So, what could cause the Avengers and the X-Men to fight each other? Well, it’s none other than the return of the Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity of death and rebirth. The last time the Phoenix came to Earth, it found a host in Jean Grey, the love of X-Men leader Cyclops. While controlling Jean, the Phoenix went on a rampage, destroying entire solar systems. The X-Men found themselves unable to defeat it, and, in the end, Jean had to sacrifice her own life to stop it. With the Phoenix Force returning, the Avengers have decided that they must stop it before it reaches the X-Men and finds a new host. Cyclops remembers that the Phoenix is a force for rebirth as well as destruction, and hopes the Phoenix will help bring about the rebirth of the mutant race.
Brian Bendis does an amazing job with the characterization and dialogue in this first issue. He clearly sets up each side’s arguments and makes it believable that these characters would fight one another. It will be interesting to see how they handle the rotation of writers, but at least for the first issue, Bendis has nailed the characterization for both the Avengers and X-Men. Sadly, John Romita Jr. adds very little to this story with his art. His characters are unappealing, and he even sucks the energy and excitement out of this most epic of showdowns. I can only hope that his time as artist for this series ends quickly, and we can rotate to one of the better names.
AVX gets off to a decent start and, hopefully, will improve from here on out and be the epic masterpiece that Marvel has promised us.