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Avengers VS X-Men #3: Review

May 2012
Ed Brubaker, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers VS X-Men #3 Review by (May 9, 2012)
Rachel Summers helps Cyclops because she's sort-of related (his daughter but from the future of an alternate reality), and because she too was once (or twice) bonded with the Phoenix Force. I would have expected her to send the Avengers on wild goose chases, and only tell the X-Men the truth. But the previews for later issues in the crossover suggest that she's sent Avengers and X-Men to the same places. Presumably there really are 5 readings, maybe caused by Hope's cunning device. And presumably she's at none of them. (The real reason Rachel did this of course is so we'll have Avengers/X-Men clashes to watch.) The Avengers team is pretty much the same as last time, except we don't see the outer space team. Captain America seems to have brought in Sharon Carter (but she is one of the Secret Avengers). Quicksilver has gone after his flying visit. When Cap is allocating teams he just says Luke Cage will be leading his people. I assumed that just meant the New Avengers. But I had to work out who was actually on Luke's squad by a process of elimination. Unless Cap (or the writer) just forgot to mention her by name, Cage has got Black Widow who was never an NAv. He also gets Daredevil, Mockingbird and Thing from the current NAv team. But Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Spider-Man and Wolverine get siphoned off to other teams.

I've repeated the following part of the comments out of sequence:-

Since #2 and its expanded battles in Avengers vs X-Men: Versus #1 and Uncanny X-Men #11, we have seen the outer space Avengers team fail to cage the Phoenix Force and the Kree seemingly resurrect Captain Marvel in Secret Avengers #26. There's also been another prologue to the event in New Avengers #25. This time set hundreds of years ago when a girl imbued with the Phoenix Force visits K'un L'un and becomes an Iron Fist. Some Avengers take time off in the middle of the current issue to take the teen X-Men captured on Utopia to Avengers Academy. All the teens from the last 2 issues go there, plus some others such as Dust. Other older X-Men seem to just melt away without comment. (Maybe because like Magma and Sunspot of New Mutants they're involved in unconnected current adventures.)

You all probably know about Dr Doom's Latveria, Black Panther's Wakanda and Ka-Zar's Savage Land in the Antarctic, but Wundagore Mountain and Tabula Rasa may not be so well known. Wundagore was the High Evolutionary's base, first seen way back in Thor #134, and Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman were born there. Scarlet Witch hid away on the mountain after House of M. High Evolutionary abandoned his base and now lives in space. The X-Men's Forge took over the base, but it (and supposedly he) was destroyed in Astonishing X-Men #30. Tabula Rasa is much more recent. It's an area of the US that was enclosed in a time bubble in Uncanny X-Force #15, cleared of all life, and then accelerated through millions of years to produce a totally different biosphere.

The Avengers team is pretty much the same as last time, except we don't see the outer space team. Captain America seems to have brought in Sharon Carter (but she is one of the Secret Avengers). Quicksilver has gone after his flying visit. When Cap is allocating teams he just says Luke Cage will be leading his people. I assumed that just meant the New Avengers. But I had to work out who was actually on Luke's squad by a process of elimination. Unless Cap (or the writer) just forgot to mention her by name, Cage has got Black Widow who was never an NAv. He also gets Daredevil, Mockingbird and Thing from the current NAv team. But Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Spider-Man and Wolverine get siphoned off to other teams. Cap also didn't specify who was on his own team. He personally told Wolverine to accompany him. And it's obvious that Giant-Man and Sharon Carter knew they were the rest of the team.

The team just leave the other X-Men who were involved in the battle last issue behind on Utopia, technically prisoners of the Avengers. Domino, Loa, Madison Jeffries, Magma, Pixie, Sunspot, Surge, Velocidad and Warpath are mentioned on the splash page, but I can't swear they exactly match the crowd scenes. (For instance I can't identify Domino.) Dr Nemesis, Psylocke, Transonic and the one who was either Dazzler or Wolfsbane have been dropped since last issue's splash page, and I can't say I see any of them in the crowd. Angel and some students are seen wandering around the school. The splash page identifies them as Blindfold, Genesis, Kid Omega and Oya, though I wouldn't be so sure about Kid Omega. Rachel Summers helps Cyclops because she's sort-of related (his daughter but from the future of an alternate reality), and because she too was once (or twice) bonded with the Phoenix Force. I would have expected her to send the Avengers on wild goose chases, and only tell the X-Men the truth. But the previews for later issues in the crossover suggest that she's sent Avengers and X-Men to the same places. Presumably there really are 5 readings, maybe caused by Hope's cunning device. And presumably she's at none of them. (The real reason Rachel did this of course is so we'll have Avengers/X-Men clashes to watch.)

