I was wondering how long it would take for Avengers vs. X-Men to shit the bed. I have to say, I’m impressed it was near the end that the story completely fell apart, but boy has it. With AVX #11 Brian Michael Bendis has written a story so ridiculous and so fraught with tepid plot devices that I am completely justified in saying it served no purpose other than shock and awe and to move this already drawn out story arc to its end.
Professor X is dead. Yep, that’s the big mystery. Emma Frost might be dead, too. Cyclops killed them. Why did Cyclops do this? Well, Professor X, after raging that he would not get involved and would never do anything to hurt his X-Men, has changed his mind. Phew, thankfully, Professor X has never been a man of his convictions. So good old wishy-washy Prof X steps to Cyclops and says he’s going to end the whole affair if Scott (Summers AKA Cyclops) doesn’t back down. Cyclops gets slapped around a bit, but ultimately decides he needs all the Phoenix power, so he rips it from Emma, leaving her for what looks like dead. Now Cyclops is the Dark Phoenix and we’re left hanging until issue 12.
Where to start here? First, um, does anybody remember Hope Summers? You remember, ‘c’mon you remember. She was the center of the whole story, the Phoenix was coming for her and her alone. Oops, guess we forgot all about that story arc. Don’t worry, though, Bendis will clean up his loose end by having Hope rise up against Cyclops at the end. It doesn’t excuse the unexplained shift in focus but shut up this Brian Michael Bendis!! Second, the entirety of this series has been the X-Men standing by Scott because they felt he was right. Suddenly, because it allows Cyclops and Emma to be alone for the big attack, all the X-Men defect from Utopia and join the Avengers. Wow, lucky break huh?
Then, there’s the inclusion of a long speech attempting to get The Hulk involved in the fight. Why is Hulk stupid in this series when he’s a diabolical madman in his own series? After the long speech, the Hulk turns out to be pretty much useless but hey, Bendis got one more face in there to shill his comic book. Nothing in issue #11 makes any sense, it’s all easy plot tricks to move the story along. I also love how Bendis has turned Cyclops into such an unforgivable jerk that, when he’s rid of the Phoenix, there’s no real way to justify him ever being a hero again. In order to write the wrongs Jean Grey did, they killed her off. We know Cyclops isn’t going to die so, what? Therapy? Cookies?
Realistically, I’m sure Professor X isn’t dead, it’s just another cheap plot jab to try and illicit some kind of reaction out of this mess of an issue. AVX started out with a lot of promise but has turned into another batch of hot air from Marvel. The Avengers have done nothing but piss along losing. When the final battle does come down, it’ll be the X-Men stopping their own. The Avengers were unnecessary almost from the start. Bendis might have been trying to show how the Avengers shouldn’t have gotten involved but, if so, that’s lost in this mish-mash of bad ideas and worse execution.
The art from Olivier Coipel is solid, though a few things bug me. Why does Hulk have a hipster haircut? Why does Professor X look like Doctor Strange’s buddy Wong? I like the action here and Coipel has a real way with drawing fire. Truth be told, if Jack Kirby himself had returned from the grave to draw this issue, it wouldn’t have mattered. AVX #11 is exactly the kind of bloated event series we’ve come to expect from Marvel.
(1 Story, 4 Art)