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Avengers VS X-Men #4: Review

May 2012
Jonathan Hickman, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers VS X-Men #4 Review by (May 21, 2012)
My Dazzler problem is now resolved. She was listed in the splash page for #2, but I couldn't see her. Instead I noticed a character who I assumed was Wolfsbane. Neither were mentioned in #3. But now Dazzler is back in the list, along with Hepzibah (who used to be one of the Starjammers). And that's who I thought was Wolfsbane. They're both inside the comic this time (just 1 panel each). But I wouldn't have known it was Dazzler if they hadn't told me. In another 1 panel appearance a person who has to be Madison Jeffries is seen mentally controlling a dinosaur. I thought he could only control inorganic stuff (including AIs and robots). Hope is probably heading to where the Phoenix copy of Jean Grey died, within the Blue Area of the Moon. But I'd guess the Phoenix Force could get to her wherever she was. The arrival of Thor and the Phoenix Force at the end of this issue must presumably follow the whole of the outer space team's adventures. That includes Secret Avengers #27 next week, and Avengers #27 and SAv#28 next month.

The Avengers teams are not exactly what Cap said last issue. The Savage Land team is just Cap and Giant-Man. They seem to have left Sharon Carter in the plane (after dropping Wolverine in the Antarctic). The Wundagore group is as advertised. But the Tabula Rasa team is just Luke Cage and Thing. Admittedly I had to deduce the makeup of this group last issue by seeing who wasn't in the other teams. But 'Luke and his people' isn't the same as Luke + 1. He lost Daredevil and Mockingbird to the Latveria group, and Black Widow to Wakanda. And that last team has also gained Quicksilver, who was in #2 but not in #3 where the teams were allocated. The main X-team (Colossus, Cyclops, Danger, Emma Frost, Magik, Magneto, Storm, Sub-Mariner), who we saw escape Utopia, are all on hand (counting Cyclops and Emma Frost staying back at base). Angel, Gambit, Iceman and Rachel Summers were recruited from Wolverine's school in Wolverine & X-Men #10/X-Men Legacy #266. Teen X-Men were taken from Utopia to Avengers Academy. But there were a bunch of non-teen characters in #2 and #3 that didn't escape with the main team, and weren't taken to the Academy. I commented last time that maybe they'd returned to their own titles, which weren't getting involved in the crossover. But they've all turned up here to bulk out the X-teams in the various destinations.

The X-Men are presumably using Emma Frost's connection to the Hellfire Club to hide in one of their safehouses. Sunspot is no longer the head of the Club. Toad has always been unsure what side he's on, initially vacillating between being villainous Magneto's lackey and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's companion. He's been with the X-Men since they moved to Utopia, and after the Schism became janitor to Wolverine's school. We only get brief 1-page views of the globe-spanning battles. The Spider-Man/Colossus fight in Latveria and the Captain America/Gambit battle in the Savage Land are expanded in Avengers vs X-Men: Versus #2 (wisely delayed from last week). Uncanny X-Men #12 features the scuffle in Tabula Rasa. Marvel.com suggested the Red Hulk/Iceman fight in Wundagore would be in Wolverine & X-Men #10. It wasn't but it might be in next week's #11. And maybe the Wakanda battle will be in the following week's X-Men: Legacy #267. Marvel.com doesn't have anything about the contents of those 2 issues. And Previews is no help either.

This issue's rotating scripter is Jonathan Hickman. Last week's tie-in issues consist of 1 prelude and 2 tales set within #3. So I've added brief comments on them to last issue. The early scene with the outer space Avengers is a replay of part of Secret Avengers #26. The end of the attempt to cage the Phoenix Force, before they retreat to the Kree homeworld Hala. This week's Avengers #26 follows the space team to Hala, where they devise a better scheme and manage to snag part of the Phoenix Force. But Protector betrays them to take the Phoenix fragment for the Kree. I expect the deep space story now to alternate SAv#27, Av#27, SAv#28. Avengers Academy #30 was also out this week. The captured X-teens continue to interact with the Academy students. One other element running through the current issues may turn out to be relevant. Sebastian Shaw has escaped from imprisonment in the Academy, and he may be seeking to help Hope.

