Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Following on from events in the series’ issue 0 prequel and the Avengers X-Sanction mini-series, issue 1 of this year’s 2012 Marvel mega-event really gets into the meat of the story. When the Avengers are warned by a beaten and bloody member of the Intergalactic Nova Corps that the Phoenix Force is tearing across the galaxy towards Earth they can’t help but wonder who is destined to play host to the parasitic energy force. Meanwhile, on Utopia, Hope Summers has already manifested the Phoenix Force once and Cyclops feels that Hope-as-Phoenix might be the last chance for mutantkind.
I think my favourite part of this entire issue was the double page spread of the Phoenix Force as it rips through an alien metropolis on its way to Earth. Not only is this splash page awesome to look at in its own right but it does a wonderful job of underlining the destructive reality of the Phoenix Force and the volatile nature of its power. Contrast this with the very young, stubborn, and inexperienced girl who is its intended host and you can appreciate why the Avengers are determined to do anything they can to prevent Hope and the Phoenix Force becoming one.
I found the dialogue in this issue very cheesy at points and this did detract somewhat from my enjoyment. This seemed to be particularly true of the Avengers in the opening pages. Having said that, I enjoyed Spider-Man’s dialogue ad it made a nice counterpoint to the more bombastic tone favoured by the likes of Thor. By contrast, the scripting of the X-Men felt far more natural and I thought it had a much more realistic flow.
The gauntlet has well and truly been thrown down now and while the planet awaits the arrival of the Phoenix Force two of the greatest superhero teams the world has ever known will duke it out over the fate of Hope Summers. 8/10