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  1. #1

    Avengers vs. X-Men and Marvel NOW!

    I normally don't get into these big comic book events, but this one has been building for decades now. In short, the Phoenix force is returning to Earth. The Avengers want to stop it (or at least divert it), but the X-Men want to control it to help restart the mutant species (which was almost completely wiped out by Scarlet Witch in "House of M"). That's where the clash between teams starts. They are about 9 issues in (out of 12) and I don't really see how things can go back to the way they were at this point. Too much damage has been done on both sides.

    This series is going to lead into the Marvel Universe "relaunch" called Marvel NOW! (the exclamation point is theirs not mine), which will see more of a blending of the Avengers and X-men teams and not have them, for all intents and purposes, inhabiting almost completely separate universes like they are now.

    The most exciting news (at least for me), is that they will be bringing back the original X-Men team from the 60s! (Okay, that time the exclamation point was mine.) In what is sure to be a major abuse of the space-time continuum, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel and Iceman, from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original run on the series, are going to be transported into their future, our present, and decide that the current Marvel Universe is waaaay too screwed up for them to go back to their proper timeline. Which means that there will be two versions of Cyclops, Beast, Iceman and Angel (assuming all 4 of those guys survive AvX - at least one major character isn't making it out of AvX alive) walking around.

    I'm still a bit miffed at Jim Lee for breaking up the O5 (original 5 X-Men) back in 1991 and then bailing for Image Comics. I've been waiting over 20 years for them to be reunited in the mainline Marvel Universe (not some kind of weird alternate reality like Children of the Atom, First Class or Season One). So human Beast and pre-Phoenix Jean Grey will be mixed back into the Marvel continuity. This is huge news for me. HUGE!

    Just to put my excitement level in perspective, for me this right up there with the announcement of the Prequels in 1995.

    So, yeah, anyone else reading AvX?
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  2. #2
    I'm not reading it (I hate to sound this way, but I gave up on Marvel when they decided it wasn't okay for their flagship hero to get divorced, but they were cool with him making a deal with the devil to erase his marriage), but the idea of the original X-Men coming to the present (from when, 1999? that sliding timescale is messy when it comes to things like this) raises a few interesting questions.

    There has to be an endpoint, even if the creators don't know what it is yet. If these X-Men don't go back to the past, then they are not truly the original X-Men from this world. They have to go back, they have to have adventures in what's now the past, they have to grow into the present-day X-Men (or at least some versions of them).

    However, they wouldn't be very good heroes if they come to (what to them is) the future, hate what they see, and go back to their own time without trying to change their future.

    I don't think AvX is a way to set up a "New 52" for Marvel, but the X-Men title could be a step in that direction.

    BTW, I'd bet money that the first issue will see them encountering Magneto (assuming he's not dead) and trying to stop him. Except no one would take such an obvious bet.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  3. #3
    I think it's already been confirmed that the first villain that the original, "All-New," X-Men will be facing off against in the present will be the Red Skull. It's not just going to be mutants vs. mutants anymore. They're going to be blending the X-Men and Avengers teams much more closely from this point on. Plus, Magneto's a good guy now and one of modern Cyclops' most loyal admirers .

    Here's the cover for All-New X-Men #1:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The original X-Men are back and they don't look happy about it!

    As for the time traveling consequences, I'm not sure how that's going to work and why Cyclops, Beast, Angel and Iceman wouldn't just vanish from the present as soon as the original team arrives (that would also mean that all memories of Phoenix/Dark Phoenix would disappear as well); but Bendis says not to worry about it too much. I guess there are different ideas of how time works and we're told to think more along the lines of "Pleasantville" and not so much "Back to the Future." So the specifics of the time traveling will be downplayed and it's going to focus more on the characters themselves.

    Which, honestly, is fine by me. I've been waiting for the original X-Men to star in their own book again (that's not an isolated, pocket-universe) for over 20 years now. I'm just glad they are coming back and I'm not that worried about the specifics of how.

    After Jim Lee broke up the team for his vanity book in 1991, I always kind of held out hope that they would get back together on a permanent basis and kept tabs on the X-books for the next several years waiting for that to happen. Once I learned that they killed off Jean Grey a second time in New X-Men, I pretty much gave up on the X-Books and started to follow other characters.

    Anyways, if nobody cares, I'll give a rough synopsis of what's happened in AvX thus far. So if you are still interested in reading the comic, then SPOILERS FOLLOW!

    Phoenix is returning to Earth, everyone knows that. It's destroying planet after planet on it's way to Earth, which clearly concerns the Avengers, but they don't know exactly why it's headed for Earth specifically. Wolverine, who has broken away from Cyclops and started his own mutant training school (The Jean Grey Academy), informs Captain America and Iron Man that the Phoenix is coming for Hope Summers. The first mutant born after "M-Day" (from House of M) and, until recently, has been hiding out in the future with Cable (Nathan Summers) for her protection.