Comments on the following 2 weeks' tie-ins:- There have been 3 tie-in issues released between AvX#4 and #5. There are no prologue tales this time, but the comics still manage a spread in time. The last one to be published is probably the first chronologically. X-Men Legacy #267 continues the fight in #266 between Rogue (and some other X-Men) and the Avengers Falcon, Moon Knight and She-Hulk (with an appearance by Iron Man) at the Jean Grey School. This probably takes place during AvX#3 because Gambit hasn't yet left for the Savage Land in AvX#4. Secret Avengers #27 continues the adventures of the outer space team on the Kree homeworld. The Supreme Intelligence wants to use the Phoenix Force to restart Kree evolution. To this end he has mind-controlled all the Kree on the planet, including Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and Protector. I'm not sure how the SAv issues interleave with the Avengers ones. But my best guess at the moment is that Protector stole the Phoenix fragment from the Avengers in Av#26 to lure the Phoenix to Hala. As such Av#26 occurs before SAv#27, and also before the end of SAv#26. And of course this and the forthcoming Av#27 and SAv#28 have to conclude before Thor and the Phoenix Force arrive back on Earth at the end of AvX#4. Wolverine & X-Men #11 obviously runs parallel to AvX#4. It includes an expansion of Red Hulk vs Iceman in Wundagore. But it also follows Wolverine and Hope on their journey from the Antarctic to the Moon. En route they encounter the Shi'ar Death Commandos. There has still been no major expansion of the 1-page battle in Wakanda.

Later comment:- An identification in #7 has led me to believe that the character controlling a dinosaur in this issue is not Madison Jeffries but X-Man.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers VS X-Men #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Hope Summers rescues Wolverine from the Antarctic where Captain America stranded him last issue. But Logan is still intent on stopping her becoming the world-destroying Phoenix in the only way he thinks will work - killing her. For her part Hope still believes she can use the Phoenix Force to reinvigorate mutantkind. She makes a deal with him. Accompany her as she meets her destiny. And if she starts to turn evil he can kill her.

The Avengers deep space team (Beast, Captain Britain, Ms Marvel, Protector, Thor, Valkyrie, Vision and War Machine) have been bested by the Phoenix Force. Thor throws his hammer into the flamebird. But the only result is that a fragment of the Force destroys a nearby world.

Cyclops and Emma Frost are in a Hellfire Club safehouse. She telepathically reaches out to the Jean Grey School's janitor Toad and compels him operate Cerebra, so she can see what's happening elsewhere in the world. She scans the 5 places Rachel Summers detected traces of Hope last issue, and sees Avengers fighting X-Men but no sign of Hope.

In Wakanda Black Panther fights his wife Storm. And Black Widow, Iron Fist and Quicksilver face Danger, Dr Nemesis, Magma and Rachel Summers.

In Tabula Rasa Thing battles Sub-Mariner, while Luke Cage holds off Hepzibah and Sunspot.

In Latveria Daredevil, Mockingbird, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman fight Colossus, Dazzler and Domino, while Dr Doom's Doombots kibitz.

Near Wundagore Mountain Dr Strange faces Magneto, Red Hulk smashes Iceman's ice warriors, and Hawkeye has to deal with Angel and Psylocke.

And in the Savage Land Captain America fights Gambit and Warpath, while Giant-Man tangles with Madison Jeffries and Magik.

Emma Frost and Cap simultaneously realise that Hope has somehow fooled them all. Emma makes contact with Cap's mind to keep track of his plans. Cap calls Iron Man back at Avengers Tower, where he's devising a Phoenix-killer. In mid-conversation he gets another call, telling him where Hope is going. But now Emma Frost knows too.

Hope and Wolverine invade AIM WorldWorks, where they steal a rocket to the Blue Area of the Moon. But Cap is there already, along with Black Widow, Giant-Man, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Thing. It was Wolverine who told Cap where they were going, while Hope slept. He'd gone along with her plan in order to get her away from Earth, where she could be disposed of safely.

But he's not going to have it all his own way as Cyclops blasts him with his eye-beam, announcing the arrival of him and some other members of the main X-team:- Colossus, Emma Frost, Magik and Sub-Mariner.

But before they can fight, they are interrupted by a crater caused by Thor falling to the Moon, and announcing the arrival of the Phoenix Force.


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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.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
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)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Thunderbolt Ross)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Angel, Captain Britain, Colossus (Piotr Rasputin), Danger, Dazzler, Doctor Nemesis, Emma Frost, Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Hepzibah, Hildegarde (Hildegarde), Hope Summers, Madison Jeffries, Magik, Magma, Phoenix Force, Protector (Noh-Varr), Psylocke, Rachel Summers, Toad, War Machine (James Rhodes), Warpath.