It may be that some of you may have thought: "Gee, for a guy who posts on a comics-themed message board, the Baron sure mostly posts about old TV shows from the 1960's, and not much about comic books.  Or you may have better things to think about.  Be that as it may, someone was good enough to send me copies of the 12 issues of Avengers vs. X-Men, as well as the Avengers vs. X-Men Guide Book. It's not a story I would have thought to buy for myself, but since I have it, I figured I would take a look at it, and report what I've found.  I haven't followed Marvel regularly since the last Hercules book ended, so there's alot of these characters where I don't know what's up with them.

 

We begin with the Avengers vs. X-Men Guide Book, which is a sort of "scorecard" for the series. It starts with a list of the characters we may expect to encounter during the course of the series:

 

Batting first are the Avengers -

 

Red Hulk: How is this guy an Avenger already? Hasn't he only been around (as the Red Hulk, I mean, I know Ross has been around since the Time of the Beginning) for about a year? This, to my mind, is a deleterious side effect of the proliferation of Avengers teams that we've seen in the last few years - Secret Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Dark Avengers, New Avengers, Super Fun Happy Avengers(1), and so on. The problem is, you've got to staff all these teams, and since they can't all be clones of Wolverine, invariably some second-stringers creep in, resulting in a dilution of the brand. I blame the Bronze Age JLA - they let in Firestorm, thereby setting the precedent of letting B-list heroes on to what should be elite teams. Characters should not be on these teams until they've proven that they're more than just the flavor of the month.

 

Captain America: Hopefully this is the real Cap, and who or whatever it is pretending to be Bucky(2) pretending to be Cap.

 

Luke Cage: Is he not called "Power Man" at all, anymore?

 

Iron Man: Is Civil War even in continuity anymore? Everyone just trusts Stark, just like that?

 

Spider-Man:  Is his secret ID public these days, or did that go the way of his marriage?

 

Black Widow: Has she met up with the Golden Age Black Widow yet? that would make an interesting story.

 

Iron Fist: Hey, the 1970's called, they want their lame character concept back.

 

Hawkeye: Never liked this character. Maybe I should lay off the Red Hulk. If they let Hawkeye in, that was precedent enough for letting a B-lister in. New Hawkeye is a much more interesting character.

 

The Thing:  Of all the FF characters that have been in the Avengers, Ben is the only one that ever really worked on this team for me.

 

Spider-Woman: Another character that I'm not wild about.

 

Black Panther: Not a bad character, I suppose, but he never really interested me.

 

Doctor Strange: It's weird - on a purely logical level, it makes sense for Strange - as his world's premier magic user - to be an Avenger. Yet, for some reason, the character doesn't work for me as an Avenger the way he did in the defenders. Funny that.

 


Next up are the X-Men -

 

Cyclops: Possibly the least interesting of the original X-Men, and they were a pretty uninspiring group!

 

Emma Frost: Wasn't she a heel? When did she do a face turn? Or did she?

 

Colossus: Why is Colossus wearing Juggernaut's helmet?  Did he kill Cain Marko or something?

 

Magneto: I remember him doing a face turn, but I thought I also remembered him doing a subsequent heel turn. If he is a face these days, I'll be curious to see whether he suffers from the common syndrome where a nigh-unbeatable villain turns good and suddenly becomes eminently beatable. When I first read comics, I thought of Magneto as Marvel's number two Earthbound villain, after only our Vic. Now he seems much lower down the food chain.

 

Hope: Described as "The Mutant Messiah", whatever that means. I had someow acquired the impression that she was Cyclops' daughter, is that correct? If so, who's her mother? If no, then who is she?

 

Magik: Add her to the list of characters I never was all that wild about.

 

Storm:  Always thought she should be Marvel's number one heroine, but she doesn't seem to be used up to her potential. Oddly, my favorite use of the character was when she was the Amalgam Wonder Woman.  She should be on that level.

