MARC ALAN FISHMAN: X-Men vs. Avengers? Pray for a Reset…
So we’ve all heard the news, right? The next big thing to be constructed by the architects of the House of Ideas is a doozy. “X-Men Vs. Avengers” touts the titular teams of the 616 waging war against one another in hopes of quelling Hope and her potential Phoenix Force powers. Now this may be putting the cart before the horse… so let’s go to the official release:
“The Avengers and X-Men have learned that the all-powerful embodiment of both death and rebirth known as the Phoenix Force is on a crash course for Earth… and it needs a new host to unleash its immeasurable power. But what is the shocking decision tied to the Phoenix’s return that will pit the Avengers against the X-Men? And when good friends become bitter enemies, what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Universe?”
Since I’m a betting fellow, and love to stick my foot in my mouth… I’m going to answer those questions. At best? I’ll nail what all of you are already thinking. At worst? I’ll piss the lot of you off, and Axel will send a goon squad to my house to cap me off at the knees. Let’s roll them bones!
What is the shocking decision tied to the Phoenix’s return that will pit the Avengers Vs. The X-Men? Well, most people round the interwebs believe it will tie to Hope Summers. For those (like me) who don’t know Hope from Adam, Wikipedia was kind enough to enlighten me. You see, the short and sweet synopsis says that when Scarlet Witch went bananas back in Disassembled, she reduced the mutant population down to 198 lucky losers.
The first mutant born after this mass de-powering was Hope. Immediately after she was born, Cable and Bishop came a calling. Cable said she was the Messiah. Bishop said she was a crazy cracker who would eventually murder over a million people. Herman Cain came forward to say he didn’t harass her. A whole bunch of convoluted continuity happened after that. Suffice to say all these prophecies, in line with the well-documented return of the Phoenix Force, can safely answer the question; Hope is most likely the target of the celestial upgrade. Let’s assume the X-Men think she’s gonna save humanity. The Avengers assume another crazy bitch gonna get some shiz. Let the mini-series unleash itself!
And when good friends become bitter enemies, what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Universe? Well this isn’t such an easy answer now, is it? I think there are two schools of thought. The conservative true believer might postulate that this will draw harsh lines between certain X-people and certain Avengineers. There will be many hard fought battles.
Since it’s hero on hero action, let’s assume some villains will try to get away with evil while the do-gooders pound each other on the street. Wolverine will have to choose a side. Cyclops will go toe-to-toe with Cap in a battle for who adds the perfect amount of starch to their unitards. Colossus will pound the Red Hulk in the middle of a well-populated area, causing millions of dollars of collateral damage.
What does a car insurance policy look like in Marvel’s Manhattan anyways?
At the end of the day, the conservative epic will end with more questions than answers. Hope will undoubtedly get the force within her. She’ll see all the fighting, and perhaps will sacrifice herself out in space or maybe shack up with Galactus. He’s got to be lonely, right? The dust will settle, and the heroes will be mad at each other. 15 new books will cover the epilogue. 12 new X-Teams and 459 new Avenger teams will emerge.
Now, let’s say Marvel’s been paying attention to the competition lately. What if they take a more ballsy approach? A universal reset might not be the worst ending, now would it? As we all know, Bendis is hanging up the Avenger cloak of writership after all of this hoopla. Marvel’s losing the battle at the stands (barely) to DC. DC is all fresh and new and shiny. Marvel is shoulder deep in crazy continuity. Maybe a Phoenix-level razing of the universe could become a Flashpoint to significant change? See what I did there… And while this is merely wild speculation, I for one would love to see Marvel do something this jarring. Picture it. One More Day? Gone. Age of Apocalypse? A faded memory. Secret War? A secret we can all forget. Now, of course a TON of Marvel backstory is simply amazing and untouchable. So is DC’s…and it didn’t stop them. The numbers don’t lie. Sometimes a big risk can garner big rewards.
Marvel’s mega-bucks in the multiplexes have meant a generation of kids are savvy to their characters; But still they may be queasy at coughing up the coin to catch up to convoluted continuity. With Hope decimating the universe, there’s a chance to keep the good stuff, forget the bad, and catch a whole new crop of fans wanting an easy jumping on point. After all the fighting over her, the X-Men and Avengers witness Hope rise above them. “Enough!” She’ll scream. We fade to white… and in the wake, the 617?
Now, if I were to wage a bet on this, I’m no fool. This crossover is like so many before it; An excuse to make extra mini-series, epilogues, prologues, tie-ins, et al. The series itself will be an excuse to the same excesses we’re used to by now. The book itself will be well drawn, sharply written, but ultimately a fluffy complicated plot to move the next batch of editorial mandates forward. Don’t believe the hype kiddos. Stick to the main book… enjoy the battle scenes, and pray Cable unleashes a gun that fires other guns (tip of the hat to LBFA). When the dust settles, we all know what it’ll really mean for the Marvel Universe.
Another epic event in just six months!
SUNDAY: John Ostrander’s New Year’s Thrills!