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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I don't have any problem with the Winter Soldier concept just that it's Bucky Barnes, a character though good in his proper enviroment and role (Cap's WWII sidekick) that no one was clamoring for to return. They could have easily made him Junior Juniper or Jay Little Bear and told the same stories. Except for, of course, that initial BUCKY IS ALIVE....AND EVIL moment that boosted interest. Still, Cap would have rescued ANY G.I. brainwashed by the Soviets into a killing cyborg. So, shock value aside, Marvel did not have to revive Bucky to have a great character in the Winter Soldier. The premise is strong enough without limiting him to Bucky's past.

Colossus/Juggernaut is so similar to Marvel's treatment of Cyclops that it borders on disturbing. With Nightcrawler gone (still?) and Storm abruptly dumped from the Avengers lineup, it seems Marvel is de-emphasizing the Claremont/Cockrum/Bryne era X-Men except Wolverine, natch!

No one wants Kitty to remain thirteen forever, at least I hope no one here does. But even in her early twenties, she is too young for such a position. Can you see parents accepting her as a teacher, let alone the headmistress. That should have been Storm's role but alas she has been diminished.

I never really disliked the Disco Dazzler but her first series is a hoot! Battling the Enchantress, the Absorbing Man, Doctor Doom, Terrax and Galactus...and WINNING!

Crazy but fun!

Chris Fluit said:

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

What happened in that one?

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

 

She did WHAT now? Sure hope she was of age when that happened!

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. 

 

Ah. Thanks.

I'm not entirely sure that they established that she was of age.

I do recall somebody sitting on the couch watching TV when Kitty and Peter phased through the ceiling and fell to the floor behind the counch "inflagranto"... if you know what I mean.   I'm pretty sure that she squeeled, covered up with a blanket and they ran back upstairs together.  The implication was that they were upstairs in bed, and she, er, um...'lost control of herself''...  if you know what I mean.    (Do I have to be any more clear on this?)

The Baron said:

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

 

She did WHAT now? Sure hope she was of age when that happened!

I'll grant the concept of the Danger Room developing a consciousness is an interesting one, and since it's basic programming was to test or attempt to kill the students or x-men that it was testing.... well, I can see that.  But having it walking around as a two-legged entity with dreadlocks... well, it just pushes it too far for me. 

 

That somewhat reminds me of Warlock, the constantly changing foreign entity draw/developed by Bill Senkevich...who I never cared for either.

Thanks for all the info, all the folks that provided info!

 

Now, on to "Round One":

 

1)There are several heroes on the cover that we haven't seen up to this point: Angel, Warpath, Gambit, and a girl I believe is called "Armor".  None of them seem to appear in the book.

 

2)Next we see the Phoenix Force wiping out the Planet of the Porcupine People, which apparently had farm country remarkably similar to that of Earth.

 

3)I'm not wild about Iron Man's armor in this - too many little circles all over it. I suppose it's predictable, but I prefer Iron Man's armor the way it looked when I first saw it, back in the late 1970's.

 

4)Nova can apparently survive a fall from orbit these days. That seems like a bit of a power-up.

 

5)Wow, Scott's really abusive to Hope when he's "training" her!  I guess they're sowing the seeds for a heel turn for him - so he's reached a point where even Magneto thinks maybe he needs to chill out a bit... It certainly makes him seem really unpleasant.

 

6)We see Cap and Stark briefing the President - I see they've gone back to the old comic book tradition of not showing the President's face "on screen".

 

7)Stark can apparently do a sort of "partial fade" on his face mask - some sort of nanotechnology, no doubt. Dunno what's wrong with just sort of lifting it up like a visor.

 

8)A bunch of heroes are sent on a suicide mission up in space - which seems sort of "un-Avengerish" to me, but desperate times, I suppose.

 

9)And, Colossus is bald now, I see.  Probably got tired of having to trim metal hair.

 

10)The artwork is nice enough on this, I suppose.

 

11)The Avengers arrive on the Helicarrier, bringing along a few characters we haven't seen to this point: Giant-Man (Is this Pym, these days?  Is the Wasp dead at this point?), a blonde woman who appears to be wearing glasses (Is this Mockingbird?) and Daredevil (He's an Avenger now?).

