Sunday, February 15, 2015

Post M-Day Filler: Why Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming Is Absolutely Unworth Attention!

The Good: One or two panels of artwork
The Bad: No consistent narrative, No character development, Entirely dependent upon several other books, Some crappy artwork, Comparatively expensive.
The Basics: Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming poorly bridges House Of M and several follow-up books as a poor sampler anthology.

Recently, I found myself fascinated by the concept of the Marvel Comics crossover event House Of M (reviewed here!). Given how it ended, I was curious as to what might come next and, as a result, I found myself picking up the subsequent volume Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming. Billed as a follow-up to House Of M, Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming is an unfortunate mash-up of individual comic book issues that bridge the House Of M storyline and the Avengers Vs. X-Men books. This is, essentially, a trade paperback anthology that does not have a single solid narrative or story it is trying to tell. Instead, this is just an almost random collection of issues, most of which appear in other graphic novels that actually tell the full stories to which they belong.

Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming is an anthology of five comic books and one partial issue. There is no sense of temporal relation between the issues collected and some seem to be from very different times in the post-House Of M storyline. In fact, the first chapter in Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming is actually the final chapter of House Of M which eliminates the alternate universe in which mutants are dominant and replaces it with a virtual genocide of mutants. Just as the stories leap around different places in the Marvel Universe, the artwork is similarly inconsistent.

The next chapter is from X-Men: Second Coming. That chapter is a very direct vignette in which Cable and Hope arrive from the future, which sparks the interest of Cyclops. As Cyclops begins to lead the X-Men to the last known location of Cable and Hope, the various anti-mutant organizations unite to wipe out the remaining 181 mutants in the world. This chapter is an utterly uncompelling teaser for the story and for those who only have a passing knowledge of the Marvel Universe, there is nothing to sell them on the story. As one who really only knows the X-Men from the film franchise, the only known adversaries in the big assemblage were Stryker and Trask and the real influence they possess is overstated – X-23 kills one of the human villains pretty easily without any real conflict. The artwork in this chapter is mediocre, though the colors are pretty good.

The next chapter is Schism (issue 5) and it wastes half the page length with a physical battle between Wolverine and Cyclops. A sentinel shows up and makes their fight even more confusing and visually underwhelming. The issue climaxes with Wolverine taking a bunch of the younger mutants away from Scott’s surviving X-Men. The artwork in this section is terrible (particularly lousy is the top panel four pages in where Wolverine looks like he was drawn by Bill Watterson). This might have been a huge character moment for Cyclops, Wolverine and the X-Men in general, akin to Wonder Woman slaying Max Lord in The OMAC Project (reviewed here!), but out of context as it is, it just seems like an advertisement for something better.

Arguably the most out-of-context chapter is the Avengers: The Children’s Crusade chapter. Coming after Scarlet Witch has been recovered and started restoring the powers of the mutants in the Young Avengers, this is a pivotal showdown in which the X-Men (including Magneto), Avengers and Young Avengers converge on Wanda Maximoff and fight over which group is going to sit in judgment of her! The conflict is generally unresolved and the tease of which way Wanda will go, having allied with Dr. Doom, makes it seem very much like a non-sequitor.

Magneto: Not A Hero finds Magneto slaughtering a bunch of anti-mutant extremists, though he claims to Iron Man and Captain America that he has been framed. While it appears he had an alibi, that is only told, not shown in the chapter in Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming. This seems like a simple beginning to a larger story that is, apparently, already resolved (it’s a frame job – Magneto and Emma just have to prove it!).

The final full chapter has Cable attacking Captain America (without much motivation and no clear backstory between them to explain their hostility to one another). There is also a couple-page “story” with some alien declaring their dominance over the Marvel Universe.

Avengers Vs. X-Men: It’s Coming is a tease and a particularly unworthy one; fans of the Marvel Universe will just find this to be a waste of money.

For other Marvel Universe books, please visit my reviews of:
Civil War: Marvel Universe
Secret Invasion
The Avengers: Assault On Olympus


For other graphic novel reviews, please visit my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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