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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Avengers vs. X-Men




Title:
Avengers vs. X-Men





ISBN:
9780785165859


Price:
$75.00


Publisher/Year:
Marvel, 2012


Artist: Ed McGuinness, Frank Cho, John Romita, Jr.,
Oliver Coipel, Adam Kubert, Stuart Immonen, Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca,
Terry Dodson, Brandon Peterson, Kaare Andrews, Leinil Francis Yu, Tom Raney,
Jim Cheung, Jim Mahfood, Mike Deodato, Jacob Chabot, Art Adams, Ram
ón Pérez, Katie Cook, Carlo Barberi, Reilly Brown


Writer:
Jeph Loeb, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman,
Matt Fraction, Kathryn Immonen, Steve McNiven, Kieron Gillen, Christopher Yost,
Rick Remender, Mike Deodato, Dan Slott


Collects:
Avengers Vs. X-Men #0-12, AvX Versus #1-6, Avengers Vs. X-Men Infinite #1, 6, 10





Rating:
4/5





The
way I figure it, there are two core groups of people that are entertaining the
notion of buying this expensive $75 hardcover collection of Marvel’s latest
event comic: those waiting to read it in collected format and those that liked
the series enough in single issues to double dip and buy the collected version.
While the hardcover Marvel has put together is certainly attractive-looking on
a bookshelf, I’m not sure the price can be justified for either party.





Worse,
many of the interesting character beats that resulted from the events in AvX
wound up being handled in tie-in issues of Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine and the
X-Men or other various ongoing titles, which aren’t included in this
collection. This means that if you’re reading this collection on its own for
the first time, there are a lot of threads introduced that have little-to-no
payoff within the book that you’re reading.





It’s
not a matter of “getting more” of the story in the tie-ins either; there are
some plot points introduced that simply have no bearing on any other events
within the series, taking time and space away from elements that could’ve been
more fully developed. And with the AvX: VS issues being very much what Marvel
promised – a “fight book” – looking for further insight there would be a
mistake. That said, there are moments to enjoy here – Spider-Man’s brief moment
in the sun in issue #9 or the conclusion of Act One spring to mind.





The
best part of this hardcover across the board is in the artwork. From John
Romita Jr. to Olivier Coipel to Adam Kubert in the main series to Steve
McNiven, Terry Dodson, Stuart Immonen, Jim Mahfood, and so many more in the
AvX: VS installments, there is a boatload of stellar art to enjoy here. There
are some missteps along the way with JRJR’s missing backgrounds or trouble with
group shots and Coipel’s construction of action scenes, but as a whole, this is
a pretty collection and basically a who’s who of current Marvel artists. You
will run into some problems with artwork being lost in the binding, however, as
shown below. That said, this problem occurs far less with word balloons and
captions.





The
book itself collects AvX #0-12, AvX: VS #1-6, AvX Infinite Comics #1, #6, and
#10, as well as the brief Nova portion of Point One #1. None of these are
collected in order of occurrence (save for the Nova bit being at the front of
the book), so if you want to read, say, AvX #2 and then dive further into those
battles in AvX: VS #1, you’ll be flipping between different parts of the
hardcover. The covers for each issue are placed in front of their respective
content, however.





One
extremely notable quirk is the reprinting of the Infinite Comics. If you don’t
know, Marvel’s Infinite Comics are built specifically for the digital canvas,
using techniques and storytelling methods that are unique to the infinite
nature of digital comics. As such, the effect is significantly diminished on
the page. Instead of fluid, impactful stories, they become wordy, bland
affairs. The punchiness of Mark Waid’s words are still there, but the flow of
the story is lost and the imagery loses the kinetic nature it enjoys digitally,
instead just becoming obligatory pictures to accompany the words.





The
good news is that since the hardcover includes one of Marvel’s free digital
copy codes for the Marvel Comics App, you can still read the Infinite Comics
the way they were meant to be enjoyed. To their credit, Marvel does make a note
of this before the Infinite portion of the hardcover, urging readers to read
the digital versions “for the full effect.” And yes, all of the AR stuff is
present here as well.





The
supplemental content of the hardcover is mostly basic fare with a few
standouts. One is the introduction from WWE Superstar CM Punk, who is a noted
comic book fan and offers an interesting perspective on the heroes vs. heroes
nature of the story. And, as a wrestling fan, I couldn’t help but chuckle that
he’s credited by his real named (Phil Brooks) over his ring name. Marvel,
breaking kayfabe!





The
real prizewinner of bonus content is the artist’s section in the back, in which
Romita, Coipel, and Kubert offer detailed accounts of their approach to this
project with plenty of sketches and unused panels to go with their insightful
commentary. This is above and beyond the usual type of “sketchbook” stuff that
typically accompanies collections like this, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Other than that, there’s a hasty variant cover gallery and a goofy “score card”
of who won what battle throughout the series.





In
the end, it’s hard to justify buying this for $75. Sure, you can get it cheaper
on Amazon or at a convention, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow considering
the overall quality of the series and its lack of self-contained storytelling.
Give me an omnibus that includes things like AvX: Consequences and the Uncanny
X-Men tie-in issues, and then we can talk.





In
the interest of full disclosure, I did purchase 2 copies for the price of one
at my LCS during their Christmas sale. I now have both covers and I was
interested in the Marvel AR aspect of this trade. Unfortunately, when I tried
to download the Marvel AR app, I found that my “smartphone” was not compatible
to use it. A huge letdown, but as I’m an avid completest for my collection and
appreciate helping my LCS in any way I can, it was worth it to me.

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