Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Avengers vs. X-men #11 Preview - Covers and Questions

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. [Laughs]

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!


  1. I like Cyclops, I do. But I want to see him humbled. I want to see him knocked off his proverbial throne and forced into some necessary soul searching. I'm not sure what will be enough to do that. Probably the death of Professor X (which is my current bet to what'll happen). Maybe Jean pays one last spiritual visit from white hot limbo to give him one last rude wake up call (as Infinite #2 showed, she seems to be the only person left who's opinion of Scott still matters to him).

    But whatever happens, I want to see Scott get knocked down a proverbial peg or two.

    1. You're right. I think Cyclops needs to be humbled and AvX looks like it's going to do that in all the wrong ways. It would be nice if Jean showed up to help, but again that would make too much sense and Marvel will NEVER do shit that makes that much sense. It's just not in their nature.


  2. Preach it brother! I'm not sure exactly where they're going, but in order for this event and Scott's character arc the past decade to have meaning, there have to be consequences to Scott. Like you, I think Scott has used the Phoenix more responsibly than anyone could (leaving aside maiming baby dragons who attack him first). I think the magnitude of this event though warrants Scott's fall. Thanks for the reviews!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I rant because I love (and because I drink). I think Cyclops has gone through a lot of changes since Jean Grey's death. Some argue he's been more awesome. Some argue he's become a total douche. I think the truth lies somewhere in between. Since the guys at Marvel seem to have a boner for Cyclops, I doubt they'll go too far. But I also think they're drifting pretty damn far from Cyclops's core. Hopefully the return of his O5 persona will at least keep him from becoming too unlikable by the Cyclops hater crowds.


  3. Facebook gal here again.

    Ok, I'll confess to being 40 and having read X-Men since before Rogue was a good guy. So I have seen Scott in all his incarnations. I could care less whether or not Scott is humbled. I would just like to see him have a personality for once. He's been in Marvel for nearly 50 years, always written as the traditional characture of a good field commander and always defined him by the chick he's with. With Jean, he was Mr. Dependable. With Lee he was Mr. Hardworker With A Beer In One Hand And A Pool Cue In The Other. With Emma, he's turned into Mr. Wild and Unpredictiable. It's just OLD ALREADY!

    He will never be an interesting as Storm or Logan because his personality and background is not nearly so exotic. But that is not a bad thing. A soldier may not be as interesting as Michael Phelps but I know which one I would rather have as a guest or dating my daughter. Just show him being him for a change, playing pool, singing to himself in the shower, anything but addressing the UN more times than the last 5 popes and Mother Theresa combined ever have.

    And since I know they won't do that, I hope they just kill him off once more and leave him dead until a writer comes along with some ideas of *who* Scott Summers is and not just ideas on *what* Scott Summers could do.

    1. There's nothing wrong with being 40 and liking comics. I know people older who are still into Disney shit. But you make a good point about Cyclops being defined by the women he's with. He's a lot like someone in the Fantastic Four. They can't always be defined as individuals. Their story is tied closely to who they are. And while I think the Cyclops/Emma relationship has had it's moments, it's basically become about as deep as your typical porno. They have no depth. They're basically an episode of Two and a Half Men. I think they either need an influx of drama or they need to break the fuck up. But it's already been confirmed that Cyclops is surviving AvX so that's one less thing to worry about. Thanks for the comment!


  4. The previews may be misleading as well.


    Scott returns to Utopia to ask for Emma's help so they can get Hope back. Cue seeing Emma enslaving the rest of the mutants, but as they are arguing, the Avengers launch their attack. Scott is now caught in-between trying to help Emma control the Phoenix, and stop the Avengers from attacking them both. Cue Scott failing. Cue Void shard activate!

    Speaking of which, I know Cap's shield is supposed to be awesome but what the heck? Deflecting Cyclops' Phoenix-powered optic blast? The same attack that took out Thor and Thing in one hit? That stood up to Mjolnir? Instead of chucking Thor's hammer or Tony's gun at the Phoenix way back when, Marvel really should have just had Cap throw his shield.

    Anyways, I've been really disappointed at this series and, depending how this ends, I may once again drop comic books for another decade. I've lost my respect for the majority of the X-Men. I just lost my respect for the Avengers all because of this event. All of Scott's growth since Astonishing and Messiah Complex seems to be thrown into a ditch just to cater to the Avengers. 'The movie didn't influence this event' my ass.