I've only just noticed that the gang of plotters are taking it in turns to write the issues. Bendis for #1, Aaron #2, and now Brubaker. There are 3 X-Men who are also Avengers. Beast and Wolverine chose to side with the Avengers. Beast is away with the outer space team. Wolverine gets thrown off the Avengers side this issue. The question of which side Storm is on seems now to have been settled without any discussion. She wasn't in #0 or #1. She was listed on the splash page of #2 as being between the teams, but popped up as if by magic on the X-Men's side and no-one really mentioned that she's an Avenger. Now she's on the splash page of this issue as an X-Man, and is on the main team without any questions asked. Cyclops sent Magik to prepare an escape route through Limbo last issue. I said at the time I didn't know whether it was for all the X-Men or just Hope. This issue it turns out to be for just the main X-team, although Hope would probably have been included if she hadn't run away.

Comments on the following week's tie-ins:- In the week following this issue we've had 3 tie-in comics. One was set in the past, but the other 2 should be inserted in the middle of the current issue. New Avengers #26 was another prelude set in old K'un L'un with the girl who was both an Iron Fist and a Phoenix target like Hope. This time Brian Bendis dragged in Leonardo da Vinci from fellow AvX plotter Jonathan Hickman's current SHIELD series, to create a defence against the Phoenix Force. #25 and #26 have had misleading covers featuring the current Iron Fist. This time with Hope as well. The other 2 tie-ins are set in Wolverine's mutant school, between the main X-team escaping from Utopia and Captain America organising the next phase. Wolverine & X-Men #10 has Cyclops and others try to persuade Wolverine to switch sides from the Avengers. Presumably Logan returned to the school after dropping off the X-teens from Utopia at Avengers Academy. Some of the non-students side with Cyclops. But Wolvie gets the call to return to Avengers Tower. Also a group of Shi'ar arrive to on Earth to hunt Hope Summers. In X-Men Legacy #266 Falcon, Moon Knight and She-Hulk are sent by Cap to the school in case Hope goes there. They tangle with Rogue and Kitty Pryde and others. Both these issues end with the same group of X-Men leaving to join Cyclops' army. I don't know if it means the bulk of these stories happened at the same time, because how did Cyclops and friends evade She-Hulk's group? Well maybe Emma Frost telepathically gave them selective blindness. But maybe Cap only sent the minor Avengers there after he'd recalled Wolverine. The X-Men that leave the school include Rachel Summers. She and Angel, Gambit and Iceman join the battle in Avengers vs X-Men #4.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers VS X-Men #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue ended with Hope Summers running from both the Avengers and the X-Men. In the process she used a sliver of the Phoenix Force to consume Wolverine in flames. He's just grown his skin back, and Spider-Man hands him some clothes to wear.

Spidey tells him that Cyclops has surrendered the X-Men to Captain America and the Avengers. But Wolverine doesn't believe that is what's really happening. Cap and Iron Man are discussing how to play it. They don't know what to do with the captives, nor whether the status of Utopia island means they have any jurisdiction here. Tony comments that Steve is sounding as dictatorial as Stark did during Civil War.

Just then Dr Strange returns from Magik's Limbo realm, with the unconscious girl in his arms. But Wolverine bursts on the scene and exclaims that Dr Strange isn't who he claims to be. 'Strange' is really Magik, and it is Dr Strange who's unconscious.

Magik teleports the main X-team (Colossus, Cyclops, Danger, Emma Frost, Magik, Magneto, Storm and Sub-Mariner) ashore to Long Beach, and telepathic Emma Frost stops people from seeing them. They want to use Cerebra to locate Hope. But Cerebra is in the Westchester school, which is now 'enemy' territory. It's the home of Wolverine's branch of the X-Men, and Logan is on the side of the Avengers. They hope to contact someone sympathetic there.

Meanwhile in a San Francisco tech-shop Hope herself has used Cable's teaching to cobble together a device to shield her from detection.

Back in Avengers Tower Cap and Wolvie contact Rachel Summers at the school. She tells them that Cerebra somehow detects Hope in 5 different places. But Rachel is secretly in telepathic communication with Cyclops, and passes information to him.

As overall leader of the Avengers franchise, Captain America splits them into teams. Iron Man will stay in the Tower to work on a defence against the Phoenix Force. Dr Strange, Hawkeye and Red Hulk will take Wundagore Mountain. Luke Cage will lead Black Widow, Daredevil, Mockingbird and Thing to Tabula Rasa. Black Panther will take Iron Fist to his homeland Wakanda. The Spiders (-Man and -Woman) get Latveria. Cap himself will go with Giant-Man, Sharon Carter and Wolverine to the Savage Land.

On board the plane to the Savage Land Cap takes Logan aside. He's angry that Wolverine disobeyed orders on Utopia (going after Hope alone), and fears that Wolvie will kill Hope to keep her from the Phoenix Force. They tussle, but the other 2 on the plane are in on Cap's plan. Giant-Man stuns Logan, and Sharon opens a hatch to dump him in a snowy waste (in the Antarctic?).


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> Avengers VS X-Men: Book info and issue index

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John Romita Jr.
Scott Hanna
Laura Martin
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Jim Cheung (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)
Plot: . Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Thunderbolt Ross)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Cable, Colossus (Piotr Rasputin), Danger, Emma Frost, Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Hope Summers, Magik, Rachel Summers.