Last year, the Marvel Universe was shaken to its very foundations by one of Marvel’s most successful yet polarizing events in recent years, Avengers vs. X-Men. The fallout of this event series will likely have effects that may last for many years to come.
However, many have asked what would have happened if the story turned out differently? What if Scott Summers never attacked Captain America and started an all out war between the Avengers and the mutants? What if the Phoenix Force was never destroyed? Well my dear readers, these questions have finally been answered…though whether or not it was a good answer is still yet to be seen.
Today we will be looking over Marvel’s most recent GROUNDBREAKING mini series, What If… Avengers vs. X-Men.
What If…Avengers vs. X-Men was produced by Marvel to let the writers explore the possibilities of what would have happened if the war for the Phoenix had taken a different turn then what had truly happened.
The first issue of this new timeline held much promise for this mini series. As opposed to the opening events of the original AVX, this new timeline has Scott Summers taking a more diplomatic route with the Avengers. In fact, he doesn’t interact directly with the Avengers until the second issue. Instead, Hope, the mutant messiah, alongside Magneto and Storm go to the Helicarrier to discuss Hope and the Phoenix Force.
However, the talks don’t go as planned when Magneto takes a more aggressive stance and begins to threaten the Avengers. This inadvertently leads to Wolverine killing Storm.
This death caught me quite off guard and set the tone for the rest of the series, stating that anything could happen and the sequence of events would now be DRASTICALLY different.
The same cannot be said for the second issue, which follows a very similar turn of events to the original storyline. The Phoenix Force blasts passed the Avengers stationed in Space as it heads towards Earth.
The only major change here is when THOR, Asgardian God of Thunder, decides to face the cosmic force on his own, resulting in the destruction of his hammer, Mjolnir.
After the Phoenix force makes its way to earth, it is intercepted by Hope, Magneto and Emma Frost on the surface of Earth’s moon, where Hope takes hold of the Phoenix Force and becomes one with its power.
Magneto persists in convincing Hope that humans, Avengers included, will never change, and that it would be best to wipe out all Homo sapiens across the planet. Emma attempts to be the voice of reason for Hope, but when her arguments land on deaf ears, she warns the X-Men of the force coming towards Earth. They alert the Avengers to this situation and decide to band together to fight the coming catastrophe.
Fearful of Hope’s power, the Avengers attempt to fight against the Phoenix Force with a nuclear strike. As you can assume this plan does not work, and the strike is diverted onto the moon by the Phoenix.
This act of desperation sends Hope over the edge. Using her Phoenix powers, Hope begins hurling chunks of the moon which were broken apart during the atomic blast towards Earth, resulting in cataclysmic damage on a global scale!
The final issue of this mini series reveals the massive levels of damage the Phoenix Force was able to inflict upon the earth in only a single day, damage which the Avengers aimed to avoid.
The Avengers and X-Men make one final stand against Hope and Magneto using every power at their disposal but to no avail. One by one the Avengers and X-Men fall. Yet Hope began to see past the power of the Phoenix, and once she did, Magneto held her close, only to snap her neck, taking the Phoenix Force for himself.
With nearly all of the X-Men and Avengers dead, and the world falling apart around him, Wolverine, alongside Charles Xavier and the Hulk, launch a mental assault on Magneto, combined with Logan’s “FASTBALL SPECIAL.”
Magneto explodes as the Phoenix force is destroyed and Logan is consumed by a ball of light…
…And saved by JEAN GREY!? Yes, Jean Grey appears and speaks to Logan discussing how the end of the world is tragic, but it is the beginning of a new world, which begins with the two of them, effectively making Logan and Jean the new Adam and Eve.
This mini series showed great promise, and right up until its final issue I was more than on board with the story. The artwork was phenomenal for the most part and I liked the new direction that the writers decided to take this story. However, the final issue takes one too many turns and is littered with inconsistencies.
At one point, Psylocke stabs Hope through the chest with her katana, but Hope is unaffected by this attack. Yet on the other hand, Hope is easily killed by Magneto. Furthermore, simply being stabbed in the eyes by Wolverine kills Magneto. Does Wolverine have mystic plot convenience powers that can kill the Phoenix that Psylocke didn’t have?
Another detriment to the book was the characterization of Magneto. In recent years, Magneto has become something of an ally to the X-Men and even a protagonist in his own right. This sudden change in his personality to his old ways of thinking is way too sudden and comes off as forced.
Then again, Magneto has been known to flip flop between good and evil for decades, so you can argue that his actions are well within his character.
Lastly, my main problem with this title was the fact that the ending felt way too rushed, and the Garden of Eden ending was just shoehorned in. This book could have benefitted from being 1 or 2 issues longer.
-It’s always fun to see how events could have gone another way
-Artwork was good for the most part
-The first issue gripped you and had you on edge wondering what would happen next
-The art in the last 2 books is lack luster
-The Adam and Eve ending where Jean Grey is now alive with no explanation
-Too many plot inconsistencies