Avengers vs. X-Men #0 – Review


It’s coming! Well technically it’s already here. But the time we all look forward to has finally arrived.  No, I’m not talking about the annual Marvel comic crossover event. I’m talking about the start of a new Major League Baseball season. So to celebrate both the return of baseball, and the start of AvX, my intros will feature a theme, much like my Fear Itself reviews last summer. With a title like Avengers vs. X-Men, it only makes sense to treat this like a baseball game, and we all know mutants love baseball. So I’m going to keep score and assign positions to some of the classic members of the Avengers and X-Men and share the results with you all here. Please feel free to let me know your opinion on which heroes would best fill out your baseball line-up.

Position: Since this is a prologue, I won’t assign an actual position yet, saving that for the main event. But we can use this time to discuss the x-factors in a baseball game. Blown calls by the umpires; a bird in mid-flight being struck by a baseball; fan interference on and off the field, these are all variables in a game of baseball you can’t control. And depending on who you’re rooting for, these random happenings can change your mood and the tide of the game. So who better to represent these unknowns than two of the biggest question marks on both teams: Scarlet Witch and Hope (the Phoenix Force). What role will these two characters play in the event? Will Scarlet Witch undo her “no more mutants” hex, or will Hope somehow reignite the X-gene in all depowered mutants? Will one of these characters have to die for the greater good? Only time will tell how these wildcards will affect our game.

Avengers vs. X-Men #0

The Front Office

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis (Scarlet Witch) & Jason Aaron (Hope)
Artist: Frank Cho
Color Art: Jason Keith
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Art: Frank Cho & Jason Keith
Variant Cover Art: Stephanie Hans

Preseason Summary: The Wakandian Ambassador’s motorcade is proceeding through the streets of Washington, DC. It transports former A.I.M. scientist, Dr. Udaku. M.O.D.O.K. attacks the caravan of vehicles, attempting to exact revenge against the A.I.M. defector. M.O.D.O.K.’s guns misfire, and he is shocked when he is confronted by Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman arrive on the scene to assist their former teammate and friend, Wanda. The three heroes take down M.O.D.O.K.’s A.I.M. squad and Ms. Marvel invites the Scarlet Witch back to Avengers Mansion.

After she initially refused, Wanda agrees to return to the mansion and visit her old “friends.” At Avengers Mansion, the trio is approached by Scarlet’s husband, the Vision. The android bluntly tells his wife that she is no longer welcome among the Avengers. Vision is unable to forgive Wanda for actions she took against him in the past, and tells her to leave. Wanda apologizes and leaves, dejectedly, with Ms. Marvel. Iron Man, Wolverine and the Beast are taken aback by Vision’s rough treatment of Wanda. Vision walks away with a tear running down his cheek.

On the other side of the country, Hope Summers, the mutant messiah, is sneaking off Utopia, the island home of the X-Men. Cyclops confronts Hope and tells her he knows she has been running around at night fighting criminals. Hope demands that Cyclops stop treating her like a child and asks to know everything about the Phoenix. Cyclops ignores her request, placing a hand on her shoulder. Hope turns on Cyclops, mimics his powers, and shoots him with his own optic blasts.

Hope arrives on the scene of a bank robbery; members of the Serpent Society are breaking into the vault. Hope takes down the snake-themed scoundrels by borrowing their powers and delivering vicious head butts. Cyclops and Emma show up to stop Hope from brutally beating Cottonmouth. Hope leaves, telling Cyclops that she is ready for the Phoenix. Back on Utopia, Hope is washing blood from her hands. She looks up at the sky, where far off, the Phoenix Force approaches Earth.

*

Season Preview: Frank Cho covers the main art duties for this prologue to the regular Avengers vs. X-Men event, and it is beautiful. It’s unfortunate that he isn’t in charge of the whole series. The full page spread of Scarlet Witch is a perfect example of how well Cho captures the characters. He somehow even makes M.O.D.O.K.’s grotesque, giant head-body look good. Cho’s characters are muscular, but not overly so like Mike Deodato’s New Avengers. The only character’s appearance that I’m not fond of in this issue is Cyclops. Cho takes Scott Summers’ “Slim” nickname to the extreme. Cyclops is practically a thin line when viewed from the side. His mask and visor combination also looks a bit awkward. But the theme of Avengers vs. X-Men so far does seem to be, “who can make Cyclops look the worst?”

The brains behind the Avengers vs. X-Men event is a team of Marvel’s most prominent architects: Aaron, Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jonathan Hickman. The writing responsibilities for this issue fall to Bendis and Aaron, two writers already familiar with the two parties involved in this feud. I’m not overly thrilled at the idea of a story about the Phoenix Force, but I’m excited to see some conclusions to a few stories that have been laid out over the past several years. Let’s see how Bendis and Aaron handled the lead-in for their respective stories.

