It's Avengers versus X-Men. Time for a few one shots from the Avengers’ point of view.
(This story takes place concurrent with the events of Wolverine and the X-Men #12 and before the events of AvX #8.)
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Associate Editor:||Lauren Sankovitch|
|Assistant Editor:||Jake Thomas, John Denning|
|Cover Art:||Mike Deodato, Rain Beredo|
|Lettering:||VC's Cory Petit|
The Avengers are brainstorming ideas on how to better the X-Men who are currently beating them at every turn. Spider-Woman says why this is: they have all the telepaths so can see attacks coming – in order to take them out, you’ve got to take out the telepaths first. Wolverine says Emma Frost and Rachel Summers are the two biggest and he thinks he can get to Rachel. But if they go in like that, Rachel will read Logan’s mind and so know it’s a trap. The Avengers need a telepath to counter a telepath, but don’t really have one. Captain America says he’ll make a call…
Cut to a bar where Wolverine is waiting for Rachel, in conversation with a mystery telepath as he waits. A group of Avengers are in the back being hidden. Rachel arrives but turns the Avengers’ trap into hers – she’s come with back up too, including a Phoenix in the form of Namor. It gets messy pretty quickly, but midst battle Rachel sees Black Widow trying to flee with Hope. Rachel intercepts and tries to reach out to Hope. Except it’s not Hope, it’s the mystery telepath who reveals himself as Professor X. He’s about to capture Rachel, when he realises he doesn't want to raise a hand against his students so puts everyone to sleep instead. Spider-Woman, with psychic shields implanted by S.H.I.E.L.D., has remained awake. She’s tries to convince Charles to end this, but he isn’t interested and wakes Captain America up to tell him he wants no more part in this conflict. Xavier puts the two to sleep and leaves.
A sensible and logical story (at least initially). How do you take down an enemy that can sees things before you do them? Take down the seers. Finally the Avengers realise that even without the power of the Phoenix, the X-Men have a pretty good advantage and it needs to be addressed. Good use of Spider-Woman here, a character who as a former double or triple agent has been involved in more mind games then most – both as player and victim. Her relationship with Hawkeye is also nicely worked into this issue, with the two of them playfully teasing each other, and it injects a bit of humour in an otherwise fight driven issue.
That's the good, now the bad! I'm surprised at Wolverine, firstly for not identifying the telepath problem himself and secondly for thinking he could get Rachel. Sure she picked his more peaceful side at a school named after her mother following the Schism event, but a Phoenix possessed Cyclops is the embodiment of her parents (albeit from another Universe), why would she not be on that side in a fight that could restore mutantkind (also bearing in mind in her reality mutants were all but extinct).
Couple of other things I found confusing. Quicksilver is standing alongside the Avengers in the trap for Rachel and for me this was a weird choice for a cameo when so many other Avengers are frankly underused. I suppose it puts another mutant on the side of the Avengers, along with Beast and Wolverine, and helps to remind us that this fight is not just one race against another. He is certainly more Avenger than X-Men regardless of his mutant heritage. Speaking of the “Avengers waiting in ambush" scene, who the heck is the blonde next to Black Widow? It’s not Ms Marvel or Mockingbird; Valkyrie or Sharon Carter perhaps? She doesn’t turn up in any other scenes, so why include her at all – just a random blonde included for fun! I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of this artist, but at least it’s been consistent since my moan in Avengers (Vol. 4) #26.
The other thing I found a little strange was Professor X’s inclusion. So Cap pulls in a favour, possibly playing the angle that this may be the only peaceful way to end this conflict – I can buy this. But once he turns up he realises he’ll have to attack one of his pupils and so just walks away. How did you think you were going to do it any other way Charles? You’re meant to be an intelligent man, had you seriously not thought about this before turning up? Just a bit silly! Also what happens when the two teams wake up from their telepathically induced sleep? Do they just walk away leaving the other side sleeping? I don’t think so. The bottom line is whichever team wakes up first, wins. The Avengers would have caught a Phoenix and a telepath; the X-Men get Cap and Thor. Just what was “the Professor” thinking? The point is moot as we get no such conclusion to this story; in fact we get no conclusion at all. The original premise of the story is for the Avengers to capture a telepath, the “conclusion” is Charles Xavier gets upset that his mutants can’t live in peace. Err! Isn’t that like asking what 5 + 2 is and answering with the word frog! AvX has been a part of Avengers for five months now and up until this point has been able to tell related but self-contained stories. I suppose it’s been luckier then its New Avengers sister comic in this regard (see New Avengers (Vol. 2) #27 for my rant in full!) so it’s a shame this story misses the mark and plays the role of filler for the AvX event. At least the event is over next issue.
What started out as a good idea for a story, forgot itself halfway through and gave no conclusion. If you gonna do a “one shot” comic, please finish what you start! I'm tired of reading filler stories for comics/events I'm not reading.