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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It also involves Magneto, master of magnetism, somehow levitating a skid load of gold bricks in midair and flying off with them. (Gold, as every good viewer of Journey to the Center of the Earth, is non-magnetic!  Someone should have told Clermont.)

Luke Blanchard said:

I think the idea that Xavier and Magneto had once been friends, back before he lost the use of his legs, was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #161 (1982). The story about their past that it told involved Baron Struker, and I think it ended with Magneto turning against non-mutants.

I'm pretty sure the reasoning was that by putting them in his charge, he was given Eric a calling to a higher responsibility... something that came to a conclusion when it was revealed he was racked with self-doubt over in the New Mutants, and that it was Empath that was playing games with them all.  They got their revenge upon him in about The New Mutants #43 or so, and Magneto flies away, resolved of all leadership responsibilities once again.

Philip Portelli said:

Don't forget that in Uncanny X-Men #200, Professor X leaves Earth and puts Magneto in charge of the X-Men and New Mutants after he tried to kill them in #150! That's like Superman going away and putting Lex Luthor in charge of the Justice League because they were "friends" once, too!*

* I was going to use Batman putting the Joker in charge of the Outsiders but I'm afraid that someone from DC may read this and actually do it! :-P

Kirk G said:

I hope they got some good matrimonial sex in there for awhile, anyway...

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I think that marriage was doomed from the start.

 

T'Challa said it was electric*, whereas Ororo informed her girlfriends that he was an 'like a wild animal' between the sheets.

 

Responding to unprecedented public interest in the topic, inveterate newshound Captain Comics himself has verified that the sex between them was "unapologetic".

 

*I was going to mention other metereological phenoma like heat and precipitation, but decided not to go there...

Round Eleven:

1)We see Cap respectfully asking the real Hulk for help, which I thought was a nice touch, and not often enough tried.  It makes sense to me that Cap is one of the few people that the Hulk might listen to.

 

2)Ah, there's Warlock, another of the many fine X-xharacters that I've never liked much.

 

3)And then Scott "kills" Professor X. To which I say:

 

"It's been done." 

 

The above just happens to be the first X-comic I ever read, purchased at a school bazaar. It was already a few years old, and I already knew that the Professor's "death"  had already been undone by that point, as I feel certain this one will be.

 

4)"He's Dark Phoenix!"  Wait, what he's been doing up to this point wasn't "dark"?

 

5)Blah-di-blah-di-blah, re-hashing old stories, blah-di-blah-di-blah...this sort of thing is why I hardly read any American comics anymore, at least I haven't read every manga plotline fifty times yet.

 

6)"King Ghidorah should be well-preserved - sea water's cold!"  Sorry, I had Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah on in background while I was watching this, and this line amused me, so I put it in my notes, even though it has nothing to do with anything.

 

 

It could only had improved Avengers Vs X-Men if King Ghidorah had showed up! He's probably a mutant, too! ;-)

In one of the movies Ghidorah is. I can't remember which one, but the plot involved moving Godzilla off his home island before being mutated by a bomb blast, but Ghidorah got mutated instead.

In many ways I think Dark Pheonix is like the death of a character. First time shocking, latest time... well just plain boring.



Mark S. Ogilvie said:

In one of the movies Ghidorah is. I can't remember which one, but the plot involved moving Godzilla off his home island before being mutated by a bomb blast, but Ghidorah got mutated instead.

P>

That's the one I was watching. One of those plots that it's best not to think about too closely.



Philip Portelli said:

It could only had improved Avengers Vs X-Men if King Ghidorah had showed up! He's probably a mutant, too! ;-)

I like that idea.

Round Twelve:

 

1)We meet some characters called the "Stepford Cuckoos". Are their archenemies called the "Midwich Wives"?

 

2)We then see the various heroes fighting Scott all over the Earth, for some reason, which all leads to the Ghost of Harry Caray Jean Grey appearing to Scott - it looks like she's preparing to lead him into the next life, but instead he just gives up the Phoenix Force.

