Silverwolf’s Den Special: Avengers vs. X-Men #1

The first issue of Marvel’s biggest event of the year is finally here! With an enticing set-up in Issue #0 and tons of hype leading up to the series premier, the bar’s been set very high for Marvel. I attended an Avengers vs. X-Men launch party of my local comic store tonight which allowed me to purchase the issue a day early so I could review it for all of you here. How did it turn out?

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 throws us into the heat of the action as the mystical Phoenix Force, a being of immense energy who’s been a problem for the X-Men in the past, rushes towards Earth. Everyone believes its target is Hope Summers, the young “mutant messiah.” While the Captain American and the Avengers believe the Phoenix needs to be stopped, Cyclops argues that the Phoenix could be a force of rebirth that could aid mutantkind. Obviously, this conflict of interests cannot last, and it’s not long before the two sides come face to face with one another.

The story team for Avengers vs. X-Men #1 is the largest I’ve ever seen in a comic, consisting of Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis (who specifically handled the script), Ed Brubaker, Johnathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction. It’s difficult to say who’s responsible for what, but overall the writing in this issue is awesome. There’s definitely some great character interaction and development in this issue, and I get the feeling things will only get deeper from here. To be honest, I’ve always thought Cyclops was pretty lame and uninteresting, but I actually liked the dickish, racial-superiority complex version of him seen here. As a big fan of Captain America, I’m happy that he had a starring role here as well. I also like the special role they’ve given Wolverine, who will probably have to decide where his loyalties lie by the series’s end (same goes for Beast as well, I think). There’s some great set-up here, and I’m hoping that the next 11 issues fill-out the story in just as interesting of a way.

"I punch mutants for AMERICA! Wait...that came out wrong..."

The art for Avengers vs. X-Men #1 let me down a bit. A lot of the faces were rather sketchy, and sometimes the characters looked off-model. I’m not that familiar with John Romita Jr.’s work, but so far I’m not too big a fan. The inking by Scott Hanna, however, is pretty darn good, as is the coloring from Laura Martin. The cover art, handled by Jim Cheung and Justin Ponsor (and shown above) is really quite stellar and gives a great view of the characters embroiled in the conflict. Ultimately, I would say the art is a bit above average.

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 is the start of Marvel’s big event for the year and it does not disappoint. There’s a great set-up for things to come, and I’m looking forward to reading more. It’s definitely more story driven that art driven, but that’s not to say the art is bad, just not my taste. This issue also explains quite a bit, so it’s easy for anyone to read even if you have no knowledge of the characters within (they even give a summary of the Phoenix Force). Thus, I’d say Avengers vs. X-Men #1 is definitely worth checking out.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He likes how the Avengers (stationed in New York City) and the X-Men (based off the coast of San Francisco) have a whole East Coast-West Coast rivalry going on. 

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