The time is nigh. The biggest event in all of comics is about to hit, and a special 0 issue came out today. Its not the main plot, it is a lot of set up, but is it worth your time and money?
Short answer: Its a great comic. If you don’t think.
I loved the book when I first read it. Great stories, great fights. Just an awesome comic all around. Then the initial reading was done. I had time to re-read it for this review and actually think about what happened within. That’s where it falls apart.
I was ready to hate this comic. Screw all of these events and all the money we fans have to shell out. Fear Itself felt like a huge waste of time. What does Secret Invasion mean anymore? Fans could go on and on. I want the big cross company events to mean something months and years later. Oh my God, Secret Invasion was 2008. Four years ago?! Okay maybe there are some repercussions and events that matter. Geez. Four years. Where has the time gone? Oh, right, AVX.
Two stories take place in this issue. One with Scarlet Witch and one with Hope. So lets look at them individually.
MODOK and AIM cronies are attacking and about to kill an informant. Scarlet Witch shows up to stop it and the exposition is pretty great. Wanda actually says, “You’re going to talk a lot aren’t you?” Of course the bad guy is going to talk! That’s how comics are done. Comics are also the only place you can see MODOK based animals with rockets. The head of a T-Rex but the body of a booster.
Spider Woman and Ms Marvel show up and every moment falls into the “are they stupid” category that has haunted them before. (And little bit of a preview here, there is a LOT of debate about these two characters coming up.) Frank Cho does the art, and while it could fall into the cheesecake brokeback style it doesn’t. All three women look beautiful and strong. Nothing too sexist here at all.
Well, until the dialogue comes in. In my writing I am trying very hard to not be sexist. Anything I read or watch now that features a woman (or anything I write) has to pass a simple test. If I switch the genders in this scene, does it still work? If not then it is possibly sexist. Ms Marvel and Spider-Woman invite Wanda back to Avengers Mansion to just say hi to the gang. Lets review here: Ms Marvel has been raped, brainwashed, alcoholic, and “died”. Spider-Woman has been brainwashed, died, loses powers, abducted, betrays trusts, oops she’s actually a Skrull and I’m sure there’s some stuff I’m forgetting. With all of these events having happened to both women, plus years of other comic book adventures… Why in the hell would they invite the Scarlet Witch back with open arms?!
Hey Wanda, you tried to kill off all of the Avengers. In fact you did kill off Hawkeye, Vision, Ant Man and Jack of Hearts. Sure half of them got better, but the other half are still KIA. Then you made mutants an endangered species. But that’s all in the past! Lets hang out!
The following scene in which the Vision tears Wanda a new one is well worth the price of the book. I have never seen Vision so full of emotion. But of course he would be. This is Wanda. She betrayed him in every way possible. My West Coast Avengers obsessed self loved this scene. I’m glad that Wanda was brought to the Mansion so this could happen. However there must be a better way to get all of these players there without the inane “girls night out” explanation. There is no way Captain America and Iron Man would invite Scarlet Witch over to hang.
Wanda then takes off because she’s “not ready”. And everyone lets her go! Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine and Beast (oooh notice that two of those are also X-Men?) just let her go! The proper reaction should have been, “holy fuck! Scarlet Witch is back! Lets try to trick her into letting her guard down and then sedate/kill her in order to protect the universe!” Not, meh, watch her fly away.
I get it. The Avengers reaction to the Scarlet Witch’s return will be coming. Its not for a zero issue. But some reaction would have been better than none.
The only X-Men comics I’ve read in years have been Wolverine and the X-Men and Greg Pak’s run on Astonishing. Due to this, I’m very unfamiliar with Hope Summers. Kudos to the writing (and duh its the amazing Jason Aaron) for explaining everything I needed to know without it once feeling like exposition. Hope’s conversation with Cyclops flows naturally. Real people don’t have “previously on…” conversations. The important information has its own flow, and comes out where necessary. Aaron has these beats down. I want to know more about Hope. This whole half of the book is so good it makes me want to buy the last few years of mutant titles.
Hope goes out on her own and never has the Serpent Society looked so dangerous. Whether its Cho’s art or Aaron’s writing, I would believe this super villain team to be A list opponents after this appearance. Which makes their defeat that much more dramatic. In a few short pages the Serpents are made into uber bad guys, and then Hope is the bad ass that beats them. Its damn impressive work. This is also the only panel with any brokeback poses. Hey, its not perfect but when the premiere artist for sexy comic book women has only one of these poses in the biggest book of the year I call that a win! And it wasn’t that bad a pose either. We’ve all certainly seen worse.
The X-Men half of this book made me more excited for AVX than the front half. And I’m a huge Avengers fan. Much more so than an X-Men one. Its a great sign that this battle may not be as clear cut as previously thought. If I’m already leaning towards the X-Men then what difficulties will Wolverine, Beast, Storm or even Quicksilver have?
Its an exciting comic, and it shapes up an exciting year for Marvel. As long as you don’t think too hard about the Avengers’ actions.