 

Namor:  I usually like Golden Age characters, but I've never liked Namor. Probably becasue I've never liked "hothead" types. Well, except Hothead Paisan.

 

Danger: I have never heard of this character. I don't know anything about them.

 

PsylockeOppan - Gangnam Style! Oh? Not that PSY? Pity.

 


Now, the Secret Avengers (What's so "Secret" about them?), who are apparently being sent "off on a mission in space"!

 

Thor: In many ways, my favorite Marvel character - always liked Norse mythology, ever since I was in elementary school.

 

Ms. Marvel:  Ah, this must be back from before Marvel turned Carol Danvers into their latest failed attempt to create an interesting character called "Captain Marvel". Look, Marvel, it was very clever of you to get the drop on DC in getting the rights to the name "Captain Marvel", but none of your characters by that name have been remotely interesting. The only one that even came close was Mar-Vell, and nothing became his life like the ending of it. Look, Billy Batson is Captain Marvel, and that's that, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen. So, what you should do is, Make DC pay through the nose for the right to use the name for Billy. That way, the character the name belongs to gets to use it, and you get some swell cash that you can use for another failed attempt to make Nova interesting.

 

War Machine: Always liked the character, but gosh, what a lame-arsed name "War Machine". Marvel should hold a "Give Jim Rhodes a hero-name that isn't crap" contest.

 

Vision: Another character that I am indifferent to, but he just about works as a background character in the Avengers.

 

Beast:  I like the Beast, although he didn't become interesting until he became an Avenger.

 

Captain Britain: This character was a woman the last time I saw them. Is this Brian Braddock again, or a different character that was never interesting?

 

Protector:  If I recall correctly, another failed Captain Marvel. "Protector" is a bad hero-name, it sounds like he should be a mascot for a brand of condoms.

 

Valkyrie:  Hopefully, Jack Norriss will turn up at some point, yelling "BARBARAAAA!"

 


The next sub-group is "Wolverine and the X-Men", apparently affiliated with something called "The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning" (Did they re-name the Westchester School, or is this somewhere else?) and apaprently not affiliated with Scott's group:

 

Wolverine: Another vastly overrated character. "The best there is at what he does" - it's not widely-known that what he does is quantity surveying.

 

Kitty Pryde: I like the character, always have, but that  name still sounds like a brand of cat litter to me. How old is she supposed to be now?  She's listed as the headmistress - a little young for that job, surely?

 

Iceman: So, the only original X-Man who doesn't get work here is the Angel - is he dead these days, or off sulking, or just nobody likes him?

 

Rachel Grey: Is this the same character that used to be called "Rachel Summers"?  Is she no longer Scott's daughter? Did she dis-own him for marrying Creepy Girl? Isn't she the fated receptacle of the Phoenix Force? How did this Hope chick steal her job?

 

Rogue: Oh, well. At least Gambit's not in this.  Say, does she stil have Carol Danvers' memories/powers, or did that get fixed at some point?

 

Uncanny X-Force: Not sure whether this is the collective name for the above, or something else.  A character who looks like a poorly-drawn Wolverine is depicted as a part of it, but no further info is given.

 


Lastly, there's a group referred to as "Wild Cards" (No relation) :

 

Quicksilver:  Another one for the list of "Characters I've never liked". Despite that, like the Vision, he's an acceptable background character for the Avengers.

 

Nova: Is this the Richard Ryder Nova, or a different uninteresting character? If it is him, I don't like the way they've changed his costume. Also, am I hallucinating, or did Carmine Infantino used to draw Nova back when the Earth was young?

 

The Scarlet Witch: I always liked this character, although her powers never made any sense to me. Hopefully, she's not insane anymore.

 

Hulk: HULK SMASH PUNY STORY-LINE!

 

Deadpool:  Eurgh, yuck, bleah. Deadpool should only be sealed into that interdimensional bubble they used to keep the Crime Syndicate in, and forgotten for the rest of time.

 

Cable: He can go in with Deadpool.

