Friday, August 31, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 22 (AVX: VS #5 and Wolverine and the X-Men #15)

We begin with the latest additions to the AVX: VS card...

Match #9: Hawkeye vs. Angel

A ground-and-pound shooter taking on a high-flier should make for an interesting match. But, it doesn't. With no build and a general pointlessness in the air, this seems like something that belongs on TV, not on a PPV card like this. Leave this shit to the three-panel matches we see in Avengers vs. X-Men! It is a little surprising to see them pull out the old WWE staple of capable women's fighters suddenly becoming plot devices and unable to actually do anything when two men are fighting. Psylocke is normally a threat, but, here, she's just someone for Hawkeye to threaten as he, surprisingly, winds up playing the heel to Angel's face. Normally, Hawkeye is the scrappy underdog that people love to see get his ass beat until he manages to come back at the end, but not here. There are supposed to be elements of that, especially when he rips off Wolverine's claw attack using arrows and Angel no-sells completely -- but threatening women and then shooting a dude with an arrow to make your escape? Dick move; heel turn.

Winner: Hawkeye [*3/4]

Match #10: Loser Leaves Wakanda Match - Black Panther vs. Storm

This is the funniest fight of the card to date. Meant to be a big emotional battle between husband and wife, it descends into unintentional comedy pretty quickly. The best part: Storm yelling "Not the cape!" as Black Panther uses it to throw her to the ground. Or, there's the moment where she gets pissed off that he planned counterattacks against her in case she ever attacked him... after she just hit him with a lightning bolt. If anything, this match is an angle killing one that comes at long last after many false starts and poorly told stories throughout. It's a mercy-killing affair that's just as drawn-out and pointless as the original angle was to begin with -- as random and thrown-together. Jason Aaron tries some of the tricks he used to great effect with Dash and Carol in Scalped and they fall flat here, because, in Scalped, he actually made us care about those two and their relationship. Black Panther and Storm's relationship has been dead for a while now -- almost stillborn -- and Marvel is only finally getting around to acknowledging that fact. The big blowoff comes too late and no one cares. "There are no winners here" indeed.

Winner: NO ONE [DUD]

Next month, the card concludes with a bunch of mini-fights (way to waste precious PPV time!) and the main event: HOPE VS. THE SCARLET WITCH IN A PHOENIX HOST CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH!


Wolverine and the X-Men #15 dances around Avengers vs. X-Men as they explore the fallout of Hope's fight with Cyclops in Avengers vs. X-Men #10 and prepare for the Death of Everything That is to Come. It also feels like the 'season finale' of that title in many ways. Jason Aaron jumps around a lot, checking in on as many characters as possible, providing closure of some kind for all of them before what comes next. It's like the school has gone as far it can in its current state. Death and resurrection. Get it?


Actually, this issue is one of my favourite Avengers vs. X-Men tie-ins. It's good in a different manner than New Avengers #29 was. That comic was the best comic of the event in the ways that it directly addressed the event and tried to raise the discourse occurring in it; this one is probably the best example of taking the event and using it to its own purposes. This was more an issue of Wolverine and the X-Men than Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in. The event is a backdrop for change and closure -- but it could be any big threat that acts as the backdrop for this issue. Change a few details and the issue stays essentially the same. New Avengers #29 was the book comic of the event, because it was exclusively about the event; Wolverine and the X-Men #15 is the best example of a comic in this event using it to tell a story that it probably would have told anyway. I admire that.


Next week: There are no Avengers vs. X-Men comics. There will be a post.