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Avengers Vs X-Men #2

 Review by Paul Bowler

 Having refused to hand Hope over to Captain America on the beach of Utopia, Cyclops blasted the star spangled Avenger with his optic beams, setting the scene for Avengers vs. X-Men #2 which opens as the battle between Earths mightiest heroes really begins in earnest. The Avengers launch a full scale assault against Utopia, but the X-Men’s opening salvo sees Magneto hurling Colossus at the Helicarrier, dealing the massive craft a crippling blow.

The earth shattering action that follows is staggering as Mutants and Avengers clash, with Iron Man squaring up to Magneto and Colossus taking on the Red Hulk being just a few of the highlights as the conflict escalates. One of the most iconic clashes is between Namor and the Thing, and it’s great to see these two old rivals knocking lumps out of each other. Utopia proves not to be the only battleground when Dr Strange and Magik take their fight into limbo in a startling tour-de-force of mystical combat. Meanwhile the impasse between Captain America and Cyclops continues to play out, and the situation is compounded further by Wolverine’s awkward stance in the conflict which sees him labelled as a traitor by his fellow X-Men.

Amidst the chaos Hope struggles to come to terms with her role as the Mutant Messiah and what the impending arrival of the Phoenix Force will mean for the world, a fate which is tantalisingly reflected in the Scarlet Witch’s bizarre dream journals. Indeed, by the time Wolverine’s hidden agenda is revealed – to kill Hope and avert the impending disaster – and Thor prepares to face certain destruction with his Deep Space team, you will be left eagerly awaiting the next issue.

Jason Arron does a fine job of ensuring Avengers vs. X-Men #2 is every bit as exciting as the first issue, boldly capitalizing the full potential of this series as the plot begins to set up the various points at which this massive event will start to spill into the other titles involved in this crossover. The spectacular action set-pieces are rendered impressively by John Romita Jr, perfectly conveying the urgency and power of each titanic confrontation.

At the moment it is hard to really place your allegiance with either side, unlike Civil War and Fear Itself, AvX is not so clear cut at the moment. Characterization can suffer a little in big crossover events, particularly when such a huge cast is involved, but I feel that after the dust has settled over the battlefield of issue #2 the story will have a chance to flesh out all the major players. Avengers vs. X-Men is already turning out to be a fantastically engrossing comic book event, with the promise of even bigger and better skirmishes still to come.