Before I start, let me give a quick introduction. My name is Chris Miller, and I manage Illusions Games and Comics in Salisbury, MD. I’ve been collecting comics for thirty years, and even owned my own store for six years. I love this industry and everything about it. But hey, you’re not here for me, you’re here to get an early peek into Marvel’s biggest event of the year: Avengers Vs. X-Men!
This zero issue is split into two chapters: the first (written by Brian Michael Bendis), focusing on the Scarlet Witch, and the second (written by Jason Aaron), focusing on the mutant messiah, Hope. Both chapters are drawn by one of today’s best “good girl” artists, Frank Cho.
We open with the Scarlet Witch making a go at being a solo superhero, as she foils an attempt by M.O.D.O.K. to kill an ex-A.I.M. scientist. Eventually Wanda is joined by Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman, and the trio dispatch M.O.D.O.K. and his crew. After the dust settles, Ms. Marvel convinces Wanda to come back to Avengers Mansion to catch up with her former teammates. Once arriving there though, not everyone is excited to see their old friend. The Vision immediately confronts Wanda, and a very emotional exchange is had between the two. It’s a confrontation that has been brewing since the beginning of Bendis’ work on the Avengers. After Wanda leaves the mansion, we are left to wonder if this emotional state is the reason the Phoenix could be drawn to her. The dialog between the ex-lovers is where Bendis shines in his part of the book. People either love or hate Bendis for his copious amounts of dialog, but I really don’t think there will be any denying the impact of this sequence. To me, the raw emotion the Vision emits is the most pivotal part of this entire issue.
The book closes with a story about Hope trying to find answers to her purpose for being. She confronts Cyclops about the Phoenix. She knows all about it’s history with Jean Grey and what it did to her, and that it’s on it’s way to Earth. Scott can offer no answers, so Hope storms off to respond to a call from a police scanner. The call is about an attempted bank robbery by the Serpent Society. Hope surprisingly has little trouble taking on the crew single-handedly. But when you think about it, D-Man could probably stop them by himself. It’s the Serpent Society, for crying out loud! The fact that Hope could take them down so easily isn’t the point here, it’s the ferocity in which she does it. Is this the dark side that the Phoenix is attracted to? Is this the reason Hope should be possibly feared more than lauded? Jason Aaron has a great grasp on the nuances of the different X-Men. He has quickly become one of the few writers today that I trust with my beloved X-Men. I think that’s what makes he and Bendis the perfect choice for co-writers to begin this whole event.
Frank Cho’s art compliments their writing style perfectly. He obviously draws beautiful women, and those talents are on display in the first story. But his energy in action sequences is equally exciting, which excels in the second story. It’s almost like you can see the crackle of electricity in his pages. I like to think of him as a summer blockbuster artist.
All in all, AvX #0 is an enjoyable opening act. It doesn’t exactly answer anything, like why the Phoenix is no longer attached to Jean Grey. I could’ve sworn I read somewhere that this issue was supposed to give that closure. I either misread that, or Marvel switched gears. What it does however, is set up the two characters who will have the most impact on this entire event. An event that should be a fun read.
I say should, because who knows anymore? There’s top talent across the board on this project, with all of Marvel’s top characters involved. It just seems nowadays that these big events always start out well enough, but eventually deteriorate into “is it over yet?” I don’t want to feel that way. I love the X-Men, and am a big Avengers fan thanks to Bendis. I am just going to sit back and see where this story takes us. I’ve heard the rumors of what might happen post-AvX, but until anything is confirmed, I’m not going to let possible outcomes cloud a fun beginning.
This issue starts everything heading in the right direction. I’ll be sticking around for what has the potential to be an extremely wild ride.