Or – “It All Comes Down To Parker, Because It ALWAYS Comes Down To Parker.”
The power of the Phoenix has not made Scott Summers more reasonable, and his actions since declaring the Avengers his enemy clearly demonstrate that he is not as in control as he thought. With one of the Phoenix Five down, the others are 20% more powerful, and probably at least 20% bug-&$#@ crazier. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #9
Writer: Jason Aaron/Brian Michael Bendis/Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction/Jonathan Hickman
Scripter: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Adam Kubert
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Laura Martin w/ Larr yMolinar
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously, in Avengers Vs. X-Men: Phoenix. Blam! No More Avengers. Fighty-fighty. Namor go bye-bye. Heroes get blowed up real good.
MISS SUMMERS IS THE ONLY HOPE THEY HAVE…
We’re now exactly 3/4 of the way through the “movie” that is AvX, and things are looking grim for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This issue is all about personal interactions, as we see that nobody is unscathed by the endless conflict. Spider-Man realizes that he hasn’t made a joke in weeks, Hope has been doing nothing but train with Iron Fist, and Emma Frost is feeling her sanity slowly slipping away in the face of the Phoenix power. Last issue annoyed me a little bit, but this one is skillful as all hell, with Jason Aaron giving us terse interactions between characters and some pretty shocking moments. (The Black Panther and Storm are officially divorced, according to the high priest of the Panther Clan, who is also coincidentally The Black Panther.) The most terrifying moment in the issue comes when The Avengers lose a member in battle, overpowered by two of the Phoenixes. That member, by the way, is Thor, the Norse god of Thunder. I’ll allow you to sit back and say “Damn” for just a moment while that sinks in…
This issue’s cover is, unusually, perfectly representative of a scene in the comic, which I greatly appreciate, and the moment in question is a very strong one for Spider-Man, showcasing his wit and the cleverness of the character, but there’s a level of deus ex machina in play with his moment, painting the Phoenix Five as petty and prone to internecine slap-fighting. (Granted, having the Phoenixes in question be brother and sister might feed into that dynamic, but it’s still a little bit troublesome.) Though the writers have set up the expectation that the mutants are being slowly corrupted by the Phoenix, the plot this issue feels a little bit like “Let’s move this all along.” The big bonus this month, though, comes in strong character bits for Wolverine, Storm, Captain America, the Black Panther, Tony Stark… Pretty much everyone (including Cyclops and Emma Frost) have razor-sharp characterization and excellent dialogue, and Adam Kubert turns in a very strong turn on the art, avoiding last month’s retro stylings most of the time.
THE BOTTOM LINE: AN INTERESTING ONE
I’ve been impressed with the execution of the main Avengers Vs. X-Men title, even as I’ve had some issues with the overall presentation of the crossover. This issue makes up for the frustrations of last, making epic cosmic fighty-fighty feel personal and approachable, and delivering a great sequence for Spider-Man that reminds me of his turn in Uncanny X-Men #190-191 back in the day. (He died in that issue, you might recall.) Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 is the reading equivalent of a Big Mac, with no big surprises, but a nice finish with a crisp hint of pickle, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. You can (and I have) complained about the overall Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover, but these individual issues are pretty well-done. I’m kind of excited to see where all this sturm and drang is leading us, though…