x-men

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So, I guess the first question to get out of the way is the obvious one – Do we really need another X-Title?  Well, here’s the short answer…if it’s written by Jason Aaron, then yes, yes we do.   The thing about the X-men books right now is that they are strong across the board and the flagship titles (Uncanny, All-New, Wolverine and The X-men) are really knocking it out of the park.  Therefore, any new book needs to fire on all cylinders right out of the gate to warrant a place on the pull list.

Rest easy, True Believers, Amazing X-Men is everything we’ve come to expect from a Jason Aaron comic not titled Scalped.  Aaron lays down a healthy dose of bombast, wit, and absurdity.  Oh, and swashbuckling.  There is definitely swashbuckling.

For me personally, one of the most tragic moments in recent X-memory was the death of Nightcrawler.  In general, I don’t pay a lot of attention to character deaths in the big two.  Death is most generally a temporary condition in the world of mainstream comics.  Because of this, character deaths very rarely have the writer intended impact of me.  However, Nightcrawler’s death was one that got my attention.  It was well done and it fit with the character.  Of course, Nightcrawler was also one of those somewhat rare universally loved characters.  Because of those reasons I had mixed feelings about Nightcrawler’s return.  When a character’s death actually has an impact, I sort of want said character to stay dead otherwise there’s potential for the death to be cheapened.  Also, characters tend to return from the dead in contrived ways (I’m looking at you Jason Todd).  To Jason Aaron’s credit, he just straight up hangs a lamp-shade on the whole issue of Nightcrawler returning from the dead, by making it just that.  Nightcrawler is 100% dead at the beginning of this issue, no clones, no time displacement, no reality punching.  Nightcrawler is in heaven, he’s bored and he’s going to be heading back to life.  It’s as simple as that.

Now, that the preliminary stuff is all out of the way let’s get to the meat, shall we?  How is the issue itself?

Exceptionally entertaining.

This comic reads a lot like Wolverine and the X-Men and that is by no means a bad thing.  As a matter of fact, this issue seems to indicate that Amazing may be a sister title to Wolverine and the X-Men in the same way that Uncanny X-Men is related to All-New X-Men.  Jason gives us a solid quick introduction to the major players and their various character dynamics.  Wolverine and Storm are arguing and flirting in equal measure.  Beast is careening through the school on the trail of those mischevious bamfs.  Iceman is having some lady problems.  It’s all great stuff and worth the price of admission.  Perhaps most interesting for those who have followed Wolverine and the X-Men is that we are finally getting some explanation on what the bamfs are and what they are up to (unsurprising hint #1, it’s got something to do with Nightcrawler).  And it’s the bamfs that bring the principle characters together and pull Wolverine and Northstar into the afterlife and right on track to meet up with that ubiquitous blue elf we all know and love.

9/10

50th Anniversary of The X-Men

JordanDWhite250We had the pleasure of talking with Marvel Comics Editor, Jordan D. White about everything X-Men leading up to the mega crossover, Battle of the Atom.

This crossover brings together the fractured X-Men teams against a threat from within just in time for the 50th anniversary of one of the most important franchises in comics. Jordan discusses where a number of different X-Books are and how they got there.

We also talk about how we got into X-Men comics including 90s Excaliber, Marvel trading cards, and why we love the X-Men.

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Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Hero Flip Floppers

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Sometimes a good guy goes bad. Or rather, a protagonist becomes an antagonist. Villains become heroes more often then the other way but there are times where some of the best go down a dark path. Adam and Nick discuss a few notable twists in the lives of the best heroes. Some of these number in our lists of favorite comic stories of all-time. Check out why we think these characters made these changes and why they are important stories.

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Win Free Marvel Comics of your choice by leaving us iTunes reviews. Click HERE to find out how!

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

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Marvel Now has been out for a few months now and has proven it’s proven itself as more than a gimmick. New titles, reinvented characters, and new rosters make Marvel Now the most talked about initiative in comics in the last 6 months. Adam and Nick go through each title and break down what’s been going on.

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It’s our BEST of 2012 Podcast!

