Thursday, December 8, 2011

Avengers vs. X-Men News

So yesterday saw Marvel's press conference about the recently announced major Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men, coming next year. As reported on Tuesday by USA Today, the main conflict that sparks this huge conflict between the two premiere superhero teams of the Marvel Universe is the impending arrival of the Phoenix Force.

What that means for Hope Summers (who she is and how she's connected to the Phoenix, as well as the presently-returning Wanda Maximoff (who is presumably another key player in the series) is still unknown, but seems we won't have to wait until the April premiere of the event to find out.

During the question portion of the press conference, Editor in Chief Axel Alonso revealed that questions about Hope, which have been lingering for years, such as her possible connection to Jean Grey and even the Scarlet Witch, will be answered in the miniseries Avengers X-Sanction, coming out this month. X-Sanction sees the return of Cable (somehow), Hope's adopted Father, and his attack on the Avengers, presumably for the purposes of protecting Hope from a future he is privy too.

The connection to AvX is obvious, and some of the impending points of division can be inferred. When the Phoenix comes to Earth, whether to possess Hope or for some other reason, one can assume that the Avengers will attempt to put an end to the global threat Hope represents, while the X-Men fight to protect her and the power she has over the future of the Mutant species.

With the X-Men being more involved in world matters these days, as well as several members being on active rosters for both the X-Men and the Avengers, it is inevitable that certain characters will be more conflicted than others when it comes time to choose a side. (And that's not even including the Schism that has split the X-Men down the middle.) Wolverine is the most obvious example of this, being both an Avenger, and X-Man, and now a headmaster concerned with educating the younger generation of mutants. Logan will resort to murder if it means saving the world, as evidenced by his attack(s) against Wanda, and has kept his emotional distance from Hope, knowing instinctively the possibility of her turning into the Phoenix and his necessary role as the one to kill her. But when it really comes to the survival of his species, and if Jean Grey is involved in some way, one can imagine his emotions getting the better of him and his allegiances staying with his own kind.

Storm, recently having joined the Avengers marquis team as well as Cyclops' main X-tinction team, is another obvious example of potentially conflicted heroes. Brian Michael Bendis, who recently announced that 2012 and Avengers vs. X-Men will be has eighth and final year as main architect and writer for the Avengers (the longest tenure any writer has had with the team) elaborated on Storm's dilemma by explaining that Black Panther, her husband and King, will be firmly united with the Avengers.  As a Queen, a leader and a superhero, "Storm's choice will be felt very loudly."

There wasn't much concrete news revealed in the press conference, or in CBR's interview with Axel Alonso, but some points of interest did come out:

-The parallel of Cyclops and Captain America, both as respective leaders and as ultimately patriots for their people, willing to do what they have to for what is right, though Ed Brubaker admits that "... Cyclops is probably more willing to [push the limits] than Steve Rogers."

-The event will have a prelude in Avengers vs. X-Men #0 and will be a brand-new story from Bendis, who will also be writing the first issue before trading with his fellow Marvel architects for each issue (a la X-Men: Second Coming.) 

-The first issue will be extra-sized, as will one issue per "act". There will be three acts at four issues each. Romita will draw Act 1, Coipel Act 2, and Kubert Act 3.

-Less central characters such as Xavier and the students of the Jean Grey Institute will be getting screentime in the series, and not just cameos but some actual meat.

-The event will dominate every X and Avengers title out there, except for Avengers Assembled, the upcoming movie-tie-in series for the film fans.

-An element of the conflict will be based on Captain America and the Avengers' self-doubt in the wake of Fear Itself, and the public's turning on Steve Rogers now that he is the Top Cop of the world, or "The Man", and thus responsible for the world's ills.

-Nova, shown alive or possibly as a new Nova in Point One racing to Earth to warn everyone about the coming of Phoenix, will indeed play a part in the story.

For full transcripts of both the Press Conference and the interview with Alonso, check out CBR here and here, respectively.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty damn excited. It's unfortunate we have to wait 4 months for the beginning, but hopefully Avengers X-Sanction will exceed expectations and both answer some essential questions about Hope and increase my excitement for AvX. Until then, at least Avengers; Children's Crusade isn't over yet, so the taste it has given us of the two teams battling it out (re: Wanda and the future of the mutant race) has even more weight.

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