Avengers Vs. X-Men #3 should have been called Avengers Vs. X-Men Vs. Deus Ex Machina. So much happens in this issue just because it needs to, which is frustrating. What’s even more frustrating is AVX #3 is penned by Ed Brubaker, who has spent the lion’s share of his career avoiding easy plot devices. Here, he not only succumbs to them, he uses them in almost every scene. To be honest, the writing is so sophomoric I find it hard to believe Brubaker actually wrote it.
Page one. Wolverine jumps up and screams. He’s naked because he has spent the last hour regenerating skin after being set on fire by Hope who was momentarily possessed by the Phoenix. Wolverine learns that Cyclops and the other X-men have suddenly given up to the Avengers. Smelling a con, Wolverine leaps into action. Meanwhile Captain America and Iron Man are arguing over the fate of the X-Men. Cap wants the mutants incarcerated, but Iron Man sees it as a violation of their rights, not to mention impractical.
Suddenly, Doctor Strange appears, only it’s not Doctor Strange, it’s Magik. Turns out Cyclops pulled the old switcheroo on Captain America and in a flash the X-Men vanish and reappear in another place. Both they and Wolverine want to find Hope before the other, but Wolverine has Cerebra. Cyclops needs a traitor in Wolverine’s school and he gets one, one with high clearance as well. Then, for no real reason, Captain America orders Wolverine out of the hunt for Hope. When Wolverine refuses Captain America hits him. After a fierce battle, Wolverine is kicked out of the Avengers plane, landing in Antarctica. This is where AVX #3 ends.
The deus ex machina happening here is ridiculous. Captain America, the greatest soldier ever, doesn’t sense that Cyclops suddenly giving up might be a trick? The mutant Magik, without warning, is able to take over the astral form of Doctor Strange, the greatest master of the mystical arts ever? Really? No battle or anything?
Cyclops needs a traitor so he gets one, and she just happens to be a higher up in Wolverine’s new school? The best is Captain America. Oh, yeah, we need him to stop acting the way he normally does and be a total dick so we can push Wolverine to the outside. It makes no sense to do it, it’s completely not a Captain America move, but if it moves the plot along, Marvel is fine with it. Nothing going on in AVX #3 happens organically. It’s all pushed along by easy outside influences and that kills the momentum of the story.
John Romita Jr.’s art is, as always, absolutely beautiful. I could describe it but I gush so. Great sense of timing, amazing penciling skills, great figures and faces and all within the confines of how much fun comic books should be. As for AVX #3, it’s not a great issue but I’m not giving up on the series just yet.
(3 Story, 5 Art)