hope

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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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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 #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 – Avengers vs X-Men #7 (AVX)

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

Scarlet Witch enters the field and the Phoenix Force powered X-Men are brought to a shift in focus in their battle to put down the Avengers. Those thought to be untouchable were suddenly shocked to find her hex powers were able to deflect them and also injure them. The mission is clear now, get Hope back and contain the Scarlet Witch so they can continue the seizure and closure of the Avengers projects and team.

The issue progresses like a whirlwind, both sides locked in tension to try to establish an upper hand, unfortunately for the Avengers they only have one tool on hand and limited resources to counter the Phoenix Force power. It’s an ugly battle and we see one major ally to the Avengers get BBQ’d during the assault that sends everyone into a massive motivational pitfall. This isn’t to say the Avengers are outclassed but they have done so much over so little time to really bring about no mercy at all from this revolution.

Overall the authors and artists deliver an emotional issue in AVX #7, is Wanda really ready for what Stark and company plan to ask of her in this battle? From the current standing it seems like she’s really out of her element and acting simply on desperation to do something during this turbulence. Expect this story to actually cross over to last weeks issue of New Avengers #28 as well, actually to that entire back story around the Iron Fist and also that little thing of ALL OUT WAR. Because someone is very angry on the Phoenix side and it’s going to get ugly in issue #8.

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★★ 
Dialog:★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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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 – X-Men Legacy #268 (AVX)

Writer: Christos Gage
Pencils: David Baldeon
Inks: Jordi Tarragona
Colors: Brian Reber
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Mark Brooks
Published by: Marvel Comics

If you haven’t caught the latest AVX this is going to be a bit of a mess as it takes place right after those events. If you are current then lets jump into the fray.

The Phoenix Force has chosen 5 hosts for the moment, the chosen ones moving to remake the world in their personal vision for humanity or living creatures in general. We See a glimpse of the immense power as Cyclops touches down in a war-torn region and slams down authority on a feud running for over a quarter century. In a brief moment he disarms the factions and flexes the might of the Phoenix to all in his path to show ultimate power in the situation, within seconds it’s established that War is outlawed under their watch.

The rest of the comic takes a lighter tone though as Frenzy is the heart of the story along with the trio of Celeste, Irma and Phoebe playing backup to the mission. The 5 hosts are out shaping the world in an instant and the rest of the team has to work around it to make sure all the loose ends are tied up too, it’s just that Frenzy is a bit more vocal about the situation compared to the others especially given the methods they’re using to execute it. We see some of her past conflicts come to light and also see her beliefs in building strength and growing from the environment no matter how bad it is for them.  It’s a unique break in the story that speaks to her rough life domestically and in her own gender and condition, seeing it shine through to others helps break the tension and allow her to rise above to help those impacted similarly.

For anyone hoping to see tons of action from the new X-Men hosts it’s a short-lived run, we get a few pages but the rest largely revolves around Frenzy as she takes on her mission and tries her best to get the heck out of there as fast as she can just from a pure distaste for the war and behavior going on.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #5 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Matt Fraction
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Art: Ryan Stegman & Marte Gracia
Published by: Marvel Comics

So we’re a bit late to the AVX party on this one but we’ve been following the series so far and wanted to continue at least with some coverage of the latest happenings after that 3 week break that Marvel took.

We’re back on the Moon and Hope is merging with the Phoenix, the Avengers and X-Men are clashing on the moon and it’s about to go down in a bad way. Hope is feeling the limits of this event she’s prepared so hard for and no amount of training and preparation she attempted is providing much help right now. Regardless of this bad situation, everyone is battling out their own personal pursuits on the surface as the apocalypse itself sets in.

Avengers vs X-Men #5 dives into the dilemma that is Hope’s mind, she’s torn on what it is she’s exactly doing anymore, the force is too strong and she has no idea on how to tangle with this cosmic bird trying to overwhelm her. Instead of embracing it like the warrior pictured through all of this lead-in, she’s still the scared girl and now she’s trying to get away.

The issue  is one of the strongest yet, we see a bit of everything in the pages of issue 5 including where this whole story goes once the Phoenix Force and Hope have their difficulty in bonding. Many have had an issue with the Avengers beating down every X-Men member they see but that will not be the case anymore, honestly everyone on the Avengers just died a little inside. Balance issues with Red Hulk dominating everything that gets in his way and so on seem flipped for the next arc.

I’ve been hoping for a brighter side to this story for the X-Men side, I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened in this issue. Some fans will of course be cheering because of the cool new attire and powers but at the same time it could very well mean doomsday is just around the corner for Earth yet again with 5 avatars full of stupid amounts of power. I can say I’m really looking forward to seeing where this whole twist goes in issue #6.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★½ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #4 (AvX)

Writer: Johnathan Hickman
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Published by: Marvel Comics

As we close in on the end of Act 1 Hope closes in on her goal of trying to harness the Phoenix Force, she’s been busy in her escape and side travels aiming to harness the power for this second generation of mutants across the planet. When we left off everyone was still slugging it out physically and politically after the initial clash went down on Utopia.

