It’s safe to say that I had mixed feelings when Marvel first announced Avengers Vs. X-Men. As readers of this site will know, I prefer my comic books to contain a little more depth than who can hit who the hardest.
If this was simply going to be a fight book, part of me respected their truth in advertising.
But now that it’s over, I can finally say: good riddance.
The vast majority of the book was completely unnecessary. Kind of like putting Captain America or Thor in repulsor armor… which they did.
Nearly every character in this mess ends up looking like a complete and total ass. It got to the point where turning each page was like getting punched right in the gut… kind of like when Iron-Thor broke into a teenage mutant’s home and punched him right in the gut.
But instead of dissecting every horrible decision in Avengers Vs. X-Men, I’ve decided to instead focus on what the book could have been.
A Fun, Lowbrow Slug Fest
Any genre which prominently features spandex-clad men and women fist-fighting each other is more than a little goofy. I understand and accept that. Not every comic needs to be Watchmen.
That’s why Avengers Vs. X-Men could have been fun if it was just a heavy-on-the-fights and light-on-the-plot kind of comic. Instead, it’s kind of slow and the fights are rather underwhelming. Instead of big fights, we are treated to the illusion of fights by a bunch of “big action” splash pages.
I know what you’re going to say; “but that’s what Avengers vs X-Men: Versus is for!” But let’s be honest, that spin-off is worse than the main title and is often flat-out offensive (more on that in a later post).
Who could beat who in a fight is the stuff of comic shop conversation tradition. It’s silly and a bit asinine, but such an approach could have at least made this book fun.
An Interesting Exploration of [Insert Any Cohesive Theme Here]
Desperation, blind faith, unchecked power (benevolent or otherwise), and fanatical religious fervor are just a few of the book’s under-developed themes, any of which could have been worth investigating. Instead, we’re left with a hodgepodge of unexplored ideas and a complete lack of focus.
It’s a classic too-many-cooks scenario. If the book wouldn’t have had five writers (Jason Aaron, Brain Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jonathan Hickman) maybe it wouldn’t have been such a jumbled wreck.
An Empowering Feminist Story
At it’s core, Avengers Vs X-Men is about a couple of powerful men fighting to control a young woman.
It could have been an amazing opportunity for Marvel to publish a feminist story about a powerful young woman who rises above the apparent misogyny of the other heroes to prove that she in not an object to be fought over or controlled.
Sure, in the end Hope and the Scarlet Witch save the day, but the fact remains that neither team ever truly allows Hope the autonomy that she deserves.
I can’t even tell you how many times Hope is referred to as “that girl” or “the girl.” At least Emma stuck up for her once against Iron Man, but it’s not as if Emma really treated her any differently.
It’s sad because it started out rather good.
Avengers Vs X-Men #0 is actually a pretty solid book. It’s basically two strong women (Hope and Scarlet Witch) being badasses.
Yes both superheroines are mistreated by the male heroes around them, but I anticipated that this mistreatment would at some point be addressed- and I mean really addressed, not just an off-hand comment or two, followed by every other character continuing to treat them the same way.
Avengers Vs X-Men had potential, but unfortunately it failed to deliver on it.
Be sure to comment and tell me what you thought of the series!