Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Rant: Who Will/Should Win Avengers vs. X-men?

It's Sunday again and I've been drinking. So you know what that means? One, I need to call my neighbor and tell them I took a shit in hot tub again. Two, I'm ready for another rant! I don't want to make these too typical because my liver will kick my ass and because I want to leave more room for reviews, but given the current situation with Marvel comics there's a lot to rant about and my drunken ravings shall be heard!

This week, I want to talk about two important questions surrounding the upcoming Avengers vs. X-men event. One is a question that everyone is asking. The second is a question only a select few with awesome weed are asking. The most pressing is who will come out on top with Avengers vs. X-men? Marvel has said early on that this battle will be a winner and a loser. Now we don't know if Marvel's definition of winning is the Vince Lombardi kind or the Charlie Sheen kind, but as they showed with events like Civil War they are capable of screwing a certain segment of heroes over that were on the wrong side of a conflict. But forget for a moment who will come out on top. Get a little liquor in your system and start asking the question who SHOULD win?

There's no bones about it. The Avengers and the X-men will have plenty of reasons to beat the shit out of each other. The world is set to be torched by the Phoenix Force and for some very convoluted reasons both sides can't agree on how to handle it. Just look at the cover. Diplomacy amounts to precisely dick at this point.

For the moment, Marvel is employing their usual Area 51 style security to prevent any hint at who may be favored. They've focused more on starting fanboy battles where kids in their parents' basement piss and moan about who has a tougher time getting a bikini wax, Rogue or She-Hulk. That's an admirable strategy in it's own right, but if Marvel is being sincere about there being a winner and loser just as they were with Civil War then that raises some interesting possibilities. Since I haven't started dry heaving yet, I'll review some of them.

First, let's look at the Avengers. This is a team that the world respects. They're not mutants. They're officially recognized superheroes. Some of them like Iron Man and Black Widow don't have powers they were born with. Some like Hulk are the result of an accident. Yet they're all a self-contained, well-understood force for justice and all that is good. That's why the public is inclined to look on them favorably for the most part. The events of Fear Itself and Civil War shook the public's confidence in their heroes. They have a much smaller margin for error. If they do something that leads to the kind of destruction that Fear Itself incurred, then they're not going to be seen as heroes as much as they are a nuisance. So when Nova comes back from deep space to let them know that the Phoenix Force is on their way and it's capable of unleashing way more destruction than the Serpent ever could, they know they have to get their shit together. They won't have a very confident public if the public is burnt to a crisp. So their focus is stopping this overgrown parrot before it takes a giant shit on their world.

The X-men are in a very different boat. The world already hates them. They're so hated that homicidal kids are able to take over corporations and launch sentinels on the island nation they had to work so hard to carve out. In the eyes of many, they aren't heroes. There isn't much sympathy for their kind in the same way there isn't much sympathy for the influenza virus. While some do tag team with the Avengers every now and then, for the most part the mutants of Marvel have to contend with being the ticking time bombs in the eyes of every human. Unlike the Avengers, most were born with their powers and they aren't exactly predictable. And most people hate unpredictability, which is why weathermen are so hated. When news emerges that the world is about to be torched, their concerns aren't in line with the Avengers.

If that weren't bad enough, they're an endangered species. The events of House of M reduced their number to a point where you could fit all of them in Donald Trump's office and still have room for a pool. They managed to jump start their species again with Hope Summers in the events of Second Coming, but it hasn't been a smooth ride. You can still count all the new mutants she's sparked on one hand and she did it with the help of the same fiery parrot that is on a crash course with Earth now. Oh, and she has red hair and green eyes. There isn't a good history with characters that have red hair, green eyes, and a connection to the Phoenix Force. Be that as it may, that history is very personal for very obvious reasons.

Need I say more? But beyond the threat the Phoenix inherently poses, the X-men have to think of the larger picture. Their species isn't growing fast enough and the recent Schism between Wolverine and Cyclops has left them less than united. Hope Summers flashed some Phoenix potential and a handful of mutants emerged. Now the Phoenix itself is on it's way and they're a species in need of a rebirth. It's impossible for them to separate the Phoenix Force from the mutant messiah that they've doubled down on after the casino has broken their balls, cut off their fingers, and gouged out their left eye. They want to save their species while the Avengers want to save the world. And therein lies the heart of the problem.

The Avengers and the X-men both possess some pretty heavy firepower, but each side is motivated by different circumstances. One comes off as inherently heroic. The Avengers are just trying to stop the world from becoming a giant ash tray for the Phoenix. But the X-men want to use the Phoenix to jump start their species. This was actually stated in a recent preview for Avengers vs. X-men #1 by Scott fucking Summers of all people. The Phoenix killed his wife and fucked him up in ways that led him to marry her clone. Yet in this preview, he talks about trying to train Hope to tap the Phoenix Force. I know there is a large legion of Cyclops-haters that are jealous of him getting to bury his face in Emma Frost's boobs every night, but they actually have a valid point here. When the man most hurt by the Phoenix Force is arrogant and desperate enough to try and control the Phoenix Force, his giant balls are overshadowed by the extent his head is up his ass.

So Cyclops is willing to risk the entire world being burnt to a crisp like a slab of deer meat on Ted Nugant's grill and entrust the power of the Phoenix to Hope fucking Summers? A girl who in recent issues of Generation Hope has pissed off members of her team to the point where they want to fucking crucify her? Well smear peanut butter on my dick, call my neighbors dog, and give my ex-girlfriend a lesson in oral sex. If that isn't the act of a man who has let his role as dictator of a country and personal giaglo to Emma Frost go to his head, I don't know what is.