Readers get to join the story with Wolverine trying to make his way back to anything familiar, lost in Antarctica after Captain America booted him from the plane he’s struggling in the frozen land. Of course it’s not all so bad as he stumbles upon some supplies and the last person he figured he would run into during this mess, in a moment he goes from lone wolf to hero in a single moment. Unfortunately for Hope, being his savior and friend doesn’t earn you much credit in a conflict this large or with a man who has this much conviction to see you dead for the good of all.

Unfortunately it’s in this we see some issues as a larger story scope, in Wolverine’s side story he was back at the Jean Grey School during the blip in AvX 3, if that all took place somehow during a fraction of a moment I guess it’s possible but a bit unlikely. On top of that we see one of the deep space team members return but it also conflicts with the story we know so far (it’s apparently tied into this weeks Avengers #26). For those following the global arc it’s a bit of a break in the read to see things being shuffled around as they are, it’s not a bad result but it feels odd to see them jumping ahead so much and leaving everything else to fix and catch up.

As a whole Avengers vs X-Men sets the stage for a huge showdown again with a missed calculation by the Avengers, this whole time they’ve been rushing against the clock but it seems they lost track of that clock entirely. As they showdown on the moon for Hope they see it’s far too late and the mutant side is about to get a massive boost to their firepower if the mutant messiah can really tame the beast. For those wondering though, it’ll be a 3 week break this time until we see the next installment leading to the conclusion of Act 1.

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Uncanny X-Men #11 (AvX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Greg Land & Guru eFX
Published by: Marvel Comics

Avengers and X-Men are clashing on Utopia, the whole battle centering around the future of Mutant Kind and Faith as their last hope to continued existence. In these side issues we’ve seen the teams flash into huge levels of past stories before the event, we’re now current in the story and taking a look at what really went down on the X-Men side for the fight.

Okay so that’s not all true, the main body kicks off with what went down between Hope and Unit, the discussion is brief but it hits a nerve that was rattled with Hope to this point. The girl who has been positioned as a savior to mutant-kind and seen as a threat by entire populations of the universe as potential destructive force to everyone. Unit doesn’t need to say much, he just had to tip the dominoes and at this point it’s hard to say where they will go, just like many other side stories this one gets into a whole other realm of possibilities to derail this whole event.

That’s not the whole story of issue 11, in fact it’s just a brief area, the rest of the battle continues on the island in deeper detail, we see the X-Men push themselves to the limit to keep the Avengers at bay, some going so far to reach their limits like Colossus as the Juggernaut force creeps out in a way he’s always feared of. With blood lust and a struggle for control of the island going on the issue heats up fast and just as numbers of the Avengers start to push over the X-Men, a final move comes out from Cyclops that moves to decide the fate of this entire scenario in a single move. It’s a strategy that deviates from the drive that Cyclops had, but it’s one that will complicate matters worldwide for everyone in this tense event coming their way.

As a side story it’s a leap above what Marvel has been putting out there, being current to the AvX saga helps move the read along even if they sprinkle in some past events in the process. One can only hope all of these outside influences are able to come in and wrap up their stories without leaving plot holes behind. Marvel has their work cut out for them but it’s certainly getting interesting.

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #1: Infinite

Doing this in the wrong order but its worth putting out there for fans on the fence about buying this one. AvX Infinite #1 is actually a digital installment to this new series from Marvel. Focusing on more involved story telling using interactive panels that develop as you click along. Let’s get started on this new adventure into the fresh series of AvX.

Infinite #1  tells us the story of Nova and his race to Earth, for those of you who read Avengers vs X-Men already, a big question did revolve around Nova just appearing at random and spiraling into the planet with no real control. Infinite is a unique chapter to get a feel for what these guys are really up against and the trek that Nova made to alert the planet to the threat coming their way. The Phoenix force is coming and that’s the big worry, but we see how powerful it is and how Nova pushes his very limits to relay the warning. While some might hope for more details around the conflict itself, the story stays largely contained to a safe area so that readers without the means to get Infinite aren’t robbed of crucial pieces of the story.

As a new format the delivery is unique, allowing the author to give pause and direction through the pages of the read so that emphasis can be made as needed. Things that would normally cost valuable page space can now be considered like state of being or drama in the moment. A few scenes used Gaussian blur to show poor vision after impact and even visual attention back to Nova. Being able to go from shock to distress with a click was a pleasing experience as you normally inject those frames in with your own mind or sometimes even miss out on what the context was.

Is AvX Infinite critical to your collection? No, would it have worked as well in print? I have my doubts, needing to arrange the panels in such a way to tell the story in print would have consumed quite a bit of paper and required a price hike in the process for something that would have gotten lost in translation. As a fan though I thought the installment gave just enough information to be worth the investment, after reading the current AvX issues 0 and 1 it was a point that bugged for clarity to me even if it was used for an experimental format. The only flaw I really hit with the book was the final panel, while the rest of the art stands pretty high, Captain America’s face in the last scene is just troubling, a little extra time would have gone a long way on that face.

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

Link: Marvel Comics – Avengers vs. X-Men #1: Infinite

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