That’s right, it’s the first annual Boxies! We pick:

  • Best Comic of the Year
  • Best New Comic of the Year
  • Best Super Hero Movie of the Year
  • Best Writer of the Year
  • Best Animated Show of the Year
  • Best Genre TV Show of the Year
  • Best Artist of the Year
  • Best Fight of the Year

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  • Rate Us
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Doing this really helps us move up in the rankings which means more people will find this show! We, obviously, don’t make any money on this. We are just doing it for the pats on the backs and power…MAN do we love the POWER

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

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Episode 27 is everything AvX! 2012′s summer blockbuster is examined and discussed. This epic 12 part mini series crossed over to almost every X-Men and Avengers title and concluded with AvX Consequences.

Marvel promised that this would have a big impact on the Marvel Universe and it really did. We discuss the big death, what this means to the Marvel Universe, and where it looks like it will go from here.

Listen to the episode directly here.

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Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard, Professor X) and John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek) appeared together onstage at a Q&A panel at the 2012 Wizard World Ohio Comic Con.  I found Patrick to be humble and good-natured, but a bit hesitant to discuss Star Trek.  De Lancie was quick to point out he has only appeared in nine total episodes of the series, but he was eager to discuss his time on the show.

On Columbus, Ohio:  Mr. Stewart has been to the state before, when he spent six weeks in the dry town of Oberlin, Ohio as the visiting artist in residence at Oberlin College, but this was his first time in Columbus.  He said he was delighted at the city’s wide-open spaces, joking that he felt it was unfinished.  Furthermore he crossed two brand new bridges and remarked on how rare it is for any city to have even one brand new bridge.  The cherry on top of his visit was when he turned a corner and found two DeLoreans parked on the street.  It is assumed that neither of these was the Back to the Future DeLorean, as it was also on hand this weekend, but instead two separate DeLoreans.

On playing Professor X:  Many of his acting tools were removed by sitting in a wheel chair.  Stewart enjoyed finding a way to work around that, but one notable difference with playing a character in a wheelchair was that when the director yelled cut, everyone on set would sit down to take a break.  At which time, Mr. Stewart would stand up!  He claimed no knowledge of the rumored X-Men: First Class Sequel.

On the grammar in Star Trek: The Next Generation:  The grammar was persistently flawless because Jonathan Frakes’ father was an English teacher.  Frakes insisted everything be perfect to honor his parent.

Midway through the hour Patrick opened the show for questions from the audience at which point a voice boomed from the back of the meeting hall, interrupting him mid-sentence, “Who is your favorite nemesis!?”  It was John de Lancie, who then joined Stewart onstage.

On the difference between playing Shakespeare as a young man and playing Shakespeare now: “The longer you do any job, the better you get at it.”  They both said they were fearless when they were younger and willing to throw themselves into any role.  Mr. de Lancie has lost interest in acting as he’s aged, while Mr. Stewart contrasts the fear he felt in his youth with the fun and excitement he feels now.  Patrick told a story of filming the Star Trek pilot without packing his suitcase because he was terrified he would be fired before it wrapped.

On two Shakespearean actors playing opposing roles: the show’s writers recognized what they had in an early episode and wrote the dialog between Picard and Q based on what they knew the actors could deliver. Very little interactions between the two characters were improvised.

On playing Q:  de Lancie found a way to make and omnipotent character interesting by playing him as an omnipotent character that was too stupid to realize he was omnipotent.  Mr. de Lancie filled the crowd in on the one scene where Q actually broke the fourth wall and addressed the audience.  It was a deleted scene from the Qpid episode where the crew was sent back to medieval times, Picard became Robin Hood, the bridge crew became the Merry Men, and Q became the Sheriff of Nottingham.  A guard told Q he was excited for the following day, where there was a wedding and an execution scheduled, and then left the room.  Q then turned to stare at the audience and said, “But I thought all weddings were executions.”

On Q’s best rival: When Q appeared on Voyager, the writers never addressed the elephant in the room, which was whether or not there was a romantic attraction between Janeway and Q.  Picard and Q were portrayed as two alpha males competing with each other, which de Lancie enjoyed the most.