    Since the Phoenix seems to be specifically targeting one girl, then it only makes sense that as long as this girl is far away from Earth, then Earth won't be at risk. So Captain America arrives on Utopia (the X-Men's sovereign island-nation, that used to be Magneto's Asteroid M) to take Hope into protective custody.

    Cyclops believes that the Phoenix is coming to Earth to save mutantkind from the brink of extinction (a direct result of M-Day). Which is crazy because he watched the Phoenix destroy Jean Grey, but he believes that once Hope merges with the Phoenix, then she will be able to control it.

    Cyclops attacks Captain America, then the Avengers invade Utopia. Hope Summers escapes the island and they spend the next issue or two hunting her down. She eventually makes contact with Wolverine, because he's the only one she trusts to kill her if the loses control of the Phoenix, and they head to the moon to draw the Phoenix away from Earth.

    Since Wolverine is an Avenger now, he notifies Captain America where they are headed. The X-Men discover where they are taking Hope and meet the Avengers on the moon where another battle takes place.

    All the while a small team of Secret Avengers (Thor, Beast, War Machine, Valkyrie, Captain Marvel), set out to meet the Phoenix in order to trap it before it reaches Earth. Obviously they fail.

    However, Iron Man has spent his time constructing a "Phoenix-killer" suit of armor and launches after the Phoenix when it is in visual range to Earth. His disruptors end up breaking the Phoenix up into pieces instead of killing it. When the moment of truth arrives, Hope rejects the Phoenix and it rejects her and instead it merges with 5 of the X-Men.

    Now Cyclops, Emma Frost, Sub-Mariner, Colossus and Magik are the Phoenix and they believe it is their job to prepare the world for what comes next.

    The Phoenix 5 then proceed to remake the entire planet. They end war, poverty, hunger, thirst, provide unlimited sources of power, etc. and are in the process of turning all of the Earth into a utopia. However, the Avengers are concerned about people wielding that much power without it corrupting them. So they set out again to capture Hope and are pretty much trashed by the Phoenix 5, until Scarlett Witch arrives and helps Hope and the Avengers escape. Scarlett Witch is the only being powerful enough to hurt any of the Phoenix 5.

    Scott Summers then declares the Avengers a global terrorist group and the Phoenix 5 set out to systematically wipe them out. Since Scarlett Witch is the only one who can hurt the Phoenix 5, the Avengers use her to keep the Phoenixes at a distance.

    The Avengers are hiding out in Wakanda and Emma Frost informs Sub-Mariner that that's where they are keeping their captured X-Men prisoners. Sub-Mariner launches an all out attack on Wakanda and destroys everything and we can only assume causes massive civilian casualties.

    With their backs up against a wall, the Avengers gang up on Sub-Mariner and finally put him down, but it take everything they have (including a Hulk) to do it. As a result of this, the Phoenix force leaves Sub-Mariner and is divided up among the remaining Phoenix 5, making them even more powerful.

    The only way out for the Avengers at this point is to escape our dimension and they hide out in K'un Lun, the mystical city where Kung Fu was born (I guess it's an Iron Fist thing, I don't know). They take Hope with them with the intent of training her to fight the Phoenix. I guess the Kung Fu masters in K'un Lun have encountered the Phoenix before and know how to drive it away.

    At this point Professor X warns Cyclops that he has gone too far and if the Phoenixes don't stop what they are doing, then he will be forced to stop them himself.

    The increased power for remaining 4 Phoenixes begins to corrupt them. Colossus and Magik bring a piece of Limbo to Earth (Marvel's version of Hell) and use it as a prison to keep all the captured Avengers. Emma Frost begins reading the minds of everyone on Earth and she kills a man in his home, in front of his family, because she discovers that he was responsible for the death of a mutant years ago. Only Cyclops seems to be holding it together.

    At this point, the other X-Men begin to question the Phoenixes and mutants start fleeing Utopia in large numbers. Storm advises many of them to get out while they still can. Also, because of Sub-Mariner's attack, Black Panther divorces Storm and tells her that she is no longer welcome in Wakanda.

    Colossus and Magik capture Thor and place him in Limbo with the rest of the captured Avengers. But Storm and Professor X help lead a small team of Avengers (including Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Black Panther) to rescue their teammates.

    During the battle, Spider-Man seals himself off with Colossus and Magik, allowing the rest to free all the prisoners and escape. Spider-Man holds off the two Phoenixes by himself and is nearly killed, but not before turning the two siblings against each other. Colossus and Magik attack each other full force and they both lose their portions of the Phoenix, which then go to Cyclops and Emma Frost.

