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.
Psylocke: Oppan - 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.