On Current Projects: John has recently performed voice-acting roles in My Little Pony and the Quantum Conundrum video game.  When appearing on Breaking Bad, he could tell it was a special show from the quality of the writing and the care taken in the filming process, similar to what Star Trek was like.  De Lancie has done much of what he set out to accomplish with acting and is focusing on developing his skills as a sailor so that he can make a voyage on his sailboat to the southern sea.

professor x charles xavier short box podcast

Seriously….Spoilers!

short box podcast comic booksSo….I saw this coming. I know, I know…everyone says that. You are also thinking, this wasn’t THAT surprising. Well…yeah.

But I KNEW it was coming. The reason I knew for an absolute certainty that this was going to happen was the solicitation for X-Men Legacy for the Marvel Now initiative.

There is almost always a book that is launched as a result of something big that happens near the end of large events. It’s a safe call because people get wrapped up in these big stories and they want a natural place to go from there. X-Men Legacy seemed the most obvious choice for a move like that but something had to happen to kick it off first.

I’m going to get this out of the way right now. Professor X is dead…again.

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The Death of Professor X

Comic Book Spoilers Short Box

 

The reason I saw this coming with a certainty is because they gave his son his own book called LEGACY! The upcoming writer of X-Men Legacy staring Professor X’s Legion, Simon Spurrier, said the he will be “embracing his father’s legacy”. Hmm… Simon Spurrier then went to tell Newsarama this in another article about the upcoming book:

Newsarama: So will we see Legion exploring the world at large, and not just the X-Men’s corner of it?

Spurrier: Very much so. In fact — by way of example — the very first episode sees David interacting with a whole host of amazing non-mutant characters, and really stamping his name on the bedrock of the Marvel U as a result.

Well, that certainly reads like a funeral doesn’t it? Ha.

Personally, I really enjoy Legion and have felt for years that he hasn’t been able to see his potential because no writer has put him in the spotlight. I’m looking forward to this.

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“I’m prepared to END this, you know. I’m prepared to STOP Scott, no matter WHAT the cost.”

Avengers #29 was one of the most telling of hints to Xavier’s upcoming doom as well. Xavier was a member of the Illuminati and this represented his membership in the larger Marvel Universe. During what would be his goodbye tour, he met up with this group one last time to discuss the Avengers’ war with the Phoenix.

There were other hints in different books but these few interactions were OBVIOUS. It’s like he knew he was going to die.

 

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Click for full image

So, that’s how I KNEW this was going to happen. After that, every encounter Xavier had took a new meaning and it became apparent that all the writers that had a chance to write him during AvX couldn’t help but drop hints. One of the most important issues in AvX concerning Xavier’s upcoming death was Wolverine and the X-Men #15.

If you have seen Star Trek II, you know that Spock is going to die when he goes to McCoy to implant his memories (and soul as it turns out) in his head. Well, it looks like THIS McCoy had the same thing happen to him suddenly in this issue of Wolverine and The X-Men.

Look at the energy mark of Xavier touching Beast. Look at the glow afterward in Beast’s eyes. Look at what he was looking at. Ok…what does all that mean? Well, we know that (again thanks to advance Marvel Now solicits) that the original X-Men are going to travel in time to exist side-by-side with characters of the current Marvel Universe. How are they going to get here? Why are they coming? I think Xavier implanted something in Beast’s head here that will relate to that event.

So those are just two ways that Xavier’s death will impact Marvel Now and the Marvel Universe post AvX. I think the impact will be bigger than other casualties of Marvel events because of how central Xavier at least WAS to the X-Men universe.

I wonder if the original X-Men will be plucked from a point in time after Xavier died the first time. The first time you say? Yes! He was seemingly killed by the villain Grotesk in X-Men #42 (February-March 1968), only to turn up alive and well in X-Men #65 (February 1970). You find out in issue #65 that Xavier had been replaced by another mutant named Changeling prior to being killed. He would then spend years in space with Shi‘ar Empress, Lilandra before rejoining his X-Men and back and forth from that point on. He would die again when his son, Legion, accidentally killed him in the past which led to the creation of the Age of Apocalypse (we’ll skip past the implications of that for now).

