Recently, a friend of mine recommended I read Avengers vs. X-Men because she said it was a cheesy good time. Kind of a so-bad-it’s-good thing. So I did. And she was totally right. I then decided to sum up the entire thing in a half-assed, yet oddly detailed way. It really didn’t take as long as it should have.
After two things have been around long enough, fans want to see them fight to the death. I call this the immutable Law of Orgiastic Violence. The reason why the conflict occurs isn’t really important. It’s usually something silly like portals linking different worlds or an impending, greater evil bringing together two disparate rivals. So anyways, Avengers vs. X-Men is about an impending, greater evil bringing together two disparate rivals. It looks like a phoenix and it’s always on fire. It’s called the PHOENIX FORCE, but for the sake of simplicity later on, I’m gonna call it the MAGIC SPACE FIRE BIRD. Much like Madonna after the eighties, the Magic Space Fire Bird is old, sounds terrible, loves to enter people without permission, and just keeps coming back. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.
Right, so things kick off with an assassination attempt by MODOK. on some SCIENTIST MAN. MODOK, if you’re not familiar with the dude, is a giant head with skinny little baby-legs. He floats everywhere and likes to kill things with lasers. He’s easily the best thing about this series. Sadly, he and his strike team – consisting of a Floating Red T-Rex Head, a Golden Gorilla, a Hovering Tentacle Thing, and a Lobster Man, amongst others – are defeated by SCARLET WITCH, MS. MARVEL, and SPIDERWOMAN, who then bounce from the scene before they have to pay for the crazy amounts of property damage they just caused. Read that sentence back to yourself. That’s a normal day in the Marvel universe.
We meet a feisty redhead named HOPE. She’s known as the Mutant Messiah, although she’s less like Jesus and more like a Ditto, from Pokemon. This means she copies your powers, and then blasts you repeatedly in the face with them. Losing to her always makes people feel really ashamed. It turns out that the Magic Space Fire Bird wants her so bad it hurts, and is flying through space destroying stuff as it goes. One day it just beats the hell out of a member of the Nova Corps, a group of intergalactic space cops, who also happens to be called NOVA. The dude crashes to Earth, clipping a passenger plane’s wing and destroying that sexy art deco spire of the Chrysler Building like Michael Bay did in Armaggedon. The Avengers save the plane and kind of just ignore the Chrysler Building damage bill. Nova tells them about the Magic Space Fire Bird and everybody collectively shits their spandex. It’s a really gross panel. We then cut to WOLVERINE talking to CAPTAIN AMERICA, so this whole cross-over thing can really kick into full gear. Wolverine’s all like, “Man, not again.” And Cap’s all like, “Where’s the Phoenix going?” And Wolverine’s all like, “Seriously? To where all the mutants are, exactly like last time. Where the hell else?”
So Cap goes over to CYCLOPS‘ crib, where a small army of mutants – and Hope – are. The entire conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men then comes down to Cyclops wanting Hope to get Phoenix’d and help out mutants and Cap recognizing that’s a genuinely stupid idea. There’s a massive, incredibly entertaining fight on the beach where a bunch of superheroes beat the shit out of each other. At some point, Wolverine, knowing he could actually kill almost anyone there, and SPIDERMAN too, because why the hell not, kinda of just leave and go exploring the mutant island. They stumble across Hope, and Wolverine, remembering that the only way they stopped the Magic Space Fire Bird last time was by the possessed person killing herself, prepares to kill the feisty Mutant Messiah. In the face. Hope, it turns out, gets sort of “slightly possessed” the closer the flaming space bird comes to Earth, and proceeds to horribly burn Wolverine. In the face. And everywhere else too. She also beats up Spiderman and a bunch of her fellow students before she takes the Mutant Messiah name seriously and runs across the water to freedom.
