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Review – Uncanny X-Men #18 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Ron Garney
Colors: Jason Keith & Morry Hollowell
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Ron Garney & Matt Milla
Published by: Marvel Comics

Heads up, if you haven’t read AVX #11 this is going to be a massive spoiler situation. That said, I warned you guys.

Kate Kiloare of Superhuman P.R. fame stands alone, everything shattered, broken and wrecked. Standing at the highest point of the escalation and doing damage control to the human population to explain the insane situations revolving around the Earth and Utopia she now looks at shattered remains. This really helps setup where this has all been going, promise of a new life, a new world, peace and prosperity and yet all that’s really here is war and hell and a massive floating island that looks majestic.

You can’t spin a positive twist on the Phoenix losing its last restraints and going supernova. Try as one might this is heavy. We see final encounters between the Phoenix Duo and key mutants but given the control imbalance there’s going to be a lot of resistance no matter who talks to them. We also see some fallout with Colossus and Magik, unfortunately for Colossus his desire to protect and save Magik has bitten him in the rear. This whole arc with Cyttorak explodes in his face and she reveals her being condemned in the past was likely one of those moves that shouldn’t have been turned over. Unfortunately with no one around and all eyes on the Phoenix she’s unchecked for now.

The madness continues back to AVX #11 influenced panels and we have a look inside the elegance of chaos, the two Phoenix force combatants locked in their own minds as they slug it out and blast their way through a united front. The tension growing, the frustrations developing and then… it comes.

For those hoping to see a really solid side issue to compliment the ongoing AVX story, Uncanny X-Men 18 is a solid bet. It details the attempts for a resolution, the inner thinking before the final tide changes and how Colossus just got screwed out of his mind. Hat’s off to Gillen and Garney for that intense moment, it was probably one of the biggest punches in the issue.

Release date: September 12, 2012

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #11 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Brian Bendis
Pencils: Oliver Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover: Sara Pichelli & Justin Ponsor
Published by: Marvel Comics

We’re back and I don’t even know where to start, after a 4 week break Marvel comes back with AVX #11 and it’s massive. The force is down to just two hosts and the battle is on to try to tame and control the Phoenix. Unfortunately this is coming toward the end of the series and all the stops have to come out, we have X-Men and Avengers reaching out not just to those hurt but to everyone that ever wanted to protect the planet.

The battle from that point reaches critical mass in a hurry, Scott and Emma are on the verge of insanity as the Phoenix force penetrates their minds and drives their darkest wishes to the surface, tempting fate and the future of the world with every moment. It’s not a good time for visitors when stuff like that goes down and yet Xavier manages to call him out for a chat, unfortunately by chat he meant WWIII for the fate of the universe.

It’s an interesting issue, I love the Avengers speech in the first few pages because it feels like a moment where they’ve come to face reality beyond this is for America or humans or whatever. It’s all or nothing and nothing is looking pretty buffed out right about now, they need all the power and hands they can get on this ship and it’s not going to be an easy ride at all. The Avengers are assembled and the X-Men are finally back as a squad again and they’ve put this lucid dream of a world Utopia to rest in favor of living to see tomorrow.

Xavier is charged beyond belief and so are the others, it’s a showdown that will change everything in their world and as we all know, sacrifices have to be made when the Phoenix is around. The only question is, will they be able to live with what happens if this all manages to cool off, given the extremes I really don’t see this just being a slap on the wrist and a hug to make it all better. Expect serious mental trauma when the story closes up soon.

Release date: September 12, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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First Look- AvX – Consequences #1 – The Aftermath Of The AvX Event!

With the AvX event coming to an end, Avengers VS. X-Men: Consequences immediately focuses on the  after math and the damage it has cause for both teams, more importantly the impact it has on the human and mutant relationship. We know the war changed the Marvel Universe, we just don’t know how much it has!”Avengers VS. X-Men: Consequences” will hopefully shine some light on this.

For more info checkout Marvel.com 

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #1
Written by KIERON GILLEN
Pencils by TOM RANEY
Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER

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Review – Wolverine and the X-Men #15 (AVX)

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Jorge Molina
Inks: Norman Lee
Colors: Morry Hollowell
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover art: Stuart Immonen & Marte Gracia
Published by: Marvel Comics

Taking place just after Avengers Vs. X-Men #10 we’re launched into Wolverine and the remaining X-Men gearing up for a war with the remaining Phoenix Force hosts. Scott and Emma are the last two remaining in the battle and their power has grown to intense levels, with Emma losing her grip on control the X-Men are forced to take on a battle they may never return from.

The issue is a social call in many ways and an attempt to cross over the members of the Jean Grey school with the Avengers to show some cross chemistry between them. We see new advancements to strike back at the Phoenix Duo as they reach new levels of power and the Phoenix itself is starting to leak through the cracks breaking their control. Hope steps forward to acknowledge her role in all of this while the Avengers get lost in trying to find solutions excluding her.

