Review – X-Men #30

Writer: Brian Wood
Pencils: David Lopez
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Jorge Molina
Published by: Marvel Comics

Taking a break from the AVX madness we see the X-Men story line focus on the building of a new mutant security force to help patrol and protect the world from unique threats to the human population. The discoveries though seem to lead us to the potential for a new arc and some bad times ahead for the X-Men as they stumble upon new threats and challenges brewing around the world that will come to shock them once the truth emerges.

Pixie acts as background through the majority of the issue, popping in to chime in with self praise or complaints about the situations she’s thrown into. As someone with the ability to teleport more than 5 feet it’s almost a given to expect the team to drive that opportunity into the ground, fortunately they only ride her taxi driver future for a short period. The rest of the issue tackles new zombie mutations and a secret discovery that looks like it could shake up the entire mutant world, fearing for the worst we see Storm take the initiative and hide it from Scott as he faces even greater issues in the moment. There’s a lot of tension destined to build given the secrets building up and the tensions about the mutant genes coming back into the mix.

As a side story it’s a decent break from the normal offerings right now, lets hope they can turn the momentum into a solid arc for everyone to appreciate though. The current 5 member cell actually keeps the personal developments relatively direct and fun without having to worry about everyone lurking in the background. Pixie, Colossus, Storm, Domino and Psylocke are geared up for anything and the cliffhanger shows it’s a good thing they are, otherwise they would be in some bad trouble right about now as the cover teases.

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

Review – Avengers #27 (AVX)

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

We’re back with Avengers #27!

The Secret Avengers are facing huge problems as they plummet toward the Sun, The Protector acting on the orders of the empire has betrayed the group to get his hands on the Phoenix Force they were able to capture. Naturally betraying a group of super heroes isn’t without some regrets, we see an emotional battle with him as he displays his job well done and comes to find his expectations weren’t mirrored in the upcoming actions from the colony. Instead of being one to have it both ways and enjoy a job well done, he’s torn that such thoughts are merely dreams and he may have just cost dear friends their only hope.

The story dances between this issue and the reawakening team on the shuttle pulling out of a near death course set toward the Sun, using all of their might they were able to bank away from incineration this time but only by the smallest bit of luck. As one might imagine they were a little more than angry about the backstabbing and attack that went down on the ship and the idea that he would leave them for dead in a flash of a moment. The story wraps itself up quickly to get back on track to the main AVX arc instead of hanging behind as it has so far, the teaser for the next issue falling on Red Hulk so it seems they’ll leave the rest of the story catch-up to the Secret Avengers books again.

Overall it’s a solid entry, the twists in the issue are well placed to keep tension and guessing until it hits and even then it has some surprises that are pleasing to see given how much passes in just a few pages. I’m still not a fan of the roadkill face Thor though, I don’t think I ever will be, I know he’s burly and huge and that’s cool but it’s like someone used a rolling-pin to flatten his face out and it just kills. In general the faces could use a bit of extra attention but it seems to be par for the course right now so it’s one of those things to live with or skip over it.

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

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 

Review – Uncanny X-Men #13 (AVX)

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Billy Tan
Inks: Cam Smith & Craig Yeung
Colors: Guru eFX
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Adam Kubert & Morry Hollowell
Published by: Marvel Comics

AVX side stories are a bit of a mixed bag, Uncanny X-Men #13 is straight to the point though, taking place as the battle on the Moon goes down from the Earth perspective. It’s a change of pace and helps elaborate on what on earth is going on up there, we see Magneto, Psylocke, Storm and Nemesis seeking cover after the major throw down hit the team. Unfortunately they’re rattled and worn so any trips to space aren’t really in the cards no matter how much they want to go. We also see a branch with Hope’s team and their pursuit to find a way to help or possibly save her from ill-fate as they confront UNIT as we know that’s not exactly the best idea around.

