This is a series with the potential to be great. Considering the writing team and artists, not to mention the killer concept, Avengers vs. X-men should be one of the biggest and best events that Marvel has ever unleashed. Instead, with each passing issue, it seems that this may be more of a missed opportunity for Marvel than the award winning series that it should be.
Jonathan Hickman takes the writing duties on this one and has a pretty easy job. The main point of this issue is simply to show just how widespread the battle between the Avengers and the X-Men has become, and Hickman does his job. Seeing through Cerebra, we are treated to quick scenes of violence from some of the most famous terrains that Marvel has to offer as Emma searches for Hope. The opening scene is pretty fun and the last scene is important. Unfortunately, almost everything in between is forgettable. It isn’t that Hickman’s writing is bad, it’s not. It is simply that it seems that the idea for this series is just too big and has too many cooks in the kitchen. The story works in a linear sense but the tempo and tone of the series has been uneven.
John Romita Jr. is still the artist on deck and, finally, it looks like he may have taken his time with this issue. The art is much better than previous issues and the opening scene will probably give a few chuckles, as it was meant to. His characters are crisp this time out and his lines straight. His characters are consistent throughout the book which isn’t something that he has been able to manage in every issue. This time out rather than having to carry Romita, Laura Martin’s work compliments his drawing and makes it truly beautiful. The quick peek of Latveria will be especially appealing to many fans. Enjoying the direction Romita went in this issue may come back to haunt readers in a few weeks when the next issue is released but for now, it is a job well done.
The bottom line here is that if Marvel wants to keep readers attached to this title, they need to step things up. The concept for this arc is so great that anything less than greatness is just disappointing. The writers on this title are all exceptional and Romita is normally an exceptional artist. It would stand to reason that if they can get onto the same page, this can be the event of the year. We are only a third of the way through the series and, if the last scene is any indication, we are done with the buildup, which means we should be getting to the meat of the story with the next issue. In order to please fans and critics alike, the writing in the next eight issues needs to be groundbreaking and enticing, Romita’s art needs to be crisp and consistent, and Laura Martin needs to keep doing what she is doing. Marvel still has a shot at this and readers are still hoping that things are going to get better. Otherwise, AvX:VS, the sister series that removes ALL plot and focuses on only the fights, will wind up being the best thing to come of this series and that would be truly disappointing.