"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reviews in Brief: Brian Michael Bendis et al: Avengers vs. X-Men, #0-3

Well, my two favorite superhero teams have finally crossed swords, thanks to Brian Michael Bendis and the folks at Marvel.

Hope Summers is the only mutant born since M-Day. She's with the X-Men, where her life is just one long bout of training. She's a young woman now, and like young people in general, is feeling the restrictions imposed on her activities by her elders.

The Avengers have discovered that the Phoenix Force, a cosmic-scale energy pool that it capable of destroying whole worlds, is headed toward Earth and figure out that it's headed right at Hope. In the first of a series of remarkably stupid moves, Steve Rogers (Captain America) goes to Utopia, home of the mutants, to demand that Hope be handed over for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, Scott Summers (Cyclops) can be just as stupidly stubborn as Captain America, particularly when faced with not onlyl a confrontation, but a whole shipload of Avengers. The ensuing pitched battle is no real surprise, but Wolverine, compounding the stupidity in ready supply on both sides, takes off on his own to capture Hope. Apparently, no one told him that she's already very powerful. Spooked, she sets off on her own while Wolverine is busy regrowing his skin -- among her other attributes, Hope can generate fire out of pretty much nothing.

In spite of all the arrogance and idiocy demonstrated on both sides, particularly by two men who should know better, this is turning out a to be a lot of fun. Needless to say, there's lots of action, and both teams are seeing a chance to settle some old scores. This, happily, is not at the expense of some strongly drawn characterizations -- Cyclops, in particular, reveals himself to be a shrewd leader who always has a back-up. The main responsibility for the scripting has fallen on Brian Michael Bendis, and he's holding up his end quite well.

Frank Cho penciled #0, then John Romita, Jr., picked it up for the next three numbers, ably supported by Scott Hanna's clean, incisive inks and colors by the incomparable Laura Martin.

This one's a lot of fun -- I feel like a fan boy, running up to the comics store every two weeks to pick up the next number. I'm not sure yet whether I'm going to continue reviewing them in chunks. We'll see.

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