The confrontation between Marvel Comics’ two biggest franchises, and their two biggest superhero teams, was the event of the summer, and the do-not-miss maxi-series that changed the status quo of the Marvel Universe. Yes, the Avengers versus the X-Men – AvsX – was the big one this year.
If you missed it, or if you didn’t, there’s an amazing way to relive all the action you did and didn’t see, with this edition of Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide. We’ll check out the AvsX Hardcover Edition after the jump.
Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.
As a comic book fan in 1982, you just couldn’t ask for anything more. While The Justice League of America and The Avengers were caught in a spiral downwards in terms of quality and talent, The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans were making their mark in comic book history. Both titles shared a lot of similarities: a young core of rookie heroes each struggling with their own degrees of teenage angst, great writing, fabulous artwork, solid character development, and fine storytelling.
Avengers vs. X-Men - THIS is what every fanboy and fangirl really wants. Slugfest. Mano a mano. Superhero vs. superhero. We want to see our favorites in combat. That’s just the way it is. We love when Batman fights Superman. We wait with baited breath for the next Thing vs. Hulk match. One of my own favorite Marvel Comics stories is the Avengers/Defenders clash. And let’s face it, there’s a reason that just the thought of the Avengers battling the Justice League makes us all drool just a little. It’s what we want, so why not give the people what they want.
Marvel has been having huge success in movie theaters of late. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, all building to the big Avengers movie in May. Before that, and even now, they were doing well with the X-Men franchise. Everybody knows the characters now, even outside of the comics. And in the comics, other than Spider-Man, the X-Men and Avengers lines of titles are Marvel’s biggest. Talk about no-brainers, of course, they just have to do Avengers vs. X-Men, or as they’re calling it – AvsX.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and those of us who indulge in the pleasures of pop culture tend to like our romantic fantasies with an edge of latent tragedy.
So on the subject of doomed love, why not take a look at the pairing that comic book writers have spent decades trying to convince us wouldn’t work. From the moment the compact, rough-hewn, cantankerous Canadian mutant Wolverine was introduced to the X-Men by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum in Giant-Size #1 (in all its leprechaun-fighting silliness), he and the telekinetic Jean Grey found themselves in a protracted, broken love triangle. As they struggled with their feelings, X-Men writers (and for a while, that meant Chris Claremont) seemed to be telling readers that the conventional pretty-boy Scott “Cyclops” Summers was forever and always to be Jean’s one-and-only, only to be undone time and time again because of the characters’ natural chemistry.
And yet they would never really bridge that gap and enter into a relationship, at least in “mainstream” continuity.
It’s hard to say why they make such a compelling couple. It’s not just that they look like Fred and Wilma Flintstone (or Peter and Lois Griffin, or even Barney and Miriam Panofsky). But from the first time the characters meet, you see a spark of emotion – something primal and undeniable. There’s fire there, but there’s also something unspoken. Somehow there is a personal connection. And with Jean and Cyclops together in a conventional, “Bye Bye Birdie” sense, it’s also sort of transgressive, and dangerous.