Sunday, July 29, 2012

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, Round Eight + spoilers: Say Namor

 

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #8  (September 2012)  Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman = story.  Brian Michael Bendis = script.  Adam Kubert = Pencils.  John Dell = Inks.  Laura Martin with Larry Molinar = colors.  Chris Eliopoulos = letters.

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If John Romita, Jr. can’t be back yet, Adam Kubert is a very welcome alternate artist.  The opening two splash pages with an angry Phoenix-enhanced Namor attempting to destroy Wakanda all by his lonesome is pure dynamite and only the beginning of some marvelous illustrations throughout the issue. 

This is a battle issue but don’t confuse it as an expansion of AVX: VS - - this is much more serious and intense.  I prefer it this way.  Without spoiling too much of the action for you - - Namor is stopped but not without consequences for the remaining Phoenix-powered X-Men and further challenges for the Avengers.

I find the opening roster page with the character icons to continue to be very revealing, almost like a silent summary of the proceedings. This time it is very lop-sided with only The Phoenix Five (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, Namor) on the X-Men side with only Magneto and Professor X shown as associates. (By the end of the issue we can no longer be sure if Professor X will continue to be a bystander or take action.)  Hope is now straddling the line between both groups.  The Avengers also number four mutants on their side (Wolverine, Beast, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch) while no standard super-hero has yet to align with the X-Men and agree with their viewpoint.

This series continues to entertain and surprise - - - I’m going to see it through to the finale and encourage you to jump onboard anytime.

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AVENGERS ACADEMY #33  (September 2012)  “What The Heart Wants” conclusion . . . Christos Gage, writer.  Timothy Green II, penciler.  Jeff  Huet, inker.  Chris Sotomayor, colorist.  VC’s Joe Caramagna, letterer.

This wraps up the story that began in AVENGERS ACADEMY #32 with an empowered Emma Frost determined to destroy the Sentinel robot befriended by human Juston Seyfert.  Juston has a deep emotional bond to the robot, and his sympathetic co-students and administrators stand up to Frost in their defense.

You may anticipate the outcome of this, and you’d be right considering the powerful forces now powering Emma Frost.  However, it’s the telling of the tale that is special and there are some heart-warming moments and meaningful exchanges of opinions.  Quicksilver makes a special appearance and plays an important role in the proceedings which shows him to have some heart as well.

The work of guest artist Green gets even better this issue, as if he is getting more comfortable here. Too bad, since the regular team returns next issue.  Also too bad, as events at the end of this story seem to point the way towards the end of the AVENGERS ACADEMY title.  I’ve been impressed by everything I’ve seen here, and anticipate that Gage will be given a deserving new assignment in Marvel Next.

Rating for AVENGERS ACADEMY #33 - - - - THREE STARS

UNCANNY X-MEN #16 (September 2012)  Kieron Gillen, writer.  Daniel Acuna, artist.  VC’s Joe Caramagna, letterer. 

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The summary on the credits page reveals a detail that I don’t recall being explained in previous issues.  It may have been hinted at, but some of us may have missed it. . . . . “Meanwhile, Mister Sinister has been building his underground city of Sinister London.  He has created a race of Sinister clones, each one capable of carrying on the sentience of Sinister. But to continue to power his Creation Engines, Sinister needs the Phoenix Force and aims to place it into six clones of Madeline Pryor.”

As the Phoenix Five lay siege to Castle Sinister, Mr. S throws many surprises their way - - Cyclops clones, Marauder clones, a Krakoa clone, Gambit clones, Cannonball clones -  all designed to confuse and delay the X-Men.  Namor loses patience (again!) with Cyclops concentrated plan of attack and breaks off to bust into the castle alone.  Emma Frost is assaulted by enhanced cow-pies (you need to see this for yourself) and Cyclops’ group seems to be separating (by Sinister’s design).  Being confronted by multiple Madelynes seems to have crushed Cyclops’s spirits in multiple fashion. 

This issue is full of battle scenes yet Acuna’s work here seems rushed. But, it’s not awful - - I just feel he is capable of doing even better than this.  It still remains a very colorful and energized issue.  I guess I miss the awesome work of  Dustin Weaver in his one-shot appearance (UNCANNY X-MEN #14).  Marvel, let’s see more of this talented artist!

Rating for UNCANNY X-MEN #16 - - - THREE STARSWolverine-and-the-X-Men_14-674x1024

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #14 (September 2012)  “My Dinner With The Phoenix”  Jason Aaron, writer.  Jorge Molina, penciler.  Norman Lee, inker. Morry Hollowell, colorist.  Chris Eliopoulos, letterer.

Colossus returns to the Jean Grey School to invite Kitty Pryde to dinner, during which he intends to pose the big question to her.  Icemen sees some evidence to indicate that while the Phoenix Five may be the great benefactors of Earth they also seem to be attaining god-like egos and deal without mercy to any who oppose or question them. 

The chat between Kitty and Peter is portrayed so well.  It’s the highpoint of the issue, both script and art working together to paint the proper picture of events.  You can well imagine the outcome of this one as well.  Both dinner participants have second thoughts during the aftermath.   During the prologue Iceman, Angel and Rachel return to the school, having seen the error of their ways in siding with Cyclops’ group. 

Rating for WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #14 - - - FOUR STARS

X-MEN LEGACY #270  (September 2012)  Christos Gage, writer.  David Baldeon, penciler.  Jordi Tarragona, inker.  Brian Reber, colorist.  VC’s Cory Petit, letterer.

X-Men legacy 270

From the credits page plot summary:  “Ambushed by Ms. Marvel in New Orleans, Rogue responds in turn and takes her captive.  But Rogue is shocked when Magik doesn’t teleport their prisoner to the brig, but instead to a volcanic piece of the hell dimension Limbo that she’s brought to Earth.” 

What happens in this issue is that Rogue has first doubt, and then a change of heart. She attempts to free Ms. Marvel from the prison.  That’s the storyline in a nutshell.  It seems that the X-Men are having issues within the ranks, and may be fragmenting.  (I still feel good about the Avenger’s chances.) 

It’s the detailing of this hellish prison and the creativity of both writer Gage and artist Baldeon that make it special.  This is very gruesome as well as inventive.  Rogue uses her special powers in a slightly different way that shows she is gaining a comfort level and the confidence level to do what must be done. It’s a maturing point in the development of this character - - perhaps a secondary player no longer.

RATING FOR X-MEN LEGACY #270  - - - THREE STARS

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