It’s a fun deviation from the regular story, although one has to wonder what will come next given we’re looking at so much possible salvation and hope for the group in these dark times. Will there be a happy ending? It seems doubtful but there are some major changes in the issue that support a turn around for the Avengers and X-Men that join them. We see some lost faces come back into the fray such as Xavier who was very much sprinkled in throughout the story until now and even Rachel.

For those following AVX and watching their pockets, this is a worthwhile investment as it brings some nice character building to the story. The only real downfall is how Molina handled the art for the issue, I have to say it’s really confusing to see these strange squished heads for Wolverine, Hope and a few others. The expressions are pretty good for the other mutants, environment and especially between Ice Man and Kitty as she gives the best eye roll I’ve seen in ages. Sometimes experimentation isn’t the best thing to do and it really showed on those few panels.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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Review – Uncanny X-Men #17 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Daniel Acuna & Mike Del Mundo
Art Assist: Diego Olmos
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Mike Del Mundo
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Phoenix attack resumes against Sinister to stop any plans of his against Hope for his own personal gains.   The group faces incredible odds but the cavalry is riding in to lend a hand in this difficult time for the X-Men, even in their darkest hour full of the most power they’re still a team and need each other to make it through.

The biggest thing that sticks out in this issue is the art, that’s not really a compliment at all as it ages the X-Men in ways I never knew to the point where they look disfigured. It’s certainly not pleasing during the read and it actually pulls away from the experience of the story, while I’m all for experimentation in style and format I can’t say this was the right choice to play.

In story we see Gillen wrapping this story up with a bang, not only is there a conflict between Sinister and the X-Men but we see Unit take a deeper interest as well. Groups battled valiantly against the clones and we see allies colliding as they stage a front against the Phoenix powered clones awaiting them. It certainly gets ugly but the story twists manage to avoid jumping the shark.

As a whole, Uncanny X-Men 17 manages to deliver a solid story arc and additional depth into the X-Men side of this conflict as they gain Phoenix power. Unfortunately the art wrapping up issue 17 is some of the hardest I’ve had to swallow since reviewing Marvel comics. Some things to note, Magneto doesn’t have a Halloween costume helmet made of cloth or vinyl and Psylocke isn’t horribly old or deformed. Also we notice when unrefined illustrations are pushed as final products. One can only hope this trend doesn’t continue forward as it doesn’t benefit this issue in the slightest. There are panels that have a sharp contrast and one can only assume the other team members on the art side had influence there.

Release date: August 22, 2012

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★☆☆☆☆ 
Dialog:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★½☆☆ 
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Review – New Avengers #29 (AVX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Ron Garney & Jason Keith
Published by: Marvel Comics

In an earlier time during the AVX saga there was a moment, a key moment where Captain America and the world deciders wanted to hope for something else.

New Avengers #29 jumps into the time machine, we see the secret council brought together one more time in the darkest hours of the Phoenix taking over and the Avengers feeling helpless to it all. The same group that debated the fate of Hulk and so many other cases in private for the good of the world. It’s not something they pride themselves in, instead they often debate and dread the grouping of the team as it always brings so much conflict and a deep seeded sense of regret for the outcome that follows.

For Captain America, this reunion isn’t just about doing something for the Earth, it’s about trying to understand where times split and how to get back to a sense of normal again. With the group so emotionally split it’s a tough debate that follows and leaves them split on where this all will go, so many are at a crossroads given the advancements to humanity and the world that going against it seems equally as damaging. We get an insight into Reed Richards as well and his MIA nature in this whole battle.

It’s a good read and it helps explain why Captain America is so torn apart on what he’s doing, he knows what these changes bring but it’s the condition that lurks on him and drives him to create these resistance attacks. For those following AVX that want a good break from the battle and a bit of time to feel bad for Cap this is a solid read.

Release Date: August 8, 2012

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers #28 (AVX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Walter Simonson
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Jason Keith
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: Walt Simonson & Paul Mounts
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Avengers haven’t had it easy since the Phoenix Force arrived, getting cut off at every corner as they attempt to defy the X-Men. In fact they’ve been on the run each time they appear as they’re being flushed out of each home they have. This issue focuses on a counter-attack plan though, one which dives into the realm of the forbidden and unspeakable, something Red Hulk is all too familiar with from his darker past.

Issue 28 for The Avengers jumps into this solo story with full force, we see a bit of the thinking behind the Red Hulk and the dilemma he faces as part of this war, he has no personal stake in it and the Avengers as a whole aren’t thrilled about his participation but his power and size make him an alluring ally to have. It’s not exactly the selling point anyone wants to hear about themselves though and it drives him to constantly double think during this return to his dark past.

