The knock-down-drag-out brawl started in issue one ramps up in Avengers vs. X-Men #2, pitting father against son, friend against friend, husband against wife and ally against ally in an effort to take custody of the mutant messiah, Hope. This is an event that has been months in the making, and it does not disappoint.
While the first issue of this series dragged a bit, this issue starts with action and just keeps it coming. Picking up after Cyclops’ irrational decision to attack Captain America, the book does not hold back when it comes to the epic battles. We get Colossus fighting Red Hulk, Sub-Mariner fighting The Thing, and Wolverine fighting Emma Frost, among others. In the middle of the battle stands Hope, who is getting stronger and stronger as the Phoenix Force draws near.
The reasons that each side is fighting are valid and readers will definitely be discussing this title in heated debates in comic book stores and conventions across the globe. On one hand, we have the possible extinction of the planet and on the other, the possible extinction of the mutant race. While it seems like an easy decision from the outside, it truly invokes the “kill or be killed” mentality when your race is at the brink of extinction. That being said, it still seems that Cyclops’ actions were irrational and unwarranted. Even Magneto, now on the side of the X-Men, mentions that Cyclops is sounding a bit like him. When you recall that Cyclops’ wife gave her life to defeat the Phoenix Force, it is easy to assume that there is much more here than meets the eye and that Cyclops’ actions may not necessarily be completely unselfish.
The minds behind this latest Marvel event are no strangers when it comes to big event titles, and having them all come together for this story is a dream come true for many fanboys. Between them, the writers have worked on almost every big name character in the Marvel universe, and have had no problem when it comes to killing off major characters, including Spider-Man and Captain America. No one on either side of the fight is safe from death which adds a level of surprise and unpredictability to this title.
Jason Aaron took the script writing duties on this one and he does a great job with it. The story moves along smoothly and definitely keeps the reader’s interest. The dialogue is a bit more serious than what most Marvel fans are used to but it is a comic with very serious implications. Aaron uses the Marvel brand of humor sparingly but effectively. Readers are treated to the occasional snicker but this is the story of broken bonds and burned bridges, humor does ot have much of a place here. For the most part, Aaron lets the art do most of the story telling here and he was wise to do so.
Artist John Romita Jr. giving us some really wonderful action shots throughout the book. While issue #1 felt rather inconsistent in its art, Romita seems to have gotten his bearings in issue #2. While a few inconsistencies do still exist, mostly with the occasional still shots, the art is generally what fans should expect from this level of artist. Romita’s drawing, while enhanced by Scott Hanna’s inks, gets a real boost from Laura Martin’s flawless application of color. She is spot on when it comes to the colors she uses. The oranges, reds and yellows of the Phoenix Force are positively brilliant and bright, and almost seem to make the image of the Phoenix Force dance on the page. But that could be said of almost every scene. Whether it’s an optic blast from Cyclops turning the world around him a deep red, water dripping from and beading on the face of the Cap in light blues, or even the metallic shine and reflection from Iron Man’s suit, Martin captures every moment here brilliantly and expertly, making each panel just pop out at you. Chris Eliopoulos as the letterer does a fine job here as well, really setting things in place and using his lettering to give the characters a true voice. It is not easy to simply put some words on a page while still giving us an indication of the mood of the characters. That’s exactly what Eliopoulos does here. By his choice of lettering, we can almost hear the anger in our heroes’ voices or feel the sadness in their hearts.
Over the years, Marvel has undertaken some pretty big projects, some successfully and others not so much.. Here, the combination of great writers and wonderful artists truly makes this stellar event a very successful endeavor and fans will be anxious to get to the next chapter of the series to see what happens next.