*

Avengers: Bendis is ending his run on the Avengers by revisiting the central character in his Avengers Disassembled story from 2004. I like that Scarlet Witch is trying to return to the heroic life, and I like it even more that she is doing it in Washington, DC. As a native of Northern Virginia, I always get excited when comics show the local monuments, buildings, and streets I see on a frequent basis. It must be how any New Yorker feels reading every other Marvel comic.

It seems hard to believe, but I think it’s crazy that Scarlet Witch has never been an official X-Man. Being more of an X-Men fan, I always assumed Wanda was a team member at some point in her career, but she’s always stuck with the Avengers. I don’t care for M.O.D.O.K. normally, but Bendis’ use of him to fill in the reader about the Scarlet Witch’s history was really effective. This more recent version of M.O.D.O.K., with the bald, exposed scalp and his mechanical limbs, doesn’t really help my opinion of the character however.

Bendis’ writing is much tighter than it has been in the New Avengers comic. It doesn’t seem as though he’s trying to cram as much as he can into the speech bubbles like he normally does. It helps that Bendis doesn’t have to split up the dialogue between a team of eight to ten heroes. His writing also benefits from the fact that he’s recapping his own Avengers story. After reading Avengers Disassembled leading up to this event, I now realize how awkward it was for Vision and Wanda to see each other. What was Ms. Marvel thinking taking her to the mansion? Vision’s rejection of the Scarlet Witch’s return was justified, but still cold-blooded and surprising enough to leave his fellow Avengers speechless. But can an android, like Vision, really cry?

 *

X-Men: Even though Jason Aaron is steering the Wolverine side of the X-Men universe, I don’t mind his Cyclops. The true leader of the X-Men acts calm and reasonable when dealing with Hope, the young, reckless mutant messiah. Their conversation about Hope sneaking off at night showed Cyclops has a little compassion and humor still, something Hope dismisses with her rude behavior. I like that Hope confronts Cyclops about the Phoenix, but why is this something she doesn’t know about already? Shouldn’t the X-Men have a database on all of their adversaries and other encounters with powerful forces like the Phoenix? What was Cable teaching Hope when he raised her in the future? And how does Hope not understand the significance of being the first mutant born since M-Day?

Hope is insufferable in this issue, and not just because she used Cyclops’ own powers against him. Her thought boxes in the form of a journal entry were distracting. Is it really supposed to be her writing in a journal? If so, why would she need to describe Cable as the “bravest man” she’s ever known. Something she has probably written about numerous times already. Even if she is just thinking to herself, this form of exposition to fill in the background story wasn’t nearly as effective as the exchange between M.O.D.O.K. and Scarlet Witch.

Hope’s dialogue and actions when dealing with the Serpent Society were pretty ridiculous too. For instance, when she referred to discovering Bushmaster’s arms weren’t real, she said “did you guys know those arms are cybernetic? I didn’t. Until I cut them off.” I don’t read Generation Hope, so maybe this is how her character normally is, but she seems a bit too aggressive and remorseless to me. The five straight head butts she delivered to Anaconda looked especially barbaric.

What’s with the tough girl attitude, and where does Hope get off thinking she can handle the Phoenix? She’s a teenage girl who can’t even handle taking out a few criminals without nearly murdering them. How does she think she could prevent the Phoenix Force from devouring more planets if she can’t control her own temper? Jean Grey, a more mature, powerful mutant, couldn’t even control the Phoenix. Some of these signs have me really afraid that Cyclops has put all of his eggs in the wrong basket.

*

Rating: Great, art. Good, story. Meh, characterization and writing. Poor, action. 4/5 Earth’s Mightiest Mutants Assembled

“Remember that one time during the fight when it looked like you might actually win? No? Me neither.” – Marvel vs. Capcom 3
“Did I mention I beat up Firelord once? No, seriously. Firelord.” – Ultimate Alliance 2
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(20) Comments

  1. Corriannh Elvirs

    naturally like your website however you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very troublesome to tell the truth on the other hand I'll definitely come again again.

  2. Yo

    @ Bruan Bradley http://ifanboy.com/articles/the-top-10-avengers-stories/ Look the nº 5..once of the avengers top moments. Bendis was making a tribute to it prob To judge Vision behaviour regarding Wanda, it is needed to know the whole story about them, IMO...

