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The Rest of the Stack: Week of May 16, 2012


The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (AvX) #4

Wolverine finds Hope, the Avengers Away Team in Space meets the Phoenix, while on Earth Avengers fight X-Men and X-Men fight Avengers in key locations where they’d hoped to perhaps find Hope, before a couple of team leads fairly simultaneously figure out where Hope is headed. With Wolverine, Hope gets where she’s going, but finds a whole mess of Avengers and X-Men who are pretty much working against her. Four issues (8 weeks) into this event and we seem to finally be getting close to some real meat of things. I’m finding myself beginning to lose interest in the bigger picture, as this core title briefly covers things, and I find my interest increasingly focused on Hope and the Phoenix Force and far less on any individual “match-ups” of X-Men and Avengers fighting each other…especially as my own views on ANY “Which of these characters would win in a fight?” centers on “it depends on who is writing and the purpose of the story” (something I recently learned is Stan Lee’s own “official” position on such questions). I was rather amused at the opening of this issue–Wolverine with a temporary…um…”costume accessory” and apparently being lured by a certain trail of “bait.” So dumb it was amusing. All in all…I really hope next issue’s “Act One Finale” gives me something to justify keeping on with this core series, and that something picks up quick to justify all the tie-ins. (6/10)

VERSUS #2

So why was #1 not offered with a code for a free download? The completist in me does not like starting with a #2 issue, especially something like this where there have been 3 prior issues of AvX offered that way prior to this week. The art for the issue isn’t bad; keeps things relatively clear as to what’s going on throughout. The Cap/Gambit battle is not to my liking at all–at least the previous issue’s Iron Man/Magneto battle had some thought to it, but this one did not feel like both characters were actually competent, despite being around more than 20 years apiece. I’m also bothered that the fight plays out differently than in AvX #4. The Spidey/Colossanaut fight was fairly boring, though I appreciate the matchup as one of my earliest memories of reading Marvel material was the Spidey/X-Force crossover with them fighting the original Juggernaut. For a mini-series that prides itself on being all-fight/no-plot, and given the interiors…this isn’t worth $3.99, even WITH a digital download code. (3/10)

UNCANNY X-MEN #12

With another look at Emma locating multiple possible places Hope could be, we see Cyclops’ group sent out to these numerous locations. Of course, Avengers have found their way to these places as well–and this issue focuses on Tabula Rasa (which I think is a place created in Uncanny X-Force that I forgot about until this issue). Among other fights, we get another Thing vs. Namor fight which is already getting to be a really “old” concept to me. The art’s not bad, and the story’s not horrible–getting a deeper look into things like the impact of AvX on Tabula Rasa–is the main thing I’m looking for in having jumped aboard for the whole of AvX with these tie-ins. I’m just beginning to find my patience worn thin at suspending my personal $3.99 policy for this specific event. (6/10)

AVENGERS #26

I think I was put off by Simonson‘s art in the previous issue, but I mostly like it in this issue. Of course, I actually spent several pages thinking maybe I’d bought a new-printing-variant of an issue I already had, as all the jumping around time-wise in these tie-ins has me with a slightly muddled perception of what’s happening when, if one gets down to the minor details vs. broad strokes. Story-wise, we mainly have a focus on Thor confronting the Phoenix, while Protector reveals that he’s protecting an agenda other than the team’s main purpose. As mentioned above for Uncanny X-Men #12, I do like seeing more fleshing out of stuff and the way we can get into lengthier bits of characters interacting in the context of AvX. But I am already sick and tired of huge splash pages and multiple pages of virtually no dialogue and just big panels of the Phoenix. I get it–the thing is freakin’ HUGE, especially compared to our heroes. Rather than being impressed by its sheer immensity, I find myself staring at the widening plot-hole of why this huge cosmic force would–for EARTH–require a host body to possess rather than just incinerate the Earth in seconds as it has plenty of other worlds. Finally…maybe it’s that all my new comics this week are AvX, but….this $3.99 is really grating on me again. (7/10)

AVENGERS ACADEMY #30

Probably the worst part of this issue for me is the cover. It doesn’t really show what happens in the issue, and the sketchy background of the various adults’ faces doesn’t really do anything for me…though I suppose on deeper discussion or analysis one could find plenty of positive and depth to it…but on the surface, it’s off-putting. Otherwise, really (Really!) enjoying the art on this series (this is my 2nd issue). No complaints there. Story-wise, having now gotten the setup from the previous issue, I didn’t find myself pulled out of stuff wondering when something had gone down off-panel and simply enjoyed the interactions between the various characters. I also quite enjoyed seeing Richochet, who I have barely seen since Slingers ended back in ’99 or so. I also found myself curious about the sentinel pilot before realizing that this is where the sentinel and kid from Sentinel wound up. And as the only $2.99 issue of this bunch, of the new comics I bought this week combined with enjoying the art and story both, this is overall my favorite issue of the week. (8.5/10)

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