Or – “Man, I Think I Missed A Memo…”

The biggest problem with universe-spanning crossovers these days is that if you miss an issue of ANYTHING, you come back into the next chapter feeling like Shemp when he needed cheese.  What does the new hub of the Marvel Universe have in store this week?

AVENGERS Vs. X-MEN #4
Writer: Jason Aaron/Brian Michael Bendis/Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction/Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Artist: Jim Cheung
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Avengers Vs. X-Men:  Hope Summers is somehow connected to the power of the intergalactic Phoenix Force, leading to strife.  Cyclops wants to use her powers to restore his fellow mutants or at least make them less of an endangered species.  Captain America believes that she constitutes a threat to Earth and its people, and wants to take her into custody to keep the planet from being incinerated.  They both make good arguments, inasmuch as they’re not making the arguments so much as leading their two superhuman armies into battle across the globe, but, hey, they’re superheroes, not sophists.

THE REASON WHY EVERYONE JOINED THE AVENGERS…

It occurs to me that the reason that all the unaffiliated heroes in the Marvel Universe have joined up with the Avengers may have been to prepare them to take on the literal legion of costumes that is the X-Men.  If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why guys like Namor, Spider-Man and Iron Fist, who have been solo for decades are suddenly teaming up?  CORPORATE SYNERGY!  This issue starts with an amusing moment, as Wolverine stalks through the frozen wastes of Antartica, wrapped in the skin of a polar bear, only to stumble upon a beer.  The majority of this issue is vignettes of fights, be they in space, in the Savage Land, Wundagore or Bugtussle, Tennesee, thanks to the telepathic powers of the White Queen.  Things go poorly when one of the mutants proves to not have been on the side that we thought them on, as Wolverine and Hope hijack a spaceship to go to the moon.

WAIT…  THEY CAN JUST DO THAT?

I imagine that Uatu the Watcher is highly irritated by the events of this issue, as Hope and Logan arrive on the Blue Area of the Moon, in the hopes that she will be able to commune with and/or control the Phoenix.  Surprise follows surprise, as the Avengers quickly arrive to take her back into custody, followed by the X-Men, followed by…  the unconscious body of Thor, scion of Asgard.  I’m a little bit confused by the sequence of events here, as War Machine (who, last I knew, was dead or at least mostly dead) is part of the space away team, while the various players aren’t where I thought they were at the end of last issue.  The one moment in the issue that really rings awesome for me comes when The Thing taunts Namor about how much he loves “punching him in his stupid fish-face,” as everything else is basically trailers for other comics.

THE VERDICT: BUHAMINAH?

Things quickly devolve into madness this issue, as the concept of hero vs. hero is clearly the point of it all, and most of the other concerns are merely tangential.  The arrival of the Phoenix will hopefully move the plot along (if the solicitations are to be believed, there are still some twists and reversals of fortune to be had in this book) but this issue feels much like treading water to me.  Avengers Vs. X-Men #4 is exactly what it says on the package, characters opposing one another, fists flying and a few bits of character here and there, for a decidedly lukewarm 2 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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4 Comments

  1. Arbor Day
    May 19, 2012 at 2:54 am — Reply

    I think the purpose of AvX is to make most of the X-men look like douches so that Wolverine looks better by comparison, and therefore justifiably in a dozen or so titles.

  2. May 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm — Reply

    So wait, we have eight more issues of this? Damn! The way it’s going it could probably have been condensed into half of that. AvX comes off as trying to make a big deal out of a conflict that doesn’t fill out the space it’s given. It’s been mostly fighting without any sort of attempt by either side to reconcile, or an adequate reason for why they can’t. The closest we get is Cyclops not thinking straight because of his personal history with the Phoenix Force. And even then, we see him organizing a large, multi-front operation in an attempt to outmanuever the Avengers. He seems to be thinking quite clearly, pigheadedness aside.

  3. LL
    May 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm — Reply

    So far, I don’t really believe Wolverine’s shifting allegiances or his primary motivation. The last time the Phoenix came to Jean Grey, it was a force of “rebirth”. It didn’t kill Jean, Xorn-neto did.
    Captain America’s an idiot for thinking that putting Hope into custody is going to stop the Phoenix…..ugh, what a headache this is

  4. Moxy O.
    May 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm — Reply

    i had high expectations for this given the original overview: Hope finally comes face to face with Scarlet Witch, the Phoenix returns, The Avengers at odds with the X-Men…all looked pretty good on paper. But the execution is ungodly boring thus far…there’s some good battles to look at, sure, but it’s taking over a month to see any substantial plot development, and my interest is quickly burning out. Marvel should’ve just gone for broke and brought Jean back…again.

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