After an issue-long fight in AVX 2 that needed to be expanded in several tie-ins, Issue three is a slower issue that’s more about setting up the next issue than anything else. It establishes exactly where Wolverine stands, shows more of Hope on the run, and has the X-Men and the Avengers racing to find her first. But is it any good?
Well, there’s both good and bad in this issue. While Captain America still feels like he’s taking the wrong stance in this issue, Iron Man points that out very well. There are a couple references to some of the tie-ins, but that can be considered both good and bad. Apparently the X-Men lost the last issue’s fight – nice of the last issue to establish that <sarcasm>. This review will try to avoid spoilers.
First, let’s talk about the good. While this issue doesn’t move the plot forward much, it does a good job at moving the chess pieces around. Cyclops officially surrendered to the Avengers in the last issue, but that could have been a part of his plan to begin with. The X-Men’s escape plan was brilliant. The fight between Wolverine and Captain America, while brief, was satisfying. It was also nice to see more of Hope’s resourcefulness as she masks herself from Cerebra technology from spare parts. There were also several great twists in this issue.
Now, let’s talk about the bad. While yes, this issue does reference some of the tie-in material; it doesn’t tell you which tie-in had the X-Men issuing a public statement. This happened in the very good Uncanny X-Men 11 in case you are curious. It also makes this event feel as if it’s not self-contained. The fact that Marvel has a full mini-series dedicated to expanding on some of the fights doesn’t help. While Cyclops feels in character here, Captain America is uncharacteristically brutal even though this issue’s being written by Ed Brubaker (longtime writer of Captain America). Even with his confrontation with Wolverine, Captain America throws the first punch. You’d think Wolverine would do that.
The artwork, while not bad, still isn’t anything special. You’d think Marvel would hire its best artists for a major event like this, but the artwork here is just ok. In one panel in particular, the X-Men teleport to Long Beach and none of the surrounding population even notice.
So far, the main event isn’t turning out so well. It’s hard to feel any sympathy for either team at this moment. The Avengers should be asking the X-Men for help, considering they have much more experience with the Phoenix Force. The X-Men do feel like the victims here, but they should have at least tried to convince the Avengers to work together. Either way, there weren’t enough negotiations to begin with. In fact, only Wolverine feels like he’s right here. He can see the big picture and while his plan is brutal, it’s the most likely to succeed. Hope’s position is fully understandable as well, considering she’s the likely avatar of the phoenix and was told by Cable (her “adoptive” father) that she was Earth’s only hope.
There’s still plenty of potential for this event, but perhaps the creative team should have taken more time to plan it out. After all, we readers could use a break from event comics anyway.
That said, this was a much better issue than number 2. In fact, it’s the best issue of the main event so far. You also can’t fault this event for its pacing – the first major fight has already happened and the next chapter has been established. Everything you need to know is explained on the recap page or the first few pages of the comic. I’ll let you decide whether this issue sounds interesting or not because I’m not sure whether it’s worth recommending.
Other comics I read this week include Venom 17, Amazing Spider-Man 685, Earth 2 #1, Age of Apocalypse 3 and Wolverine and the X-Men Alpha & Omega 5 (of 5).
Venom 17 was great as usual. It kick starts what could be an epic storyline that pits Venom against not only the Sinister Six, but against Eddie Brock (the first Venom) as Carnage. Not a bad jumping on issue either.
Amazing Spider-Man 685 was decent, but not as good as the last three issues. While we’re only four issues into Spider-Man’s big story of the year (six if you include the prelude in space), it’s already starting to feel like it’s dragging on. I don’t know, maybe it’s because there were only four months between Spider Island and the prelude to this. As much as the stakes are higher, it doesn’t feel quite as good so far. I still recommend it, but carefully so.
Earth 2 #1 was good, but not great. It ties closely to World’s Finest 1 as it shows what happened the day Power Girl and Huntress somehow left Earth 2. It’s a complete story on its own and establishes the situation on Earth 2. Basically, it’s about what would have happened if all the superheroes died in the battle that took place in the first story arc of Justice League. Check it out if that interests you.
Age of Apocalypse 3 was good. It shows the recently depowered humans training for combat while some of the other humans begin a raid on one of Weapon X’s cloning facilities. It’s very dark, but still fairly good. Not sure what else to say.
Wolverine and the X-Men Alpha & Omega 5 was good. Not sure what to say without spoiling anything, not that it’s a surprise. Beast probably shouldn’t have been on the cover considering he wasn’t even in this mini-series. The last few pages didn’t feel like they accomplished much though.