The reason, I believe, that Xavier was killed was because the impact he can have on the Marvel Universe is greater in death than in life. As a martyr, Xavier’s recent misdeeds will get swept under the rug of sacrifice. It’s similar to what was attempted with Hal Jordan in the 90′s. What misdeeds you ask? Well, here’s the reason Professor X has been relegated to the sidelines by his own students in the past few years:

  • It was revealed he tried to kill his twin sister in the womb which lead to her committing the largest act of genocide in Mutant history.
  • His part (as a member of the Illuminati) in shooting the Hulk into space which lead to World War Hulk.
  • Onslaught.
  • Turning the Danger Room into his personal slave after he knew it had evolved and became sentient.
  • The creation of the Xavier Protocol was his version of what Batman did in JLA: Tower of Babel. He developed a way to take out his own students, which like Batman, were stolen and used against them.
  • Putting together a team of untrained mutants to rescue the X-Men, getting them almost all killed, and wiping the memory of their very existence from his students…including Vulcan, who was Cyclops own BROTHER!

The worst offense is that he uses children to fight his battles while constantly quiting and taking space vacations. Xavier never believed in his own dream as much as his students did. He became redundant and his every appearance just reminded you of his failures. I believe the character became hard to identify with, sad, and just plain embarrassing to the X-Men. His death was just the final straw of his spiral over the course of the last 13 years. I’m hoping Xavier’s death spurs his son to get his act together and step up as one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe in time for his father to see him like that with his eventual return to life.

Click on the images below to see more on the death of Professor Charles Xavier from AvX #11.

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Breakdowns – Avengers Vs. X-Men

Part 3: Round 3

When I go to a comic shop or a con, people generally ask me if I keep up with normal weeklies.
My answer is usually that I try, but most of the time, that’s not really true.
Usually I shotgun through and paraphrase, so I have a concept of what happened to what character.

This is me basically doing that to large scale crossovers for you, this series in particular being the megaseries Avengers Vs. X-Men. I’ve broken up the ongoing by rounds, as to not make me write a huge, long terrifying thing about the series as a whole.

And so, we come to Round Three: A Whole Lot Of Kids Making Choices.

Before we make it to….. the confusing tale of the youths involved, I have to broach the subject of Wolverine, and exactly where he is during the entirety of this.

Now honestly, I’m not reading these as they come out, but the general assumption is that AvX #3 is what kicked off Round Three, and that makes everything a bit more confusing.

Let me Explain.

At the end of AvX #3, which I can gloss over because the tie-ins just repeat the main action of the issue, which is a pretty great feature of this series from a review standpoint, We see Wolverine being dumped off in what is assumedly a polar cap because he’s “too involved”.

Anyone could have seen that coming.

But, my main confusion is that, in the round three Avengers Academy tie ins, HE’S DROPPING OFF THE STUDENTS OF THE JEAN GREY SCHOOL.

So, his logically transition thus far is as such: Burned to a crisp by Hope/Phoenix, regenerated and thrown in a black bodysuit, then somehow on a quintet with his blue and gold costume, dropping off the students of the Jean Grey School and talking shop with a naked Hercules and Tigra, and then kicked out of an airlock by Captain America because he’s too deeply involved in the conflict. But, were that true, why weren’t the students in the quintet? And if they were, there is a telepath in that group. Nobody wants to warn Logan that some dumb crap is gonna happen?

From AvX #3, which basically has Iron Man being confused and upset over Cyclops’ concession to the Avengers from AvX #2, and then everyone, including Rachel Summers (who was formerly one with the phoenix force, and is also from the future) looking for Hope, who is using a piece of technology she assembled herself to keep one step ahead of everyone.

This is the same Hope that was being combat trained, and failing quite badly, last issue.
I just want to let that one sink in.

Anyway, moving on.

TIE-IN: Avengers Academy #29-31

This series sets up a couple weird angles, the first of which being Sebastian Shaw.
For those not in the know, Shaw was the leader of the Hellfire Club back when Jean Grey was the Phoenix, and basically he can absorb and break down energy attacks into strength. He was also one of the dudes that headed up the sentinel initiative, which I guess is a fun fact that they play into in #31.

