Review: Avengers vs X-Men #12

Script: Jason Aaron

Pencils: Adam Kubert

Well, with just a little hiccup with the release date, it’s finally here. The big finale of Avengers vs X-Men.

After killing Professor X and turning into Dark Phoenix in the previous issue, Cyclops now rains death and destruction down on the Earth. Seemingly unstoppable, the Avengers only have one final chance to stop the power-mad leader of the X-Men – Hope. Where technology and brute force have failed Captain America and his combined team of Avengers and mutants can only pray that between the two of them Hope and the Scarlet Witch can take down Cyclops.

Warning: Spoilers follow.

Somewhere along the way in this event I decided that it was going to end with the death of Cyclops. Given the rumours that Marvel intends to bring the original X-Men team, including a young Scott Summers, forward in time after the conclusion of AvX this seemed like a totally reasonable prediction. So convinced was I that this was how it was all going to go down that I have to confess I’m a little disappointed that he survived. Instead, divested of the Phoenix Force by Hope, Cyclops has been taken into custody by the Avengers.

This issue was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Scripted by one of my favourite writers, Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-Men), it had plenty of nice, snappy dialogue throughout. Kubert’s pencils were more than up to the task and there were a number of impressive splash pages as well as varied panel layouts and some great action sequences. I liked Hope’s brief transformation into Phoenix with the nice variation on the classic Jean Grey/Phoenix costume but in gold and white. The return of new mutants to Earth neatly brings us full circle since the events of M Day and completes an overarching storyline that has been in development since House of M in 2005.

One thing in particular that I didn’t enjoy was the closing scene between Captain America and Cyclops. Shackled and beaten, Cyclops is given a condescending talking to by an irate Captain America while Wolverine looms menacingly in the shadows. Two things about this struck me as wrong:

Firstly, how many times have characters in the Marvel universe been possessed by evil forces and compelled to do evil? Yet they are forgiven. Apparently, though, Scott is to be held personally responsible for the actions of the Phoenix Five.

Secondly, Cyclops was right. He was right all along. Hope was the answer, she was the only way to save mutantkind and she was the only one who could deal with the Phoenix Force. Had the Avengers not interfered there would have been no need for the catastrophic events of AvX. The only wildcard was the Scarlet Witch who helped Hope let go of the Phoenix Force, otherwise Scott’s original plan was totally correct. Yet somehow, Captain America is now able to treat Scott like a vanquished uber-villain. It just doesn’t feel right.

Despite having to suffer through Captain America’s heavy-handed, holier-than-thou speechifying at the end of this issue, readers can enjoy a refreshing counter-scene in Uncanny X-Men #19 that shows Scott jubilant and unrepentant when he realises that mutantkind has been saved. The final panel is particularly awesome.

The final issue in Avengers vs X-Men leaves plenty of fertile ground for upcoming post-AvX series and in many ways there are still a number of unresolved plot points. What a coincidence since, as it happens, Marvel is releasing a five issue follow-up series, AvX: Consequences, which will cover the fall-out from the main series.  How convenient!  8/10

Bernice Watson

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