  3. Sarcasmic

    @14: He never does forgive her on panel (He kinda disappears after Iron Lad leaves, to the point Cassie's body is just lying there on it's own.) So he might not have forgiven her, but he welcomed her sons into the Avengers. Also, they explain that when Iron Lad tries to save someone by going in the time stream, this would be the decision that would lead him to become Kang the Conqueror. It's kinda a moral vs. convenience thing.

  4. spideytothemax

    With what you just laid out there Sarcasmic, I can't figure why Scott Lang has forgiven her. Was there a reason given that I don't recall? I read CC and I still didn't have a clear idea of what exactly went down. Didn't like the way he came back either. Just plucked straight out of the time stream, with no repercussions? Why don't they just do that with everyone?

  5. Aaron Romero, Jr.

    @Sarcasmic - I don't see what's the big deal with forgiving Wanda. I mean, after all, she was CRAZY. Crazy people do crazy things.

  6. Sarcasmic

    Guys, I'm not saying Wanda didn't deserve it. I'm saying Bendis did the scene with no tack and in this issue, Scarlet is our protagonist, so when you have someone attack our protagonist emotionally and then you ask us to feel sympathy for them, it doesn't work. And also, Children's Crusade did a much better job of dealing with the fallout of House of M and Disassembled by making it a family affair (Two of the Young Avengers are Wanda's 'kids', it's complicated, but Magneto and Pietro show up). Unfortunately, the whole thing fell apart at the end and Wanda got to walk away pretty much. Also, we've had Scott Lang (who just lost his daughter thanks to Wanda and Doom partially), the Young Avengers, and Hawkeye (who she killed) all forgive her, so I'm glad someone isn't. If they had not included that tear or tried to make Vision try to sound more civilized (For someone who has no emotion, that sure seemed like an anger fueled conversation) I would not have been bothered so much by that scene. Seriously, hot-headed Hawkeye forgives Wanda and bangs her (Thank you Bendis for destroying the Bobbi/Clint relationship and making him a man whore), but Vision the robot freaks out on her? I don't think Bendis understands the Marvel Universe very well, which he makes pretty evident with his Cyclops next issue.

  7. Enigma_2099

    For the love of Grodd... Sarcasmic... GO FIND OUT WHAT WANDA DID TO VISION. I'm telling you, she REALLY had it coming! And anyone who tries to tell Vision otherwise *coughMsMarvelcough* is the REAL a** here!!! But just in case you simply refuse to do so, I'll cut and paste. Hunker down, this is kinda long... _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ When the Wasp began a romantic relationship with Hawkeye, she would constantly talk to Wanda about it. One day after Wasp had a few drinks, she revealed to Wanda that she once had children that were hidden to her. This triggered something deep inside Wanda’s mind. She sought out her former teacher, Agatha Harkness to learn the truth, and murdered Agatha for the betrayal. She went on to exact her revenge on her fellow Avengers. She hit each of them unexpectedly. At this point Wanda was believed not to be in her right mind, driven mad by her immense power and the memory of the children she lost. It is highly likely that what she did to the other Avengers was unknown even to her, and their destruction was created on a subconscious level. First the corpse of Jack Of Hearts was raised from the grave and blew up the Avengers Mansion, killing Scott Lang. It is not fully known whether this was actually Scott Lang's body, if his mind was in the body at the time of the attack, or if it was simply a construct generated by Wanda's magics which was meant to resemble the former Avenger. Next during a U.N. meeting where Iron Man was speaking, the unmasked Tony Stark became overwhelmed with the sensation of drunkenness despite his long term sobriety. He called out the Latverian ambassador, talking about how the entire country should be wiped off the map, and threatening to kill the politician where he stood. Before Hank Pym was able to lecture Tony, Wanda's Avengers communicator signaled a code white, signaling that they were needed at the Mansion. As Stark flew off the United States Chief of Staff called him, informing him that he was being forced to resign from his position within the government. Back at the mansion, SHIELD had arrived at the scene to lend assistance and investigate. The Vision flew in on an Avengers Quinjet, crashing into the side of the building. An apologetic Vision emerged from the rubble and ejected several metal orbs which grew into Ultron robots. The Ultrons attacked the Avengers, sending She-Hulk into a blind rage. After the Ultron robots were defeated She-Hulk ripped the body of the Vision in half, destroying him. Iron Man arrived just in time to incapacitate her, but not before she had severely injured both Wasp and Lionheart. At this point Wanda had either killed or taken several of her teammates out of action, most likely still not even realizing that she was behind the attacks. The remaining Avengers had little time to try to figure out what was happening or who was attacking them before returning to the Mansion. When they returned they found Nick Fury as well as many past members who were close enough to assemble, and a few friends of the team. Fury was trying to get the superheroes who had arrived to leave so that they didn't mess up his investigation when a group of Kree warriors (generated by Wanda's magic) flew in to attack. During the attack on the Avengers, Hawkeye sacrificed himself to bring down the Kree warship. With teammates Ms. Marvel and Wasp After the destruction of the ship the remaining Kree fled and Doctor Strange arrived to inform them that the attacks on the Avengers were magic based. He declared Wanda to be insane due to her possession of reality altering abilities that were beyond her comprehension or control. He was aghast that she had been allowed to live her life without checks and balances, saying anyone who had such a powerful control over probability would have a lost their grasp on reality. He scolded the Avengers for not consulting with him about Wanda’s past. He also reveals that there is no such thing as “Chaos Magic.” Strange led the Avengers to Wanda who had began creating a fake reality around her composed of those she cared for. The arrival of the Avengers threatened this peace, and the existence of the children that she had once again willed into being. Wanda summoned new constructs of heroes and villains to battle the group of superheroes, and created demons to battle Strange. She was no match for Strange's power, and she was immobilized by him. It was then that Magneto, hearing of his daughter's mental break, arrived to rescue her. Magneto took Wanda back to Genosha in hopes of healing her broken mind. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Comic Vine

