In part one we looked at the books from DC. Now we’ll examine the offerings from Marvel, including THE DEFENDERS #12, SCARLET SPIDER #11, and AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #5.
First and foremost is THE DEFENDERS #12, and the end of an era. It was roughly a year ago that I started this site, and this ongoing series was the one I led in with. But how I feel about it can wait for the retrospective, which is forthcoming.
So we’re at the final issue and matters look dismal. Basically everyone in the world is dead, and a death celestial is bearing down on our heroes. Why? Because powerful beings from beyond their universe were bored and wanted to destroy things. But since we can’t have the Marvel universe come to an end, naturally Doctor Strange et al need to implement some time tomfoolery in order to make everything right. That, and shut the machines down.
I’ve probably neglected to mention, but throughout the series run several ominous phrases popped up, referring to shutting engines down and everyone you love dying. All this comes to fruition here.
One of the nice touches was the first page, where Marvel likes to give a synopsis of the series premise and the story so far. In a nice bit of meta storytelling, where normally the character portraits would have descriptions of them, they all simply say “is about to die”. Although I’m still irked by the fact that while other characters like Ant Man and alternate universe Nick Fury are also in the same situation and can be labeled as honorary Defenders, they don’t get to show up on the page. Nick Fury has been with the team for roughly a quarter of the series run.
Spoiling the book would be criminal of me at this stage, as I want everyone to go check out this series for themselves, but I will say this. The final resolution goes right back to the start of the series proper. And it’s also really out there. But it’s the only way the series could end. Artistically speaking, we’ve got a new colorist for the final issue that gave a lot of tone and shading. It bugs me a bit, but not enough to ruin the issue.
Moving on, SCARLET SPIDER #11 continues Minimum Carnage, where the titular Spiderman clone fights the equally titular symbiote psychopath. But more importantly, we finally learn what it is brought everyone to the microverse in the first place. The despotic Marquis Radu (not to be confused with the vampire of the same name) wants to use a symbiote to kill the god of the Microverse and assume his place as the master of his realm.
I’m calling it now, the “god” they speak of will turn out to be Reed Richards or something. Not sure how, seeing as we also learn that the Symbiotes have an ancient history with the Microverse, so it’s not certain if Mr Fantastic was even alive at the time. Call it a hunch based on Marvel’s track record.
So indeed, the race of Symbiotes once tried to eat the Microverse, and were only ever stopped by the Enigma Force. How did the Symbiotes shrink down so small as to interact with the subatomic universe? Apparently they just did it, hence why everything in the Microverse hates both Carnage and Venom.
Two more issues to go with that, and I can continue not paying any attention to Venom. No offense.
Finally we have another finale to a series, this time with AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #5 and the end of the AVX saga. Indeed I daresay I feel not the slightest bit of exaggeration calling it a saga. Maybe a miniature saga. It sure felt like I was talking about it forever. And I didn’t read hardly any of the tie-ins. Let me vow this day to be more choosey when engaging in any of Marvel’s future crossover events.
Previously, Cyclops sat in prison until his only fellow mutant in the place was murdered by mutant-hating convicts. Scott Summers, having to deal with all the crap that went on for the last few months, decides he’s not going to take any of this crap anymore, and puts out the word. It’s time to break out and become a terrorist.
Not in so many words, but he’s thrown his lot in firmly with Magneto, so he might as well be.
Meanwhile, the Avengers had enough of Hope running around looking for Cable – her adopted father – and tell her to go back to school. Given that she’s been sleeping in alleys probably made this a pretty damn good idea. That’s basically it, though I have to wonder what happened to Iron Man, since he’s been kind of really important to this miniseries until now. Oh well, he’s got his own new ongoing series, so check that out if you’re curious.
Turning back to the whole “I’ll become a mutant outlaw” business with Cyclops, the book seemed to have ardently veered onto his side. Not even from his and Magneto’s dialogue alone, either, but from a (presumably conservative) straw pundit who calls for – no joke – the building of concentration camps for the mutants. I don’t care what you think Fox advocates, no news station is going to use the phrase “concentration camp” in such a context. Why? Because no one would want to be the guy who advocates Hitler-esque tactics and Nazi-esque terms.
One final note is the art. Thankfully the artist from previous issues took himself and his puffy-lipped women away (except for the cover, much to my chagrin). But now he’s replaced with another artist who has a weird way of drawing characters straight on. And straight on is by and large the standard way any panel is framed here. If I had to deal with this for much longer, I couldn’t cope. Which makes me glad AVX ends here.
Are you as glad as I am for AVX to be over with? Are you as sad as I am that The Defenders is over with? And are you by chance waiting for Minimum Carnage to be over with? Leave a comment below.