 

3)Hope then absorbs the Phoenix Force, fixing lots of damage, then she and Wanda disperse it, causing lots of new mutants to occur. So, the "House of M" storyline is completely undone, is it?

 

4)We see Cap chatting with Scott in a  ruby quartz prison, which he doubtless escaped from a month later. His buddies are apparently all on the run, and a good place for them.

 

5)Next, we learn that Cap is planning something that involves both Avengers and X-Men.

 

6)End we end with a flower, as a sign of hope. "Hope"! Get it!

 

 

" Klaus: (putting down his knife and fork) Well, that was really 'orrible.

   Mother: Aaw, you're always complainin'!"

                    
- Monty Python's Flying Circus, "The Dead Bishop Sketch"

Here’s the deal with Magneto: he was reduced to babyhood by Alpha, the Ultimate Mutant in Defenders #16. He was later restored to adulthood (albiet younger than his true years) by “Mutant X” in one of the Cockrum issues of X-Men. Although he regained all of his previous memories, the process of being regressed to babyhood somehow “cleansed” him of the trauma he suffered at the hands of the Nazis and he became an (arguably) “kinder, gentler” version of his former self.

Yes, Scott broke out of custody almost immediately and soon met his time-displaced younger self in… whatever series it is. The concept piqued my interest, but I dropped it after three issues because of glacial pacing.

The thing Cap had in mind is a new team of Avengers made up of half mutants. That’s Uncanny Avengers and is really quite good. I read issue #4 on Wednesday, and the Red Skull’s propaganda that issue was more chilling and effective (and true?) than I have ever heard it before.

My problem with A vs. X (and it is now obviously my problem… or is it?) is that I read it and didn’t even remember that Cyclops killed Professor X. I didn’t “find out” until I read it in Uncanny Avengers #1. [SPOILER for Uncanny Avengers] Professor X is still not only dead, BTW, but his brain has been removed, the Red Skull is now in control of the professor’s mental powers, and Xavier himself is running around with the top of his skull cut off and an empty cranium the way Spock should have been in the “classic”* episode “Spock’s Brain. [END SPOILER]

*“Original series”, that is,

"OK, smartarse", I delude myself that I hear you ask, "If this story is so bad, then how would you have done it?"  Well, I'm glad that I imagined you asked. I think I might have done something a little like this:

 

(Cyclops is sitting in his office on Utopia Isle. Emma Frost sticks her head in the office door.)

 

EMMA: Chief, Captain America is on line two for you.

 

CYCLOPS: Thanks, Emma. And don't call me "Chief"!

 

(He flicks on his vidphone. Captain Ameirca's face appears on the screen.)

 

CYKE:  Hey, Steve, what's up?

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Hey, Scott - something important's come up, and I was wondering if  a bunch of us could come by this afternoon to talk it over?

 

CYKE: Sure, come on by!  How about in an hour?

 

CAP: That's fine, we'll be there!

 

(An hour later, in the Utopia Isle reception lounge.  Cyclops, Captain America, Emma Frost, Magneto, Magik,  Wolverine, Iron Man, the She-Hulk, Doctor Strange  and the Beast are sitting in comfy chairs around a table heaped with drinks and sandwiches.)

 

CYKE: Well, let's get down to business. Steve, I hope you don't mind me bringing Logan in on this, but I thought it would be a good idea, what with him having close connections to both teams.

 

CAP: Not at all, Scott, it's a good idea. Nice to see you, Logan.

 

WOLVERINE:  How's it goin, eh?

 

CAP: Anyway, Scott, I suspect you know why we're here - our sensors indicate that the Phoenix Force is returning to Earth.  Naturally, we consider this a great threat to the survival of the entire planet. However, given its previous conenctions with the X-Men and yourself in particular, we thought it would be only proper to approach you, to seek your assistance and insights on this.  I've brought along Tony and Hank to give their insights on possible technical solutions to the problem, Stephen to offer some mystical insights and Jennifer because she happened to be around , and not at all because she's a lawyer or anything. I want to stress that we're not here to try to impose a solution on you, but to work with you in a way that will be mutually beneficial to us all, and to address any specific concerns you may have regarding how this situation relates to mutantkind in general.

