Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Avengers Vs X-Men #5 of 12
Fraction, Romita, Hanna & Martin
The main Avengers vs X-Men mini-series chugs along with another puzzling effort, this one turned in by Matt Fraction. Up to this point, this core mini-series has basically catered to the lowest common denominator in terms of plot, instead focusing in on keeping the tempo fast. As a result, each issue seems to put the heroes in a different location fighting over some new variation of the same thing: the fate of Hope. This issue finally pushes the story into a new direction but it takes the entire issue to get to the end result, making the issue feel like filler. Overall, this was a poor effort even by filler measures.
The X-Men and Avengers are on the moon trying to intercept the Phoenix. Apparently there is a blue part of the moon that contains oxygen, a fact brought out in this issue, but not the previous, when they actually landed on the moon. Hope decides to test out whether she can handle the Phoenix, while on the moon, to avoid injuring the humans. She’s given Wolverine permission to kill her if she fails. The Phoenix comes and selects its host. This takes an entire issue of filler to get to the results, bookended by Hope’s odd comparison to the atomic bomb and the pilot that dropped it.
The issue has many flaws beyond the stalling nature of the contents, but I will highlight two that bugged me the most.
Hope compares her struggle to the pilot that dropped one of the atomic bombs on Japan to close out World War II. She ponders whether she is the bomb or the bomber, citing that both are part of the equation and yet, only the bomb ever takes the blame. Except she is wrong. The bomber is taking orders. He’s a soldier, during a war, taking orders from his superiors. Hope is not a soldier, she’s not in a war and she is free to make up her own mind (and frequently changes it) whenever she likes. The comparison is laughable, even when a teenager that grew up thousands of years in the future makes it.
The other complaint is the dynamic of having Wolverine be the person that will kill Hope if she decides she can’t handle Phoenix. This presents a scenario where the Avengers fight the X-Men because they (the Avengers) are backing Wolverine and his quest that got them all to the moon chasing Hope. But Wolverine, who is supported by the Avengers, is backing Hope, who is supported by the X-Men. In other words, the X-Men support Hope, who is supported by Wolverine, who is supported by the Avengers and yet the Avengers and the X-Men are fighting each other. It’s kind of absurd, but Fraction makes an attempt to deal with it at the end of the issue.
Romita draws a good issue. The comic book is almost all flash and Romita delivers nicely. The pencils, inking and coloring all present that “epic” look that the event should carry. There is some forced drama in the story and Romita does his best to bring it to life. The ending is the meat and potatoes of the issue and that is where he excels, thankfully. This is at least a pretty issue.
I didn’t like this issue. I do think it has its audience though. Since the issue is so light on dialogue it might be a good gateway for kids to get into comics too because it does look pretty cool. I haven’t even scratched the surface on so many other flaws (like Tony Stark already being on the moon preparing for the Phoenix or all the random snapshots of characters in other locations), but the flaws I have highlighted should sent off some big warning signs about the rest of the series. Proceed with caution.
1.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles