Written by: Ed Brubaker
Artwork by: John Romita Jr.
So the fight is on. Hope Summers is the target of the all-powerful Phoenix Force and the Avengers and X-Men fall on different sides when it comes to how to handle the situation. When the force has taken over humans in the past it used that interface into the world to hurt and kill people. Captain America believes this will happen again and Cyclops thinks the force represents a new start for mutants. At the end of issue #2 the force called to hope and just that alone ripped Wolverine apart. He of course heals at the beginning of issue #2….
This installment is a transitional issue into the next phase of the story. The X-Men outsmart the Avengers long enough to escape. Hope also made a run for it and is in hiding. It seems that she is making it appear that she is in several locations at once so the Avengers split up into smaller groups to check each location. While we don’t see what the X-Men’s plan is in this issue it’s easy to predict that they will also split up to check the locations leaving the window open for smaller one on one battles in upcoming issues. This plot device is as old as words and it’s slightly disappointing to see that Brubaker is using it as a way to provide fan service battles rather using some more inventive reason for crafting the fights.
Another problem that remains is the reasons behind some of the characters actions. The biggest one is why the X-Men, who have suffered more than anyone at the “hands” of the Phoenix are so sure that its return is a good thing. From discussions with a friend who is a little more in tune with modern X stories than me I’ve learned that it’s possible that Cyclops believes Hope to be the reincarnation of his dead wife Jean and maybe the combination of the powerful force that killed his wife and her reincarnated body will in some way bring her back. Having not read much modern X-Men I can’t comment on the validity of this assumption. That leads back to the problem that there hasn’t been enough development of the story. It’s possible that some of the tie-ins offer up these details but a summer blockbuster should be able to 100% stand on its own leaving the tie-ins as supplemental for hardcore fans. If it doesn’t stand on its own then it’s a complete failure. On a smaller scale, Cap’s decisions do make more sense overall but some of his more minor choices seem kind of off kilter.
There’s really only one fight in this issue and Cap fans may be disappointed that the super soldier needs help to handle his foe. Cap is a badass and when written properly he should be able to find a way to deal with any situation. There’s a lot of complaining here but there’s still some fun to be had with the story and I’m confident Brubaker won’t let us down. This issue though, is a bit filler-ish and the stage that is being set is a bit to formulaic. I hope there are some surprises coming. We’re also in dire need of character development.
The artwork here by John Romita Jr. is as great as ever with solid lines and a nice fence walk between Marvel’s modern cinematic style and the classic comic book work of Romita’s father and other predecessors. Good stuff.
Overall (not an average)6.5/10
AvX #3 is a subpar installment in what has been an entertaining summer story. Brubaker and Co. have a lot of work to do and they better get to it PDQ!
The Story 6/10
The Artwork 8.5/10
Overall(not an average) 6.5/10