Or – “Iron Man Vs. Magneto? Not As Cut & Dried As You Might Think…”
The Avengers believe Hope is a danger to the world…
The X-Men believe Hope is the only chance for their survival…
Place yer bets and get’cher scorecard, ya can’t tell the players without a scorecard!
AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #2
Writer(s): Jason Aaron/Brian Michael Bendis/Ed Brubaker/Jonathan Hickman/Matt Fraction
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Artist(s): Jim Cheung & Laura Martin
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously, in Avengers Vs. X-Men: The Avengers picked a fight with the X-Men… GO!
FIGHTY FIGHTY FIGHTY!
I apparently lost some time between the end of last issue and the beginning of this one, as I thought we ended with the Avengers standing on the “tailgate” of the helicarrier preparing to fight, while this one opens with the Avengers all still within the carrier, all the better for Colossus to attack. Battle is quickly joined by Red Hulk, then Namor, then an all-out four-post cluster-schmozz in the Royal Rumble tradition follows. The issue hits some of the character high points, with the White Queen and Iron Man sharing words, Cyclops and Captain America continuing to snark, and a lovely moment for Quicksilver (a heroic moment the likes of which he hasn’t seen since about 2004.) And, I’ll admit it, the first confrontation between Black Panther and Storm is a scream, with Ororo chastising her husband sharply: “This is EXACTLY why we have a marriage counselor.” Heh… The biggest problem for me with the fight sequences comes in a matter of scale: By focusing in on interpersonals, the creators never quite widen their proverbial lens wide enough to fully encompass the nastiness of the battle. Given that six of the ten strongest creatures on Earth have just begun punching each other senseless, I would have expected some Bryan Hitch widescreen tomfoolery…
FIGHTY FIGHTY FIGHTY FIGHTY!
Still, the writing team does a good job with their character moments, especially in their careful underlining of the bitter falling out between Cyclops and Wolverine, as both men make it clear that the other is pretty much dead to them. The Avengers worst fears are confirmed on two different fronts by the end of the issue, and Hope Summers flees the battle, ending the first skirmish. The issue ends with one of the most ominous captions I’ve ever read (“3:45 p.m. on a Tuesday. The moment all hope was officially lost.”) and the overall use of language throughout the issue is wonderful. The descriptions of battle are almost poetic in their expression, and the overall effect of the narrative is the superhero equivalent of a Ken Burns documentary. John Romita Jr. really nails the visuals throughout the issue, and Scott Hanna’s inks help to smooth some of the blockier edges, leading to a more fluid experience than his recent Avengers work.
THE VERDICT: BETTER THAN ONE MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED…
My biggest complaint about the issues is specifically that matter of focus, that no matter how good the character confrontations are (and some are quite good, including a Doctor Strange/Magik moment that foreshadows a deeper clash), there’s a lack of larger perspective for me. The fight is kept at super-close-up range, save for a few medium shots, and I think that I missed some information that might bridge #1 to #2 by not picking up the appropriate crossover. It’s a stronger issue than I expected, though, and it is successful in an individual human level like no crossover since (for me, at least) Infinity Gauntlet. Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 is much more coherent than a book with this many writers has any right to be, and is an effective an issue-long fight scene as I ever recall reading, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.