Saturday, March 24, 2012

Avengers Versus X-Men #0

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & Jason Aaron
Artist: Frank Cho
Company: Marvel Comics

Cross-over. Hero versus hero. A battle to save the Universe. A battle to save a Species. That's how this event has been spun. Well, the whole Hero vs. Hero bit has been pushed a bit more than the whole saving the Universe bit, but that's just how these things work. Still, what does this zero issue have to offer? Does it lead into the main event? Does it fall on its side and beg to be forgotten or does it exceed all expectations and have that feeling that we have hoped every Marvel Event would have? I guess the best question is this: Does it deliver?

The quick answer is no. No, it doesn't. Split into two stories that focus on Scarlet Witch and Hope Summers, Avengers Versus X-Men #0 sputters like a dying candle more than it hits the nail on the head. The first story, written by Brian Bendis is the main culprit. He continues to cling to his version of Scarlet Witch and constantly brings in elements of House of M and Avengers Disassembled. Like with Hank Pym slapping Janet, these stories have ultimately become the defining moments for the character at this point. I understand the need for him to remind the reader of just how dangerous she can be, but Avengers Children's Crusade was the start of her redemption and the way that Bendis writes certain characters as they interact with her seems to take a huge step backwards.

Aaron's story however is actually fun. Yes, I said it, the cringe worthy word that people hate. Say it with me: FUN. It doesn't seem as though Hope Summers has been around for very long, but she has. Five years and the character seems to have garnered a lot of popularity in that small amount of time. The way she's tied into the X-Men is fine and while I'm afraid she's going to eventually become a Jean Grey clone, she has a bit more of a personality. Seeing her and Cyclops spar, both physically and verbally feels more organic and real and the way that Aaron shows off how much of a warrior is, pitting her against a Marvel Universe Snake oriented villain team, works.

Frank (Liberty Meadows/Mighty Avengers) Cho's artwork is nice enough. His clean lined style is very easy to read and I think that he handles the characters well. The women still have a cheesecake element, something that just comes with art from Cho, but he has gotten better at putting together the whole picture. The background work is solid and the emotive ability of his characters has reached a new level for me, making some of the scenes more enjoyable. The action at times still feels a bit static, but it's not too distracting and feels more in line with classic comics.

It's obvious that these two characters are going to play a pivotal role in the upcoming crossover, but it isn't expressed with a ton of precision. With Hope it's a bit cut and dry, what with her ties to the Phoenix Force. With Scarlet Witch, it's more of a wait and see kind of thing. All in all, there are too many cringe worthy moments and bouts of blandness for the comic to really make its mark or give what people really want. I hope the main series proves to be, at the very least, more entertaining.

This is an advance review. Avengers Versus X-Men hits stands next week, 03/28/12.

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