Or – “Transmute To Fiery Phoenix!”

What many expected to be a one-sided beatdown by the Avengers has turned into a world-spanning, game-changing succession to power by Cyclops and his lieutenants.  Is even Wanda Maximoff’s power enough to turn the tide for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #7
Writer(s): Jason Aaron/Brian Michael Bendis/Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction/Jonathan Hickman
Scripter: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin
Leterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Avengers Vs. X-Men: A heated discourse over the fate of Hope Summers (the so-called “Mutant Messiah”) got more complicated when the Phoenix Force was discovered on it’s way to Earth to bond with her.  An uncertain Hope spurned the creature’s power, leading the cosmic firebird to imbue Cyclops, Colossus, Magik, Namor and the White Queen with it’s phoenixy essence, creating five ridiculously powerful mutants with a cause.  They’ve made literal world-changing decisions, but the Avengers continue to pester them.  With Wanda Maximoff back on their team, can Captain America and his allies even hope to stop the Phoenix Five?

NO MORE WIRE HANGERS AVENGERS!

Okay, time for my biggest complaint about AvX and everything related to it:  I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ORDER TO READ THIS IN.  This issue opens just after the Phoenix 5 have cleared Avengers Mansion, Avengers Tower and the Avengers Academy of heroes, capturing all the Avengers that they can find to keep them from meddling in their dragonly affairs.  How many crossover issues took place between #6 and this issue?  No idea.  All I can really tell you is that, while Scott Summers seems to be keeping his wits about him, the rest of the vessels of the Phoenix aren’t fairing as well.  Colossus rages that they need to take direct action, Namor snarls that Cyclops doesn’t know how to rule, while Illyana seems to be the wild card, engaging the Scarlet Witch face-to-face and burning a beloved Marvel character within an inch of his life.  (Here’s a hint:  He was a surprisingly good part of the Avengers movie a couple months ago.)  Tony Stark seems to have lost his armor (During last issue’s battle?  Due to events in his own title?  There’s no real way to be sure), Captain America has lost his patience, while the mystic purviews of Doctor Strange, Iron Fist and The Black Panther are the only things that show any promise of avoiding white-hot Phoenixy death.

DISSENSION IN THE RANKS.

After seemingly quitting in a huff last ish, The Beast is back among the Avengers, and Tony Stark and T’Challa of Wakanda have a very tense moment that helps to delineate both of their characters.  Sadly, it’s all too brief within a hurried issue, as The Avengers try to bait-and-switch their opponents with illusion and chicanery.  The best parts of the issue are the overarching themes, as the X-Men come to terms with their new acclaim and powers, while the Avengers get a taste of what it’s like to operate as outlaws on the fringes of society.  Dozens of Marvel characters end up doing spear-carrier duty in cameos throughout the issue (Sunspot, The Thing, Havok, Giant-Man, Gambit and many more rotate through these pages in an epic game of “Hey, It’s That Guy!”) while Cyclops’ unified Phoenix 5 fragments.  The subtle attractions that we’ve seen between Namor and Emma Frost seemingly come to a head, as the former super-villains take actions that may be the beginning of a Heel Turn and possibly betray the trust of their leader/boyfriend in the bargain.  Sadly, I don’t know that I’ll get the full story on how this affects the heroes, as next issue will certainly bounce forward again to the next big crisis point of the conflict.

THE VERDICT: INVIGORATING, BUT CONFUSING.

Each issue of this book has been well-crafted, and parts have been downright excellent, but seven issues in, I’m really feeling the effects of the collaborative story-telling.  The last three issues have raised questions and themes that I’d like to have seen examined, but I have no idea where to go to FIND the stories.  Marvel’s expectation that I’m reading each and every crossover issue is not realistic in terms of my budget, so I’m left with a growing collection of question marks that I’ll probably not fill in until the next Handbook of The Marvel Universe updates come out.  The scenes between Namor and Emma are particularly interesting to me, but I can’t help but think they’ll be forgotten or overwritten within a matter of weeks.  Avengers Vs. X-Men Round 7 is what wrestling announcer Tazz would call a rocket-bus, hitting me with lots of action, desperate heroes trying desperate gambles, and intrigue, but fails to give me enough grounding or background to fully parse everything that happens, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  (At least I finally know where the recent New Avengers issues in K’un Lun take place in the greater scheme of things.)

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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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5 Comments

  1. Arbor Day
    July 8, 2012 at 2:28 am — Reply

    Has Dr. Doom showed up, in the ancillary titles or something? The comparison between his philosophy and what Cyclops is doing ought to be mentioned.

    Also, wrestling announcer Tazz, ha. I remember when he actually wrestled. His debut was against Kurt Angle I think.

    • Mike
      July 8, 2012 at 3:12 am — Reply

      I can’t remember which one, but somebody did tell him that he sounded like Doom in one of the crossovers.

  2. Armaan
    July 8, 2012 at 3:24 am — Reply

    I’ve been keeping up with pretty much all the other titles. They don’t really offer too many explanations, this one just up, jumped, and skipped way ahead – it was just garbled and confusing, although still a great read. I actually think this issue is way ahead of all the other titles dragged into the crossover, titles that will not catch up… well, aside from New Avengers, which AvX 7 just caught up with.

    It’ll all probably make more sense in the collected editions!

    Possibly probably maybe hopefully!

    Also, I don’t think Tony’s lost his armour, i just think that he thinks he’s more useful in research scientist mode right now.

  3. B.V.K.
    July 8, 2012 at 10:51 am — Reply

    While I enjoy reading AvX the jumping around in terms of storyline is one of the reasons I like to wait for trades. When trades hit at least everything is collected and you can gather how to effectively read the story as a whole.

    I am getting tired of the media angle of this story though. In one of the first issues the X-Men issue a (one sided) press release to garner favor with the public. Now they re-brand the Avengers and Captain freaking America as global terrorists?! If press releases and misinformation are some kind of new super power in the Marvel U then Al Sharpton should be the new Professor X.

  4. Rome
    July 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm — Reply

    Thanks for reviewing this title (albeit sporadically) as I have so long ago been burnt out by these enormous crossovers, and have sworn them off. Your early reviews were ALMOST enough to get me onboard, though I held out, and now I remember why I stopped picking these things up.

    You very ably describe what happens when too many writers and tie-ins begin falling over each other, as seems to happen about half way thru every time. I like the hook on this one, but I wish it would just be the main story in Uncanny X-men, and let the rest of the Marvel U go on as it always does. F’ Continuity (as wise men say.)

    It seems like Marvel prefers putting the really bold stories in this big X-over form, which then makes the execution suffer. It is a shame that they can’t get back to doing bold stories in regular titles, and get back to doing them well.

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