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COMIC REVIEW: Avengers vs X-Men (Issue #1)

Posted on April 4, 2012

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Art: John Romita Jr. (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Laura Martin (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Release Date: April 4, 2012

Here it is guys! Earth's Mightiest Heroes versus the X-Men. This is one of those match-ups comic book geeks have always fantasized and argued about for years, and now we finally get to witness these two factions clash. The Phoenix is on its way to Earth, and the Avengers have a hunch it wants Hope, the mutant messiah, to be its next host. Captain America decides to go pay the mutants a visit on their island of Utopia, which only leads into an argument against the captain and the mutant leader, Cyclops. This, is where it all begins.

It's really unfortunate that there isn't too much substance within these thirty-four pages, and most of the beginning panels were left empty with barely anything to read. Instead, we had panels filled with images of the Phoenix flying through space, upon other things crashing into Earth. Then you have a good chunk of pages in the middle, some of which were already printed in various other Marvel comics as "previews," so we've seen these pages for months already. The moment this gets interesting is when Cap finally arrives in Utopia, which doesn't happen until twenty-five pages in.

But when that happens, when Cyclops and Cap begin to feud about who gets to keep Hope, you can finally feel the excitement as the tension between the two begin to really rise. This is what everyone is waiting for. That moment when one strikes the other... THAT is what we all want to see. It's just too bad we don't get any of that until the very end. The issue concludes right when things start to get interesting, and while that might sound dissapointing, the writers knew what they were doing. With a cliffhanger like the one we got here, readers are going to definitely pick up the next issue.

The writing was good, but perhaps the best thing about the script was how Brian Michael Bendis did Cyclops. He turned him into such a stoic badass, and I love it. In the past couple of years, Scott Summers has made his way up the ladder as the sole leader of a entire mutant race, and that in turn has transformed him into such an amazing figurehead. He does not fuck around. Some people might find him a coldhearted asshole, but I love it about the guy. Here, Bendis just does such a wonderful job in portraying that version of Scott. Cap versus Cyclops? I give it to the guy with the ruby visors.

Ah, and John Romita Jr.. I can't get enough of his unique style. His line work and the little details he does to each characters face (especially the eyes) really add so much emotion to each hero. The inking does a fantastic job in defining Romita's work as well. I wasn't a fan of the colors though, but the art overall is still pretty well done.

When you consider that this was the first issue of twelve, this was a solid start to something that could potentially be something completely epic in scale, especially when you consider the two sides going against each other, and the fact that the Phoenix is involved. Issue one builds the foundation of what is soon to come, and the writing and artwork were solid. But overall, as a single issue, it was a bit of a let down. Still, I'm sure that every subsequent issue will just get more exciting, so I'm really looking forward to see what happens next. Another awesome thing is that this series is coming out bi-weekly, so we'll get twice the dose a month.

7 out of 10
Review by: Richard Fagel

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