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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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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #9 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: John Dell
Colors: Laura Martin w/ Larry Molinar
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Jim Cheung, Mark Morales & Justin Ponsor
Variant Covers: Adam Kubert & Justin Ponsor | Ryan Stegman & Matt Wilson
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Phoenix Four have been on a heck of a ride, yes… four. Namor lost himself in his attack on Wakanda and with that he lost the Phoenix Force which distributed itself to the others. Issue 9 leaves us looking forward though, to the continued battles of the Avengers against the growing instability of the Phoenix avatars. We join one such Avenger waking up in a bloody, beaten and blurry state trying to remember where he was, what’s going on and what he’s going to do. Unfortunately all of that is irrelevant because his opponents carry the Phoenix Force.

For those hoping to see a happier chapter come to the Avengers I can’t promise you very much. There are some moments of hope and small victories but they fail to outweigh the damage still being dealt by the X-Men. Our star really does come from the cover image though, Spider-Man has his time to genuinely shine as only he can and we see some heavy tension as he does what he feels only he can accomplish. The whole unknown of the Way of the Spider is still a bit of a mystery, from the sound of things, Parker has rattled off everything he can think of to her for inspiration but it’s not enough.

The issue wraps with just as much fire as it started with and we see the Phoenix Power channel down to just a select two. It’s a tense moment and Hope realizes even if she’s not ready to throw down, it’s far too late to be concerned about that as her own time has run out. The fight is about to get even uglier as X-Men and mutants distance themselves from this group and the Phoenix Two seem to be at polar opposites for control of their powers.

Release Date: August 1, 2012

Story:★★★★☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – Avengers vs X-Men #8 (AVX)

Story: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: John Dell
Colors: Laura Martin, Larry Molikar
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover: Jim Cheung, Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Art: Jerdme Opena, Justin Ponsor
Published by: Marvel Comics

We left the story off with a raged out Namor headed for vengeance in Wakanda, the Avengers were hiding out in the city hoping to figure out a solution to prepare Hope to help battle the Phoenix Five and the Phoenix Force itself. Unfortunately where things go in issue 8, well it’ll raise the urgency and also send the Avengers running for cover in the process, Namor isn’t the coolest head in the Phoenix Five and we get a dose of that in this issue.

Given the constant run-in events with Scarlet Witch it was a given there would be a breaking point for tolerance on why they didn’t try to take her out with a greater strike. Namor with his temper issues was the first to reach that fallout point and after getting a tip he waged full-scale war with some of his army from Atlantis on Wakanda against the Avengers in a pure rage for their defiance to this new order in the world. The act itself is huge but the battle is even larger, leaving the Avengers beaten and doubtful and making huge power balance shifts for the Phoenix Five.

Major changes do hit this issue, we see a Phoenix avatar step back and we see something long coming for Red Hulk as well, as I’ve stressed before I honestly felt he was completely boosted above reason in power and this brings the story back down to earth a bit.

With this arc drawing to a close soon one has to wonder what else they’ll pull out of the box for this series, Hope is clearly training to tackle the Phoenix Force, there are new developments about the power distribution among those chosen and we see a new factor from the mutants come into play. To top it all off we haven’t even seen all the side story elements play out yet either. Bendis and crew better have some really good twists up their sleeve to keep this whole thing running until the final act.

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

Variant Gallery

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Review – Avengers Vs X-Men: Versus #3 (AVX)

Thing Vs. Colossus
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ed McGuinness
Inks: Dexter Vines
Colors: Morry Hollowell
Letters: Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne

Black Widow Vs. Magik
Writer: Christopher Yost
Pencils: Terry Dodson
Inks: Rachel Dodson
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters & Production: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Published by: Marvel Comics

*That’s a ton of credit to give just for a single comic D:

Here we are in the heat of the Phoenix Force struggle and we get two impressive battles to go through, Red Hulk vs anyone he wants and Thing Vs. Colossus and Black Widow Vs. Magik. As you might be able to guess the Red Hulk beating on anyone moving thing is getting a bit tired for me and the solution it seems by Marvel so far is to just use Thing as the scapegoat. With that said we have Thing and Black Widow trying to hold down the fort in the Blue Zone of the moon which is the only safe zone area for humans to exist without assistance.

