September 2012 cover date. JASON AARON, BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, ED BRUBAKER, MATT FRACTION AND JONATHAN HICKMAN: story. MATT FRACTION, script. OLIVIER COIPEL, pencils. MARK MORALES, inks. LAURA MARTIN, colors. CHRIS ELIOPOULOS, letters.
It is getting harder to write about this series without letting spoilers slip in. I will keep trying to tell you what’s good and worthwhile about these books without detailing too much of the plot. I do not regret investing my time and money in this saga. I’m being entertained and sometimes surprised. The books seem to be doing well, and perhaps helping Marvel stay in the limelight. As of the last update from the PREVIEWS website - - - AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #6 was the #1 ordered book among comic retailers in June, followed by AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #5 in the #2 position. AVX: VS #3 managed to crack the Top Ten, being the #10 most ordered book in July.
After the turn of events in Issue #6, the advantage in this battle has clearly swung to the X-Men side. With the addition of The Phoenix Five they are almost unstoppable. Now that Cyclops has made that fateful proclamation - - “No More Avengers” - - Captain America, Iron Man and their allies been forced to duck and run, satisfying themselves with smaller and shortened attacks just to show they aren’t giving in.
The art by Coipel (still filling in for John Romita, Jr, I presume) is again very good in most places but is not as consistent as last issue’s work by him. It seems forced or rushed in places, and the opening battle scene is displayed in a sloppy fashion that makes it difficult to be sure which of several light-haired women on the X-Men team are hurling those Phoenix fireballs - - is it Magik, Emma Frost, Magma, or Polaris? I’ve looked over these panels many times and I struggled to figure it out. (It wasn’t until many pages later that it becomes clear which X-lady put a really big hurt on an Avenger.) Also, which of them was knocked down by the Scarlet Witch? Her back is to the viewer, and because the costume is adorned in a radius of Phoenix flame you can’t distinguish the colors. However, it is a decisive battle in this issue so you don’t want to overlook it. Some of the fighters do not walk away unscathed - - in fact they need to be carried away and tended to as soon as possible.
Fraction shows in a later page (set in Utopia) that the X-Men are becoming a little fragmented, maybe not so much united as before, in the aftermath of the opening battle. Some advocate war versus containment, murder versus just putting pressure on their opponents. Some see certain Avengers as an evil that needs to be purged. With so many changes occurring in this story it’s bound to create some uncertainty among the ranks on both sides, and it’s good to see that Fraction recognizes this and gives it some panel time. There is some definite friction among two key members on the X-team. One considers them to be winning while the others scorns any reference to games and simply wants to rule. (As much of a hint as I care to drop here.)
Even the optimistic Captain America gets discouraged, impatient and frustrated. After much discussion they seem to agree on one thing that still scares the X-Men and works to find a way to amplify that effect. Meanwhile we finally learn when and how Hope found her way to the mystical city of K’un Lun as seen in the NEW AVENGERS issues.
And this issue ends on a cliff-hanger. We’ll need to wait two more weeks for Issue #8. If you’ve been following this story there is no reason to drop out now. It continues to entertain and surprise. It’s worth the time. If you are just coming onboard you won’t have too much trouble getting immersed in the story. The synopsis on the credits pages have been very well written and informative. They keep reminding me of certain points I might have forgotten about otherwise.