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Avengers vs. X-Men #1

Review by Paul Bowler

The concept of two factions of superheroes facing off against each other under impossible circumstances may not be the most original, indeed some might argue that after Civil War Marvel has been there and done that once too often already, but the idea of a conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men was bound to be a sure fire recipe for success.

Indeed, Avengers vs X-Men is very similar in tone to Civil War, but this time it has the worlds mightiest heroes locked in a bitter conflict with the planets surviving Mutants as the Phoenix Force approaches Earth. It doesn’t take long before both teams are slugging it out over the fate of the planet, and with no quarter given, it falls to a select few to try and work out some kind of compromise between their divided loyalties. While Captain America and Cyclops dominate much of the action, the real focal point of the story is the young Mutant Hope, who once again finds everyone fighting over her as she struggles to come to terms with what the return of the Phoenix Force will mean for her. The Beast and Wolverine also have major roles to play, which is understandable considering their unique positions on both teams, while the new Nova continues to be something of a mystery.

Brian Michael Bendis is the first from the alternating team of writers to open AvX with an astounding first issue that quickly sets the scene for this tremendous bi-weekly series. All the major characters are quickly assembled as the plot draws them seamlessly together, Captain America and Cyclops are soon at loggerheads, leading to the inevitable hostilities. John Romita Jr has done a fantastic job with sustaining the action and tension, enhanced further by Scott Hanna’s inks and Laura Martin’s colours, imbuing this momentous event with a sumptuous sheen of quality.

DC’s New 52 may have stolen the thunder from Marvels Fear Itself last year, but Avengers vs X-Men has already been hailed as an unqualified success. Sometimes big event crossovers can loose their impetus over time; AvX looks set to build somewhat more gradually over the next 11 issues than pervious events, but looks certain to deliver a thrilling conclusion that will no doubt rock the superhero communities to the core.