As with the previous AVX VS issues, I’ll be talking about the two fights separately. I’m also ignoring my usual attempts to avoid spoilers because this issue is nothing but two extended fight scenes. The two fights are Angel vs. Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction, and Storm vs. Black Panther, written by Jason Aaron.
Angel vs. Hawkeye was just a big mess. The fight itself is a little hard to follow, but the worst part is that Hawkeye really shouldn’t have a chance here yet he still wins. Yes, I know that Hawkeye is a very good shot and some of his trick arrows can bring down helicarriers. Angel on the other hand can fly at supersonic speeds, fire metal spikes with perfect accuracy (he even struck one of Hawkeye’s arrows in mid-air in this fight), and he has a healing factor. That’s before his post-Dark Angel Saga upgrade. Now, he can resurrect dead bodies, he has energy-based attacks, he learns at an accelerated rate and he likely has more abilities that haven’t been revealed yet.
Worse yet, Angel is way out of character here. Since the Dark Angel Saga, Angel no longer refers to himself as Warren. Psylocke knows this, so why is she calling him Warren? Oh right … Psylocke is in this fight too. Angel has the mind of a child and he hates violence, so why is he acting aggressive here? Matt Fraction completely ignores all of Angel’s character development in the last year.
The worst part of the fight is how it ended though. Psylocke shows up and Hawkeye threatens to shoot her unless Warren gives up. Did Warren forget that he can shoot Hawkeye’s arrows straight out of the air? Why didn’t Psylocke simply use her telepathy to stop Hawkeye from being able to fire arrows, or sneak up on him and knock him out from behind (she is a telepathic ninja after all)? No, Warren listens to Hawkeye’s demands, so then Hawkeye shoots him in the chest. This entire fight was just a big mess and a complete waste of time, not to mention that it feels like it should have been printed months ago.
The Storm vs. Black Panther fight was much better. The married couple has the most emotionally painful fight in this entire event. As they punch each other, they’re narrating how much they regret they’re filled with. The narrations also point out that they have different ideas of what their marriage should be, which adds to the impact. It’s also nice to see someone utilize Storm’s fighting skills again. The end result – nobody wins this fight.
This fight likely took place within the first act of the story, but it’s fully understandable that they didn’t release the fight until now considering their marriage was just annulled in Avengers vs. X-Men 9 (They had to fix some of the dialogue as well, delaying this issue further). It’s not perfect in execution, but it’s still a very well written fight and the most emotional of all the fights in this event so far.
The art in both fights is great. The first fight has a lot of detail and everything is perfectly clear. The second fight isn’t as detailed, but it captures the emotions of Black Panther and Storm very well even when Storm’s eyes are completely white and you can’t see the Black Panther’s face. Their heads look a little big in some panels though.
Is this issue worth $4 for the Black Panther and Storm fight? It’s only worth it if you really want to see the end of their marriage. Don’t waste your money on this if you’re interested in the Hawkeye vs. Angel fight though, that one is pure trash even with its good art.