This week saw the release of the prologue issue to this year’s major Marvel event, Avengers vs. X-Men. Issue #0 features art by Frank Cho, and sets up all the pins to be knocked down when AvX-proper begins next week.
AvX #0 is split into 2 separate stories, both exploring a major player in the event to come: Scarlet Witch and Hope. Scarlet Witch’s story (written by Brian Michael Bendis) is especially significant because it marks Wanda’s first interaction with the Avengers since her catastrophic breakdown in 2004’s Avengers Disassembled, and 2005’s House of M. How will the Avengers react when they see her? After all, the last time she was around she caused her husband the Vision to die, caused the Avengers to disband, and decimated the vast majority of the mutant population. Wanda seems to have recovered from her complete mental breakdown, but can the Avengers (especially the newly-returned Vision) trust her? Beyond that, we see Wanda holding her own as a solo hero; a rare and refreshing look at the character. Frank Cho’s art perfectly captures Wanda’s power and grace during her fight against M.O.D.O.K. and his hordes.
For Hope’s story (written by Jason Aaron), we are brought to the X-Men’s home base on the island Utopia, just off the coast of San Francisco. Hope, the first mutant born since the decimation brought on by the Scarlet Witch, is having trouble dealing with her position as the so-called “mutant messiah,” as well as her connection to the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force. Much to Cyclops’ disapproval, Hope has been flying into the city every night to take her anger out on criminals. We are reminded just how much of a badass Hope really is when she gets into an altercation with the snake-themed super villains of the Serpent Society. Her power-mimickery abilities are also shown off rather nicely during this fight. Hope is going to play a central role throughout Avengers vs. X-Men, and although she is able to take care of herself now, how will she fare when the Phoenix Force finally arrives, and the big fight begins?
Two good anticipation-building stories and mostly solid artwork earns Avengers vs. X-Men #0 a 4 out of 5.
Although Avengers vs. X-Men #1 does not technically go on sale until next Wednesday, the book was shipped to comic shops this week, and naturally a good number of copies have leaked early. I’ve read the issue, but will reserve my full review until next week when the book officially goes on sale.