panels here – Hope blasting Cyclops, Cyclops blasting Cap – that feel very similar, but that both look like they could have been accomplished better. Different lines, different colors, I don’t know exactly, but they failed to excite me the way they should have.

It’s not a terrible book, but it’s a weak opening to an event that should have kicked off with a bang.

Rating: 6/10

Avengers Vs. X-Men #0

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

April 7, 2012

Title: Prologue

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & Jason Aaron
Art:
Frank Cho
Letters:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colors:
Jason Keith
Cover Art:
Frank Cho
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With Marvel’s big event for the summer about to kick into high gear, we’re served up this prologue issue that spotlights the two women at the center of it all: Wanda Maximoff, alias the Scarlet Witch, and Hope Summers, daughter of Cable.

In Wanda’s story, she’s recently regained her senses after years (of real-time, anyway, I’m not sure how long it’s been in comic book time) of mental issues which has had her attack and destroy her teammates, her friends, and even her husband, the Vision. The Vision is restored now, though, and the confrontation between the two former lovers is anything but rosy.

Although the last panel is a bit on-the-nose (a callback to the most famous Vision story of all time), Brian Michael Bendis does a decent job here of tapping into the raw emotion of the situation. Considering everything that happened between Wanda and the Vision, this isn’t the sort of thing that can be swept under the rug or ignored. It’ll be interesting to see, as the conflict between the Avengers and X-Men heats up, what side the Vision will fall on.

In Hope’s story, written by Jason Aaron, we see the first mutant born since Wanda wiped out the mutant population in House of M forced to train. While she and Cyclops forces her to push herself, concerned about the portion of the Phoenix force she knows resides within her, Hope decides to take off and prove herself on her own.

This is a nice introduction to Hope if you, like me, don’t really know anything about the character. I haven’t read any of the X-Men stories in which she’s played a significant role, so this gives me the lowdown on her history, her powers, and why she’s important. It works on that level.

Both stories are elevated by the artwork of Frank Cho. As I’ve always said, he draws a few things very well – monkeys, dinosaurs, and women. (Not to say he’s bad at the rest of it, but those are the three categories in which he excels). This issue is very strongly focused on the ladies – besides the two cover girls, Cho gives us good interpretations of Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, Emma Frost and a couple of snake-themed villainesses (and villains). There’s a nice balance between the action and the talking heads stuff, and Cho pulls it all off. It’s an impressive effort.

This zero issue is a good way to kick off the event.

Rating: 7/10

Fantastic Four (1961 Series) #600

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

December 3, 2011

Title: Forever

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art:
Steve Epting, Rick Magyar, Carmine DiGiandomenico, Ming Doyle, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Farel Dalrymple
Colorist:
Paul Mounts, Andy Troy, Jordie Bellaire, Javier Tartaglia, Jose Villarrubia
Letterer:
Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist:
Gabrielle Dell’Otto
Editor:
Tom Brevoort
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

So after being FF for a year, this title is flipping back to Fantastic Four. And FF is continuing as a separate series. And stuff happens.

Good stuff, fortunately. Over in FF, a group of alternate-reality Reed Richards have been preparing a war that will hit the entire planet, the Future Foundation has rounded up the Avengers, X-Men and other guest stars to help in the fight, Annihilus is about to break into our universe, and the Inhumans and Kree are up to some assorted monkey business in space. The first chapter of this 100-page mammoth is about the battle for New York, followed by a chapter that’s too spoiler-tastic to get into in this review (even though most of you no doubt know what the spoiler is by now). From there, we see Black Bolt and Medusa pondering their place in the war, Galactus pondering his place in the universe, and Franklin and Leech pondering something else entirely.

If there’s anything about this issue that I find slightly disappointing, it’s that it isn’t actually the end of the story. After this much buildup, a 100-page giant anniversary issue seems like it would be the place for the story – or at least this stage of it – to conclude. Instead, it resolves one cliffhanger and takes us up to another one. It’s very well done, mind you – the opening fight sequence is wonderful, and the long second chapter is great for filling in the blanks of what’s been going on behind the scenes for these characters all year. But when I finished the book, I was most definitely left feeling a tad frustrated, knowing I’ll have to wait another month to find out what happens next.

Still, if you actually want to know what’s going to happen next, you can’t argue that the comic book hasn’t done its job. More excellent work by Jonathan Hickman and a big stable of artists.

Rating: 9/10

Wolverine and the X-Men #1

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

November 6, 2011

Title: Welcome to the X-Men! Now Die!

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils:
Chris Bachalo
Inks:
Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey
Colorist:
Chris Bachalo
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover Artist:
Chris Bachalo
Editor:
Nick Lowe
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

With the Schism over, it’s time for the different X-Men factions to begin moving forward, and that’s just what we get here with Wolverine and the X-Men #1. Back in Westchester, Wolverine is overseeing the re-opening of the old school, now named for the late Jean Grey. But even though it’s a private institution, they’re going to have to prove themselves to the board of education, or they’ll be shut down. Not easy to do when both your faculty and student body have the power to shatter mountains. I liked this book a lot more than I expected to, to be frank. The title seems a bit pandering, but the idea of Wolverine trying to run the school to uphold Xavier’s legacy is a clever one. In tone, the book reminds me a bit of Avengers Academy, in that it seems to be about both the faculty and the students. That may not remain the case, but one would certainly hope that, having such a large cast, Jason Aaron will be able to play with everybody and not just the “senior” members. This doesn’t really feel like “the” X-Men book, but more like a spiritual successor to the original New Mutants and the New X-Men: Academy X class. The other books we’ve had in the last few years haven’t really given us this feel, so if we can get that in this title, I’ll be okay with it.

Rating: 8/10

X-Men: Regenesis #1

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2011

Title: Regenesis

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art:
Billy Tan
Colorist:
Andres Mossa
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover Artist:
Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend
Editor:
Nick Lowe
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

After the interesting-but-not-outstanding X-Men: Schism miniseries, Marvel’s mutants are going to a place we’ve never really seen them before, split right down the middle. This one-shot is based entirely on showing which characters are falling on each side of the divide. The trouble is, this issue gives us almost nothing new. The final issue of Schism told us where most of the characters would go and the teaser images for the upcoming X-titles told us the rest, so there was already no mystery to begin with. Explaining why most of the characters chose either Wolverine or Cyclops’s side is rather pointless, as anyone who has a passing familiarity with most of the character can probably figure out in each case why they chose as they did. The characters whose allegiance may be a bit of a surprise would be better served by examining their choices in the respective titles they’ll be appearing in. Add all of this to a truly pointless framing sequence showing Scott Summers and Logan dressed up like cavemen and fighting by a fire, and you get a book that’s really not worth the time or the money it takes. Whether you loved Schism, whether you’re deeply invested in Regenesis, this book is a pass.

Rating: 4/10