COMICS: Avengers vs X-men #3 Review
I've been pretty harsh on the previous two issues of AVX(I'd rather be reading Night of the Owls). Can the third issue change my opinion?
Is the third issue of this giant Marvel event worth the dough?
This issue shows us the aftermath of the previous superhero brawl, as well as setting up some future brawls for us to enjoy. Along the way, there are some betrayals as well as some...friendly fire.
I'll start by saying that I actually enjoyed this issue a lot more than the previous two, and I think that is all thanks to Ed Brubaker. Brubaker really sells each character in this issue and builds tension in a way the previous two writers could not. I love the conversion between Captain America and Iron Man that cleverly references Civil War, as well as the scenes with Logan and Cap. Brubaker really has a feel for how each character feels about the conflict; Wolverine is desperate to stop the Phoenix, Cap is desperate to stop the X-men, Iron Man is trying to find the most sensible solution, and Hope is just trying to keep from being found. Slowing down on the action was exactly what this event needed, and letting Brubaker handle the action-light issue was a good choice.
But alas, I can't only praise the book; there are some nagging flaws. The fight between Wolverine and Cap, while very entertaining, comes out of nowhere. Don't get me wrong, Brubaker successfully builds up tension between Cap and Logan in this issue, but he can't bring that tension to a head believably. I just can't believe that Cap would be so quick to punch Logan in the face. What's worse is that he actually says to Wolvie, "You're sitting this one out, Logan!" after punching him in the face. AFTER! Could he not have just asked him without punching and see how that worked out? Maybe he could have asked for Logan to sit it out and then maybe punched him if Logan refused? It would still be a bit of a stretch for him to resort to punching so soon but it would at least be better than what we got. And I have to wonder if Cap actually thought that Logan would agree to sit this one out after being punched in the face. Come to think of it, why would Cap need to punch him at all if the plan was just to drop Logan in Antarctica or wherever it is that they drop him. Why not just open up the hatch and shove him out as soon as he refused to cooperate? And why was Cap's nose bleeding after the fight despite the fact that Wolverine never hit him in the face? (I know, I know, now I'm just nit-picking!)
I also have to touch on the painfully obvious set-up for more upcoming brawls. Hope uses some doohickey she makes to give Cerebra five different coordinates instead of just one whenever someone tries to track her. Of course, now the Avengers and the X-men are all trying to find her first so, naturally, they're going to meet in all the five locations and duke it out each time they meet. I know the whole point of the event is to have the two teams fight as much as possible, but the set-up just feels a little too obvious to me.
On the art department, this issue actually fairs much better than the previous one. While John Romita Jr's art is still sub-par, he is drawing a lot fewer characters fighting all at once, so it looks quite a bit better. The fight between Wolvie and Cap was actually pretty cool, albeit brief, and JRJR handled it pretty well.
Overall, AVX #3 is a step in the right direction; the characterizations are astute and the plot is moved forward, but the need to fill this event with as much action as possible still causes the story to suffer. I really wish Brubaker could write the entire series...
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