Comics Catch Up: “AvX” and the “Uncanny Avengers”
Trying to get a handle on how Marvel‘s Avengers VS. X-Men event led to the formation of the Uncanny Avengers? Ready for the debut of Cyclops’ new Uncanny X-Men team? Get caught up on months of mutant vs. superhero drama below!
Dear everybody everywhere who hates crossover events: I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I’m a sucker for them and I always have been. Companies like Marvel keep doing these epic events because I keep buying every single issue. I am the one responsible for their continued existence. I am a terrible person.
Except that sometimes? They’re a little bit awesome. Sometimes? There’s a kernel of something new and different and universe-altering and that’s pretty exciting. Sometimes? Characters die and they seem to…at least for now…stay dead! I know, right?! But I’m getting way ahead of myself.
Spoilers below, guys. On purpose so we can talk about stuff!
Last April, Marvel debuted a rapidly released event that pitted the Avengers against the X-Men. There were twelve rounds (issues) plus a 0 issue introduction, and then a 5 issue follow-up mini series entitled “Consequences”. There was also a side series that featured extended scenes of some individual Avengers vs. X-Men battles. A number of related titles had AVX-themed stories that gave a little more detail from specific characters’ perspectives. I particularly enjoyed the “New Avengers” issues. All told we’re talking well over 30 books to get the “whole story”. (Comixology has 35 listed; the hardcover only collects the main titles.)
So how much of this is essential information to keep up with “Uncanny Avengers” and the forthcoming “Uncanny X-Men”? Well, some big things did happen. Repercussions from AVX are absolutely being felt across many of the current Marvel comic books, just like after past successful events like “House of M” and “Civil War”. And honestly, if you aren’t familiar with the former, I’d start there before diving into AVX. Understanding the context of “No more mutants” is pretty important. In fact, if you’re really coming at this blind, feel free to leave a comment with your questions below or contact me via Twitter. I’ve spent way too much time contemplating the Scarlet Witch‘s place in the Marvel universe to not have some opinions on what you might want to read first. Assuming you’ve got a general grasp on the effects of Wanda’s past nuttiness, then, let’s take a look at some of what was revealed during and immediately after AVX.
We see evidence of that in AVX Round 12 (girl with wings) and in “Consequences” (Scott’s cellblock mate). This isn’t the same as lost powers being restored, but it’s definitely a sign that a more significant increase to the mutant population than we’ve seen in years is about to happen.
2. But Charles Xavier is dead. Yup, Scott Summers killed him at the end of AVX and so far it seems pretty permanent. Of course, I could just have that impression because the Red Skull literally stole his brain in “Uncanny Avengers” #1, so…
3. Or maybe he isn’t. We’re talking about the world’s greatest mind here, kids. I predict something along the lines of “You can take the brain out of Professor X, but you can’t take the Professor X out of the brain.”
4. Some past allegiances have crumbled. Just like during Civil War, AVX forced both mutants and humans to chose sides. Long standing allies (like Wolverine and Cyclops) and personal relationships (Storm and the Black Panther) fell apart during the fighting and its aftermath. I suspect that over time some of these rifts may be repaired, but there was a lot more sorrow and loss at the end of AVX than just Xavier’s death.
5. New partnerships are forming. That is, of course, the very nature of Steve Rogers‘ Uncanny Avengers team. The Avengers’ response to the threat of Hope Summers and the Phoenix Force was woefully inadequate and misguided, and Cap’s solution is to form a team that has both mutant and human interests in the hearts of its members. On the other side of the coin, however, is whatever it is Abigail Brand has planned with Magneto. She reveals her parentage to him – half alien, half mutant – in the same breath as her promise to keep warning him about threats to his interests. In turn, he and Cyclops communicate while Scott is in prison, and Magneto ultimately breaks him out. So we have a pretty deep line drawn in the sand moving forward: Captain America and his Uncanny Avengers on one side, Cyclops and his Uncanny X-Men, including Magneto, on the other.
6. Wakanda is destroyed. Poor T’Challa lost so much. His wife, his home, his people. We’ve already seen how this will impact his role with the Illuminati in “New Avengers” #1 and 2, but I’m including it here because I think Black Panther vs. Namor is going to be epic.
7. The Scarlet Witch is still the most powerful threat-slash-heroine out there. I have been saying this for years: it’s as if the Marvel powers that be realized they’d accidentally created a character with godlike powers but had no idea how to control her. She is, obviously, the catalyst for so many of these huge events in the Marvel universe, and so it’s fitting that she’s going to be part of the reconstruction in “Uncanny Avengers”. She’s so damn inconsistent, however. Cool and controlled enough to help Hope repel the Phoenix, but so open to suggestion that the Red Skull completely manipulates her (with Xavier’s brain’s help, like you do) in “Uncanny Avengers” #2. I am hoping very much that “Uncanny Avengers” writer Rick Remender can focus Wanda’s mess of a narrative into something that really works with the new title, because she has a lot of potential.
8. We all have to be patient. Shipping on “Uncanny Avengers” has been a mess. I’ve lost track of how many issues were delayed, but since #3 is out this week and the date on #1 was early October, maybe it just feels worse than it is. In any case, artist John Cassaday‘s last issue will be #4 and Daniel Acuña takes over as regular artist on #6. Quite a bummer for the so-called flagship of Marvel NOW! Personally, I wasn’t loving Cassaday’s work in #1 and #2, so I say bring on the changes. Ultimately, I’m excited about where “Uncanny Avengers” and “Uncanny X-Men” are taking these characters, so anything to alleviate the past delays is a good thing in my book.
“Uncanny Avengers” #3 is out on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
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