 

12)Never been too fond of the "heroes fight" story - not that it's an  "invalid" story type, I just happen not to like it much. It tends to rely to much on characters behaving unreasonably or unbelieveably.

Every once in a while it behooves one to dip one’s toe in a formerly familiar superhero universe, now abandoned. No “spoilers” here, but there is a pretty major plot point associated with the mega-crossover event that I don’t recall from actually having read the series itself (and I couldn’t bring myself to read it again). I recall…

No, wait. I don’t want to take the chance of coloring your perception.

I look forward to your comments on subsequent “rounds.”

And talked about her quite often in interviews. Talked about wanting to do a Spider-Woman series for years (which he eventually got and it fizzled and died). It was the reason he put her in Alias and later his Avengers series.

Figserello said:

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

"Round Two":

1)It's the all-fight issue! Nothing says "quality comics" like all of your heroes pummeling the crap out of each other for no good reason, although if this book had been nothing but Ben and Luke pounding on Namor, I would have been content. Also, I deplore the work ethic of super-villains on Earth-612 these days. The two premier hero teams at each others throats - all broadcast on live TV, apparently - and no heels try to capitalize on this? The Red Skull or Doom or somebody should have conquered Eurasia while all this was going on.

2)I gather that it's a running gag that helicarriers get knocked down alot. Must be real cheap to replace those things.

3)Steve WHACKS Scott in the head with his INDESTRUCTIBLE mothersmurfing shield - why is Scott not dead, or at the very least unconscious and/or concussed? I guess they're not kidding when they say Scott is thick-headed.

4)"Microscopic telepathic tasers" - yeah, OK. If Stark would only learn magic, we wouldn't NEED our Vic.

5)Pietro is described as approaching at mach five when he punches his father in the jaw (A shocking lack of filial piety!) I call "no smurfing way" on that. I suppose one could argue that Pete pulled his punch a little, but even so, if he made contact at anything approaching super-human speed, then his old man's jaw - and probably his own fist - should be powder. This is all my somewhat circuitous way of expressing my belief that any kind of super-speed makes no sense without accompanying super-strength of some sort. Just running a super-speed would damage your legs irreparably within seconds. DC always got around this by the whole "Barry Allen has control of his molecules (whatever THAT means)", dunnp what Marvel's rationale is.

6)Speaking of Quicksilver, didn't he lose his powers after the "House of Pancakes" storyline? How'd he get them back? Someone dump some chemicals on him, and then electrocute him?

7)"Maybe if y'all pulled your heads outta Cyclops a** once in awhile..." Guess I'm more of a prude than I like to think I am, but somehow it bugs me to see a line like that in a Marvel Comic. Don't get me wrong - I'm completely "down" with the fact that "comics aren't just for kids", and I myself have a substantial vocabulary of words of ancient Anglo-Saxon lineage which I have been known to employ with relative frequency, but still and all, it bugs me to see that kind of language in a Marvel Comic. Guess that makes me a smurfhole. Oh, well.

8)Ah, this must have been during the period that Storm was married to the Black Panther. Missed that.

9)And then Cap SMACKS Cyke IN THE FACE with his - and I repeat - INDESTRUCTIBLE mothersmurfing shield! Why is Scott not dead, or unconscious, or at the very least writhing on the ground desperately gasping for breath because Cap his driven his nasal bone back into his sinuses?

10)Who's the "White Bandit" character with the guns that seem to fire little cruciform stickpins?

11)Apparently Asgardians and Kree can breathe in space unaided.

12)And we end with thos attempting a Worf impersonation: "Today is as good a day as any to die."

OverallSomehow I suspender that this is one of those stories that would of been better told in five issues rather than twelve. We shall see.

I remember being surprised at the time that it was going to be a 12 issue mini. I figured on 6 max.

Also why was Pietro in Speed Racer's car? Now I am really confused.

Since when has Pietro been able to run at 5 times the speed of sound? IIRC, when he was introduced, his max was the speed of sound. Of course, I suppose someone forgot to do his research.

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