Comic Comments – Day of the Phoenix, Dark Night of the Soul/Avengers vs X-Men…vs X-Men

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 9

It’s happened, I didn’t like it. It disrupts the whole great thing that was starting at Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, Avengers versus X-Men. I’ve grouped Wolverine and the X-Men issues 9 and 10 cover Scott coming to the school to see who will side with him and who will side with the Avengers.

Credits for the issues are as follows Jason Aaron, Writer; Chris Bachalo, Penciler/Colorist; Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, Inkers Issues 9 & 10 Victor Olazaba joined the Inker team for issue 10; Chris Bachalo, Cover Issue 9; Tim Townsend, Cover Issue 10; Chris Eliopoulos, Letterer; Jordan D. White, Assistant Editor; Daniel Ketchum, Associate Editor; Nick Lowe, Editor; Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief; Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer; Dan Buckley, Publisher; and Alan Fine, Executive Producer.

All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 10

Before I get into a long thing about the story and the AVX let me address the art. There on cover 9 is my main complaint about Bachalo’s art. Logan is a retangle with a pin head. His torso is too wide, his arms too large, the whole thing is too square and the head is too small. I don’t like the style. I’ve come to take some of his moments when it’s downtime as just art I don’t like as much as others. However when the bodies get boxy, the fights get overly done, the characters are unrecognizable I have to ditch the art and rely of Jason Aaron’s writing to carry me through. Luckily it does. So I know now I really don’t like Bachalo’s fights because I can’t tell what’s going on, I don’t like his Iceman because it’s so cluttered and over done I can’t tell what’s going on. I don’t like it when goes for more style than story telling, I can’t tell who is who or what’s going on. It’s me. I’m not the target market. I’m over 45 not young but dear Marvel I have a very deep pocket and if you want me buying up say 20+ titles a month again, well I have to tell what’s going on and who is who in well written not told before stories.

Let me explain to those who read this but aren’t really comic geeks. Yes, yes there are some and I’ve heard from them, positive stuff. I figure if I entertain non comic book geeks rambling on about comic books then I’m doing something right. Maybe just maybe they might pick one up and find out they like them too. BACK on topic here just what is Avenger Versus X-Men? Well it’s and “event” that crosses into many Marvel Universe titles and makes changes to the whole universe or at least a majority of the characters. First time it happened it was awesome, it was a way to make deeply needed changes in many titles all at once while telling an epic story that showed how everything was related in the Marvel Universe. The one that did this as it should have been done was House of M. It sold well, as in fabulously well. So Marvel made a big changing arc an annual event even though the story lines didn’t need such drastic revision so frequently. Marvel wanted the sales. The next big event I liked was Civil War it started out great but ended with a whimper in my opinion and drove me from buying Marvel for about 4 years. (I came back because Logan was becoming headmaster and I wanted to catch up on how he changed so much). You don’t really need to worry about Civil War because unlike House of M it’s changes didn’t last and we’re still not feeling their effects today. Ironman and Capt America are on the same team again for years and mutant registration went away and the broken stuff they stopped for isn’t broken any more. There were other arcs that sounded stupid and when I’d see posters for them I’d roll my eyes and dispargeningly say “Fanboys, the damn company is run by adolescent fanboys.” It seemed the HULK SMASH of World War Hulk and the bizarre in fighting was the ultimate fan boy argument of “What if Hulk fought Ben Grimm who’d win?” or what if this character fought that one… No reason, no ramifications, no real changes just smashing and fighting and hype.

So the big events started to refresh then got stale themselves. Now the current big event is Avengers versus X-Men the title even belies my reason for dropping out of Marvel for four years. The story stems back to two things 1) there are few mutants after the House of M and 2) the Phoenix force (a fiery space bird that’s been WAY over used for DECADES at Marvel). It’s coming back to earth, Jean Grey the only character that finally and thankfully has stayed dead (PLEASE LET HER STAY THAT WAY) isn’t here to host it so it’s thought it’ll destroy the planet or get Hope Summers the child of Jean. X-Men under the leadership of Scott Summers who is acting more and more like Villain Magneto did in the old days – sees this as a good thing to make more mutants. Avengers don’t want the planet to die and think it’s a bad thing. Now you’re up to speed. An over used reset tool with an over used plot devise has now become an event that will disrupt titles that didn’t need resetting or disrupting.

So now to Issues 9, we rap up the problems from issue 8 Hank is well Logan has his legs back. Then the school becomes aware the Phoenix is coming to earth. The ball starts rolling – Logan is an Avenger and has been an X-Man for years but he’s now on the outs with Scott (see the dartboard here figured out the B isn’t Bobby it’s Beast) thus not part of the team any more. Capt America shows up to talk to his Avenger teammate with the most Phoenix experience, Logan. Everyone involved knows this is going to be drawing up sides, Logan makes it clear he’s on the Avenger’s side because he thinks that the only way for the planet and thus his school will survive. He doesn’t want the kids involved. As it is none have tossed in with the X-Men yet but Hank makes it clear he’s joining Logan with the Avengers. The other staff opts to stay at the school and keep the kids on routine and protected from all of this.

Issue 10 takes place after the Avengers try to take Hope Summers (the believed Phoenix Target) from the X-Men. There has been the first battle, and now Scott Summers himself shows up at Jean Grey’s School of Higher Learning to find who stands with him from the staff there. He first approaches Logan which makes sense being the leader of the group and all. It leads to some really excellent dialogue between the two frienemies. Logan carried a torch for Scott’s wife for years still does in that he named his school after her maiden name and the statue is the Marvel Girl costume.

