As a general principle, I try not to read too much into what goes into a cover for a big event comic. I generally assume that Marvel, DC, and every other comic company operates on the same logic as a porn star with basketball sized tits. They try to make it as big as they can without it looking too fake. At times, the results are fucking awesome. At others...well, let's just say too much unnecessary ink can be just as disconcerting as too much silicone.
The covers for Avengers vs. X-men have often walked the same fine line as those brave porn stars that try to test the limits of much lower back pain they think they can endure. But so far, they've never crossed it with the same monumental mammary motivation that said porn stars have crossed. Well after the events of Avengers vs. X-men #10, the covers and previews for Avengers vs. X-men #11 have taken on a new meaning and I've determined that this meaning warrants a few shots of whiskey, a fresh joint, and a blog post.
First and foremost, this is the cover for Avengers vs. X-men #11:
Overall, it looks as ominous as you would expect. Emma Frost and Cyclops are the last members of the Phoenix Five. Namor, Colossus, and Magik all had their shot at cosmic power and they blew it. But now the power is highly concentrated in two of the most powerful X-men and they happen to be fuck buddies. That's like giving two jaded lovers a couple of H-bombs and a fuckton of meth and letting them loose in a downtown Los Angles.
However, we've seen this kind of shit before. We've seen Marvel hint that Cyclops and Emma Frost are at odds. Yet time and again, it has amounted to half a milliliter of dick. I've ranted about it before. Every time it appears Cyclops and Emma are having problems, it's swept under the rug faster than Mitt Romeny's tax returns. No matter what happens, they always end up back in bed together to fuck their problems away. Now I'm all for meaningless fucking, but when Marvel is parading a couple around as if they're the most epic love story since peanut butter and jelly that's a problem. Call me old fashioned, but if a couple is supposed to be passionate they should have more depth than your typical porno. Porn has it's purpose, but for relationships like this it's supposed to be more. This is especially true since Marvel went out of their way to fuck up the Cyclops/Jean relationship which DID have depth. Fuck, they raised a kid in an apocalyptic future together. Can't get much deeper than that.
This brings me to the problem of deceptive covers. Every time Cyclops and Emma have faced some potential drama, it often ends up being a complete fucking ruse. It's not like they overcome it like a strong couple would. They just never have to face that drama in the first place. Here are a few examples:
Fuck, is that Wolverine trying to steal Cyclops's girlfriend again? Actually, that's not Wolverine. It's just Emma playing mind games. But it's not her fault. In this story, she just was struggling with guilt. That's it. No drama. Just guilt and nothing more.
Then there was this:
Wow, they look pretty pissed. It looks like they're about to go Jerry Springer on one another. But again, nothing came of it. They apologized. They agreed to stop keeping secrets. Then a few issues later, Emma broke that promise and was back to her old tricks. She lied to Cyclops about keeping Sebastian Shaw a prisoner. And later on, Cyclops just shrugged it off like "Oh well, my girlfriend broke her promise. Shit happens." There's shit and there's shit. Some smells worse than others.
Given this track record, what should we make of Avengers vs. X-men #11? There's already a preview out. Granted, it's not much and there are no thought bubbles. But it does seem to offer a hint that the more shit changes the more it stinks the same.
And here's page two:
Now ever since I saw the movie Inception sober, I've tried not to jump to conclusions. However, I tend take an I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it approach when it comes to shit like this. Based on these previews, and granted they're small, the battle isn't between Cyclops and Emma. It's between the Phoenix and what's left of the Avengers and the X-men that have since switched sides. Plus, Professor Xavier has taken an active role, just as he said he would in the previous issue. So again, there's nothing to really indicate that the cover is anything more than an excuse to allow Marvel to say that they're actually trying with the Cyclops/Emma relationship. And if a drunk like me can smell the bullshit, then Marvel must not be trying that hard.
But to their credit, they do seem to be making an effort to make it sound like this lovers spat is for real. It was brought up in CBR's latest Axel-in-Charge column.
One thing we do know about what will
shape the ending is an incoming lover's quarrel between Cyclops and Emma
Frost. Scott Summers is a character you've talked a lot about loving as
an editor and a reader because of the journey he's taken going back
probably to Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men." It feels like he more
than anyone else has been dragged down by the corrupting power of the
Phoenix Force. How does the end of this event make a statement on his
story for the past several years?
Alonso: We're definitely pulling no punches when it
comes to Cyclops. He plays a central role in this story, right down to
the end. Cyclops has shouldered a huge burden for some time – and the
Phoenix Force has tapped into a part of him that, well…I better shut up.
Now I'm not sure what to make of it. Maybe the guy doing the interview has some inside knowledge and we regular folk don't have the luxury of knowing who to blow for spoilers. But Axel was very vague in how he described Cyclops's role in Act #3 of Avengers vs. X-men. At this point, that shouldn't shock anybody who hasn't suffered a major stroke. He seems to imply that the Phoenix is making Cyclops evil or corrupting him. But as I said in my Avengers vs. X-men #10 review, he hasn't done a lot of shit that can be considered evil or corrupt. Or maybe I'm just too stoned to remember certain details. But he created a worldwide utopia, he didn't order any of the attacks on the Avengers (that was Emma using the power of her cosmic pussy on Namor), and all he did when he visited K'un L'un was demand Hope come back to save their species. Now maybe Professor Xavier is sensing something he hasn't shared in a thought bubble, but Marvel hasn't done a very good job of making Cyclops look corrupt or making readers believe that he and Emma are actually going to bicker in a way that won't end with them swapping spit, amongst other body fluids. There are two issues left and I've got the champagne spiked with yeager ready! I just hope I'll be drinking it in celebration rather than disappointment. Nuff said!