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Avengers: X-Sanction [Review]

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Morry Hollowell
Lettering: Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Cover Art: Ed McGuiness, Dexter Vines & Morry Hollowell
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $24.99

I found this volume at a Half-Price Books last weekend, and wound up buying it. Not the best deal I’ve ever found–especially for something as skinny as this volume–but not the worst.

As single issues, this story came out I believe December 2011 to March 2012, essentially leading into AvX.

Last year, I was both put off yet intrigued at a new story focusing on Cable. Though the character had supposedly died at the end of 2010’s Second Coming, here he was, back after less than 2 years; barely a year and a half (in other measure: less than 3 6-issue arcs’ time). From what I recall, despite some mild interest in Cable’s return and dealing with the Avengers…it was this being a mini-series priced at $3.99 that really put me off. And then learning it wasn’t even to be a self-contained story, but lead into a major 2012 event. So I passed on it as singles.

Though this only contains 4 issues, it’s priced at $24.99–essentially $6.25 per issue of content (makes $3.99 per issue seem like a steal). Granted, this is an oversized hardcover, and a 4-issue premiere hardcover might be $19.99 (basically $5 per issue of content), so the oversized format could “justify” a higher price. But this sort of pricing is absolutely NOT worthwhile for only four issues, and this story in particular.

I’m actually somewhat regretting paying half of that $24.99 for this as-is.

The Ed McGuiness art is not bad–I liked his work on some of the Superman and then Superman/Batman stuff, and while I wouldn’t consider it exactly “ideal” for this story, it works.

The story itself seems overly simple and “decompressed” to a large degree and really comes out of nowhere. Cable draws Falcon off from a fight and incapacitates him, knowing Captain America would follow. The two fight, and Cap is incapacitated. Next, Iron Man shows up and he, too, is incapacitated. Then Red Hulk shows up, followed by Cyclops, Wolverine, and Hope herself. We learn amidst all this that Cable apparently did not actually die, but reunited with Blaquesmith, and learns that the destroyed world they’re in could be prevented if Hope had lived–having apparently died due to the Avengers. So with just hours to live until the techno-organic ravaging his body kills him, Cable travels to the past to take out the Avengers so that Hope can live and save the world.

While it’s long since become a moot point…I continue to find myself curious about Cable’s techno-organic virus; recalling that in #100 of his series back in the early 2000s, the character made a concerted effort and managed to excise the virus, removing it as a factor in his life. Seeing it back here and playing such a pivotal role seems rather contradictory.

I’m also not convinced that this needed to be its own separate series…if it was really so important, it might have been worth an issue or two of an Avengers title or even one of the X-books. At the least, it could probably have been “compressed” to fit a double-sized one-shot rather than be stretched into 4 issues.

Ultimately, this is a fairly mediocre series/story/volume, and way too quick a read for $25. If you can find it for half (preferably more)-off, the art at least is worth looking at, and while I don’t recall what material is contained in the It’s Coming tpb preceding AvX, this seems like it would have been much better served being billed as a specific prequel to AvXrather than some stand-alone thing.

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