Avengers vs Xmen #11
In the penultimate installment of Marvel's huge universe-changing event, we find Scott Summers finally taking the full force of the Phoenix with which he (seemingly) kills Charles Xavier. The spread at the end of the issue shows Scott, sans visor, embraced by the all too familiar flame-and-sunspot motif reminiscent of Jean Grey's Dark Phoenix days. As much as I have always rooted for the mutants to possess an invincible and indefatigable power to make all the non-mutants realize their pathetic existence, I have to admit, I'm not liking AvX as much as I thought I would.
I found a number of weak points, making it hard for me to stomach some parts of the story. The issue begins with Cap, pleading his "I'm so noble, I know exactly what the right thing to do for America, for the world" case to the Hulk, who agrees to help the Avengers in the "war with Scott Summers." What a waste of panels. The Hulk deals one smash, which temporarily takes Emma out of the "battle scene" (if you can even call it a battle-- more like everyone gets in line and waits their turn). Later, he does deal a fastball special, though I don't know why Warpath or Red Hulk couldn't have done that.
I'm having a hard time coming to terms with how Scott is being written as well. I know that he's not the funnest monkey in the barrel, but I've always thought that he was much more level-headed. I know that he and Charles have had their differences, but they parted. A long time ago. The dialogue between them in this issue depicts Scott as an insecure people-pleaser. And I'm not sure I like that, or believe it.
Despite these flaws, I didn't think it was the worst issue of the run. Let's not forget all those one-on-one fights with the contrived battle banter and the lacking art. This issue boasts the beautiful drawings of Olivier Coipel, which made reading it much more bearable for me. Though some of the panels (like those battle scenes with the Hulk and Scarlet Witch) are laid out weirdly, making it hard to distinguish what's really going on, a quick reread remedied the confusion.
Am I the only one who thinks that the Phoenix Five could have saved the world? Not only was Emma's new costume drool-worthy ethereal, but it's as if Earth was finally graced by the cosmic forces with a team that could actually do something. I get the power-leads-to-corruption metaphor, yes, but really, must all stories go that route in order to sell?
VERDICT: Disappointment. The Phoenix Five is Dead.