Avengers vs X-Men: Marvel’s Best Event In Years?

If you’re a comic book reader who has been suffering from event fatigue, don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon, especially if you’re a Marvel fan. The House of Ideas has recently announced its 2012 mega event, ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’. Unlike ‘Fear Itself’, details about AVX have been spreading constantly online. What we know is that it will focus on the return of the Phoenix force, and how that causes both teams to clash. The event officially kicked off last week with the return of Cable in ‘Avengers: X-Sanction’ (Jeph Loeb), and will begin to unravel in 2012. With the potential for an event the scale of Civil War, it’s time Marvel delivered in bringing us a comic book event that can match the hype.

1) Story First, Action Later

With a story like AVX, there is guaranteed to be pages and pages of heroes duking it out against each other. While that’s fine considering action sells, there still needs to be substance to the story. If you look at past events like Secret Invasion, Siege and Fear Itself, they were essentially events full of long boring fights. AVX has the potential to deliver effective characterization, and with five writers at the helm, every character should get a significant amount of screen time.

1) Team Loyalties

Wolverine has been an Avenger for years, but he’s been a member of the X-Men for much longer. Usually it would be easy to see Logan siding with Cyclops, but considering their fallout in ‘X-Men: Schism’, there’s huge potential to explore Logan’s loyalties. Will he side with The Avengers and come to blows with former friend and teammate Cyclops? Or will the events of ‘X-Men: Regenesis’ be undone less than a year later? The same goes for Storm, who has only recently joined the Avengers, but her past issues with Wolverine leading the mutant black-ops team X-Force may force her to come to blows with her former teammate.

2) The Answer To Hope?

Ever since Hope debuted as an infant in ‘X-Men: Messiah Complex’, readers have been speculating over her true nature. How is she the savour of mutant kind? Is she a reincarnated Jean Grey? With the phoenix Force heading towards Earth, one can assume Hope will probably play host at some point. Similar to what happened with The Scarlett Witch in ‘House of M’, The Avengers and The X-Men will likely be brought to blows over how to deal with Hope. Presumably, with Cable soon to be out of the way, perhaps Cyclops will act as the new ‘father’ role to Hope, akin to what Magneto is with the Scarlett Witch? I’m not a fan of Cyclops having so many links in the X-Men universe but it could make for some compelling storytelling.

3) Which Characters Will Face-Off?

With AVX, there will evidently be some key battles. As the image on the side suggests, Captain America vs. Cyclops will be a key battle, with Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man) writing the issue. It will be great to see how a rather comfortable soldier like Captain America fares against a leader like Cyclops who has been forced to lead his species to survival for several years.

Magneto vs. Iron Man is another battle that is likely to be heavily featured. Matt Fraction teased a new armour for Tony Stark during a recent conference, so it’s fairly obvious it’s going to be magnetic proof suit. Both characters have big flaws so it’s going to be really interesting to see how the battle pans out.

4) Hawkeye Needs Attention

With actor Jeremy Renner playing a live-action Clint Barton in the upcoming Avengers movie, now is the time to bring Hawkeye into the spotlight of the Marvel Universe. Since the 2005 crossover ‘House of M’ Hawkeye has been more of a background character. Now with a new look, and a story that ties with his past relationship with Wanda Maximoff, Hawkeye can once again take centre stage. With tons of storyline potential in AVX for Clint Barton, Hawkeye is certainly a character to watch in 2012.

5) Explain The Event Overload

For long-term Avengers readers, you may remember this time-line of events that the future Tony Stark had made. With Marvel producing more and more comic book events than ever before, could there be a logical way to explain the event overload? For many, 2012 is the year where several ‘doomsday’ prophecies will occur. Perhaps Marvel could incorporate this into AVX to show how these occurring events are the sign of the world’s end in 2012?

So there are my suggestions for Avengers vs. X-Men. Despite the let downs that were ‘Siege’ and ‘Fear Itself’, I can’t help but get excited for AVX. It’s a storyline years in the making and it may be the first event to alter the Marvel Universe for the long-term. I’m disappointed The Defenders and Winter Soldier won’t play a part, but with new characters like Hope and Nova taking centre stage, 2012 will be a fantastic year for Marvel fans!

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