eXaminations

Free Comic Book Day has come and gone and it’s been a whole lot of fun.  While I was hanging out and scoring some free books (as well as a mini-series I’ll be looking at later for crazy cheap), I picked up my comics for this week.  You know what that means:

  • Avengers vs. X-Men #3 in which the rest of the X-Men get a reason to fight the Avengers.
  • Exiled #1 in which the New Mutants get some Asgardian trouble.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega in which Quentin Quire’s plan comes to an end.
  • X-Factor #235 in which local heroes are having a rough day.
  • X-Men #28 in which we get a Skrull story about four years late.

The words begin after the jump, and there will be SPOILERS.

Avengers vs. X-Men #3
When I first learned that this SUPER MEGA EVENT was going to run 12 issues I was concerned that it would be too long with gratuitous fighting, which would end up dragging before the big issue at hand got dealt with.  Call it the lesson I learned from House of M.  This issue makes me think that there will be plenty of fighting to be done while the plot creeps in the background, as the story sets the stage for five battlefields.  Think of it as a Capcom fighting game in which after you select your characters you have your choice of locations: Wundagore Mountain, Tabula Rasa, Wakanda, Latveria and the Savage Land.  And go figure – there’s five more issues of Vs. to go.  And since Hope is not in any of those places, there will be little more than Avengers and X-Men showing up, fighting, and then leaving.  Nine issues to go.

This issue settled the first round of fighting – Cyclops and his group outsmart the Avengers and get away – while also taking care of the matter of getting Team Wolverine on the X side of things.  Captain America noticed that Wolverine had sneaked off to kill Hope during the battle, but rather than talking matters out, he decides to beat the crap out of his teammate and then blow him out an airlock.  Saying this is uncharacteristic for Captain America is a bit of an understatement, but I suppose it does give Wolverine enough of a reason to go against the Avengers.  But of course, now this makes it more of AvXvX since the Avengers want to capture Hope to prevent the Phoenix from getting to her, Team Cyclops wants to protect Hope with the chance that the Phoenix can restore the mutant population, and Wolverine simply wants to kill her and keep anything bad from happening.  Now that is interesting.

So a bit of a slip, but still hot enough to have me waiting eagerly for the next part.

Exiled (One-Shot)
Leave it to Marvel to launch a crossover in the middle of a SUPER MEGA EVENT crossover, but that’s what we have here as New Mutants crosses over with Journey Into Mystery.  That might seem an odd pairing, but the New Mutants actually have quite a bit of history with Asgard ever since their first visit which left Dani Moonstar as a Valkyrie.  In fact, she may or may not still be one – it all depends on who’s writing the story.

As a reader mainly of things X, I haven’t seen anything of Asgard since Siege, but I know enough to recognize the usual cast – Thor, Loki, Hela, and the Warriors Three.  I can’t tell if Loki is supposed to be a child or if the art is just making him appear as such, but I suppose it’s unimportant.  Anyway, there’s a huge threat that the Asgardians have to deal with and it just happens to land across the street from the New Mutants’ apartment.  Cue the team-up.  This also has some dealing with Mephisto which may tie into his assumed relationship with Magma, but nothing like that yet.

Nothing bad here – just odd timing for a crossover that has nothing to do with AvX for the New Mutants or Thor, who are all appearing in the MEGA EVENT.

Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega #5 (of 5)
I almost dropped this series after the first issue, but now that it’s done I am glad I stuck with it.  Quentin Quire’s plan has gone way over his head and when even a reset button fails he’s left with little option than to have Wolverine kill him in the psychic world before the instinct-driven, mindless Wolverine kills him in the real world.  Quentin is actually humbled by his failure, only to have it turned around on him when Wolverine gives him exactly the respect he was looking for.  Despite having his plan spin completely out of control, Quentin managed to do exactly what he had set out to do – he nailed Wolverine mentally and did it easily.

This has been a very fun read and its twists and turns leading to genuine tension have impressed me quite a bit.  I’m not usually a fan of these mini series, but the strength of the story and its basis (the relationship between Wolverine and Quentin) have made it quite the memorable read.  It makes me even happier that Brian Wood will soon be taking over X-Men…but more on that below.

X-Factor
With the new status quo of Havok and Polaris aboard settled, we get our first real story and it’s actually one of the weaker issues I’ve read in a while.  The issue deals with the real-life trend of ordinary people dressing up as super-heroes and doing good deeds in the community, only to be themselves targeted and slaughtered.  There is, of course, something bigger going on that has yet to be revealed, so there’s not much to it quite yet.

I’m not sold on the leadership squabbles between Havok and Madrox.  After all, X-Factor is not a sanctioned team.  It’s a private detective agency created and owned by Jamie Madrox.  Now that he’s back, why are Havok and Polaris even still there?  It’s an issue that has been glossed over.  Does the team prefer Havok over Madrox?

But the issue does have its normal X-Factor charm, especially when Madrox and Shatterstar go undercover using variations of their early 90’s costumes (complete with Shatterstar’s old Liefeld-drawn head gear) only to have their outfits called lame.

X-Men #28
In what I’m pretty sure is Victor Gischler’s final story on the title, this issue is pretty bad.  I know I haven’t been very kind to this title since its inception, but I just have a lot of problems with this issue.  Pixie is suckered by some Skrulls to break into the Baxter Building to steal some piece of tech leftover from Secret Invasion, only to be re-suckered by different Skrulls to break into Horizon Labs to get some more Skrull tech.  But then it turns out that some of the Skrulls are being duped by their leader Skrull who unleashes some kind of attack on the heroes who have gathered.

Now here are things to consider while reading this issue:

  • The Baxter Building’s security can be breached by a teenage teleporter.
  • The Baxter Building’s alarm can only detect one Skrull at a time, so as long as they attack separately, a second group disguised as the X-Men can walk in undetected.
  • Pixie does not find it odd that the X-Men not only enter Horizon Labs, but go perusing through its stored tech.
  • Despite being in a heavily guarded lab used to store captured alien technology, the Skrulls decide to drop their disguises and pause for a nice exposition dump.
  • A stories-tall piece of Skrull tech (called a War-Bringer) is hidden under the streets of Manhattan, right outside where Reed Richards has been sending the captured Skrull tech, and not a single person had any clue about it.

This is a dumb story.  All of the parts seem to have no purpose other than bringing back all the guest stars from the previous stories in order to get a real big fight scene and then call it a day.  And I suppose there’s no better way to wrap up this run which has not been good from the get-go.

Next Time
It’s a non-AvX week, so take a moment to breathe with these.

  • Journey Into Mystery #637 keeps Exiled going.  I probably should get it.
  • Uncanny X-Force #25begins a new storyline.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #10 continues the AvX tie-in.
  • X-Men Legacy #266 likely also continues the AvX tie-in.
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