Posted August 4, 2012 by Jon Burrows in Books & Comics

Review: Avengers vs X-Men #9

Avengers vs X-Men #9 Review

As we enter the third act of Marvel’s year long event book, Spider-man shows himself again to be the most selfless hero in the Marvel universe.


The stage is now set for the final act of the event. Issues #7 and #8 served as our summer popcorn comics. By the end of issue #9 the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. Only two remain of the original phoenix five. Even one possesses enough power to obliterate life on Earth. Now that cosmic power has shifted to the 616’s main power couple. The issue starts out with the normal recap and throws us into Spidey’s beaten POV. It seems to be a Marvel tradition to put Spider-man through the wringer in each event. With great power comes great responsibility to take a holy beating for the team. I’ve greatly enjoyed seeing Spider-man as a mentor to a young hero and wish they had more time to devote to this dynamic. Perhaps this is simply to set the tone for his upcoming teenage sidekick?

Thanks to Dan Slott, we know Spidey had learned his own version of “Spider-fu” a martial arts fighting style unique to his abilities. Knowing this helps me to buy him more as an instructor than simply a lecturer. It’s also one of the main reasons some of the Marvel events fall flat for me at times. We know Spider-man is here because he’s an Avenger. He makes that much known to Hope. There’s the problem of coming up with a reason for the character to be in the situation for more than just being the best selling and most popular.

This issue is also putting into effect what we all know to be true. Power corrupts; every time, even in the hands of heroes. Magik and Colossus were barely stable before taking in the phoenix force. The former, spending unmeasured years in hell and losing her very soul, the latter currently the avatar of Cytorak and prone to mad fits of destruction. The power of this cosmic force of life and death is starting to shake it’s holders to their very core. Magik has brought a piece of hell to Earth to imprison any super-powered resistance. Emma Frost has lost control and has become a one-woman execution squad. Meanwhile Cyclops still thinks he is in control simply by remaining distant.

As the issue reaches it’s apex during the big prison break, Spidey makes the firm decision to step up and possibly sacrifice his life to let his team-mates escape. This is the point that strains the plot for me slightly. With as much power as the phoenix force gave Colossus and Magik, a little webbing shouldn’t slow them down that much. The head-on punch Spidey takes from Colossus would have driven his nose bone into his brain, or gone though his entire skull. From the beginning of the book, in his POV we’re shown how he can barely see, and his mask is filling with blood. I just don’t know why if Colossus and Magik were starting to lose their way, what would keep them from accidentally squashing the spider. In truest form, the skill that saves Spidey is his wisecracking smack talk. Those with power only fear losing it. He was able to place the seed of doubt long enough for Colossus and Magik to turn on each other.

In truest Marvel fashion, the art is incredible. Kubert does a stellar job capturing the tension of the atmosphere, the beauty of K’un Lun, and in sharp contrast the horror’s of Magik’s limbo prison. It’s the overall story of the event that has been muddy for me. I want to see how Iron Fist and K’un Lun fit in to all this. Will Hope become a cosmic being? Or will her temporary training allow her to harness this power, making her more of an immortal weapon like Iron Fist? Or is it just attempting to shoehorn the Phoenix’s story and give it a place in the contemporary Marvel universe, rather than just the X-Men books? Cyclops and Emma Frost are pissed and their is no opposing force to stop them. I’m anxious to see how the event will wrap up and lead into the new Marvel NOW continuity.

Using our Stark Tech comic book grading machine, I have fed in my review and the result computes as follows:

83/100 – Exemplary work.

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Jon Burrows

An exclusive writer for Geek Smash, Jon hails from Mississippi and has a passion for music, comic-books, and writing. He collects antique cars and enjoys shooting handguns. Jon sings in his church choir, volunteers his time helping the Salvation Army at local events and doubles as Santa during Christmas season.