Avengers vs X-Men #2 Review.

From every writer at Marvel and John Romita Jr.

Oh.  This is it.  The shit hits, people are fighting and Avengers vs X-Men is on.  This is already the biggest fight in Marvel history.  Maybe even all of comics.  There are boat loads, SHIELD Hellicarrier loads of awesome stuff in the issue.  But, yes, there are some problems as well.  Lets look at both sides of this.

The good:

“Magnetic fastball special”.  Only two pages into the comic and I was already screaming out “oh cool!” like a ten year old.  With Wolverine fighting on the Avengers side, there was a strong possibility that this classic X-Men attack would be missing from the series.  Worry not!  Magneto and some organic metal mix well.

Red Hulk shines.  First he rabbit punches Colossus.  As if that wasn’t good enough, he then takes over the battle on the Hellicarrier.  I forget what podcast it was (Weekly Longbox?) but someone made the point that General Thunderbolt Ross is probably second only to Captain America in battle experience.  This has completely changed my attitude on the character.  The Red Hulk who punches out the Watcher is fun in a mindless beat ’em up kind of way.  But a super powered general is the more interesting character.  That version of Red Hulk I can see leading the Avengers at some point.  I never thought the biggest slug fest in comics history would make me care about a character, but here we are.

Namor, King of the Seas.  The Sub Mariner on the X-Men is crazy.  I mean he fits, it makes sense, but I never expected it.  Namor is a strong opponent on land, but throw him in the water and he’s near unstoppable.  Seeing the slugfest between him and two of the strongest Avengers (Luke Cage and Thing) really puts Namor into that upper echelon of strength.

Cap.  Holy shit Captain America is great in this.  I have one complaint about him, which will come later, but otherwise its amazing how good he is in here.  From throwing his shield with such precision that he hits Cyclops’s visor without taking off his head.  All the way to “take the beach”.  That is some incredible writing right there.  “Take the beach” means so SO much coming from Cap.  And all that was within two pages!

Tower of Babel.  I don’t mean the use of language, but rather the classic JLA story in which the good guys were defeated using Batman’s plans.  Not to mix my comic book companies here.  Emma Frost comes out with a plan, but Iron Man is already prepared to shut her down, and here comes Magneto.  Your more paranoid of the heroes have apparently been expecting this moment.  They already have a game plan for countering certain powers and specific people.  Why have that knowledge if you weren’t anticipating a future battle?  When its good vs good there are going to be a LOT of greys throughout.  I think some huge revelations will be forthcoming.

The conflicted mutant Avengers.  You can already feel that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will have a huge impact in this series.  Always straddling the two worlds of Marvel.  This time all of their Avengers friends, versus their father’s teachings, and years of eternal conflict.  Hell Marvel could put out AVX: Maximoffs and have it be nothing but inner monologues and debates and I would read the shit out of that.

But they aren’t the only ones!  Storm and Black Panther are about to have something happen to change their relationship forever.  Wolverine becomes the center of calm.  The voice of reason.  The one trying to end this as quickly and quietly as possible (and very violently too, but it needs to be done).

Hope is bad ass.  When all your life you were told that you need to be a warrior, a savior, and the biggest battle of a generation breaks out on your doorstep – damn right you’re going to want to get into the fray.  I don’t think anything is outside of the realm of possibilities from her.  Both teams aligning, a third group, the destruction of something in the Marvel Universe, even a reboot.  Hope will be the catalyst for a status quo change that will be felt for years.

Finally, the Space Avengers.  The battle is taking place in two places as once.  As dangerous as the other team is, or as Hope might be, the Phoenix Force for damn sure IS that dangerous.  End everything in one move – level dangerous.

This is one hell of an exciting book, with an actual interesting plot too.

So what do I have to complain about?

Two things and they both have to do with the art.  First of all, JR JR is drawing faces just too damn young.  Wolverine, Cyclops, Doctor Strange should all be drawn like they have been up and down the road and show the lines of it.  But the worst is Cap.  He looks like a teenager in some panels.  Captain America should walk in a room and command respect with the look on his face.  Instead he looks like a fresh faced frat boy playing dress up.

But the really painful part is the lack of lettering.  (I grabbed the digital today, and sometimes there are mistakes within that as last issue’s “SHIELD Hellicarrier over Manhattan” example taught us.)  When the caption reads “they hear the punch all the way in Oakland” I expect to see a WHAM! or POW! or WHATAPUNCH!  Something.  Chris Eliopoulos is a great letterer!  Why not let him go crazy with some sound effects.  Only about half the spots that you would expect to have sound effects actually do.

These tiny nit pick things aside, it really is great.  10 more main issues to go!  Tons of cross overs!  I think I’ll go pick up some of this week’s Avengers and X-Men titles to read more about the battle on the beach.

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