With the Avengers feature film debut hitting cinema screens this Anzac Day, I couldn't think of a better time to shine a spotlight on what is happening for the Avengers in comics form. Apparently the culmination of numerous crossover events such as Fear Itself, Schism and Avengers: The Childrens Crusade, Avengers vs X-Men won't be the first time these two superteams have squared off and probably won't be the last but it has been enough to get a whole lot of people excited and feverishly start choosing their favoured sides.
The series is planned as being 12-parts long with instalments being released fortnightly and as you would expect the plot revolves around an epic mega confrontation between the Avengers of New York City and the X-Men from their island home of Utopia. This first issue lights the fuse of impending confrontation when a familar force, the Phoenix returns to wreak havoc with the lives of everyday New Yorkers, manifesting itself through the powers of Cyclops daughter, Hope.
Once the Avengers find out about this, they have no choice but to confront the X-Men on Utopia. The two leaders Captain America and Cyclops meet beachside (reminding readers of the legendary uber-fight in Schism) and of course things don't go as smoothly as hoped with Cap wanting things to return to normal and Cyclops seeing another rise of the Phoenix as a sign of a second chance for the decimated mutant population. Cue fireworks, explosions and many threatening accusations as the battle lines are drawn between the two company mainstays and the reader gets to sit back and hopefully enjoy the fight (and a multitude of tie-in comics).
The series will be written by a who's who of the top comic writers of today including Bendis, Aaron, Brubaker, Hickman and Fraction with a hectic schedule of illustration coming from longtime Marvel comics illustrator (and a personal favourite of mine) John Romita Jr. So far it's gotten off to an okay somewhat derivative start. My favourite part about it is the artwork but I hold out hope for the story being in the hands of such a stellar line-up of writers. I understand some readers dislike of Romita's often too simplistic artwork but personally I will always be a fan and I fully respect his effort (along with a couple of helping hands) in getting a fully drawn book out every two weeks.
Will this be another tiresome exercise in hype, cross-promotion and Marvel Comics excessive need for another "Event" comic? Time and the ringing of cash registers or lack thereof will tell. We shall also see if Marvel have learn't from their big mistakes namely the miserable sprawling mess and all round failure that was last years Fear Itself.