Monday, May 14, 2012

Avengers vs X-Men: It's Coming (comics)

Writers: Too many to count.
Artists: I lost track.
Collects: House of M #8, X-Men: Second Coming #1, X-Men Schism #5, Avengers: The Childrens Crusade #7, Magneto: Not a Hero #1, Avengers X-Sanction #1, material from Point One

On the one hand, I get why Marvel does this. On paper, it sounds like a good idea. Take a smattering of comics that lead up to an event and collect it in a volume. I get it. But man, these things are, ultimately, stupid.

As you can tell, not a one issue collected in here amounts to a full story. We either get the beginning of one or the very end, with one lone instance of an issue culled from the middle of a story. Some of it seems loosely connected at best; how exactly is "Magneto: Not A Hero" relevant to a big fight between two teams over Hope and the Phoenix?

What we're left with is a series of moments that mean nothing. We see this Hope girl throughout the collection, but who the hell is she supposed to be? Other than being the first mutant born since M-Day, why is she even significant? Does she even have powers? The event is supposed to be about the Phoenix, so how does she play into the big old firebird? And why is Cyclops such a dick?

To be fair, I don't think that last one can be adequately answered, much less in one volume, but otherwise none of the reasonable questions you may have are supplied with answers.

For something that is supposed to prime you for the coming event, it ultimately tells you little unless you've already read the damn stories and kept up with press releases. Which, you know, are clearly things the mythical "new reader" does regularly. I guess you could say it's meant to be a refresher course for regular fans, but come on; we're talking about the people who don't forget a single moment of continuity and bitch about it regularly. Perhaps it's even for people like me, who don't pay a lot of attention to Marvel events; but again, this thing doesn't tell you much, so if that's the case, allow me to say that it did a pretty poor job of it. Not matter what its purpose may be, it fails.

They'd have been better off printing a checklist of trades to buy that might be relevant to the event, should anyone wish to brush up, but then again, they can't exactly charge you twenty dollars for that.

My Opinion: Burn It


  1. These "Road to..." trades started out as a good idea (and I'm sure you'd agree that this is essentially one of them, just with a different title), but at this point they're pretty much just "greatest hits"-style collections of things that weren't "hits" to begin with. I've had the misfortune of reading Avengers: X-Sanction, for example, and it's without a doubt one of the worst comics I've read in recent years...not to mention that it has little to nothing to do with what actually happens in Avengers vs. X-Men.

    I do agree that Marvel should start publishing some sort of reading lists for people who want to catch up before an event. Not only would they be helpful for people interested in the latest event, but they might bring up sales on those trades too. They were off to a good start when they came out with the single-issue "Marvel Backlist Reading Order" comic (I think that's what it was called), but it would be nice to see that sort of thing actually continue.

  2. You read Avengers: X-Sanction? Wow. I feel bad for you, man. I tend to stay away from Jeph Loebs work for the most part nowadays. I may read it if the library has it and I feel like having the blogs first "2" rating or something. It's a shame, because while he was generally overhyped, he still wrote fairly decent comics years ago. Even if, you know, the endings never seemed to make sense.

    I think what bugs the hell out of me about this is that the volume tells you nothing. First, we see the end of House of M, mutants are wiped out. Then, this girl called Hope comes back from the future with Cable and they escape dudes shooting at them. Then jump to another story. None of them give you any answers or really help you get what the event is supposed to be about.

    I generally stay away from Marvel events unless the library has them - I'm a bit more receptive to DC's, but I've felt that even their lesser ones were at least readable - but if I were inclined to brush up for one, yeah, a pamphlet or issue or whatever showing you what trades will be relevant and why would be a great thing.