Avengers vs. X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Whilst doing my ritual X-Men and Avengers “Who’s Alive? Who’s Dead” Game proved somewhat easier in this book (basically everybody’s everything!), I remain somewhat disappointed at the final product.
The Phoenix is back. And I properly love the Phoenix and have done ever since the glory of the Claremont days. I even put up with the slightly rubbish moments the Phoenix had in Ultimate X-Men, just so I could get more of this ‘character’ that fascinated me. This time, she’s headed straight for Hope Summers as a host. Because of this, to go all Harry Hill, it’s one big fight in Marvel-land. The X-Men won’t let the Avengers take Hope, and the Avengers won’t let the X-Men keep Hope.
And the tragedy is that ‘fight’ pretty much sums this entire book. The level of actual character development remained minimal and in some cases, felt distinctly retrograde. Cyclops, so intriguing to me in Utopia, became so very flat and dull. He’s a character who borders on this at the best of times, and I didn’t connect with him in the slightest. Problem was that I also had a similar reaction to Captain America, leader of the other side – and when you’re struggling to empathise with two of your main characters, you’ve got a problem as a reader.
Artistically and structurally, it felt bizarrely balanced. There were moments which were superb, and others which felt like they were just rote panels on rote pages. Every now and then the artwork seemed to switch off simply to draw several Hulk Smash-esque panels that felt like they had very little to do with the story as a whole.
Hope is a character I find massively exciting. I was intensely disappointed in how she was used here and particularly annoyed with the ending involving her and one other mutant – both used in a fairly deus ex machina method.
Avengers vs X-Men is a comic that is nowhere near as good as it could be, and that’s a disservice to characters of this quality