Review by: rwpos

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 3.3
Users who pulled this comic:
Story by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Adam Kubert & John Dell
Colors by Laura Martin & Larry Molinar
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Cover by Jim Cheung, Justin Ponsor, Jerome Opena, Justin Ponsor, & Alan Davis

Size: 0 pages
Price: 3.99

I really hated this comic. I felt no pleasure from reading it, and I was frequently trying to understand how these characters had fallen so low, had become so… Unheroic. Clearly they’re all still super-human, but super-heroes? No. They’re barely even adults at this point. I’m constantly disappointed when I see “modern” comics try to turn every character into a morally flawed anti-hero. Is it really necessary? Well, necessary or not, I’m at least certain that for me, the one thing that it isn’t, is entertaining.

The art in this comic, as with many of the previous issues of AvX, was pretty solid and there were plenty of well-rendered images to hold my attention. And the story itself was technically competent with reasonable dialogue. My lack of enjoyment wasn’t born out of a lack of “quality.” If these were new characters in a Watchmen-like alternative universe of anti-heroes (like the Squadron Supreme perhaps) then I would give this book better marks. But in this series I’ve been seeing longtime characters get deformed by contrived and cynical plot devices that just feel wonky and contorted for the sole purpose of change. Change to what end I really can’t begin to guess, but I’m sure that the people in Marvel’s marketing and sales department know.

And for me, I’m just sad to see that Marvel isn’t interested in presenting heroic characters anymore. If this is the tone of Marvel NOW then I suspect that there will be a lot less new Marvel content in my reading future.

And one side question – isn’t Wakanda supposed to be a country, not a city? So why, when Namor trashes one city does everyone (including the King of Wakanda) keep saying that Namor was destroying Wakanda? I guess that just sounded more dire and horrible, and was therefore more in-line with the desired tone of this train-wreck-event-in-12-rounds…

Story: 1 - Poor
Art: 4 - Very Good


  1. Could not agree more! Regular people no longer matter in this universe. Mass murderers in costumes is what we get now.

  2. I assumed the whole thing the writers were going for was the theme of absolute power corrupting absolutely, in which case the Phoenix Five slowly becoming more ‘anti-hero’ or even ‘villainous’ isn’t the writers trying to change the characters so much as expose the natural flaws all people have, even those trying to do the best they can to make the world a better place for all. To me, it seems the theme of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” seems to be fairly prevalent. Obviously I could be mistaken, but that’s what I’ve been taking from the moral ambiguity of the story, not that the writers think all the characters are play things to be manipulated to their whims to make interesting fights. It is far more realistic for even the greatest of heroes to be corrupted by power than to not be.

    I do, on the other hand, understand that these comics are in large part about idealized people being stalwart defenders of morality, so I can understand the discomfort one might feel watching heroes commit atrocities. In the end though, I think thats the emotional response the writers what us to be having. Much like sections of books that actively anger or sadden you so much that you hate characters or the book itself because of it, I think its a literary tool rather than a blunder.

    But, I could be wrong.

    • When Jean Grey was corrupted by the Phoenix force, Chris Claremont and John Byrne told a compelling story about how she went down that path (X-Men 101 – 130-ish) and she had a number of experiences that caused her to change. In AvX that journey is skipped and between issues the characters simply change their tendencies. That corruption isn’t the point of this story. This issue was an entire 20-plus page journey of the very non-heroic Namor slaughtering civilians intermixed with scenes of extreme brutality between the super-humans. It was violence and evil acts, being opposed by the un-heroic Avengers who precipitated the entire storyline through their original arrogant, cynical rush to violence against the X-Men. At every turn I find myself confronted by uninspiring bad people. There’s no one to cheer for, and the only thing I can count on is that the “heroes” when it matters most will fail. Not entertaining. Not illuminating. Yes, I understand the concepts that you’ve mentioned, and those are not relevant to the reasons why I’ve found this series so thoroughly un-entertaining. But thanks for your thoughtful response – if the writers of AvX would take the same time to reflect on the horrors that they’ve wrought, they might produce something more worthy of reading.

    • Fair enough. I can definitely see your point, especially in reference to this issue. I think that maybe the Claremont/Byrne stories of going down the path of darkness was more gradual and realistic because they had more time to do it? When it was happening then, it was mostly contained to Uncanny X-Men, wasn’t it? I think that maybe if this wasn’t a line-wide event that could be given more time to grow naturally that the story would have unfolded more organically. I just don’t think that’s really plausible with this kind of mega-event.

      That said, maybe they should have thought about that before choosing to do this story in this setting. They had to know this would be pretty rushed and they wouldn’t be able to fully explore the territory in the way the story deserves, so I do agree with you on that.

      On that note, to some extent what you say is why I’m quickly growing more and more annoyed with Marvel these days. I was never a DC guy before the last year or two, but at least they seem to have villains in DC instead of having Superman and Batman fighting every couple of weeks.

    • Just a few years ago DC was doing the same kind of character damage (at least in my opinion) starting sharply with Identity Crisis and building through Infinite Crisis. With the new 52 they still have some seriously distorted characters, but they also have more pockets of better balanced story telling. And Marvel still has a few titles that mostly deliver positive characters (Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil, Amazing Spider-man, Fantastic Four/FF, to name a few), although the Ultimate Universe is embarking an a line wide post apocalyptic cross over, and AvX is supposed the reset the Avengers and the X-Men, which pretty much covers everyone in some way. I just hope that 6 months from now there’s still new Marvel content that I’m looking forward to reading!

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