Rickly's 'early comic' Review - Avengers vs X-Men #12 (Spoiler-Free)
When Bendis, Hickman, Brubaker, Kubert, Coipel and Romita are a few of the names coming together for a big Marvel event...you'd expect glory...but there's been a lot of backlash over the pacing, story, retcons and handling of this Avengers vs X-Men event!
...Issue 12 is here...I got a special review copy...and one thing's for sure...the Marvel Landscape has changed drastically...
That said, last issue unleashed Scott as the lone wielder of the Phoenix Force, and more so...as The Dark Phoenix...as he sets out to right the past wrongs of Jean Grey, tame the Avengers and create a universal utopia for his X-Men and mutants galore. En route, Charles Xavier proved a fatal casualty as Scott dispensed of his former mentor.
This final issue felt much akin to Bendis, but it's not...it's Jason Aaron and clearly, he wants to undo a lot of Bendis' canvas so that himself and Rick Remender can throw Wolverine and the Avengers, hand-in-hand, with mutants into what I can perceive as a new Heroic Age. Scott's monologue is very well-written as he sees his shortcomings, among some other key recollections and visions, which all help to cancel the atrocious part that Wanda and Hope play in this issue. In fact, throughout the event, both always felt out of place and here...there's no real pivotal role for them, except that proverbial hail-mary/deus ex machina play that they throw up with a hapless Stark.
So many characters are written so uncharacteristically throughout, it's a shock that Cap actually finds his voice here. Kubert's art maintains a poignant and dedicative effort to showing the gravity of the battle but it really pales in comparison to the majestic work of Coipel in issue #11. Kubert does a decent-enough job but it still can't mitigate the downfall of Aaron's story. There's a sense of the issue being too rushed and the last few pages capitulate when the revelations and consequences are teased. The future of mutants is brushed with more concern, and I use this term lightly as things are no doubt going to snowball (though I can't say if it's good or bad as yet) - but it's very apparent that Bendis has a totally new tapestry to throw paint at. The future of the Phoenix Force and the Avengers are handled a bit carelessly here, as well as the ramifications of certain 'villains' in this book, as it seemed Marvel was just hurried to get a stream of new #1s on the shelves.
What started as a good premise, and what should have been done during Osborn's Dark Reign, significantly faltered and buckled under the weight of its large-scope vision, where characters like Thor, Nova, Storm, Panther and Hawkeye were given rash and brash treatment, which you wouldn't expect if they were to be made tentpole. Also, the flagrant disrespect for Abnett/Lanning's cosmic work here would be highly visible to hardcore fans and overall, throwing in the miscast roles of Beast, Iron Fist and Stark here...there's too much jumbled messes far and wide. In the aftermath, Cyclops was the biggest victim here, as his character ends on a somber yet disgusting fate.
Aaron clearly had a unique vision to reset the ball but there's just too many precursors that needed gentle and careful handling before proceeding to do this event. Marvel clearly missed the train here and while Civil War, Siege, Secret Invasion and House of M could still boast acclaim or somewhat near-acclaim, this final issue and event on the whole ties with Fear Itself and Final Crisis for a series of botched character representations and haphazard plot points.
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