The first half of this twelve-issue series started becoming a let down. It was exciting at first to see all the major heroes clashing with each other. Due to the abundance and scope of the story, we soon became inundated with tiny glimpses of these battles and had to rely on the side series in order to actually see those fights take place. With the Phoenix Force being shattered into five fragments and members of the X-Men gaining the power (becoming the Phoenix Five) has turned the war on its side.
Cyclops and the others have decided to use their power to 'save the world.' Despite their actions, the Avengers are not content to just sit back and accept everything will be fine. This has resulted in the Avengers being hunted down and imprisoned. What was once the Avengers trying to assert their authority over the X-Men has turned into the Avengers scrambling to fight for their lives and possibly the fate of the world.
We've been getting lots of 'speeches' from Cyclops and in talking to the other members of the Phoenix Five over the threat of the Avengers, specifically Scarlet Witch, it's almost scary. This is the first time I've truly felt this may be more than just an event story with a lot of action. The news of the upcoming "Marvel Now" initiative which will relaunch series and apparently bring others backs feels like this could have a Flashpoint-style ending. I am not saying that is being laid out here or that this story is trying to mimic DC's style but with the power of the Phoenix Force along with Scarlet Witch's presence, you can't help but wonder if this is indeed leading up to having major things changed as a result.
How great is Olivier Coipel's art? It is fitting that with the series taking such a drastic turn from the first half, we have art that has a completely different feel. The combination of Coipel's art with the current events gives the story a sharper and harder edge. When Scarlet Witch stands on the page, Coipel makes her an extremely imposing figure. Knowing what she's done in the past along with the Phoenix Force thrown in amps up the story.
How come Hawkeye always has to suffer in major crossovers?
Cyclops' speeches are getting more extreme. It's due to the Phoenix Force's presence but you have to wonder how Cyclops will walk away from this at the end of the story.
I always feel Fraction writes a different Tony Stark when he's not appearing in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. There's no question of how firm a grasp Fraction has on the character but for him to get to a point where Black Panther is forced to take a certain action against him felt a little odd. I felt the same way at times during FEAR ITSELF.
I'm finding myself getting glued to this series. There was excitement when the first issue came out but soon we were overwhelmed with the feeling that not a lot was actually happening. Now that five members of the X-Men have a portion of the Phoenix Force, it's a whole new game. The Avengers are being hunted and imprisoned. Of course with Captain America leading the underdogs and Scarlet Witch on hand keeps the excitement elevated. On a sort of unrelated note, with the announcement of "Marvel Now," where there'll new jumping on points, etc, you can't help but wonder if events from this story will lead to that. This is what we've been waiting for in this series. There is major poop getting thrown at the fan. If you're going to have a major crossover with a lot of hype, it's great to see some pay off. I'm back on board with AvX and can't wait to see what's going to happen next.