 

Next is a preview of Issue #0. I didn't get that one. Oh, well. In a way, it's OK, because that way if there's any huge plot holes, I can assume they were explained in issue #0, since we all know Marvel would never publish a big story-line with a huge plot-hole in.  The bit of #0 (Actually, I loathe the very concept of "zero" issues". What lame crap!) that I do have features Scott lecturing Hope about not using her powers to roll drunks or fight crime or something, and also, the Phoenix Force will get ye ef ye don't watch out!

There's also a preview of Issue #1, but since I have that, I'll save my comments for when I post on that. It's mostly just Steve and Tony warning the Feds about the Phoenix Force, anyhow.

 

Well, this was fun!

 

(1)Do not taunt Super Fun Happy Avengers.

(2)Bucky is dead. Therefore, the current "Bucky" is a fake of some sort, wititng or otherwise.

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Let me see if I can answer some of these:

Captain America: Hopefully this is the real Cap, and who or whatever it is pretending to be Bucky(2) pretending to be Cap.

This is Steve Rogers.

Luke Cage: Is he not called "Power Man" at all, anymore?

Nor does he wear the spiffy Yellow and Blue costume with the chain and say "Sweet Christmas!" a lot.

Iron Man: Is Civil War even in continuity anymore? Everyone just trusts Stark, just like that?

Norman Osborne was recently head of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I think that tells you all you need to know.

Spider-Man:  Is his secret ID public these days, or did that go the way of his marriage?

Nope, he's a secret again.

Hawkeye: Never liked this character. Maybe I should lay off the Red Hulk. If they let Hawkeye in, that was precedent enough for letting a B-lister in. New Hawkeye is a much more interesting character.

You might enjoy the new Hawkeye series which features them both.

Emma Frost: Wasn't she a heel? When did she do a face turn? Or did she?

She did do a face turn, and at the time this series started was most definitely a face.

Magneto: I remember him doing a face turn, but I thought I also remembered him doing a subsequent heel turn. If he is a face these days, I'll be curious to see whether he suffers from the common syndrome where a nigh-unbeatable villain turns good and suddenly becomes eminently beatable. When I first read comics, I thought of Magneto as Marvel's number two Earthbound villain, after only our Vic. Now he seems much lower down the food chain.

He's flip-flopped more than Ric Flair.

Psylocke:  Oppan - Gangnam Style! Oh? Not that PSY? Pity.

Too bad it wasn't PSY...the entire war could be a giant dance off.

The next sub-group is "Wolverine and the X-Men", apparently affiliated with something called "The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning" (Did they re-name the Westchester School, or is this somewhere else?) and apaprently not affiliated with Scott's group:

The school has been renamed, and the series is mostly a hoot.  Even you might enjoy it.

Kitty Pryde: I like the character, always have, but that  name still sounds like a brand of cat litter to me. How old is she supposed to be now?  She's listed as the headmistress - a little young for that job, surely?

Kitty is young for a headmistress position, but she's clearly mid-20's here.

Iceman: So, the only original X-Man who doesn't get work here is the Angel - is he dead these days, or off sulking, or just nobody likes him?

Angel has had some...issues and at the time this series debuted was resting comfortably at the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning.

Rogue: Oh, well. At least Gambit's not in this.  Say, does she stil have Carol Danvers' memories/powers, or did that get fixed at some point?

Rogue is in complete control of her powers now, and no longer shares brain space or powers with Carol Danvers.

Cool, thanks for the info, Randy!

I'm curious as to what you think about this, Baron. This was a series that I thought started out pretty well. It drug a little in the middle and ended alright. I think part of the problem was that a lot of stuff happened in other series with these characters and we don't see much of it in the main Avengers Vs X-men storyline. So if you weren't reading those series (I wasn't) you might scratch your head some. The few issues before the end were good. One of the best issues features Spider-man. I forget which issue but it's towards the end.

 

I agree with Randy that Wolverine & the X-men is a good series, lots of fun. When making cuts to my hold file this was sacrificed but it's a solid series. I recommend it highly. I wasn't wild about the AvsX tie-ins but everything before and after was good.

