Avengers Vs. X-Men is here. And what better way to handle this than to have our resident Avengers fan (Geoff Arbuckle) and our resident X-Men fan (Victor Kutsenok) come together in a place of neutrality to talk about their favorite teams coming to blows over a cosmic power coming to Earth. Now, Round 4, also known as Avengers Vs X-Men #4.
Avengers Vs X-Men #4
Geoff: Here we are… Round 4. Right off the bat, I loved that Hope lured Wolverine into a conversation by tossing him beers. In fact, their scenes together really stood out for me in this book. Here are two characters that are simply talking about what’s going on. I thought Jonathan Hickman did a really nice job giving these two people on very different ends of the spectrum in this battle a chance to not go at each others’ throats and just try to explain why they feel the way they do.
Victor: I was also incredibly surprised at how much I enjoyed the whole Hope/Wolverine exchange. They really brought plenty of action and humor and plot progression to the entire book. I really wanted the two of them to stay together as the wildcard team until the end. Unfortunately, and quite unbelievably, that was not the case as Wolverine finally picked a side.
What did dissapoint me a little were the teaser battles that we will never get to see. That and Mr. Romita, who was surpeisingly not as horrible as usual. What did you think?
Geoff: As far as Wolverine choosing a side goes, I kinda thought like you did. Maybe these guys are going to stick together and when he needs to do what he needs to do, then we’ll see that. However, I’m not terribly surprised how this shook out. Wolverine is pretty adamant on the belief that the Phoenix isn’t worth the potential downside.
Victor: Then Wolverine is a dumbass. The Phoenix is pure power. We need something to shake up the status quo that Bendis has forced us into for the past five or more years and the Phoenix is the answer. It’s been an Avengers/Bendis world long enough. Time for the mutants to rise back to the super power they used to be. (Biased much, you think?)
Geoff: And yeah, there were so many battles that we could have picked up on that may still yet find play in the tie-ins, but I’m glad you are the one who admitted the not-so-obviously-bad art in this issue. I will admit that JRJR’s work on the Thor volume that began with Heroes Return never bothered me. Perhaps it was the writing that trumped everything there, but I entered this book perhaps already programmed to expect visuals I wouldn’t like only to let those surprises come and ultimately be satisfied.
And, hey, it was his last issue within the series.
Victor: I really would have loved to see the Wakanda and Wundagore battles. Those look potentially awsome. At least we’ll get to see the Spidey/Colossus fight. That makes me happy.
As for Romita, if he could have done every issue with the same ability as he did the Hope/Wolverine intro, I would not have hated the visuals so much for those issues. He’s still pretty one note. But at least he has the potential to be better and just chooses not to. That I can live with. In any case, have a nice day Mr. Romita. Let the next candidate throw his dice and see how they land.
Geoff: I’m not going to come down terribly biased on this, but how did you feel about the scene with Scott and Emma looking for Hope and ultimately seeking an advantage? My immediate response was that was kinda dirty pool and was something that reminded me of how Emma would have played things in her villain days, but then something else kinda happened. I read between the lines and panels a bit and really considered how Scott was playing this. He’s as tough as they come as a leader in the Marvel U. He’s been through some stuff, but this is something totally different than even he’s used to. He almost seems “sorry” that he’s doing things Emma’s way. Did you pick up on that at all?
Victor: To me, Scott is coming off as a little desperate. He is seeing his entire existence wiped out and is grasping at any straw he can to help save it. He has no choice but to put all faith in Hope and if he needs to resort to Emma’s tactics to save her, then he is willing to go there. Emma, on the other hand, is much more dangerous and practical. She has no qualms about being a villain if necessary. It’s not dirty tactics if that’s what your power allows you to do.
Geoff: Absolutely true. So, now you have three groups of people all rushing to the same area. You’ve got the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Logan/Hope duo. They end up in a place that is particularly important in terms of old Phoenix stories. This is all leading to what has been hyped as a major finish to the “first act” of this story. Me, I very much liked how it seemed to all lead to these last couple of pages. If there’s anything that Hickman did exceptionally well in this issue, it’s that he beat the war drums a bit and marshaled both sides directly into what’s sure to be a pretty big battle – perhaps bigger than what we saw in issue #2. How did you feel about that ending and what are you expecting going forward?
Victor: I personally loved the ending. The whole Thor/Phoenix battle was a bit funny to begin with. I love Thor and all but that’s like a mouse picking a fight with a lion. I also loved the “hello kiss” that Cyclops planted on that traitor Wolverine. He definietely deserved it that time. I was on Wolverine’s side during Schism, but here he is on the wrong team.
Act one set the board and put the pieces on it. The first few moves have been made. Going forward, I expect to see some bold moves from both kings as Hope will most probably take posession of the Phoenix. Unless Wanda is the host, which is also possible. I’m sure we will see her enterthe game in the second act. I also think that the two teams will still be fighting as Cyclops will try to give Hope time to control the Phoenix’ power while Captain America tries to take her into custody and Iron Man continues building his Phoenix Killer. Maybe Cable will make an appearance but I think he is being saved as a trump card in the final act. Maybe an ultimate sacrifice to end this event. What do you think will happen from this point?
Geoff: I think you’re right about what we’re going to see. I think Wanda and Cable will be making their presence known, but I wonder if they will both be the ones each team turns to in the final part of Act Two before going headlong into the final battles.
I expect things to get pretty dark for both teams. There might be times when each general looks at the other side and says, “Maybe you were right about this” before ultimately settling back on their original opinions. As far as a sacrifice goes? I’m not counting on that not happening, but honestly, I’d like to see one event end at Marvel without the temporary death of someone.
No matter what, I’m definitely in for the ride. I love the feel of this book and each of these first four issues have been what I want out of events. It might not be terribly deep in plot or anything, but this is perfect Summertime fare. Big excitement. Big thrills. Big story. I’m loving it. All that said, how are you rating issue #4?
Victor: I’m going with a big 95% on this one. Great plot progression. Nice tension builder. Unexpected twist at the end. Good set-up for act two. And Romita actually put some effort into art. Overall, a great issue. What did you think?
Geoff: My friend, we may not agree on which side we’re on, but we seem to be agreeing mightily on how much we’re enjoying this series. I’m going to go a bit higher and say a big 98% for all the same reasons you gave. My only thing was that I’m taking a couple ticks off for JRJR because I still wonder what this could have been like if the artist lineup included Jim Cheung (who does fantastic covers) or #0′s Frank Cho.
Well, Victor, we’ve come to the end of another round. We’ve got Vs. #2 coming, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself now that there’s three weeks before #5. Let’s just say I’m hoping there isn’t a real space flame bird out there to eat us before we can get to the next issue!
Victor: LOL. If there is, I’m sure there’s Hope that we survive.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great story progression, nice tension, twist at the end. Makes us look forward to act 2. JRJR actually brings some decent work.||Still… Wish we could have had Jim Cheung or Frank Cho on the art team.|