Or – “The Cost Of Constant Conflict…”

Yadda yadda fighty-fighty Avengers something something X-Men, Cyclops gone mad.  You’re not even reading this part, you just want to know how it ends.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

Writer(s): Jason Aaron/Brian Michael Bendis/Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction/Jonathan Hickman
Scripter: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Adam Kubert
Inker(s): John Dell with Mark Morales & Adam Kubert
Colorist: Laura Martin with Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Avengers Vs. X-Men:  Cyclops has taken on the full mantle of the Dark Phoenix, killed his teacher, and lit the world on fire.  There is now officially literal hell to pay.


There has been a trend in big Marvel crossovers for the last several years to really fall apart in the end, to have a nonsensical ending (like Siege), no ending at all (like World War Hulk), or to just get folded into the NEXT Next Big Thing (like Civil War and Secret Invasion).  This issue quickly pulls out all the stops with the battle sequences, and I have to say that the combination of Jason Aaron’s writing and Adam Kubert’s art overcomes my fears of what the story could have been.  We get an Earth-shattering crossover that feels like it has sufficient weight, with at least short-term consequences.  Hope Summers and Wanda Maximoff get into a slap-fight early in the issue as Hope (correctly) blames the whole mess that is the current state of affairs on Wanda’s ‘Avengers: Disassembled’ madness, a fight that works on multiple levels.  Both Wanda and Hope (and Captain America, Iron Man, the new Nova and Cyclops, for that matter) each have a unique voice that makes their participation in the story feel unique and necessary.  Dark Pheoniclops criss-crosses the globe, beating the bajeezus out of Avengers and X-Men alike as he goes, lighting massive fire pits and just generally being incredibly evil all over the place, while the heroes follow Tony Stark’s one-word plan:  “Faith.”


It’s nice that the plan here makes sense in the story being told, but the fact that it unites Iron Man, Cap, Iron Fist and others into its creation is even more impressive to me, and the moment wherein the two mutant heroines confront Cyclops is a strong one for all three characters.  As his wife was before him, Scott Summers finds himself being consumed by the power of the Phoenix, even begging his former comrades to kill him before Hope fulfills her destiny and takes the Phoenix Force for herself.  As he falls, Cyclops sees and/or hallucinates Jean coming to him, urging him to let go, while Hope uses her newfound powers to undo some of the destruction that Cyclops has wrought throughout the issue.  To Aaron’s credit, there is an awkward, tense moment as the heroes stand face to face with Hope as another Phoenix, but she quickly combines her powers with Wanda’s to disperse the energies of Phoenix around the world, with (to me, at least) unexpected results.  Cyclops and Captain America end the issue with a difficult conversation that doesn’t shirk Scott’s responsibility for 12 issues of all-hell breaking loose, while keeping the slightest hope that the X-Men’s leader might still be redeemed, a very impressive feat by Jason Aaron’s dialogue.


I’ll admit it:  I was kind of expecting a train-wreck full of deus ex machina this month.  I was wrong, mostly (there’s still a little bit of inexplicable ‘return-to-status-quo’ near the end of the issue, but that development is actually a couple of years overdue by my standards.)  All in all, it doesn’t disappoint as a single issue story, and doesn’t lose the small moments entirely in the din of the giant guy in the hat screaming “CROSSOOOOOVER!!!!!”  I agree with those who say that the death of Professor Xavier seemed tacked on to this whole crossover, but, comparatively speaking, this is an effective ending to the story being told.  Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 avoids some of the bigger pitfalls, with some excellent dialogue and good work on art, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Reader Rating



About Author

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.


  1. I was VERY impressed with how they ended this and feel it is one of the best story arcs that Marvel has done in YEARS. All of the previews of the big ‘changes’ to the Marvel universe had me groaning but now that I’ve read through this issue I’ll be honest – I’m letting myself get a little excited.

  2. At the end of this issue I felt really satisfied by the conclusion. This didn’t just fold up into a black hole. My favorite part was near the end when Iron Fist asks Tony if he knew what would happen; and the response of “I did the math.” I’m looking forward to what’s next.

    Also, don’t know where to put this, I thought the dueling review podcast was a blast.

  3. Good review. I’d love to get your overall rating of this event as a whole.

    One problem I found in this event as well as Fear Itself was that some of the crossover or side stories were more gripping than the main plot.
    The Uncanny X-Men issue that released this week I think gave a better ending to the series than what we saw here.

  4. I have a question here (and I haven’t read the issue yet). I’ve heard some people remark that Hope “created some new mutants.” I must not understand the meaning of the word “mutant,” because I thought a mutant was someone who was born with a genetic anomaly; I didn’t think you could “become” a mutant. By this definition, wouldn’t Spider-Man be a mutant, too?

  5. My problem with this entire crossover in general was the unexpected and none sensical behavior of certain characters to make certain things happen. Illyana and Piotr K.O.-ing one another springs to mind. Emma Frost and Cyclops combined having the power to destroy the entire world but having a hard time taking on the X-Men and the Avengers. Prof X being killed just because. The Avengers kidnapping Hope to use her against the X-Men (fine, she wanted to get away as well but this was framed as a ‘We need to get her and use her against them no matter what’). Not listening to Reed Richards when he pointed out that ‘this was no different than Cap’s and I-Man’s Civil War cock fight. This list is endless. Finally, I don’t care to get into the fan boy of who would beat whom- that said- if Emma Frost by herself as one of The Phoenix 5 can take down Thor- and Thor can take down everyone on the freaking planet (maybe a little difficulty with Red Hulk, Hulk, and Dr. Strange), and Juggernaut augment Colossus can take on Red Hulk- how is anyone of the Phoenix 5 having a difficult time with anyone? This was a messy crossover that happened to make money. I read all of the books and by and large was left with a wish that Bill Willingham was in charge. He’d know how to spin the narrative to great affect sans pandering. Final thoughts- why are Storm and Black Panther breaking up over this again? This is the thing that tears them a part? And hope after tagging along with Cable her entire life is moved by Spiderman’s ‘Great power equals great responsibility line?’ Awesome. (P.S. where was Cable during this entire affair?)

  6. I assume these new mutants would have been mutants already if it hadn’t been for Wanda’s reality change.
    I think the pheonix power just kickstarted the mutant gene that was forced to be dormant by the end of house of M.

  7. Whatever destruction that occurred was all the Avengers fault. If they had the sense to leave the phoenix force to the X-Men, who KNEW what they were dealing with since they’ve dealt with it multiple time already, the chaos would probably NEVER have happened. Captain America was an idiot and Wolverine a sore loser over Jean.

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