This issue promises to change the Marvel Universe. And, yes I guess it does. Read on to find out.
Oh, and we will have spoilers on here too. So be forewarned if you haven’t read the issue yet this will spoil things for you. Read it and come back maybe.
Due to the Marvel NOW news we knew all along that the end of this would see a uniting of humans and mutants. We didn’t know how it would happen, but we knew the end point. After reading this the big revelation is that the comic readers never knew the beginning point.
Avengers vs X-Men isn’t just a 12 issue series. No, this stretches back to House of M and even Avengers Disassembled. It has changed the way I’m looking at Marvel Comics and that’s before the non-reboot. Marvel NOW is most definitely not a reboot. It is a fresh start for sure. Not only a new chapter, but a whole new book. To use a book example, compare the last decade of Marvel to a popular book series like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. Every book is necessary. Some seem bigger than others but everything is needed to get the characters lined up for the final arc. New Avengers, Schism, Civil War, Secret Invasion, the events and/or lessons of each motivate every character.
Dark Phoenix Cyclops is defeated, as we all expected. The brilliant twist is that the Phoenix Force wasn’t coming to Earth to cause death and then renewal. The death had already happened. The Scarlet Witch’s decree of “No More Mutants” was the death. Whatever the Pheonix’s relationship to mutantkind may be, it is connected to the Homo Superior. When a god destroys those same mutants, it will take an equal god-like force to change that. Wanda’s chaos powers and the Phoenix Force become the opposing and balanced gods of the 616. Cyclops is defeated, Hope saves the day, and mutants are back. When the world changes so greatly due to forces beyond human comprehension its difficult for even the greatest cynic to not, ahem, marvel at it.
That brings us to the change that has been taking place just below the surface the entire time. Tony Stark, man of gods. Iron Man is left with no other options to try but faith. He believes things will happen because there is no other option left. A Tony Stark who accepts powers higher than science and technology could be a Tony Stark who reevaluates his suits, his tech, his entire perspective on life. Just one character in this huge story, and there are years of potential stories ahead.
The big story though is how this event changes both teams. Cyclops is defeated and can be seen as hero, villain, cult leader or martyr. Take your pick, and the characters will. Have no doubt, Cyclops will be back in a big bad way at some point. In the wake of his deeds the X-Men are lost. Wolverine is more Avenger than X-Men, the leaders of their kind are now dead or down. Someone must step up to show the mutants the way. That someone is… Captain America?
Cap takes Charles Xavier’s teachings — that humans and mutants can be together — and implements it into the teams of the Marvel Universe. While saying that what is happening is “uncanny” was a bit ham fisted, the point is a valid one. The X-Men will not be popular people after this. Someone of stature must heal the wounds. Cap becomes an Abraham Lincoln for 2012 Marvel. His Team of Rivals will combine to do what they couldn’t do apart. I’d love to see some non-mutants on the Avengers teams too.
Its at this point I realized that Marvel has always been fractured. There have always been these little pockets that rarely crossed over. Now with the merging Avengers and X-Men teams along with Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Nova bringing in the cosmic heroes, there is a more unified Marvel than ever before.
Everything that we previously read still happened, it still mattered, but this is very obviously a new beginning. And its done right. No new 52 needed. Well done Marvel.