  8. Sarcasmic

    If he's got no emotion, then why is he crying? Or is it just an oil leak? I would be ok with him being an ass, but don't expect me to sympathize with a character who just tore apart the protagonist of that story by adding a hollywood tear moment at the end.

  9. Brian Bradley - Post author

    @6 Sarcasmic... um, technically Bendis doesn't exist in the Marvel Universe so the actions taken against Vision were all Scarlet Witch's doing. How did you expect Vision to handle that scene? Oh gee, that one time you betrayed my trust and body was really messed up, but I may be willing to forgive you. He's a computer, he doesn't have compassion, he sees things as black and white, and she was responsible for breaking apart the Avengers, she deserved it. @7 spideytothemax... That would be a great Avenging Spider-Man team up. I'm sure Wanda feels guilty enough, but Spider-Man could really lay the guilt on pretty thick.

  10. spideytothemax

    I really enjoyed the Vision/Wanda scene. I was fearful that she would get off to easy. As I'm a Spider-Man fan first and foremost and thus filter the rest of the Marvel U through that lens when applicable, I'm really hoping that Pete is one of the Avengers who is wary of Scarlet Witch rejoining the team. He lost out big during M-Day and I'm really hoping that some writer remembers that. Seems like a meeting between the two characters would be perfect fodder for an issue of Avenging Spider-Man.

  11. Sarcasmic

    I would feel bad for the character, but Bendis wrote the scene with no tack, has screwed over Vision himself more than Wanda ever did (he is reponsible for Vision being gone for years and probably played a part in killing Young Vision too) and he expects us to feel bad for Vision after he was total ass-hat to Wanda? The scene was more cringe worthy than anything in Ultimate Spidey to me, and that includes Parker Game Night.

  12. Brian Bradley - Post author

    @1 Two-Bit... I know Wanda is being hyped up as a big part of this, but I don't see how she fits in yet. This seems like an X-Men event with the Avengers tacked on for the movie. I'm interested to see how much screen time she gets or if she's just in it to reference M-Day. @2 Enigma... Agreed, I didn't know how series their history was until I saw what happened exactly in Disassembled... Pretty messed up what she did to him @3 Sarcasmic... How do you not have sympathy for Vision after his wife betrayed his trust, destroyed his body and turned him against his friends? I think he has every right to be furious with her. And I knew I saw Serpent Society someplace in a recent comic but couldn't figure it out. Thanks for pointing that out. Do they not have dozens of villain groups that they could have had her go up against? Why use a group that just got beat on in a different comic? @4 Mops... Having a light and dark phoenix would be pretty interesting. Didn't think about that. I wouldn't mind seeing Hope die. One of the hosts of the Uncanny X-Cast has a theory that Hope is just a manifestation of the Phoenix Force to begin with, which I think would be a pretty cool angle to work with.

  13. Mops

    I forsee one of three things happening. 1) Hope dies 2)Hope becomes the Dark Phoenix 3)Wanda becomes the Light Phoenix

  14. Sarcasmic

    A>) Scarlet fight annoyed the hell outta me B) Only to be topped moments later by the whole Vision is an ass, but we should feel bad for him... I felt no sympathy for him and Bendis had no tack handling the issue... C.) Gee, didn't Zeb Wells have the Avengers take out Serpent Society first in the pages of Avenging 4 & 5? And it wasn't even Bendis ignoring, it was Aaron... If this is going to be the start of the best Marvel writers like Aaron and Hickman ignoring continuity, then damn this event.

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