But anyway, he gets brought over the the Academy with one of my favorite Canadians, Madison Jefferies, also known as the mutant Alpha Flighter, Box. This is a confusing element, because for some reason Shaw became amazingly aggressive than we had seen him previously in the story lines involving Utopia.

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But the best part, and this is the theme of Round 3, his resistance was basically toothless. It was a stratagem for the kids of the Jean Grey school AND the kids of the Avengers Academy to potentially join the war that by all means wasn’t even going on.

Sigh.

The second big variable in this series, and probably the entirety of Round Three is X-23. The former X-Forcer and current Avengers Academy member, she’s actually facing a lot of the same dumb pressures as the father that she was cloned from. Which is great, because we don’t see her in a lot of places of conflict in general, but the approach to this was actually not that well done. She has no consistent opinions on the war, and even when she does make decisions, she looks like she’ll backdoor out of them at any point. Which is frustrating, because man, do I want to care.

TIE-IN: Wolverine And The X-Men #10

The art is actually pretty great, but see my previous point about Wolverine. Also, this “war” is actually getting more pointless and toothless by the titles involved.

TIE-IN: X-Men: Legacy #266-267

This has an odd, two issue focus on Rogue about how she doesn’t feel like she can keep her anger in check, because she actually did decimate the majority of the Avengers in the earlier parts of her career.

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We also get introduced to perhaps the worst diplomatic team in Avengers history just showing up on academy grounds for no real reason and unsettling the pot for everyone. This team consists of She Hulk, Falcon and Moon Knight, which is a pretty blatant incident waiting to happen.

Also, Moon Knight is a reality TV star in that reboot nobody read, and if you didn’t know that by now, he doesn’t shut up about it here.

So, basically an incident happens. in the form of Frenzy just losing it against She-Hulk. And basically the battle boils down to Rogue, absorbing everyone’s powers, destroying a hollow suit of Iron Man armor.

Then, we learn that Rogue is going to join the fight, which leads us into Round 3.5: JOURNEY INTO SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE.

Breakdowns – Avengers Vs. X-Men
Part 2: Rounds 1 and 2.

When I go to a comic shop or a con, people generally ask me if I keep up with normal weeklies.
My answer is usually that I try, but most of the time, that’s not really true.
Usually I shotgun through and paraphrase, so I have a concept of what happened to what character.

This is me basically doing that to large scale crossovers for you, this series in particular being the megaseries Avengers Vs. X-Men. I’ve broken up the ongoing by rounds, as to not make me write a huge, long terrifying thing about the series as a whole.

So, here’s Rounds One and Two, starting with Avengers Vs. X-Men #0.

We open on MODOK, hunting down a former A.I.M. scientist in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He attacks with a flurry of what can only be described as “Random animals that have rockets attached to them, cybernetically”, including a dinosaur head that is strapped to a booster rocket with its mouth wide open.

Who comes to the rescue? Scarlet Witch!
Remember Scarlet Witch?
You know, the one that basically cracked a universe in half and then wiped out the majority of the mutant population? Well, she’s back, I guess.
I realize that she didn’t do a lot of that on her own accord, but I can’t help stacking facts like that, because before that? She was only known for marrying The Vision and making our with Hawkeye.

Anyway, Scarlet Witch shows up, and dispatches (with the help of Carol Danvers and Jessica Drew) the utter insanity that MODOK has surrounded himself with, all the while MODOK kind of tries to talk trash. I say that he tries to talk trash, when really he’s just expressing our concern as readers that hey, Scarlet Witch may not be the best option for super heroism right now.

So, anyway, Jess and Carol figure that bygones are basically bygones with Scarlet Witch and the rest of the Avengers, which is a really dumb conclusion to come to, because guess who’s back and REALLY doesn’t want to see his ex-wife? The Vision, you guys.

Vision makes it a point that Scarlet Witch isn’t a part of the gang anymore, and really, it didn’t have the emotional impact anyone was going for, so let’s just move on.

In the last half of the book, Hope borrows a jetpack to fight crime in the city, fires an eye-laser at Cyclops, and then derails a bank robbery by the Serpent Society singlehandedly.
Nope, that’s about it.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1.