This has led me to conclude in my drunken wisdom that Cyclops and the X-men are on the wrong side of the battle, at least they are under the current circumstances. They're the one putting the Earth in danger. They're the one not willing to work with the Avengers to find a way to take down the Phoenix before it shows up. So when asking who SHOULD win the battle between the Avengers vs X-men, I think I speak for the beleaguered residents of the Marvel universe when I say the Avengers should win. And this coming from a guy whose blog and fanfiction series both star the X-men.

But it would be foolish to think that the circumstances would be this basic. With Marvel, they rarely are. There's a wild card in the mix that hasn't been fully finalized yet, thanks in large part to the shitty delays plaguing Avengers: Children's Crusade. That wild card's name is Wanda Maximoff. She's the other side to the Avengers vs. X-men coin. She's the one that made Hope Summers necessary when she lost her fucking mind in House of M and neutered most of the mutant population. She has slowly (emphasis on slowly) regained her sanity in the events of Children's Crusade, but the mutants of the Marvel Universe haven't forgotten that she's still responsible for making them an endangered species. And as previews have shown, she will be a factor in how Avengers vs. X-men plays out.

Both Wanda and Hope have demonstrated that they're capable of restoring mutants. They've also demonstrated that they're capable of fucking reality up in a way that all the LSD in Europe couldn't match. The Avengers may in some ways may also be sheltering the key to the survival of the mutant race while also sheltering her from justice. It's something that makes Cyclops's decision to double down on the Phoenix Force more understandable, but that doesn't make it any less a dick move.

As it stands, the Avengers are still on the right side of history. But that could change as the story unfolds. It begs the question what will happen if one side loses. If the Avengers lose, then they may be reduced to the same kind of scrutiny that mutants face because of their powers. It'll become a much more hostile world for superheroes and one that could make for some very interesting stories. But if the X-men lose, then mutants are more vulnerable than ever. They suddenly become a menace on the level of Days of Futures Past. Utopia could fall. The Jean Grey Institute could be taken over, which wouldn't go over well with Wolverine to say the least. The gap between one group of heroes and the other would be so great that it would completely change the dynamic of how the Marvel Universe works. That also could make for some very interesting stories.

Then there's a chance they could both end up as losers and the world would be that much more fucked. We really don't know at this point, but if I were a betting man that hadn't lost his last mortgage payment betting against the Giants in the Superbowl I would say the Avengers have the better odds. They're the one coming out with the movie later this year. They're the one Marvel is pushing with all their might to be the biggest name in comics. They may or may not succeed, but whatever the case I'll keep drinking and ranting as the truth unfolds. Nuff said!


  1. such a gorgeous pic of Jean

  2. That was just to make a point, but thanks anyways.

  3. I've always been an X-Men fan and never really cared about the Avengers, but as it stands I'm rooting for the Avengers in this. In my opinion as reader the fallout from House of M and mutants as an endangered species was pretty stupid and mostly an annoyance these past few years. So if it is indeed Hope's job to become the next Phoenix and jump start the race again, well it may be predictable but I'm all for so it we can sweep the current status quo under the rug.

    But as you said Marvel rarely does anything this big that straightforward, so you have to wonder where the twist comes in. I'll admit my inner fanboy would love nothing more than for Hope to go all Dark Phoenix only to have Jean Grey come in at the eleventh hour and set her sorry ass straight, but I'm not placing any money on that option.

    Also I feel like I'm not supposed to ask this, particularly since I don't keep up with all the happenings in the Marvel Universe, but where are the Fantastic Four in all of this? Off world again?

  4. Nice post! It's no coincidence though that this event is happening right when the movie is coming out. That alone makes me suspect that, while both sides will get their moments, the Avengers ultimately get the better of the X-Men. Given the fact that one of the X-Men teams is comprised of more villains than heroes, it's also hard to paint the X-Men in a sympathetic light.

    However, despite all the teases we've gotten the past several years, I am really hopeful for a Jean appearance here. Since they want to market the hell out of AvX, it would be a good way of drawing in a wider reader-base. Plus, a Phoenix story without Jean just doesn't seem too promising.

    Thanks for the hard work on your blog!

  5. With Marvel, there are no coincidences. They're owned by Disney now. That means maximizing all cross-market opportunities. And the fact remains that a lot of Marvel fans still see characters like Magneto, Emma Frost, and Namor as villains. It makes more sense that they would be on the losing end of a conflict rather than the Avengers. But again, Marvel isn't in the business of making sense. They're in the business of telling stories and they're not above throwing a curve ball and having the X-men win. So I think that's definitely a possibility.

    As for Jean, I really do want her to appear and not as a flashback for once. But it's Marvel. I doubt it will happen. Thanks for the comment. Same to you Adam. I appreciate both your input!


  6. I hate to take the cynical line on this but Marvel has a big movie coming out this Summer staring the Avengers, and Fox has the rights to the X-Men franchise. Again, it's a cynical view but I think the Avengers win if only for that reason.

    Second, a loss by the X-Men just plays into their underdog status. Same storyline potential they've always had. Marvel always talks about "NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME", but we all know that it always comes back to the same 'ole , same 'ole.

    Man, I am getting old and cynical...

  7. I think cynicism is the best approach to Marvel right now. They have a business interest in making Avengers better. And usually economics trumps all things, including storytelling. That's just the world we live in.


  8. See the problem I have with your critique is that you have assumed that these characters have a life of their own. Scott Summers is written by writers, who did not, in my opinion, do a good enough job to show his increasing reliance on hail marys. To me it seemed a bit of a sudden development that Cyclops is all pro-phoenix and willing to overlook the fate of the world, especially considering that this character has been written as hero for so many years.