Or – “If They’re All Geniuses, Aren’t They All, Thus, Equally Stupid?”
There has been an interesting tendency in the Marvel Universe for power creep to turn many, in fact darn near all, of the founding members of the Universe into super-geniuses. Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Charles Xavier, Anthony Stark, Henry Pym, Reed Richards, Henry McCoy… All are now superhuman minds, each with an inexplicable, untrained wild mental talent, be it in robotics, genetics or manipulation.
So why is it that their first solution to anything is to punch the $#!+ out of it?
AVX VS. #1
Writer: Jason Aaron/Kathryn Immonen
Penciler: Adam Kubert/Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Morry Hollowell/Jim Charalampios
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously, in AVX Versus: It has been more than ten minutes in the Marvel Universe, which means that Captain America’s stand in Civil War has completely reversed itself, and he now takes pretty much the exact same position that Iron Man did in this crossover, with Cyclops in his own old role as leader of the rebelling group. In the interests of truth and justice, he has assembled a strikeforce of super-heroic footsoldiers and invaded Cyclops island fortress. This is the story of the fights that happen in between the panels of that book.
FOR *SOME* VALUES OF ‘STORY,’ ANYWAY…
My inner sense of fairness and justice reminds me that Lee & Kirby used to take page after page, even the occssional entire ISSUE, just to lovingly render mayhem and combat in the Mighty Marvel Manner, so it’s not as if there’s no precedent for what this series is doing. And honestly, when crossovers are so prevalent, having a book devoted to more-in-depth telling of things that might only get a panel or two in the main book are a welcome concept to me. And this issue does earn some fun points for the fun fact captions sprinkled throughout the fight (“Magneto has magnetic counting powers!”) But the battle between Iron Man and Magneto is not only too brief, it is ham-handed in it’s foreshadowing of the big things to come and commits the cardinal sin of making both characters WAY too powerful, and their abilities commensurately ridiculous. Any story that tries with a straight face to tell me that Magneto can tell that Iron Man is channeling the power of the planet Jupiter’s gravity by the way the energy “tastes” just isn’t playing with a full deck…
IT’S WELL-DRAWN, I CAN SAY THAT…
The second half of the issue reunites the art team from nextwave, which makes me happy, and features funky dialogue from the Thing as he fights one of his oldest foes in Namor, the Sub-Mariner. There are more captions, though not as funny (the one merrily claiming that The Thing’s impact on the Avengers helicarrier will cost over 3 million dollars is particularly tone-deaf to me), and the battle itself is ridiculously short and inconclusive. It feels like (and honestly, probably is) the first fight in a wrestling feud, where the writers aren’t going to give either Sheamus or Randy Orton a clear win until they get us to the next pay-per-view. But, I don’t suppose that there’s much complaining to do, as the introduction page of the issue promises (albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner) that there’s nothing but fights in the issue, much as the solicitations did, and on that score they completely deliver…
THE VERDICT: HUBCAPS ON A TRACTOR
On most other levels, though, I have to say that the issue is a disappointment. Art-wise, nothing stands out as bad or wrong, and the Immonen portion of the book is well-crafted in it’s farcical sub-aquatic glories, but I all transitory questions of that value pale to the realization that that the book is 20 pages of battle for $3.99, without even a “Previously” page to put it all in perspective. Sound and fury are both present, and the usual Shakespearian significance sadly applies. AVX: Versus #1 is, at best, a DVD extra, put forward and sold as a full episode in itself, earning both utter dismay and 1 out of 5 stars overall.