    With his increased power, Cyclops tears a hole in the dimensions to arrive in K'un Lun and tells Hope it's time to return home. That's where the story leaves off.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  4. #4
    Okay, issue #11 just came out yesterday, so I can continue the spoiler update.

    Now that Scott Summer is in K'un Lun, Iron Fist and Iron Man are doing everything they can to at least slow Cyclops down while Hope runs to find Lei Kung, the Thunderer, in order to get his help. Of course it's futile because Cyclops is simply too powerful at this point.

    Meanwhile, Emma Frost is on Utopia forcing the X-Men who have stayed to bow down and worship her. She uses her telepathy powers to ensure that they only have thoughts of adoration towards her. Magneto confronts her and tell her that is no way to treat anyone, least of all your own kind (is it just me, or are the X-Men sounding more and more racist the longer they stay on Utopia?). Emma proceeds to put Magneto in his place.

    Back in K'un Lun, Cyclops has made quick work of Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Thing and Iron Fist, but is suddenly attacked from behind by Shao Lao, a dragon who is also the undying source of power in K'un Lun, ridden by Hope and Thunderer. Unfortunately, this dragon is too young and Cyclops is too powerful. He blasts the dragon and hurts it severely. When Cyclops goes to finish the dragon off, Thunderer attacks him and questions his honor over trying to kill a wounded animal. Cyclops asks Hope why she is choosing these people over her own people and Hope responds that it's because the Phoenix-powered X-Men are turning into monsters. Cyclops responds by saying that he is willing to become a monster if that's what it takes to save the mutant species. When Cyclops moves towards her she attacks him with the power she has just absorbed from the dragon. This freaks her out and she runs off and all she really managed to accomplish was to make Scott angry.

    Hope runs away and finds Scarlet Witch, Beast and Iron Man. Scarlett Witch tries to protect her from Scott, but he's too powerful for her now. However, Hope has now absorbed Scarlet Witch's power and combined it with the dragon's power and uses that to literally punch Cyclops to the moon.

    It take Cyclops an hour to recover from the punch and he realizes that he still needs more power. He needs Emma.

    Back on Utopia, Magneto calls Professor X for help saying that Scott and Emma are losing control. End of issue 10 (and I'm hoping it's the end of all this weird Kung Fu nonsense).

    At the start of issue 11, the Avengers are in the southwest recruiting the Hulk and he agrees to fight by their side. Most of the X-Men have fled Utopia and they seek sanctuary with Professor X and the Avengers. Xavier reads their minds and knows that they are truly sorry for having chosen to follow Cyclops and the two teams know that it is now time to put an end to all of this.

    It seems that Scott and Emma are the only two people left on Utopia and they begin to discuss how much easier it would be to just burn the whole world down and start life again from scratch.

    Then Professor X shows up on the shores of Utopia to confront Scott Summers directly. When Scott begins to turn violent the combined Avengers/X-Men/Hulk team shows up and the battle begins anew. Cyclops realizes that while he can hurt the Professor, Xavier is still too powerful for him. So he attacks Emma Frost and takes her half of the Phoenix from her, then uses that extra power to kill Professor X. With that action he reaches the point of no return and the Avengers' and X-Men's worst nightmare has come true....

    Cyclops, Scott Summers, is reborn as Dark Phoenix.

    This whole story will be concluded in issue 12 in three weeks.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bigbarada View Post
    ...K'un Lun, the mystical city where Kung Fu was born (I guess it's an Iron Fist thing, I don't know)....
    Wha...? I can't speak for all the recent stuff (though I heard it's really good), but the old Iron Fist (and Power Man & Iron Fist) were some of the best Marvel comics of the 70s and 80s. You should check them out.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Wha...? I can't speak for all the recent stuff (though I heard it's really good), but the old Iron Fist (and Power Man & Iron Fist) were some of the best Marvel comics of the 70s and 80s. You should check them out.
    I'll probably check some of that stuff out now, especially with the merging of the Avengers and X-Men books. It's just that every time I think of Kung Fu, I can't get that old David Carradine show out of my head. My brother and dad used to be big fans of that show and I always thought it was the most boring thing ever.

    Anyways, I just realized that the original 5 X-Men are going to be getting transported into a future where Cyclops has allied himself with Magneto and killed Professor X. I guess they won't be teaming up with modern Cyclops anytime soon.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  7. #7
    It might make it more interesting to note that most (if not all--I don't remember and am too lazy to check) the original Iron Fist series was by Claremont and Byrne, and that the second-to-last issue is impossible to find for a decent price because of some "Sabre Toothed" villain that it introduces.

    Once it merged into Power Man (which seems like a bizarre combo, but it works incredibly well), it had more of an "80s detective show with super powers" feel to it. IF's presence toned down a lot of the blaxploitation aspect of the earlier Power Man issues (which were good, but, by this time, were already feeling a little dated when they came out).
    Tommy, close your eyes.

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