Round 11, Part Two: More A vs. X reviews

 

As I wrote in my last AVENGERS VERSUS X-MEN review . . . . .

What has characterized the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN saga and the majority of the many cross-over titles has been a consistent high quality in both story and art, with only a few exceptions. Those cross-over titles, while connected to the main issue, seemed to focus on entertaining but non-essential sidelights that could be enjoyed solely on their own. A reader could also concentrate on the main title only and not need to read any of the other books in order to understand the main story.

In past reviews, I have ranked and rated those sidelight books in order to point a reader towards those most deserving of their time and money. Despite my previous confession of being ready for this epic to finally end I sincerely enjoyed every single one of the cross-over books reviewed here. In short, if you want some good reading pick up these books.

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THE NEW AVENGERS #30  (November 2012)  Brian Michael Bendis, writer.  Mike Deodato, artist.  Rain Beredo, color art.  VC’s Joe Caramagna, letters & production.

Just like NEW AVENGERS #29,  there is a large percentage of this issue dedicated to dialogue and out-loud decision-making.  However, unlike Issue #29 (which was one of the most enjoyable board of directors meetings I’ve ever read about) there is plenty of action here - - and very well depicted.

The credits page begins with another disclaimer:  “WARNING! READ THIS ISSUE AFTER AVX #11!”    The only reason I can see for that is because these events occur after that issue.  It would also spoil the suspense, as we learn in the opening pages that Emma Frost is not dead, just released from the Phoenix Force and now in New Avengers custody.  (Which leads me to wonder, as I hinted at in the last review, if Xavier or anybody else who went down in that issue are truly down for the long term.)

The next four pages are talking heads as Daredevil and Luke Cage share thoughts on being an Avenger, raising a family, and the responsibilities to both.   What follows over the next fourteen pages is a crazy battle as  heavily-armed anti-mutant terrorists try to intercept and destroy Emma Frost, the prison van transporting her, and any mutant-sympathizing Avengers in their way.  It’s big and bold, and a great opportunity for Deodato to strut his best stuff.  The art is just incredible and very satisfying to any action-starved readers of this title.  Kudos as well to the great job Deodato does on the close-ups during the DD-Cage exchanges.   It all comes down to Luke Cage drawing the line and making a decision between one life or another.  Well done.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #16  (November 2012)  Jason Aaron, writer.  Chris Bachalo, penciler/colorist. Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza & Al Vey, inkers.  Chris Eliopoulos, letterer.

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If you only want to pick up one of the books I’m reviewing here, then grab this one without hesitation.  WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #16 is a solitary blast of excellence!  Yes, it’s an awesome stand alone story!  You don’t need to read anything else to enjoy this. 

The art team pulls out all the stops.  Bachalo handles both pencils and colors and the results are breathtaking.  The amount of detail put into each panel is perfect.  And the shading is extremely effective, especially in the black and white flashback scenes.  But art is just one reason to pick up this issue.  Wait until you read Aaron’s story - - you’re in for a wonderful ride.

It’s also funny and ironic that in a book titled WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN that neither Wolverine or any students of his Jean Grey School appear in a single panel.  This issue is all about the new occupants of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club - - a pack of murderous, manipulative, multi-faceted teenagers.   The new man in charge is Kade Kilgore, an arrogant but brainy twelve-year old with a keen business intellect and marketing plan.  As he describes himself:  “I’m Kade Kilgore, CEO of Kilgore Arms, youngest billionaire in human history, Black King of the ancient and powerful Hellfire Club.  Apparently, I’m the only person in the world with nothing to hide.”

His plans includes designing and building various models of Super-Sentinels for sale to the highest bidders.  His latest sales presentation is just beginning when the party is crashed by The Phoenix Five  (this issue obviously takes place many months ago in the A vs. X saga).   Before their operation is shut down and Kilgore and friends taken to prison, we learn of his background, upbringing, and how he learned to turn the tables on dear old dad and knock him off his rocky perch in the Hellfire Club.  The ending of this story indicates that more may be in store. I’d love to see these brats again.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7  (November 2012)  Brian Michael Bendis, writer.  Mark Bagley, penciler.  Danny Miki, inker.  Paul Mounts, colors.  VC’s Clayton Cowles, letterer.

Earlier I reported here that this title was going to end with Issue #8 and the conclusion of the Thanos storyline.  AVENGERS ASSEMBLE will continue on after Issue #8, but with a new writer and artist team as well as the beginning of a new storyline.   So, apparently this group will exist apart from the new and next Marvel Now universe and all the changes that will occur there.  Talk about ways to confuse the new reader!   I’ve already decided to take a back seat for awhile and approach these new books later in trade paperback format (or not at all, depending on what I hear/learn about them). 

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If you didn’t get enough of your action fix satisfied with NEW AVENGERS #30,  then this book will finish you up.  The art is without a doubt the absolute best thing about AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 and is worth the price of admission for that reason only.  The only new development in this story is that the newly charged-up Thanos decides that he can get along without the Elders.  In exchange he gets a big, big, big cosmic-sized surprise that he wasn’t anticipating.  The rest of the issue is the battle in space between the Badoon and the combined might of The Avengers and The Guardians Of The Galaxy.

It’s a battle scene worthy of comparison to the great Kree-Skrull War many decades ago in the original AVENGERS title.  Bagley has just been outstanding with his work on this title.  It seems like every issue he tops the already magnificent art of the issue before.  Issue #7  features many pages of caption less panels that let the visuals tell the story.  Can I use awesome and outstanding in the same sentence? - - because that is what you’ll see here. 

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