I don’t know who The Protector is, and I’m kind of fine with not really caring, so, I’m moving on from the typical Bendis banter on this one, and basically, the Phoenix force is destroying planets, and aliens are taking bets on that. Hopefully you like framing devices, because this one is actually recurring. We also get the new, younger, Nova, who basically takes off the wing of a jet aircraft while crashing into NYC informing us of the Phoenix force that’s coming.

Meanwhile, a Hope vignette where she’s fight training with Cyclops, wherein Cyclops is actually teaching her something about fighting. I question the validity of this, because Cyclops, on his best day, was not a great hand-to-hand combat guy, and Hope has been trained by Cable. I don’t understand Cyke’s aggression, or the fact that he’s actually teaching her anything, but that’s the premise of this scene and I’m not going to judge it anymore.

We get a bunch of bloobity blah blah about how The Avengers realize that the phoenix force is coming and it’s a viable threat to earth and oh, wait Cable was saying something about Hope having something to do with it and oh geez and gee willikers maybe we should have asked him for specifics.

Then, we get the money shot of Cyclops blasting at Cap with eye-beams because he doesn’t want to give Hope up to The Avengers, who want to get her off planet or something. The reasoning behind either side sin’t really clear, because it involves a LOT of assumed interest in the non-logic of keeping Hope on earth before it’s destroyed.

Maybe if she bonds with the Phoenix force which she has already shown to be capable of using, she’ll destroy the world? Probably.

TIE-IN: Wolverine And The X-Men #9

I actually want to get to reading this series at some point, but this is just a re-iteration of the events of AvX #1, with the actually pretty awesome students of Wolverine’s new Jean Grey School For Mutants reacting to.. well, everyday life. The Phoenix force is coming, and Wolverine is really conflicted about what team of the about 4 active teams he’s on that he stands with on this issue.

TIE-IN: New Avengers #24

People are protesting in front of the Avengers Mansion. I don’t know why.
Iron Fist goes out to talk to them, finds Luke Cage pretty deep in already talking to the media.
Luke is apparently just losing his mind trying to get his wife and kid to come back, and he’s yelling directly into a news camera to express his feelings.
Luke’s wife, Jessica Jones, shows up.
Things get awkward.
Storm leaves the fancy Avengers meeting in a huff, probably because she’s still wearing her X-Men uniform.
And then we have a scene of Everyone Jumping Out Of The Helicarrier Which We Were Promised Since This Series Began.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #2

Fighting Happens.
Basically, we have the following:
Red Hulk Vs. Colossus
Namor Vs. Luke Cage
Magneto Vs. Iron Man
Dr. Strange Vs. Magick

Also, other things happen! The Avengers chuck an away team into space to deal with the Phoenix head on, and Hope takes out most of the teen-aged X-Men, as well as Wolverine.

TIE-IN: Avengers #25

I don’t know when this story actually takes place. I’m assuming it’s before the actual fighting, because we have Cap being introspective, and then Thor shows up and makes him feel better. Protector (Who I guess is a future version of Noh-Var) is explaining that A.I.M. is doing something. I pretty boldly don’t care what that is, suffice to say that A.I.M. gets defeated. The kicker for me is that Noh-Varr gets informed of the Phoenix force, which I assumed he already knew about, but apparently he didn’t.

I’m starting to notice a trend in these issues about people just straight up not knowing about the force that’s just gonna end up destroying the earth, possibly to nail down the fact that it’s the entire reason for this conflict. The mentions are getting annoying and convoluted.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #1

I actually like this title a lot, because it essentially drops the ENTIRE PRETENSE of the tie-in, and goes about just showing fights and attempting to have some humor to an otherwise dull set-up. It’s actually a pretty decent fight book, but there’s no real bearing on anything, Phoenix-wise.

Your Takeaway: Iron Man beats Magneto, and Thing defeats Namor.

TIE-IN: Uncanny X-Men #11
This is basically a recap of everything that’s happened so far, with the added bonus of the “Juggernaut/Colossus” Vs. Red Hulk fight. We also get a smart little bit about Cyclops issuing a press release to make the Avengers look bad in the eyes of the public, which I don’t particularly understand the relevance of, but okay.

And that was Rounds One and Two, basically.
Tune in later for Round Three!