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Avengers vs. X-Men VS. #1: Fight Men!

Iron Man vs. Magneto! Thing vs. Namor! Two big fights blown out from the pages of AvX! Zowie!

AvXVS#1

Avengers vs. X-Men VS. is a six-issue series that exists only to show us awesome fights set up in the main AvX storyline. Therefore, it's nearly impervious to review. All the writer has to do is be decently clever in choreographing the smackdowns, and it falls mostly on the artist to make every panel look awesome. In AvX VS. #1, those jobs fall to Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert for the big fight between Iron Man and Magneto, and to Kathryn and Stuart Immonen for the tussle between Namor and Aunt Petunia's Favorite Nephew Benjamin Jacob Grimm, aka The Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing. Two longtime heroes vs. two self-righteous jerks who more than dabble in villainy from time to time. Let's see how that pans out.

IRON MAN VS. MAGNETO.  It goes out of its way to prove that it's not an easy win for Magnus, as Iron Man's sporting carbon nano-tube armor and Robert Downey Jr.'s personality while throwing all sorts of high-end gadgetry at the Master of Magnetism, while Magneto remains fairly blunt-force, destorying huge chunks of his own home to throw it all at Tony Stark. Stark links up with satellites to challen magnetic power from Jupiter to out-magnet Magneto, and then the counterstrike is Lensherr tearing apart a satellite and turning it into his own suit of armor out of spite. And… apparently, Magneto can draw power from the entire solar system. And he can sense dying planets beyond said solar system. Ooookay. Sure. So he takes a dive, apparently realizing the Avengers might be right. Plot! YOU SAID THERE WOULD BE NO PLOT! STOP MAKING ME THINK! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ARE AWESOME IF YOU MAKE ME THINK!

THING VS. NAMOR. Here we go. Namor's been palling around with the X-Men lately and erroneously claiming to be the first mutant (metatextually, certainly, but in-game, that big blue-lipped bastard would like a word with you after he finishes untangling all those cables hanging from his arms all the time), but his more storied history comes from always trying to bang one of Ben Grimm's best friends and ruin her marriage. Plus, they're fighting in the water, where Namor has no equal. Things don't look good for the guy from Yancy Street, but thanks to snarky editorial AVX Fun Facts, we learn that the Thing is quantifiably stronger than Namor in terms of MPH of car crashes to which their punches equate. Their fight tears through sunken old timey pirate ships and giant purple fish monsters and then… something happens that is indiscernible from the images presented. Namor goes to grab the big eel beast by its tail to use it as a club, and then the word SMASH appears, and then all three combatants are falling away like they've all been hit by something. What? Did the eel spasm or something? No idea, but for some reason, Namor takes more damage from it than Ol' Benjy, and after tearing some eel-fish-monster teeth out, he pins them down around Namor's neck to keep him struggling beneath the waves. Okay.

The winners – the two good guys. Sort of. Namor's already flying back out of the sea as Ben surfaces looking all badass covered in seaweed, and Magneto just gave up. So anyone hoping to get definitive 'who would beat who in a fight' answers from this series are probably not gonna get what they want.

The best moments come from the pre-fight beats – the pauses in the action. Magneto calmly hovering a giant tower chunk over Iron Man's head, or Namor brushing rusty old doubloons off his shoulder before diving into his next strike. Kathryn Immonen shows restraint, as the word 'clobberin' is nowhere to be found in the Thing's dialog despite the book being primarily about the act of clobberin'. Perhaps wisely, she may have considered it redundant. The artists are solid and good with making with the pin-up action shots, and the choreography is decent enough, although not super-exciting.

Avengers vs. X-Men VS. #1 is not bad. It's not trying to be this big deal – it's just there for comic book slam-bang fun. That may change as the stakes get higher, it may not. I may be able to remember how to just go 'wheee!' along with a comic book, I may not. Either way, I yam what I yam and it is what it is, and if you dig what it is, who cares what I yam?

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