The first strike has happened. The battle between the Avengers and the X-Men has begun. Now we get to see if all the planning pays off.
Last issue was the build up. We saw the reasoning why these two teams that have been working closely lately will fight. This issue is about the actual fighting. How many times have you wanted to see heroes truly going at each other. How many times have you wondered why characters like the Thing and Namor never really went at it. It's almost like they've always been holding back in their past encounters. That isn't the case here. Both sides are committed to their cause and they understand what is at stake.
While there are many big and individual battles, you can see why there will be a need for the AVX sub-series to showcase the actual fighting on a closer level (at least that's my understanding of it). We do see some pretty good beginnings but with so many characters fighting each other, we're almost teased and left wanting more. And what we do see is nice. There was some punches being thrown and applied to characters that I've been waiting to see.
It's not just fight scene after fight scene. Seeing where some of the characters place their allegiance is interesting. You get a little more insight into what makes them tick. And if you've been concerned that this is going to be a lot of mindless fighting with no actual story, I'll just say that we do see some immediate affects of the Phoenix Force. In other words, stuff is happening here.
In the first issue there was the argument that could be made as to who was the bigger jerk, Captain America or Cyclops. Cap pretty much stormed onto the island and demanded Hope. Cyclops was stubborn, didn't really want to talk and blasted Cap. On the first page of the story (actual third page of the comic after the first two recap pages), one of the two makes a speech that is a little too over the top. Even I thought it was too much. There is a lot of pressure but this character almost felt like they were crossing over into an ugly place.
I didn't have major problems with the art as apparently some did in the first issue but here, the helicarrier scene looked a little bland.
One of the characters gets hit in the head with Cap's shield. There's mention of a concussion but I think getting hit by that would knock a person out. It might be nitpicking but the scene was cool until you see they're still on their feet.
Then we have a slight bit of continuity. There was nice continuity if you read WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN before this issue but the dialogue between Storm and Black Panther felt off. Storm was at the Avengers Mansion when Cap told everyone the Phoenix Force was on the way in NEW AVENGERS #24 last week. Here she was mad at him for "not telling" her "this was happening." She knew Cap called them all in and immediately left before he could finish.
I was happy and excited with the first issue. I felt the reasoning and explanation as to why they would be fighting made sense. Here, once the action begins, there are some nice scenes but many of them leaving you wanting more artistically and storywise. I was bothered by a lot of little things and they simply added up. There is progress in the story. Part of me feared it would simply be an entire series of fight after fight. The Phoenix Force does play a part of the story here but some of this week's and last week's tie-ins felt like they had better stories than the way it all unfolded in this issue. I am still eager to read the rest of this series and all the tie-ins. After the first issue, my expectations were raised higher than I thought possible and this issue just didn't meet them.
Note - AR App
This issue didn't have many panels/moments you could use the AR app. The little logo can be slightly distracting but the use was nice to see in the first issue. I would've liked to have seen it used more in this issue. It was nice to hear Jason Aaron say a few words though.