For the past few months, the Marvel Universe – and comic fandom – has been in a tizzy: favourite superhero has been pitted against favourite superhero with the fate of the human species (and the muties!) in the balance: Captain America versus Gambit. Colossus versus Thing. Wolverine versus his old X-Men chums. Iron Man versus Magneto. Wow! Talk about a main attraction, eh?! (See what I did there?)
Since April of this year, it’s been nothing but X-Man versus Avenger.
All of this staring and jawing and bickering and with each other has been for control over the power of the Phoenix force – an energy that has come to our planet to either annihilate us all or usher us into the next stage of human evolution. You know, depending upon which superhero team you’re on.
In Avengers Vs. X-Men #11, someone – and I’m not saying who – is going to bite the dust over that important decision.
If you’ve been watching this website’s fairly regular Biff Bam Popcast!, you’ll know that we’ve talked about the Avengers Vs. X-Men series on a couple of different occasions this summer. Well, the series is finally coming to its climactic end and issue #11, found today on your local comic book store shelves (physical and digital), is the penultimate chapter. “Round 11” is what Marvel Comics is calling it…and they’re promising a fatality.
As a whole, I’ve found that the series has been generally enjoyable so far. Less so for the actual storyline, and more for the philosophical and political distinction that has been drawn between Marvel’s most well known group of characters, the X-Men and the Avengers.
The Avengers are earth’s mightiest heroes, saving the world from its biggest and baddest of threats. Captain America. Thor. The Hulk. The Avengers are a near governmental institution and somewhat god-like, not just in appearance and stature, but also in terms of twentieth and twenty-first century pop-culture recognition. The X-Men, on the other hand, were born of the nineteen sixties human rights movement. Over the decades their stories have continued to show us that that movement is still in its development. Their themes and purpose are just as important today as they were a half-century ago. So, it’s been interesting to see these two forces so distinctly paired off against one another.
Sure, there have been some weakly written issues and some issues with weakly drawn art, and yes, the series has felt long-in-the-tooth around it’s middle chapters, but there have been memorable scenes and dialogue and story too. Spider-Man’s hopeless battle with Colossus comes to mind, as does witnessing a submissive Magneto to a powerful Emma Frost, while conversation between Black Panther and Iron Man is absolutely spellbinding. It’s these moments that have ushered the story forward and made the series so entertaining.
And now there’s a death. In an over-sized issue. Leading to what demands to be a meaningful epilogue.
For that alone, you need to make the run and pick up Avengers Vs. X-Men #11.
Once the series is concluded, I’m sure we here at Biff Bam Pop! will be discussing it on an upcoming Popcast! And you’re so clever, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about when one of us says: “The Phoenix Five plot device was soooo influenced by the original Highlander film that it made JLA: Tower of Babel look like a sequential art reproduction of Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy!” And someone else will say: “Whaaaa?”
Yep. That’s how clever you’ll be. And, of course, entertained.
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!