If you were wondering how Marvel Comics was going to draw out Hope Summers becoming the Phoenix over a twelve-issue maxi-series, issue #5 answers that question with an unexpected bait-and-switch.
On the moon where the Avengers and X-Men battle and the Phoenix Force arrives, Iron Man and Giant Man create an ill-explained kamikaze robot created to disperse the the Phoenix Force before it can completely merge with hope. However, their plan doesn’t quite give them the expected outcome.
Honestly, as twists got this one is pretty damn dumb, but having the power dispersed among five different X-Men may create some unusual battles over the next few issues before Marvel finally relents and gives us the only thing we’re reading this comic for – the new Phoenix. Hit-and-Miss.
The fourth-issue of Marvel’s big summer event only moves forward the larger story in a minuscule way as the Phoenix Force awaits in space above Earth. However, Avengers vs. X-Men #4 does give give us a face-to-face confrontation between Hope Summers and Wolverine as the mutant messiah attempts to convince the man who wants her dead that she should be given the opportunity to try and control the Phoenix Force.
With frozen beers and a well-reasoned argument Hope convinces Logan to help get her to the moon where she can confront the looming cosmic entity. Although Logan agrees, he proves to have other motives leading to another confrontation between Marvel’s two marquee teams on the surface of the moon.
The comic does a good job by showcasing how powerful the Phoenix Force is (it takes down Thor and the rest of the space-fairing Avengers with little effort), and Hope’s early scenes with Wolverine work really well, but Logan’s multiple turns are a little awkward and far too rushed.
Round 3 finds Hope on the run, the X-Men surrendering to the Avengers, and a big throwdown between two old friends. Cyclops and the X-Men’s surrender is a feint that allows the group to escape and begin a search for Hope. Meanwhile the Avengers split into five groups to find the young girl before the Phoenix Force finds her.
Although we get very little of Hope in this issue (she makes little more than a token appearance hiding on the streets of San Fransisco) we do get Cyclops outsmarting the Avengers and Captain America and Wolverine coming to blows over Logan’s plan to murder Hope before the Phoenix Force can claim her. We get far less story progression than I’d like, but the fight between Wolverine and Cap makes up for it.
By the end of the issue we now have three distinct groups. Cyclops and the X-Men who want to keep Hope away from the Avengers, the Avengers who want to keep Hope away from becoming the new Phoenix, and Wolverine who just wants her dead. Worth a look.
Well done Joss Whedon. Ensemble casts aren’t always the easiest to deal with, especially when you’ve got stars of several franchises who all need to be showcased. Not only does the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer succeed in giving each hero their own moment to shine, but he crafts what is inarguably one of the best super-hero movies of all-time. I don’t know if The Avengers is going to be the best movie of the summer, but if it’s not I can’t wait to see what could possibly top it.
One thing Whedon and the numerous special effects experts used on the film get just right is scale. From the first time we see the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier to the film’s final battle (which can only be described as epic) the size and breadth of it are awe-inspiring. I viewed the film in IMAX 3D, and while I think a regular screening will still be quite good, the IMAX certainly helped sell the larger-than-life aspects of the script (which Buffy fans should be glad to hear is peppered with classic Whedon one-liners and humorous asides).
For an entire issue that only covers a handful of minutes this one’s full of action. Picking up right where issue #1 left off the Avengers invade Utopia and throw down with the X-Men as Captain America tries to talk some sense into Cyclops before the Phoenix Force arrives from deep space.
There are quite a few interesting match-ups as we get Cap vs. Cyclops, Iron Man vs. Magneto (which isn’t as over as fast as you might assume), Colossus vs. Red Hulk, Storm vs. the Black Panther, and Wolverine sneaking into Utopia through the sewers to assassinate a teenage girl… you know, for the good of humanity.
But it’s bad news for the Avengers as it seems Cyclops has bought Hope enough time as the Phoenix has indeed started to rise. The fallout of this issue, in two weeks, should be very interesting. Worth a look.
How far would you go to protect your planet? How about your entire species? With the Phoenix Force returning to Earth for the obvious chosen new host of Hope Summers, the Avengers and the X-Men find themselves with opposing viewpoints that aren’t going to solved by mere words.
Captain America wants to take Hope and sequester her away from the Phoenix Force before it arrives. Cyclops wants Hope to embrace the power, and with it help Mutant-kind back from the edge of extinction. Not surprisingly, given the stakes, neither man cares much for what Hope wants for herself.
The rise in tension leads to Cap and Cyclops having a frank discussion on the shores of Utopia that ends far from peacefully with Cap blasted back into the sea, the Avengers assembling overhead, and the X-Men preparing to defend their homes and Hope from the invaders (who include former X-Men Wolverine and Beast) who have arrived to kidnap a teenage girl from a sovereign nation.
Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel Comics’ big 2012 summer event begins here. With a Zero issue. Really? A Zero issue? Apparently Marvel didn’t learn from DC’s mightily bungled New 52 that things which happened in the 1990′s should stay in the 1990′s.
The comic is broken into two stories. The first (written by Brian Michael Bendis) is the reemergence of the Scarlet Witch who, with the help of Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman, helps save a United Nations ambassador from M.O.D.O.K. and A.I.M. Despite her concerns the pair convince her to return to the Avengers mansion where she receives a chilly reception.
The second story (by Jason Aaron) focuses on Hope‘s growing violent outbursts as she waits for the Phoenix to arrive to either embrace her or destroy her. The story begins with Hope’s altercation with Cyclops over his overprotective nature and ends with her nearly beating the Serpent Society to death before looking longingly into the sky for something just beyond the horizon.
Although it’s still giving away nothing about the threat, other than the presence of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), I’ve got to say I’m pretty positive on this second trailer for this summer’s big budget super-hero flick The Avengers. Sure Captain America’s (Chris Evans) costume still doesn’t quite look right, and, more importantly, the action looks far too Michael Bay for my tastes (and even includes a giant Depticon-ish looking monstrosity in the final shot), but that shot with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) bringing down his Hammer on Captain America’s shield? Yeah, that looks pretty cool (and a hellova lot better than that awful new poster). Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Mark Ruffalo, and Samuel L. Jackson also star. The fun stars everywhere on May 4th.