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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4)We also briefly see a character that the line-up page informs me is called "Lei Kung", that being, as I recall it, the name of the Chinese god of thunder.

 

Lei Kung was also the guy who trained Iron Fist.

After having just read you type the word “Antarctic” seven times you’d think I’d’ve been able to carry that over into my post, but I guess not. (Perhaps I was thinking of penguins…? No..?) Yes, Lost’s polar bears in the tropics was at least treated as an unusual thing.



Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

4)We also briefly see a character that the line-up page informs me is called "Lei Kung", that being, as I recall it, the name of the Chinese god of thunder.

 

Lei Kung was also the guy who trained Iron Fist.

 

 

Ah.

Legion (First appearance New Mutants #25 (Ma'85) is the son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. He possesses vast psychic powers and multiple personalities. He also uses vast quantities of hair gel. He is currently the star of the new X-Men: Legacy book.

I really not fond of the character as he was always portrayed as unstable and he took away from Xavier's bonds with the X-Men. He is Professor X's legal heir but Scott was his true heir. He seems like one of those "Neat Idea" concepts that overly complicate things, IMO.

Round Six:

1)Two faces I don't recognize in the line-up: Primal and Glob Herman. "Glob Herman"? Seriously?

 

2)Again I ask, where all the characters that aren't Avengers or X-Men during all this? Where's Vic? Where's Reed? Considering his track record in dealing with Galactus, wouldn't you consider consulting him when it came to dealing with the comparatively puny Phoenix Force?

 

3)Touching Wanda hurts Scott? Interesting.

 

4)"No more Avengers."  I know this is meant to evoke the "No more mutants" scene from the "House of M" storyline, but for me, it somehow evokes the "No more bullets" scene from Rabbit Fire.

Round Seven:
1)New Avengers on the line-up page include the Falcon, an OK character, and Black Panther (Shuri), of whom I have never heard. New X-Men include Boom Boom, Havok and Polaris, three characters that were never interesting, and X-Man, of whm I know nothing.

2)The X-Men seal off Avengers Academy - hey, no fair, the X-Men bring in all of their ancillary characters that no one cares about, the Avengers should be able to bring in theirs!

3)And we end with Namor attacking Wakanda.

4)Sorry I don't have more to say about these issues, but they tend to remind me of Twinkies. No nourishment, and not even alot of flavor, mostly just empty calories. More interesting as an example of what super-hero comics seem to have become, than as a story in and of itself.

Baron, your Twinkle comparison is going to stick with me.  Thanks for the imagry....

No nurishment, no value, all hype, all form and no content, with a soft creamy filling.

Now, to be fair,  Legion has come into a critical role at least once.  He was the catalist for the shocking revisionist history maxi series, "Age of Apocolyps" when he went back in time to kill Magneto once and for all, but screws it up by killing Xavier instead, and the whole world changes in a twinkling of an eye (Shades of Scarlett Witch and her white event).

It was an interesting concept and allowed us to see alternative version of everyone for a short while, but you knew that it was going to revert back to our reality...it was only a matter of time.  And how motivated Bishop was to make it happen.

Philip Portelli said:

Legion (First appearance New Mutants #25 (Ma'85) is the son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. He possesses vast psychic powers and multiple personalities. He also uses vast quantities of hair gel. He is currently the star of the new X-Men: Legacy book.

I really not fond of the character as he was always portrayed as unstable and he took away from Xavier's bonds with the X-Men. He is Professor X's legal heir but Scott was his true heir. He seems like one of those "Neat Idea" concepts that overly complicate things, IMO.

Round Eight:

1)In which the Namor attacks Wakanda, and the Avengers manage to take him down, but his portion of the Phoenix Force passes to the others, so the Avengers go and hide in Kung Fu City. So, anyway, Namor appears to have committed genocide, so of course, we'll never be able to think of him as a hero again. Never mind, I never liked the character anyhow.... Ha-ha, I'm joking, of course, doubtless, he's probably well on his way to rehabilitation by now, and no one brings up what he did in Wakanda except maybe T'Challa once in awhile and then people tell him to get over it.

 

2)Meanwhile, Charles confronts Scott, and tells him to knock it off, and Scott says "Go to bed, old man!" or words to that effect.

I read this series (once, as it was released), but a lot of these details escape me. Your synopses almost make me want to read it again… almost but not quite. Although I continued to read (“In for a penny, in for a pound,” as they say) I really lost interest after issue #4, when the art team changed.

Round Nine:

1)There's the She-Hulk, another old favorite of mine. Truth be told, I like her better than her cousin, most of the time.

 

2)The Rasputins capture a bunch of Avengers, and a rescue team is sent in.  Spider-Man takes ahorrendous beating, but goads Peter and Illyana into taking each othe rout. See, I'm not the biggest Spider-fan, but to me, that's the key to the character - he consistently fights way above  his weight class. My feeling is, if you were up against an unknown threat and could pick one Marvel character to help you, you'd pick Spider-Man, not because he's Batman with magic plans to beat anyone, but because his combination of intelligence and determination means he'd have the best shot at beating a given random threat.

 

3)T'Challa annuls his marriage to Ororo. Who's he marrying next, Catherine Parr?

 

4)And we end with Cyclops finding Kung Fu City - dunh-dunh-DUNH!

Spider-Mans's goading banter is almost a superpower. No matter how powerful a baddie is he can infuriate them and distract them so that they make a "fatal" mistake.

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