Thing Vs. Colossus is the first battle exposed once Red Hulk punches Juggerlossus across the moon over to Thing for the next round. It’s a slugfest and an ugly one at that, we see Colossus finally get a boost in the battles and his dark side emerges in battle, that blood lust he suppresses so hard finally comes forward as he declares he is The Juggernaut. For those hoping to see a continued streak of Avengers win’s it’s 50/50, you’ll see Red Hulk play god and then it doesn’t go nearly as well for Thing as you might hope. It’s still an entertaining battle though and a nice glimpse at Colossus letting it rip.

Black Widow Vs. Magik takes over the stage for the next battle, it’s a rough spot for both characters as they engage in a ballet of warfare, Magik playing with her food while Black Widow underestimates the power of magic and spell casting. It’s a bit more amusing given Magik pops in and out of the world at will and has so many powers that haven’t even been touched upon in this series so far. Unfortunately those who see a human coming out on top will be sorely mistaken, while it’s a cool fight there was a lingering concern that it was just a way to pass the time and not so much a life or death struggle.

For those hoping to focus on just the battles Versus doesn’t disappoint and honestly it feels like one of the better balanced issues in the series so far.

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 – Avengers vs X-Men #3

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

There are some moments when you get a good idea, there are others where you need to factor in if you’re going up against the Phoenix Force or not. Unfortunately for Wolverine he didn’t really think his latest venture through when launching at Hope with his claws out the last time we left off. Avengers vs X-Men #3 kicks off as Wolverine regenerates his body with Spider-Man tasked with the unlucky duty of watching the process. It’s a sound example of why it’s good to give deeper consideration before just going head-on.

The Avengers have struck at Utopia, the word has gone out to the world and now Cap and Iron Man are under fire for their project gone awry. The world is watching, Hope is running loose, the Phoenix Force is charging toward Earth and Logan has his suspicions about the whole aftermath. Given all the filler last week it was hard to say what to expect this time but it seems to be rolling along without a hitch, fans of the series will see some huge leaps in this third issue of the book moving everyone closer to the bigger picture now that Hope is on the run and everyone on Earth and on other worlds are moving into pursuit.

The cliffhanger is a concentrated one, Captain America is desperate for a win here and he needs to know his team is all on the same page. Unfortunately Logan has proven he has his own agendas when he tried to take out hope so now we see a split within the ranks for this battle. It should be interesting to see how this chase pans out and where Logan ends up during this conflict, is he protecting, capturing our killing Hope in all of this?

Story:★★★★½ 
Art:★★★★☆ 
Dialog:★★★★☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 
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Review – New Avengers #25 (AvX)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mike Deodato and Will Conrad
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Mike Deodato and Marte Gracia
Published by: Marvel Comics

Everyone is in on the Phoenix racing across the universe, even the K’un Lun have been drafted into the drama with visions of the battle of the Iron Fist and the Phoenix engaged in a struggle of power.

New Avengers 25 investigates the power of the Iron Fist and the secrets behind the force known as the Phoenix, as few were aware, their group has manuals on taming the energy. There is little time to spare and Lei Kung has to race to master the knowledge to pass it along to the Iron Fist. It’s a huge chunk of side story to the AvX storyline but it keeps the momentum going for yet another potential showdown in this madness. Everyone seems to have a solution against the Phoenix Force but with so many contenders only a few will make it to that final platform for a fight.

For those hoping to see some battle details about the current conflict, this is a hard deviation that falls back to the earlier weeks for extreme side reflections. While some interesting pieces do come out about the Iron Fist legend it’s hard to say this is a must have to a library for the Avengers vs X-Men conflict going on right now. If you’re a hardcore fan feel free to check it out, otherwise it might be a safe skip that will get elaboration once the issue with Iron Fist arrives.

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

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