The issue focuses primarily on the UNIT story, everyone is concerned with saving Hope from the Phoenix or being there to help her as the force merges with her body. Unfortunately as one might have gathered, UNIT has his own plans with the Phoenix Force and anyone getting in the way is looking at a world of hurt or at least memory erasing as he disposes them to make way for his plans. Unfortunately just because he wants peace it doesn’t mean he wont stop at utter decimation to get that accomplished either, with Danger as his carefully hidden pawn it makes matters worse for everyone as constant references bring up Danger as a close ally to the X-Men team.

There’s a lot of side activity throughout Uncanny X-Men #13, unfortunately as things escalate and gets worse in AVX for the main story, it’s getting equally as complex in the background to match up. Personally I wish Magneto would have become one of those boosted by the cosmic energy but you can’t win them all, instead we get a taste of things to come which are interesting but not completely essential.

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

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 

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:★★★★☆ 

Review – Wolverine and the X-Men #10 (AvX)

Writer: Jason Aaron
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Colors: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend, Jamie Mendoza, Al Vey & Victor Olazaba
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Published by: Marvel Comics

The Avengers vs X-Men drama continues on the side again, this time we’re genuinely branching off from the current story into detailed moments, although the current one doesn’t seem to exactly sync up with the close of AvX #3.  We join Wolverine back at the Jean Grey school with the staff and students catching up on the recent battle at Utopia, the questions are running of who is on the right side and where this is all going for the future and it only gets worse when they look to their doorstep. Unexpected guests are always a good spin for a series, unexpected fugitives are another story, especially when you were fighting all of them just a short while ago in a heated group battle. Wolverine heads to the front to sort out the new guests while tensions stir between students and instructors with their guests getting a bit physical. The book isn’t 100% based on the conflict, we see growing struggles with Angel and the students continue forward and everyone trying to figure out who this new personality is.

Given the past issues it was a shock to see Wolverine and the X-Men #10 taking such a unique detour compared to past installments in this AvX side story, it actually brings unique development that adds to the X-Men storyline and their reinforcements. While Wolverine felt those who joined his school would be there exclusively to his decisions and command he’s met with a hard reality that when it comes to mutants and the X-Men, everyone will follow their own personal beliefs just as they always have. We get a huge teaser in this issue of how the forces will expand and we also see a return of the Death Commandos from the Shi’ar and their clear agenda of destruction no matter who gets in the way. It’s a great lead in for the wider picture building up and helps break it away from just the direct dispute of Cap, Iron Man and Cyclops butting heads.

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

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:★★★★☆ 

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☆ 

Review – Secret Avengers #26 (AvX)

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Renato Guedes
Colors: Bettie Breitweiser and Matthew Wilson
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Laura Martin
Published by: Marvel Comics

The hunt is on, with the Phoenix Force on the way to Earth there’s only one shot to shut even a part of the power down. The special force sent into space keeps this in mind as the potential first defense to the Phoenix as it rips through planets on its way into the path of Earth. Beast of course is the man with the plan and is willing to take his knowledge on this high risk attempt to learn and contain the force once and for all.

There’s the whole issue though of this being high risk and in the Marvel Universe this generally means impossible even for their greatest heroes. Beast has created a tool to suck in the force but the cost and use and proximity rely on variables out of their control, they push on with brute force as their only option for control of this wild energy. As one might expect, AvX would be incredibly short if it just ended here, it’s a hell of a battle they go through and even the gods can’t measure up to the destructive power being channeled in pure rage mode.

In their most desperate moment one of the team rises to the task but fails to realize the severe issues of their situation, it’s a hard lesson learned that only adds even more damage to an already battered group of heroes. The Phoenix Force is just too much raw energy for any single group to attempt to tame and the Avengers may have just put critical allies out of the fight with this first assault in space. Marvel doesn’t plan to rob the Earth of backup forces, instead they have something else in store of the Kree super variety, yes a hero is genuinely reborn this time. We’ll have to wait until Avengers vs X-Men #3 arrives to know how this all impacts the Earth and even longer to know what happens to our wounded force after their showdown and how their new friend pans out.

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