Welp, the war is over. With the dust settling and the full consequences yet to be fully revealed, it’s time to look over the latest major even in Marvel Comics: Avengers Versus X-men.
So a brief overview; Phoenix Force is on its way to Earth destroying whole worlds on its way. It’s been pretty obvious since Hope Summers first appeared that she was the new host to the Phoenix Force. Worried about what will happen to the Earth when the Phoenix arrives they go to detain Hope. Cyclops and several of his X-men, however, believe that the Phoenix is returning to Earth to save the Mutants from extinction. On the shores of Utopia the two sides clash while Phoenix draws ever nearer.
While Captain America and many of his heavy hitters give chase, Tony Stark and their brightest minds look to deal with Phoenix. Things come to a head on the Moon’s Blue Zone (the conveniently habitable part of the Moon) and when Phoenix attempts to possess Hope, Tony springs his trap. An energy blast meant to destroy the Phoenix Force. Things however don’t go to plan. Rather than destroying the entity, Tony fractures it into five portions that split and possess several X-men. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Magik and Colossus become the Phoenix Five.
What follows is a near paradise. With the power split between the five of them the Phoenix Five maintain their own personalities and bring peace to the world. They use the various powers of the Mutants under their command alongside their near godlike abilities to provide for everyone. Despite this Captain America and his supporters plan for the inevitable. They believe that it is only a matter of time before the Five go power mad and need to be dealt with. Adding to the problem is that despite holding the power of the Phoenix, the Five are unable to restart the mutant population and continue to chase after the remaining Avengers.
As they are caught they are imprisoned in a portion of Limbo that Magik has brought with her to Earth. Essentially trapped in hell the captured Avengers are tortured. Seeing this drives many of the X-men away. Added to this is Wakanda harbouring the remaining Avengers alongside Hope herself. Namor eventually grows tired of Cyclops’s refusal to take Hope back through force and launches an attack on Wakanda himself. He nearly levels the nation as the remaining Avengers retreat to the mystical city of K’un-Lun. Namor nearly destroys all of Wakanda before the Scarlet Witch joins into the fight. Her Chaos powers are able to counter the powers of the Phoenix and she manages to defeat Namor.
This however just further complicates matters. The Phoenix Five realize that Scarlet Witch, the woman who caused the mutant extinction, is back in play. Furthermore, with Namor defeated, his portion of the Phoenix Force is redistributed to the remaining four hosts, further empowering them. The Avengers manage to free their compatriots from Limbo and Spiderman manages to talk Colossus and Magik into fighting each other for more power. Of course the two of them merely defeat each other making Cyclops and Emma Frost the last hosts of the Phoenix Force. With the increased power comes the increase in the Phoenix’s corrupting influence and Emma’s resolve is slipping.
Eventually Cyclops manages to tear his way into K’un-Lun where Hope is being trained by Iron Fist. According to legend there was once an Iron Fist that fought and defeated/merged with the Phoenix and they figure history will repeat itself. After laying waste to the Avengers Hope comes to the battlefield and, somehow, sends Cyclops flying through dimensions back to Earth. Enraged he retreats to Utopia only to find that the X-men have left him and Emma. While he was out Emma decided to alienate all of them prompting Magneto to call in his last resort: Professor Xavier.
With both the Avengers and X-men rallied behind him Professor Xavier pleads with Scott to end this madness and begins shutting him down psychically. While Emma is attacked and held at bay by the other heroes Cyclops grows desperate. He attacks Emma, nearly killing her and taking her half of the Phoenix Force. He then kills the man who has been like a father to him. He overloads Professor Xavier’s brain and kills him becoming the Dark Phoenix. Totally enraptured with the power of the Phoenix he lays waste to the world itself. Traveling across continents he attacks cities and open lands with abandon burning the world as the Avengers and X-men race to save lives and try to stop him with no success.
Eventually Hope and Scarlet Witch manage to head him off. Hope copies the Witch’s chaos magic powers and amplifies them as the Scarlet Witch herself lets rip against the Dark Phoenix. Defeated, the Phoenix Force leaves Cyclops and enters Hope as it always intended to. Rather than use the power, Hope releases it. In a manner similar to the Phoenix splitting across the Five, she disperses it across the world repairing much of the damage done by Cyclops and restarting the natural activation of mutant X-genes.
So, Mutants are hated again, the Avengers are shows as inept, you had a near utopia on Earth that was destroyed and then things fixed somewhat... really there are only three consequences to this massive event. New Mutant characters and villains will start popping up again (oh yippee), the fracture of the X-men in Schism has been largely healed since Wolverine is the only one with a place for the Mutants to go but we’ll see if Cannonball is willing to step up, and Professor Xavier is dead...again... also Cyclops is in jail but thinks he was right since there are mutants again... also Magneto is on the run and a possible villain... again.
I can’t help but feel that this event did little but press the reset button for the X-men. Just about everyone is back at the Westchester school and we’ll be seeing newer mutants all the time again. Wolverine is leading now rather than Cyclops but I doubt that will have any real meaning since Cyclops had become so militant while Wolverine urged allowing the kids to be kids and keeping them out of danger. It makes little sense that the Mutants haven’t mobilized like they did under the Phoenix Five, using their powers to make everything better. At one point Iceman was setting up massive ice pillars in Africa to provide irrigation and fresh water for people. Why isn’t he doing that again? With the world hating mutants again because of the actions of Cyclops as Dark Phoenix (again, they give you paradise and you hate them all for the actions of one, damn stupid) why not just go back to making the world better for all people rather than playing hero?
Thankfully Jean Grey didn’t really come back, she had a few lines here and there and that was it. Hope Summers is a rather interesting character and I can’t wait to see what is done with her character in the coming months but other than that, all the work that had been done from House of M until just before Avengers Versus the X-men was essentially wiped clean. This feels like a massive missed opportunity but it was an entertaining ride at least.
The comics have serval interesting moments both in the various fights between the Avengers and the X-Men and within the overall workings of the plot. Panelling and artwork throughout is very nicely done and the story is fairly easy to follow, something that Marvel and DC are getting better at with their events to my endless thanks.
If I had to sum up my feelings about these comics it would be all show no substance. There are some very nicely done emotional set peices but they are clustered around the very beginning and very end of this event. It's entertaining, but not game changing.