Unfortunately his plan doesn’t exactly go along magically, instead things go south in a hurry once he reaches his point of action. In a sense all the concerns he had about the Avengers and their treatment of him still played out in this scenario though, sure he’s not a giant beast punching through but he’s still just a tool. Normally I’d feel happy to leave it there when talking about Red Hulk but I do feel a bit of pity on him for all of about 3 seconds and then it’s back to distaste for him again.

Avengers 28 delivers a respectable side story that manages to function within the single issue instead of dragging things on for ages, anyone following AVX will appreciate the issue isn’t tied to another 30 issues in some magical side arc. The art and story deliver a solid experience that leaves the reader satisfied by the final pages.

Story:★★★★★ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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Review – Uncanny X-Men #15 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Daniel Acuna
Published by: Marvel Comics

As the Phoenix Force purges the world of war and darkness, there are many inevitable battles including the one against Sinister. The X-Men are concerned about what interference might be made from the man now that Hope is in the open and the Phoenix Force has arrived. Instead of letting things brew much further they gather and set forth against the darkness ahead using their full combined power.

The issue itself seems to drop in between 6 and 7 where Hope has been taken but they haven’t waged full war against Scarlet Witch just yet and tried to pursue her. Knowing the Avengers aren’t a direct threat they focus their power on the numerous other issues in their to-do list for this revival of the planet and new beginning. This isn’t the only focus of the story though, we see that even the might of a Phoenix Force X-Man isn’t enough to shake the foundation of other higher powers still, the harsh reality is a hard slap but it doesn’t deter them from their original goal.

Uncanny X-Men #15 delivers an interesting twist to this ongoing conflict, at this rate they’ll not only purge the world of war but of all the villains as well. It’s incredibly hard to imagine what rests ahead at this rate, all we know right now is that all hell is about to break loose with Sinister to keep him from ruining this tranquility they’ve established across the planet.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

 

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Review – New Avengers #28 (AVX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo
Published by: Marvel Comics

New Avengers #28 whisks us out of the main AVX timeline to flash back to Hope and the final chapter of the legendary Iron Fist who challenge the Phoenix. Unfortunately we did get a bit confused in all of that, thinking the girl was possibly Hope when it was a girl from legend instead. Apologies there.

The issue is a story of training and Hope’s continued struggle with her destined occupational promotion to Phoenix host, given the attachments of doom and destruction it’s understandable she wouldn’t be excited about the prospect. New Avengers 28 drops us back into the realm of the Iron Fist as the story completes and Hope sits confused hoping to know what she needs to do next. Unfortunately with something this cosmic and powerful there’s no way to just tell someone what they need to accomplish, instead Master Yu Ti sets her down to learn her paths that may follow as she empties her mind.

What happens after that point is a shock as her path deviates from the story told to her, instead of pursuing the Dragon she must pursue the Spider and learn its ways to best assist her challenge in saving the Earth and going head to head with something like the Phoenix. It’s here we get some insight that elaborates the moon struggle from AVX #5 and the growth Hope had been searching for to be able to take on the challenge, fortunately it doesn’t throw readers back into the fray as the story is still to be continued between her and “The Spider”. I have to admit that during the issue it gets a bit abrasive to see Hope constantly fighting around with people she should feel confident in, demanding to know answers and not going along with the rituals even though she just heard about the other host doing these things.

Even with that, I can’t knock this side story as it brings humor, elaboration and some tension into the mix. There is no one stop solution from the Iron Fist to handle the Phoenix which is a deviation from everything we’ve seen so far from the other factions involved.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #6 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Oliver Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant: Nick Bradshaw & Marte Gracia
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Five are here, leaping into action to shape the world to be a better place not just for mutants but for humans as well, seeking to end age-old crimes and problems brought on by greed and lust for violence. The group seeks only to settle the issues of the planet and focus on a goal that pushes development and growth over suffering and struggles. For many the group comes off with a near god-like presence to deliver justice and peace with a swift hand, for politicians though the move is seen as hostile and controlling and a threat to how they go about their dirty deeds.

We’re in a position of multiple camps as a result, at this point the Avengers are doing their best to continue fighting Hydra and making the world safe as they can manage. They obviously have their say about this situation but given the lack of enslavement and the massive power gaps between them and the X-Men Phoenix Five it’s a hard situation to sell them as complete villains even though they may want to. We see internal conflicts and impartial impressions rise up from the group splitting their own commitments or energy into the effort to bring them down, the possibility of a worldwide reboot tempts even some of the most hardened of the group into questioning the result.

The real tension of the chapter comes in when the US decides to throw in a demand to control or have a check on all this power going around. With that we see the brainstorming start and a venture go into action to develop a countermeasure to the Phoenix Force that wont splinter it yet again. Surprises keep flying during the mission that will have readers shocked and waiting to see where this all goes from here. It’s about to get tense for both sides now that a new hero joins the mix.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 

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