Avengers vs X-Men #1: The Unsolicited Opinion

I spent a good part of my Wednesday looking up Avengers vs X-Men reviews. I have a few of my own opinions, but first, here's a conglomerate of some comics journalists:

Comic Book Resource's Kelly Thompson is a little unhappy with the Avengers' lack of taking a position, but forgives the comic and gives it a 4/5 star rating:
There are a lot of quality creators involved in "Avengers Vs. X-Men," enough that I find myself intrigued even though the concept is not one I'm wild about. This first issue was a good example of the creative talent managing to rise above the concept and leaves me hopeful they'll be able to bring something even more interesting to the table as the series progresses.
Newsarama's Michael Doran seems more interested in saying that the comic book is a comic book, and doesn't bring up its quality as a comic book. He concludes by saying that the comic book issue is to catch up non-readers who haven't been following every little preview:
Again, the issue is a perfectly competent piece of graphic fiction. It probably plays best with those who haven’t followed all the advance publicity and thus don’t know all the story beats already, which is maybe the point.
I'm pretty fond of Comicsalliance's write-up, from Andrew Wheeler. It's not a qualitative evaluation of it, but it's a funny summary that pokes fun at it:
Iron Man tells the President that he has "run the math" fifty ways on the "energy signature" they found on Nova's uniform and it definitely means the Phoenix Force is coming to get them. That's math you can take to the White House! Math, you may recall, was also crucial to the Civil War crossover, when Reed Richards used math to prove that the plot was necessary. Math is for there for those times when having The Watcher turn up and say, "It is so" just doesn't have the narrative authority you need.
And then there's Comicvine. It's a great community, with a lot of different minds coming together to talk about a shared love. But they give high ratings like a hooker gives handjobs. Tony Guerrero rated it a 5/5:
This is the beginning of Marvel's huge event. Keep in mind that the high score given to this comic reflects the nature of the issue and what it represents. AVENGERS VS. X-MEN is going to be a blast to read.
That's just silly. Why judge a comic book on what it will be? Does hype make a comic book better? A comic book ought to be judged on what it is: the first issue should be judged by the first issue, not by how the second issue is predicted to be. Comic book readers, myself included, have this tendency to hope for the next issue to be better than the one they just read, no matter how bad it was. "There's always the next issue," they say. That's absurd. A bad comic book issue is a bad comic book issue, regardless of the next issue.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosI don't mean to say that Avengers vs X-Men #1 is a bad comic book issue. It has the mighty Marvel hype machine behind it, and it's going to sell whether it's awful or not. It's going to be one of 2012's biggest comic books, and of all the comic books out there, it's going to get into an amazing number of hands.

And because of that, this comic book needs to be an example of Marvel's best stuff. They need to put their best foot forward, and in that sense, this comic book issue, even if it isn't a bad comic book issue, was a disappointment. Here's why.

The splash pages don't work. The second and third page has this huge spread of a phoenix raptor taking over two pages. It doesn't look big at all. The credits overshadow the village, so there's a poor sense of scale. As a two-page spread, it's disposable and could've been used better.

In terms of the writing, very little new information is conveyed beyond what was already in the previews. If you haven't followed the previews, I don't think this will be a concern. For everyone else, ie, me, it will be.

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna

Check out this shot of Cap landing on the mutant island Utopia. Why is the Captain hitching up his pants? Aren't they tights? Why isn't he facing Cyclops? Would he rather stare wistfully at the ocean while discussing policy with the herald of the mutant community?

I love John Romita Jr. I hold his work on Amazing Spider-Man, with JMS, very close to my heart. But he has strengths and weaknesses like every other artist. Romita Jr. works great with motion, action, but a talking scene for him is absurd. The argument between Cyclops and Cap is very weak, because they have to rely on these silly finger-pointing motions to spice up the panels. Romita Jr. is renowned for his speed, but maybe he should have taken some more time on these pages.

Look at this panel of Thor:

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna

Dang, Thor. You really care about avenging don't you? In fact, you must care so much that -- agh! I spilled my coffee!

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna

Glaagh! I stubbed my toe!

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna
Huarrghh! I burnt my toast!

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna

. . . yeah. Look at this last picture of Magneto.

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna
Erik, what are you looking at?

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna
Erik, are you there? Erik???

from Avengers vs X-Men #1, by Bendis, Romita Jr, Hanna
Dammit Erik look me in the eyes!

So there's a lot to complain about, but, there are no ads. There's about 36 pages of story, as well as an added Infinite #1 digital issue if you have a device that's Marvel AR-capable. The art may not be the highest quality, but the value is. I'll complain about the comic book, but Avengers vs X-Men #1 is worth a look for yourself. High-profile work is important for the comic book community, and I think that's why the comics journalists have rated this issue so highly. For everything else, there's dumb bloggers.

Buy this issue digital: comiXology | Marvel

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