Review: Avengers vs X-Men, issue 8

Script: Brian Michael Bendis

Pencils: Adam Kubert

Last issue Namor finally snapped, having had enough of Cyclops’ liberal attitude towards the Avengers. Deciding it was time to unleash some death and destruction, he took off for Wakanda to show the world, and the Avengers, what the Phoenix Five are really capable of. This month, as the cracks continue to show in the unity of the Phoenix Five, the Avengers try to bring down the Five one by one starting with King Namor of Atlantis.

Warning: Spoilers follow.

I’m not 100% clear why Namor has suddenly slipped into violent destroyer mode except that he has never been one of the most cerebral of characters and I guess, being a man of action, he just can’t get on board with Scott’s agenda. That and he’s being egged on by Emma Frost who has always been a morally ambiguous character at the best of times and who also seems to have little patience for Cyclops’ pussyfooting around. Ultimately, if this story is going to be a lesson in power corrupting I suppose someone had to start the ball rolling and it might as well be Namor. Those readers also following Wolverine and the X-Men will know that Colossus paid court to Kitty Pryde and was less than chivalrous when she rejected his overtures. So it seems that the cosmic power of the Phoenix is doomed to bring out the worst in all the Five.

Anyway, the interesting thing about this issue is that, using a combination of all their powers in combination with the efforts of the Scarlet Witch, the Avengers were actually able to bring down Namor. Upon the arrival on the scene of the rest of the Five Namor’s portion of the Phoenix Force reverted to the remaining four members. So, we now have a Highlander scenario on our hands where, as each member of the Five falls, the others become more powerful. Surely, as their sense of loyalty erodes under the influence of the Phoenix Force, they will begin to conspire against one another to be the last man (or woman) standing. But can the world withstand a civil war between four god-like contenders for ultimate galactic power? The odds aren’t great. Regardless, my money is on Emma Frost as the next one to turn on her fellows.

As this event draws towards its conclusion I begin to feel increasingly that the X-Men, the Phoenix Five specifically, are not going to come out looking good. Many of their fellow mutants who initially supported them have abandoned their cause and they are looking less and less like gentle benefactors and more like rampaging god-children with every issue. It’s true to say that of all of them perhaps Cyclops has retained the clearest sense of purpose but even his condescending superiority is getting tough to swallow. Now that even Professor X is opposing them you have to think that the clock is ticking on their global dictatorship. 8/10

Bernice Watson

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