 

CYKE: Well, thanks, Steve, I appreciate that. You know, I've always trusted you as an honest fellow, a man of his word. Hank is, of course, an old friend, Stpehen we have all learned to respect, and Tony, while traditionally a self-serving jackhole, is someone whose technical ability is second to none, and who seems to have gotten over his recent bout of crypto-fascism, and so I hope that we can work well together to arrive at an optimal solution. Oh, and hello, counsellor.

 

IRON MAN:  Thanks, Scott. And may I say, I look forward to working happily with your collection of former criminals and terroists.

 

CAP: Now, Tony, be fair. After all, the Avengers had former criminals and terrorists on the team long before the X-Men.

 

IM: Why, of course,  you're right, Steve. That was when you were running the team, wasn't it?

 

(A buzzer interrupts the conversation.)

 

PIXIE (on the interxom): Mr. Summers, a Mister Iron Fist and a Mr. Lei Kung are here to see you.

 

CYKE: Did you tell them I was in a meeting?

 

PIXIE: Yes,  sir, they said they were here on the same business.

 

CYKE: Alright , send them in.

 

(Iron Fist and Lei Kung enter. Cyclops waves them to a seat.)

 

CAP: Hey, Dan-O, good to see you!

 

IRON FIST:  Hey, Steve, hello, all.  The Lord HIgh Super Kung Fu Master received a psychic impression about the Phoenix Force, and about your meeting here, and he believes that he has information that we'll need to deal with this situation...

 

(We pull back to see that the meeting is being spied on, by none other than Doctor Doom!  Doom is in his war room in Latveria, his major-domo at his side.)

 

DOCTOR DOOM:  So, those fools think they can "deal" with the Phoenix Force?  Bah! Only Doom can possibly deal with a power of this magnitude! Something must be done to distract these cretins  while, I, Doom, take the Phoenix Force for my own uses! That  accursed fool Richards must not be allowed to win again!

 

MAJOR-DOMO: But, master, Richards doesn't seme to be involved with this issue. In fact, he is conspicuously absent, considering that this is a world-threatening crisis and ALLWWWWARRRGH!

 

(We see that Doom has incinerated him.)

 

DOOM: Torgo!

 

(Torgo enters the room, v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y. It is obvious that his knees are in very bad shape.)

 

TORGO: Y-yes, m-m-as-ter?

 

DOOM: Torgo, I've incinerated the Major-Domo. Clean up the mess, then fire up one of his clones, implant the most recent memory back-up in it, then dock him a day's pay for daring to point out plot-holes to Doom! Oh, and on your way out, send in the Chameleon and Mysterio!

 

TORGO: At once, m--m-a-a-ster.

 

(Torgo produces a whisk broom and dustpan, and cleans up the Major-Domo's ashes, depositing them in a nearby waste-basket.  He exits the room, v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y. It is obvious that his knees are in very bad shape. As he leaves, the Chameleon and Mysterio enter, looking at him doubtfully.)

 

DOOM: Gentlemen, Doom has need of your special talents. I need you to sow discord between the X-Men and the Avengers by impersonating key members of both teams. I have prepared special equipment to enable you to duplicate their powers.

 

CHAMELEON: Thank you, Doctor, and what, um what do WE get out of this?


DOOM: Succeed, and I will pay you ten times your weight in gold!  (He turns away.) Little do these fools know that Doom has mastered the secrets of alchemy and that next week I plan to flood the world with so much artificially-created gold that its value will plummet, destroying the world economy, and creating such chaos that the world  will be Doom's for the taking! AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

 

MYSTERIO: Wait, you're going to do what?

 

DOOM: Aw, crap, did I say that part out loud? Fine then, obey Doom, or you will be exterminated! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EX-

 

(Doom turns and realizes that the two villains have run away.)

 

DOOM: Aw, screw it, I'll just customize those LMDs I bought at the SHIELD yard sale.

 

Obviously, the rest just writes itself.

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome.

 

Now do one for Congress. :P

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