When I wrote my review of the original Avengers Vs. X-Men trade paperback collection, I commented that we didn’t really get to see any of the one-on-one matches promised by the series’ concept and book covers. What few battles we saw were largely confined to the background and took place amid the conversations of the other characters. This is par for the course for an action-heavy crossover comic book. Still, I thought it would have been nice for there to be some focus on the big superhero brawls which were the entire reason for the Avengers Vs. X-Men mini-series existing in the first place.
Little did I know that there was another series – a second series devoted to showcasing these big epic battles. A series which answered such vital questions as, “Who would win in a fight – Iron Man or Magneto?” or “Can the telepathic Emma Frost use her mutant mind-control powers on an Asgardian like Thor?” A series called Avengers Vs. X-Men: Vs.
Written and illustrated by many of the creators behind the original Avengers Vs. X-Men book, this mini-series boasts an even wider variety of creative talent. The stories contained within this volume are equally diverse, running the gamut of emotions. There are battles that also serve as serious romantic drama, such as the fight between the X-Man Storm and her estranged husband, the Avenger Black Panther. There are less serious stories, such as the X-Babies back-up tale that closes this volume. There’s even an out for those fans who refuse to accept the final verdict of these “who would win?” scenarios in the form of a short story by Dan Slott. This one page tale suggests that the whole of Avengers Vs. X-Men was the result of two teenage heroines running a role-playing game starring their favorite superheroes, using the dolls of the mind-controlling villain Puppet Master as miniatures.
In truth, many of these battles are anti-climactic. I don’t believe for a second that the X-Man Gambit has a chance in a one-on-one fight with a master-strategist and combat veteran like Captain America. That being said, it is fun to see writer/artist Steve McNiven answer the question of whether or not Gambit could use his mutant power to change the potential energy in an inanimate object into explosive energy on Captain America’s indestructible shield.
Perhaps that is the only way to judge a comic collection like Avengers Vs. X-Men: Vs.? The fights are all enjoyable spectacles and there isn’t any glaringly awkward artwork. There’s not much of a plot, but given this volume’s connection to Avengers Vs. X-Men, there doesn’t need to be one. It’s a book full of superheroes fighting other superheroes and it doesn’t try to be anything more than that. It is what it is. No more. No less. And it is good for what it is.
This volume is rated T+, Marvel Comics’ equivalent of a PG-13, for superheroic violence, some foul language, and adult situations. I do not believe there to be anything in this volume that would be inappropriate for your average middle school age audience.
Avengers Vs. X-Men: Vs.
by Jason Aaron, Kathryn Immonen, Steve McNiven, Jeph Loeb, Kieron Gillen, Christopher Yost, Rick Remender, Kaare Andrews, Matt Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed McGuinness, Christopher Hastings, Dan Slott, Skottie Young
Art by Adam Kubert, Stuart Immonen, Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca, Ed McGuiness, Terry Dodson, Brandon Peterson, Kaare Andrews, Leinil Francis Yu, Tom Raney, Jim Cheung, Jim Mahfood, Mike Deodato, Jacob Chabot, Art Adams, Ramon Perez, Katie Cook, Gurihiru
Marvel Comics, 2013
Publisher Age Rating: T (13+)