Friday, October 10, 2014

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1

I’m sort of conflicted on this one. There are a lot of good things about Rick Remender’s massive crossover, but there are some fairly glaring problems too.

First of all, this really feels like an epic Marvel crossover. This story clearly picks up after months of Uncanny Avengers issues, but I’d hope that the context is enough to catch everyone up on what is happening. (I read this with my 9-year old and she picked it up OK.) There are numerous great moments scattered through the book; from the use of Plantman (looking way more plant-y than I remember) all the way the surprise ending. Along the way, Remender has a great moment between the Summers brothers and a wonderful, timely arrival from the X-Men. Actually, that X-Men moment really struck me at how perfect that Uncanny line-up has always been. With Colossus, Storm, and especially Nightcrawler, man, that team just looks like it belongs front and center in the Marvel U.

I appreciate the use of Scarlet Witch and Rogue as such central characters, but man, having both them fail to fight off Red Onslaught’s power does make them seem a bit weak. Scarlet Witch in particular came off as too big of a threat to be walking around. After House of M and “No More Mutants,” maybe she shouldn’t just be walking around with her powers any more after all. Rogue comes off a tad better, especially after the talking up she gets from Professor X. I understand why Remender held off from explaining her current Wonder Man situation too; there were enough status quo changes in the book already!

Now for main problem. The smart-ass quipping. Remender does a great job with Iron Man. Iron Man is supposed to be clever, overconfident, and somewhat jokey. The character sounds like he could have Robert Downey Jr. inside that armor. And Hawkeye has always had that sarcastic tone too. But Vision? Odinson/Thor? The new Captain America? Every single one of them sounds the same, smarting off and being smart asses. It is hard to hear different voices for the Avengers when they are all this…sit-comy.

That said, I LOVED Red Onslaught’s dialogue. He used “scum” and “trash” enough to really have me hankering for a beat down. I can’t wait for him to get what he deserves! Remender also does a wonderful job with Magneto. Magneto calls someone a “cur,” instantly proving Mags’ superiority on the battlefield. Ahab gets some great smack talk in too. Remender is pretty great at getting the reader anxious to see the villains get served.

Adam Kubert has a big order here. There are a TON of heroes involved, and they all look pretty great. I mentioned how dynamic the X-Men looked, but the Avengers are just as nicely done. I’m a bit confused on a few things (doesn’t Thor have one arm?) but they are minor. I LOVE the look and feel of Red Onslaught. He dominates every page he appears on, as an event-central villain should. The design on the surprise foes at the close of the issue seem to have a nice, sleek look too. It’s too bad Kubert can’t do a book regularly any more.

This is a GOOD event that feels like the high-octane battles I remember from my youth. Remender has always channeled the 80’s in a good way, and he’s still doing so here. 

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