Speaking of the statue there is a well written moment between Logan and Idie at Jean’s statue. He takes on the headmaster/father role very well and very comfortably. I was impressed how he put aside all the adult crap about AVX to chat with her about how she was doing. That’s what a mature man does when he’s responsible for kids. He protects from the adult problems and helps them with their problems. Admittedly most kids don’t list flame thrower toilets as among their problems but when you integrate the Danger Room training through out the building that’s what you get. OH BTW Capt America only got a B- when battled the new integrated Danger Room… issue 9.

In the end we know the staff divides Bobby, Rachel, Gambit and Chamber go back to Utopia and follow Scott. Cannonball, Husk, Kitty, Rogue, and a few others I can’t recognize from Bachalo’s art stay on the school as staff. They will protect the school no matter what and keep the kids out of the fight. Hank and Logan are off on different missions to support the Avengers.

The sides have been taken let’s get this over with so we can HOPEFULLY go back to a good comic centered on a school for mutant kids with James “Logan” Howlett as the headmaster. In the end I think he should have told both sides to go F**K YOURSELF, holed up in his school and become the Switzerland of AVX to keep the kids safe but then again he is the best at what he does, and what he does isn’t pretty. Besides it’s a fight against Summers no way Logan’s not gonna throw a punch at Scott when given the chance.

Next up more AVX tie-in story lines. We see the fractured staff on their new lines. Each has to decide what they are willing to do to former teammates in this battle. I’ll do two issues again Got Hope and Hounded, issues 11 and 12.

Spoilery comments on specific pages and panels after the jump.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 9

Ahh lounging on the beach that we learn is in the Jungle Room of the school. All is well with our heroes.  Then the AVX arc came crashing into their lives and school.  Oh well let’s enjoy the moment…  oh and what’s in the bottle there on the right in the foreground?  Is that a Bamf with one of Logan’s missing whiskey bottles?

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 9

Here we get the main reason Logan and Scott split.  Scott sees the mutants as needing saving, the kids as the future army to protect the race.  Logan just sees kids, kids doesn’t matter if they have mutations or not just kids that need raising.  Logan doesn’t and hasn’t drawn any difference between mutants and non-mutants, people is people to him.  Some people have different talents or abilities depending on their genetics some more extreme than others but all are people.  One thing that bugged me is the lack of eye color in Capt here and in other characters in other panels, yeah I noticed.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 9

Here Hank and Logan are parting ways to head off on their missions to help the Avengers. I like the scene and how they say good bye. It’s fun, it’s caring, and it’s good friends. OH and Hank doesn’t have fleas, really he says so.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 9

I loved this scene. I feel it speaks to how much Logan has matured as a man. The old Logan would have been gruff with the kid, taken her up on being alone with this unrequited love (unless that was Jubliee or Kitty there) No here he puts that all aside for one of his students. He turns it to how she is doing. How she likes the school, how she is getting along. He even admits he likes what he was creating in the school. This is a good moment and one I want to see grow once we get this big Marvel marketing event out of the way. Oh apparently Logan was crying because in panel 4 his eyeliner has run.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 10

This story starts at a dark place. Hard things have been done, as you can see from Logan’s chat with Headmistress Pryde. He doesn’t like having to choose sides but after all he’s been through he’s found his mission – the kids. So he’ll even fight family if they threaten the sanctuary he’s building. Unfortunately it has come to that for him, for all of them.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 10

Scott comes to try one last time to convience one of the most powerful X-Men to join him.  Just as Logan told Capt, Scott see it as a mutant agenda, a mutant race rebirth.  Not Logan’s point of view at all, sounds more like old Magneto and old Xavier talking here doesn’t it?

Also look at Scott’s head – it’s a rectangle.  Why does he have Frankenstein head?  Logan looks like he’s got stitches across his eye and face there.  I don’t get it it all.  I don’t like it.  Oh the red orb is Krakatoa Jr keeping an eye on Scott while he’s there.

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 10

There’s no coming to terms with the two. They see the world totally differently and now it’s put them opposite sides of this war.  Again Logan takes it back to the kids, Hope is still a kid.  I don’t know if Logan thinks he’s an honorable man or not.  I think given he says he belongs in Hell when he dies he doesn’t think he is one but he aspires to be one.  That’s what I like about him he tries, even though he knows he won’t always reach his morals he tries harder than those who are sure they are in the right to do what is best for everyone given the situation.  Oh and there’s Krakatoa Jr following his headmaster’s orders to the letter and keeping an eye on that Summers!

Wolverine and the X-Men Issue 10

Finally all has been said and done, the first battle has been pitched. The leaders of Schism and set on their sides, it’s time for the staff of JGSHL to choose theirs.

Oh Chamber there you are! I wasn’t sure what happened to him after killing John Sublime and the cancelled Weapon X title I’m glad you aren’t dead and apparently that Weapon X fix didn’t last. Oh well. See ya! Have fun over in Utopia following Cyclops.

Logan you aren’t the only one that HOPES so hopes there is a school to come back too when this whole crazy worn out Phoenix stuff is over.

One thought on “Comic Comments – Day of the Phoenix, Dark Night of the Soul/Avengers vs X-Men…vs X-Men

  1. Pingback: Comic Comments – When A Hot Date Goes Bad « Mary Louise Eklund

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