The X-Men surrender. Or do they? No. The answer is no. Something like twenty of them escape custody and go into hiding, looking for Hope. The Avengers start searching for her too. In the middle of the search, Wolverine keeps saying how much they should really kill Hope next time they find her, before the Magic Space Fire Bird arrives. Which makes sense. Because that’s how the day was saved last time. But Captain America disagrees. With his fist. So the two fight briefly, but the Cap cheats and ends up kicking Wolverine out of a plane into a completely random spot in the tundra where he conveniently runs into Hope. In the meantime, in space, a bunch of Avengers who weren’t in the movie and also Thor try to fight the infinitely powerful Magic Space Fire Bird. It ends up being completely pointless, an embarrassing loss, and I’m pretty sure Thor accidentally destroys a planet. That’s right. In an effort to save Earth, one of the heroes inadvertantly blows up an entire world.
Before we can dwell on the irony, we smash-cut back to Hope and Wolverine teaming up so that she can at least try out the Magic Space Fire Bird and if she doesn’t like it, he can kill her. He really wants to kill this teenager. Wolverine agrees, which seems out of character because he’s actually lying. During this, by the way, both the Avengers and the X-Men have been out looking for Hope and end up running into each other and fighting. They fight a lot. It’s kind of their “thing”. Hope and Wolverine eventually end up on the Moon because why not? As Hope waits for the magic space fire bird to arrive, she’s surprised to find a bunch of Avengers suddenly standing behind her. Turns out Wolverine told ’em where they were headed. The X-Men have been psychically tracking them too, thanks to EMMA FROST, and show up. You see where this is headed? They’re probably gonna fight again. Just that moment the Magic Space Fire Bird arrives and sort of just hovers on the surface of the moon.
It looks like him, but with wings
Everyone gets really mad, and they totally fight again. As this Moon Fight goes down, we find out that TONY STARK has built a GUNDAM. It looks awesomely retro. Using his incredible intellect and scientific know-how, he flies the giant robot right up to the Magic Space Fire Bird and blasts it with a massive, Metroid-esque space laser. It turns out to be a really terrible idea. The Magic Space Fire Bird splits into five pieces and enters five mutants: Cyclops, the leader, Emma Frost, the sexy one, NAMOR, the bad boy, MAGIK, the hipster, and COLOSSUS, the Russian. Together they become known as the PHOENIX FIVE. They’re stupid powerful and fighting them is sort of a waste of everyone’s time, so they fly back to Earth, Hope in tow. Fortunately, they’re also generally pretty nice. They travel across the world, fixing things, providing perpetual energy and food to billions. They also effectively end all war. So…end of story, right? I mean, what could anyone possibly complain about? Maybe the Avengers might be annoyed they didn’t save the world, but come on now. Well, we cut to K’UN-L’UN, which – I kid you not – is basically KUNG FU ISLAND. We meet LEI KUNG, THE THUNDERER who talks to an OLD BLIND MAN WITH AN EYEBALL IN HIS HAND. Old Blind Man with an Eyeball in his Hand tells Lei Kung that this whole thing has happened before, and they need IRON FIST to prevent calamity.
Kung Fu Island, as seen in Black Dynamite
The Avengers and Wolverine are still massively distrustful of the Phoenix Five and want to steal away Hope from their custody. They launch a secret, stealthy, special-ops mission into the mutant home base of UTOPIA. The “stealth” part instantly fails because Emma Frost is an infinitely powerful Phoenix-infused psychic. But even without her surveillance, we could consider their mission a moral failure when Thor, still giddy after destroying a planet a few issues ago, and also wearing armor, socks a teenage mutant in the stomach before snatching Hope. Everyone kind of ignores this. Cyclops and Emma Frost show up and casually embarrass The Avengers by tossing them around like dolls. Just when it seem hopeless, Scarlet Witch shows up. Remember her? From the beginning? She can do something called CHAOS MAGIC, which seems to be only thing that can hurt the Phoenix Five. She helps the Avengers Child-Beating Strike Team and Hope escape. So I guess they technically win the first round. The Avengers then celebrate. Gangnam Style.
TO BE CONTINUED…