Avengers vs X-Men – Marvel’s 2012 Event
Even if you’re not especially interested in super heroes, you’ve probably heard of the X-Men. They’ve spawned a quintet of successful films (well, at least commercially successful – I’m looking at you, The Last Stand) over the last ten or so years, propelling Wolverine to levels of popularity that I thought were impossible and Hugh Jackman to a household name. The Avengers have their first movie coming out this summer, and if you’ve been immune to the marketing blitz so far (pretty sure there was an ad during the Super Bowl), have no fear, because you’ll be up to your ass in The Avengers before you know it. And this summer, they’ll be fighting each other in the comic books.
If you’re thinking, “Aren’t they both the good guys? Why are the fighting each other?” you are right, they are both the good guys and to answer your second question… meh. I’ll give it shot.
The first thing you have to understand is Marvel’s business model. Now first and foremost, it’s simple – the Marvel Comics division (now owned by Disney) is just trying to sell comics, but their core strategy is based on a dual model. The first part of the model has to do with the way they instruct their writers to craft their story arcs so they are easily converted into graphic novels – this is not pertinent to our discussion today. What is important is their second strategy, and that is the annual event.
An event, as it’s come to be known, is when a publisher (Marvel or DC – I don’t think anyone else does this event. It’d be hilarious is Dynamite did this because they are great at licensing existing properties for their comics, so it’d be RoboCop and Green Hornet vs The Bionic Man and Dracula or something) takes a bunch of their characters that don’t usually interact with each other and puts them all together in circumstances that will (supposedly) shape the fate of their comic book universe going forward.
For the last few years, Marvel has been throwing these at us every year, sometimes more than once. This year, they’re taking their two biggest and most popular teams and having them fight each other. They why, exactly, is a little bit harder to explain.
Did you see X-Men: The Last Stand, aka X3: This Movie Sucks? If not and you’ve never read comics, this is going to be a bummer. Let’s give this a try:
So yeah, it’s all wrapped up in this Phoenix stuff, which has been happening on and off since the late 1970s, and if you want to try and read all this shit and figure out what the hell it all means, be my guest, because I have no idea. (If you figure it out, please explain it to me.) My quick explanation is that The Phoenix is this thing from space that joins with Jean Grey and it makes her more powerful than anyone, but it also makes her an asshole. Anyway, Jean is dead at this point and The Phoenix thing went back to space to do whatever it does.
Anyway, The Phoenix thing is coming back to earth, and both the X-Men and The Avengers believe it intends to join with this girl, Hope. You see, Hope was the first (and only?) mutant born after mutants seemed to go extinct (not wiling to try and explain that), and while the Avengers think The Phoenix will join with her (for what reason, I don’t know) and go around and kick everybody’s ass like it always did when it was joined with Jean Grey, the X-Men think it will join with Hope and transform her into the Mutant Messiah (Presumably a Jesus-like character who can fly, drink all the wine she wants without getting drunk and is invulnerable to nails… what? Too soon after Easter?) and she’ll heal the mutant population and people will start having mutant babies again. How either group came up with these conclusions, I have no clue.
I got off track there – The Phoenix thing is coming back to earth and The Avengers want to put Hope into protective custody. How you protect someone from joining with an outer space energy force that apparently has a pension for earth birds, I don’t know, but presumably Iron Man will be like, “I built a room to protect her – with science!” but since the X-Men want her to join with The Phoenix (which always worked out so well), they are fighting the Avengers so they can’t take her somewhere that probably won’t make a difference.
So that’s the jist of Avengers vs X-Men. Hopefully, this won’t be the drag that Fear Itself was, and there is potential, but I’m not holding my breath. Marvel has screwed up these events so many times, I’m not expecting anything great this time, especially since the premise doesn’t seem to make any sense.