My turn:

  • Red Hulk: I think that he stayed because whoever was writing the Hulk (then and now) doesn't really wants him on the team. So they needed a backup Hulk. Avengers Assemble doesn't count: it happens in an alternate universe.
  • Iron Man: Is it safe to mention Civil War?
  • Spider-Woman: I really thought that Marvel wanted to push her but when she was interesting, she was a Skrull.
  • The Thing: I like Ben but he shouldn't be on both teams. Actually that's how I feel about Wolverine, Doctor Strange, Beast, etc. One or the other. Make up your mind!
  • Cyclops: apparently after killing him off in X-Men 3, Marvel no longer cares about the true Scott Summers. Tragic.
  • Storm: This series ended her very brief Avengers' membership which is a shame. Ororo deserves to be an Avenger.
  • Kitty Pryde: great to see in the spotlight but she is too young to run a school.

As for your views on Ms. Marvel, Deadpool and Cable, Baron, I totally agree!

 

Spider-Woman: I really thought that Marvel wanted to push her but when she was interesting, she was a Skrull.

That is because Bendis had a hard-on for her.

If by that you mean that he enjoyed her comics when he was 10.

Infantino drew the second half of Nova's original series.

 

Emma Frost reformed as a result of an Uncanny X-Men storyline in the 90s, and subsequently taught a mutant school with Banshee in Generation X. She became a member of the cast of X-Men during Grant Morrison's run and has been a staple of the cast since then.

Just in case anyone doesn't know what inspired a young Brian Michael Bendis in 1982:

I'm still surprised that he never worked Dazzler into the team!

And that's why he keeps asking if ROM will ever be usable again!

I've been reading Sean Howe's "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" and have learned how hated and difficult it was to get Alison Blaire launched in the first place.  The fact that she's a continuing character is nothing short of a miracle.

Baron, I agree with most of your points, but I loved how they handled the whole Wintersoldier/Buckey return.

Kity has about grown up now. You can't hold her at a pre-teen level forever...not when she's slept with Colussus...

PS: Peter took the power of the Cytoric Ruby on, to keep it from Cain Marco, as I recall.  Therefore, he's the new Juggernaut, but the jury is still out on whether he can resist the evil influence or if he will retain any humanity or continue any form of a relationship with Kity.  We'll see someday.

Speaking of comics that inspired Brian Michael Bendis, don't forget Marvel Fanfare #6 as the source for the "Scarlet Witch is Evil!" storyline:

Hope: Described as "The Mutant Messiah", whatever that means. I had someow acquired the impression that she was Cyclops' daughter, is that correct? If so, who's her mother? If no, then who is she?

It apparently means she has the abilities to activate other characters' powers or borrow those powers at will.   Basically, she's a souped-up deus ex machina character without much personality of her own. 

Rachel Grey: Is this the same character that used to be called "Rachel Summers"?  Is she no longer Scott's daughter? Did she dis-own him for marrying Creepy Girl? Isn't she the fated receptacle of the Phoenix Force? How did this Hope chick steal her job?

In order: Yes, Rachel Summers changed her name to Rachel Grey.  No, she is still Scott's daughter.  Not directly, she changed her name to honor her mother who had recently died for the second time.  Sort of, she's a former host of the Phoenix Force and is viewed as an expert on the subject by some and with suspicion by others.  Writer's fiat.  

Uncanny X-Force: Not sure whether this is the collective name for the above, or something else.  A character who looks like a poorly-drawn Wolverine is depicted as a part of it, but no further info is given.

The name of the team.  At the time of the crossover, the team would have had Wolverine, Psylocke, Angel, Deadpool and Fantomex on it.  Deathlok and the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler also joined but probably not in time for the team picture. 

Danger: I have never heard of this character. I don't know anything about them.

She's the former Danger Room.  She turned sentient during Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men and has been a conflicted member of the team for a couple of years. 

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