First Impressions – AVX: VERSUS #1

Because the “epic” story of AVX simply could not be contained, you know, in the pages of AVX itself. Were you complaining about this event not having enough straight up fighting? Then your prayers are answered, because this limited series is nothing but fights.

For those who read the second issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men, recall that the major focus centered on the huge war between the two sides. Everyone fought everyone, to the point where most of the confrontations received maybe two or three panels. Between all of the individual fights, the stuff with Quicksilver coming in, the frequent attempts by Captain American to get Cyclops to see reason, and Hope beating up her fellow mutants so she could escape, it just wasn’t possible to depict the fights in depth.

Perhaps realizing this shortcoming, or merely seeing a potential money making opportunity, Marvel started a limited series that would show those fights in more detail. I’m not entirely sure if all the issues concern just the battle in issue two, or if there’s more stuff later on in the event that would need depicting. What I do know is that AVX: VERSUS #1 has two fights on the ticket.

And neither are especially memorable.

The first fight is between Iron Man and Magneto. The former is using a suit made of carbon nanomachines or something, so before we even start this isn’t nearly as one-sided as you’d think. In fact, this one is as much a battle of wits as anything. Or rather a contest to see which of these two can one-up the other hardest. Magneto sees Stark isn’t clad in metal (thereby making his name false advertising), so he just drops a tower on him. Magneto turns Iron Man’s expensive magnetic disk things against him (how he thought fighting the master of magnetism with thousands of tiny magnets would help is beyond me), so he just siphons the magnetic energy from Jupiter and uses it to power his repulser rays. And so forth.

While this battle does have its good points, I honestly can’t say I particularly liked it. It’s hard to even get engaged with the brawl since the only context to the fight is in another book altogether. The two combatants sling insults at each other that make little sense in context, and it comes off like the writers expected it to come off like an epic fight putting to rest an age old feud, one I’m pretty sure never existed up to this point. It’s not a personal struggle, more like the two got picked because it’d make for the most one-sided match-up on paper, so it’s all the more astounding when Iron Man wins.

Yes, I am spoiling the end of the fight. But when Magneto claims to identify the Jupiterian origin of the magnetic energy Iron Man uses by “taste”, I officially stopped caring.

The second part of the double feature pits The Thing of the Fantastic Four against Namor, the Sub Mariner. At least here we’ve got a real history between the two as I’m told. But the battle ground isn’t ground at all, it’s underwater. Once again, we have the writers choosing the combatants (and battlefield) specifically to set up a blatant advantage for one, so that it surprises everyone when The Thing wins.

Again, I don’t care about spoiling this issue’s twist endings. Why? Because I do not buy that The Thing could beat Namor, the king of the sea, in a fight underwater. That should not have worked! At least with the Magneto/Iron Man fight, the latter wore a special suit that negated the obvious advantage the former would otherwise possess. Here one can only sit and accept that somehow Ben Grimm beat Namor on his home turf. And I like The Thing perfectly fine.

Not that this matters in the slightest, since immediately as Thing walks ashore, we can clearly see Namor shooting into the air from below like nothing happened. Even though The Thing pinned him to the seafloor with the massive incisors of a giant fish! Not only was the outcome of that fight contrived, it’s also inconsequential to the overall story.

And hang on, wasn’t Luke Cage also fighting Namor alongside The Thing? Where did he swim off to?

You know what twists me up inside the most? This book underwhelms like no one’s business, yet it cost four dollars. Four dollars I could have spent on that issue of Nightwing tying into the Night of the Owls. Instead I bought this book, whose only defining feature is being chock full of fights. And yes, they were decent enough fights in and of themselves, except the outcomes screamed of editorial mandate. Not to mention, if the promotional covers are to be believed, UNCANNY X-MEN #12 will feature Namor and Thing fighting. Again. Maybe it’s on the land or something, or later on in the event’s timeline. But it just hangs a big sign over the whole endeavor that asks what the point of it all was.

Apparently the upcoming second issue pits Colossus versus Spiderman, and Gambit versus Captain America. And I don’t care. I’m not spending another four dollars on this miniseries. I’ll stick to one of those new ongoings from DC that will replace things like OMAC.

Speaking of OMAC

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