Review: Avengers vs X-Men #7

Script: Matt Fraction

Pencils: Oivier Coipel

As the Phoenix Five’s hubris continues to increase, cracks begin to show in their solidarity and in Cyclops’ leadership. In fact, emotions are bubbling over in number of areas among the Five with the potential for cataclysmic consequences. Meanwhile, Cyclops continues to believe that the Phoenix Five represent a utopian future for the whole planet.

Warning: Spoilers follow.

This issue sees our first fatality in this struggle between X-Men and Avengers, or so we think. However, unsurprisingly it turns out that the Phoenix Five can regenerate even the charred husk of a man so the unlucky fellow is going to be just fine. Although this does align with the Phoenix Five’s determination not to kill unnecessarily it also can’t help but remind the reader that, in comics, characters very rarely die for real. So it looks like, no matter how dire the circumstances may seem, lives really aren’t on the line in this fight. That being the case, some of the narrative tension does drain away.

Something I’m enjoying, largely because it’s so unexpected, is that the X-Men are rapidly becoming the bad guys here. I had expected this event to continue to be a struggle between two groups of heroes who both had right on their side to one degree or another. But increasingly the X-Men are becoming benevolent tyrants motivated by an extreme case of siege mentality. By contrast the Avengers are the voice of reason in this conflict. As an X-Men fan I had expected to be solidly on the side of the mutants but I find myself cringing away from their high-handed treatment of everyone around them. They say pride comes before a fall and I have a feeling the Phoenix Five, and by extension all the X-Men, are going to hit the ground hard before this event is over.

As mentioned in the review of #6, it’s great to see the Scarlet Witch has entered the fray at last. She is surely going to be instrumental in bringing this confrontation to an end. Rumours have been flying regarding what is coming up in the Marvel universe following the conclusion of AvX and I have a feeling that the Scarlet Witch and her reality-altering powers will be at the centre of events later this year. Meanwhile her slight resistance to the Phoenix’s power makes her the Avengers’ best and only weapon against the Phoenix Five while Tony Stark struggles to find some countermeasure to their cosmic powers.

Olivier Coipel is on pencils this month and he does a great job capturing all the emotion of this story arc. I particularly liked his deft hand on the facial expressions of all the characters. Poor old Captain America is looking more stressed in every panel while Coipel perfectly captures Namor’s growing frustration and aggression, and Tony Starks guilt at having been the unintentional creator of the Phoenix Five.

Issue seven ends with a splash meaning issue eight promises to be action packed. 7/10

Bernice Watson

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