It’s a new year and with every new year comes a new mega event in the X-Men universe. This year Marvel offers up a battle between two of the biggest superhero teams in the Marvel Universe – the X-Men and the Avengers. Bernice Watson sets the scene…
Last year’s Cyclops vs. Wolverine show down in Schism was hyped by Marvel as the biggest thing that could ever happen in the X-Men universe but, then again, what mega event isn’t? It looks now like the creative team over at Marvel might just have managed to come up with an even more epic scenario. But it remains to be seen whether this latest clash between the two super teams will play out convincingly.
The world of the X-Men isn’t always an easy universe to break into for new readers and these annual mega events are even harder to jump into than the usual titles. By their very nature they represent a confluence of events and characters from across multiple titles, in this case including the Avengers. I decided to wade into the X-Men about a year ago and Avengers vs X-Men will be my first time following a large-scale event in single issues.
As a new reader I’m lucky to be free from the cynicism that some long time readers feel about the X-Men series and Marvel in general. For me, everything is still new and exciting. Perhaps after a decade of following the X-Men I too will begin to feel, like many fans, that Marvel is simply pillaging past storylines and repackaging them as new material. For now though I am blessed with a fresh-faced optimism about events as they unfold month by month. That being the case, I’m looking forward to Avengers vs X-Men kicking off in April.
Meet Hope Summers, the vaunted saviour of mutantkind and the first new mutant to be born after the devastating events of M-Day. A mutant of incredible power in her own right, Hope was raised in the future by Cable and now forms part of Cyclops’ X-Men team in Uncanny X-Men. Hope is in many ways a mystery; no one knows exactly what the ultimate effects of her existence might mean for the future but many believe she represents the last chance for the endangered mutant race. However, Hope is about to become the centre of a confrontation that will set friends and allies against one another.
The Phoenix Force is on its way back to Earth and it’s going to need a new host. Unpredictable and powerful on a galactic scale, the Phoenix Force can be an unequalled ally or a terrible foe. Now the question is, could Hope be the new host that the Phoenix force is seeking? Faced with the possibility that Hope might not be able to handle the awesome power of the Phoenix Force and that the world may instead be facing the threat of another Dark Phoenix, The Avengers will stop at nothing to prevent Hope from hosting the Phoenix Force.
The Team Behind the Event
Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief, Marvel Entertainment announced enthusiastically on the Marvel website recently, “We’ve brought together the biggest writers, biggest artists and biggest characters for the biggest story we’ve ever told. This is the kind of high-octane action-packed story that fans demand while also having a profound effect on every character involved – and reshaping the Marvel Universe in its wake.”
Taking the writing reins on the 12-issue, bi-monthly event are Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. Jason Aaron is of course already the writing talent behind Wolverine and the X-Men, and his snappy dialogue and keen sense of humour have made the series the most eagerly anticipated on my pull list. Taking point on the art are big names John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert.
In the Meantime…
Although the event itself doesn’t kick off until April there is a four issue limited series that acts as a prologue to the main attraction. Avengers X-Sanction started in December and lays some more groundwork for Avengers vs X-Men. Jeph Loeb is taking on writing duties here alongside artists Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines.
Additionally, there will be an issue #0 released in March written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Frank Cho. In their official press release Marvel says, “With all eyes on Wanda and the Mutant Messiah, both sides have already made up their mind on where allegiances should lie… but what about those caught in the middle?”
Also worth bearing in mind is the fact that Marvel has announced a tie-in series titled simply AvX: Versus that will focus solely on one-on-one fights between Avengers and X-Men. The tie-in title will feature a variety of creative teams and provide a more detailed look at the struggle between the two super-teams.
In a recent press conference Marvel Executive Tom Brevoort had this to say, “In a nutshell, as we’ve said in the past, in Avengers vs X-Men, we’re only doing tie-ins in our core Avengers and X-Men titles, AvX: Versus is the least essential read of AvX, but it will probably be the most bestselling. It is literally the fight book.” The first round will showcase Iron Man against Magneto by Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert.
Essential Background Reading
Wolverine and the X-Men
Titles to Follow
Avengers vs X-Men
Avengers vs X-Men: Versus
Wolverine and the X-Men