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Off My Mind: Throwing the First Punch in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1

Two teams that have been working together will now be engaged in an unforgettable battle.

We often see superheroes fight other superheroes. Usually it's over a giant misunderstanding. One of the heroes could be new or unknown to the other. One of the heroes could be in a desperate situation and their actions could be misunderstood by the other. The fighting between them never really escalates too far. They usually come to their senses or some sort of understanding and end up working together to fight the common threat. That isn't the case in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN.

While mutant issues have usually been left to the X-Men, the Avengers have been seen fighting alongside the X-Men a bit recently. There has been a mutual level of respect between the two hero teams in the Marvel Universe. There are even a few heroes that are simultaneously members of both teams.

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Yet the massive battle we've been seeing teasers for has just begun. With everything at stake, it's not going to simply be a misunderstanding. Sides are being chosen among the heroes and readers. As we look at the events of the first issue of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, who really threw the first punch that has started this fight? (There will be some minor spoilers to AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 below).

== TEASER ==
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The Avengers and the X-Men are't strangers. They fight against evil forces many times. When San Francisco had a giant dome placed over it, trapping several members of the X-Men along with city residents, the Avengers showed up to help. When the Avengers were made aware of a strange occurrence in Montana (Tabula Rasa), the X-Men were there to deal with the problem. Most recently, when several alien threats escaped SWORD's custody and began attacking Earth, the two teams had to fight side-by-side in order to deal with them.

But it hasn't always been a cheerful relationship. We also recently saw some fighting over the fate of Scarlet Witch during AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE. Lines were drawn in the sand as Cyclops felt she should be held accountable for her actions against mutants and Captain America felt he was an Avengers and they would deal with her.

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What brings the two teams to blows this time is the Phoenix Force. When a member of the Nova Corps arrives on Earth with a warning, residual energies belonging to the entity are detected. The Phoenix Force wants a new host. With it headed towards Earth, that would likely result in the entire planet and solar system being wiped out in its wake. Upon consulting with Wolverine, it was mentioned that Hope Summers, the mutant messiah, would be the most likely host-target.

Captain America arrived on Utopia (with the Avengers as back up, of course) and basically demanded Hope be turned over to them. Cyclops' response was a face full of optic blast.

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Physically, Cyclops struck the first blow. Captain America was there to discuss things. He didn't come in swinging but Cyclops simply lashed out without trying to have a civil conversation.

Then again, Captain America arrived unannounced at their sanctuary and demanded they turn over a mutant child into their custody. After the blow was struck, we saw Cap was with a helicarrier full of Avengers. Just by showing up he made his intentions clear (and Emma's telepathy confirmed it). Captain America wasn't planning on leaving the island without Hope.

So who really threw the first punch?

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This obviously is open to debate. Cyclops told Cap to "get the hell off [his] island" and blasted him. Cap came in with an army of superheroes and informed Cyclops he wasn't asking to be able to take Hope into protective custody. Both leaders made their positions clear. Cyclops may have thrown the first physical blow but Cap made the first move by arriving with demands and not looking for a discussion due to the importance of getting Hope before the Phoenix Force arrived.

Because both parties could be assigned the blame of throwing the first punch, perhaps we should focus on who will throw the final punch...