Monday, November 12, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men Reading Order (Updated August 17, 2013)

In the vein of my Secret Invasion Reading Order comes something bigger and, somewhat, more ambitious: an Avengers vs. X-Men Reading Order. It may surprise you to learn that it wasn't too difficult. Parts of the order are strictly judgement calls and some issues could be switched around with no real impact on anything, because they're so self-contained. An example of this are the intial tie-in arcs of Avengers Academy and X-Men Legacy where they both fall within the same timeframe, but could be read in any order really. I'll try to explain myself as I go and, maybe, update when necessary (aka when someone points out a factual error that makes my order impossible... though, in some cases, those are unavoidable). My biggest criteria for order is that events show in Avengers vs. X-Men trump all tie-ins with AVX: VS trumping all other tie-ins. So, events seen in Avengers vs. X-Men and tie-ins will always have Avengers vs. X-Men as the first comic to show those events with the others following. I think that makes sense.

  • Avengers: X-Sanction #1-4: Thematic prologue to the event.
  • Uncanny X-Men #9-10: More direct prologue to the series, sets up tension between Avengers and X-Men over Hope as well as adds more to the Hope/Phoenix connection.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #0-1: Prologue and beginning of the story. The Phoenix is coming. Builds up to the Avengers and X-Men fighting on Utopia.
  • New Avengers #24, Wolverine and the X-Men #9, and Avengers #25: The Avengers gear up to face off with the X-Men (if necessary). While Avengers #25 shows events from Avengers vs. X-Men #2, it's mostly an issue that takes place prior to the event... plus, it literally only shows a double-page spread of the Avengers and X-Men fighting, which is heavily implied as something that will happen at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men #1.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #2: The fighting happens and Hope escapes, while the Avengers in space confront the Phoenix.
  • AVX: VS #1 and Uncanny X-Men #11: Fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #2 are expanded upon.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #3: The X-Men surrender and, then, escape. Everyone wants to find Hope. Captain America seemingly tries to kill Wolverine.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #10: After the fight at Utopia, Cyclops tries to recruit as many mutants at the Jean Grey School as possible to join his group, find Hope, join her with the Phoenix, and save the mutant race.
  • Avengers Academy #29-31: After the fight at Utopia, the Avengers drop off some underage X-Men and all of the kids must get along until the adults decide that Captain America is wrong and let the mutants go.
  • X-Men Legacy #266-267: After the fight at Utopia, a trio of Avengers stake out the Jean Grey School to make sure no one there gets involved. A fight ensues. (Note: Some scenes from these issues contradict what we saw in Wolverine and the X-Men #10, but, since that issue was written by Jason Aaron, one of the five main writers of the event, I put it in a more primary position.)
  • Secret Avengers #26-28: The Space Avengers try to capture the Phoenix and fail. The Kree try to manipulate the Phoenix, including a resurrected Mar-Vell, and they fail. During the events of this story, both Noh-Varr and Ms. Marvel are under Kree mind control.
  • Avengers #26-27: Noh-Varr betrays the Space Avengers for reasons that don't entirely make sense next to the Secret Avengers story. However, this one clearly follows that one, so it goes here. In the end, the Space Avengers leave, Noh-Varr is almost killed by the Kree, and we're left wondering how a company could let these two issues and the Secret Avengers issues be published under the same event.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #4: Everyone searches the world for Hope and the Avengers and X-Men fight some more all over the world. Wolverine and Hope go to the moon where the Avengers have also come. So do the X-Men. They almost fight until Thor crashes into the moon... AND THE PHOENIX IS HERE!
  • AVX: VS #2, Uncanny X-Men #12, and Wolverine and the X-Men #11: Expanded fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #4 and more on Wolverine and Hope before they get to the moon.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #5: The Phoenix arrives, the Avengers and X-Men fight on the moon, Iron Man breaks the Phoenix apart, and it inhabits Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus, and Magik.
  • AVX: VS #3: Expanded fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #5.
  • Uncanny X-Men #13: Another perspective on what's happening during the events of Avengers vs. X-Men #5.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #6: The Phoenix Five rule the world and change things. The Avengers attack, the Scarlet Witch gets involved, and Hope goes with the Avengers. The issue ends with Cyclops proclaiming "No more Avengers."
  • AVX: VS #4: Two fights. Considering Thor gets taken down twice over the course of the series by a member of the Phoenix Five, I figured I'd just put this here for ease.
  • Avengers #28: Red Hulk tries to assassinate Cyclops. He fails.
  • Uncanny X-Men #14-17: The Phoenix Five (and non-Phoenix possessed members of the Extinction Team) take on Sinister.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #16: The story of Kade Kilgore and the new Hellfire Club's activities in the wake of the Phoenix Five.
  • Avengers Academy #32-33: Emma Frost decides to destroy some teenager's pet Sentinel. Hank Pym and others object. Fighting ensues. The Sentinel is saved through trickery on the part of Quicksilver.
  • X-Men Legacy #268: Frenzy does some stuff for the Phoenix Five, kind of.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #12 and Avengers #29: Two perspectives on a big confrontation between the X-Men and Avengers where Rachel Summers seemingly lets Hope go, but was really outclassed by Charles Xavier.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #13: Gladiator and his forces fight against the Phoenix Five. They fail. They leave the planet.
  • New Avengers #29: The Illuminati gather, talk, and Captain America tries, unsuccessfully, to convince Namor that he's doing the wrong thing.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #7: The Avengers are hunted by the X-Men and have their base in Wakanda. Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are captured. In a fight, the Scarlet Witch seriously hurts Namor. The issue ends with Namor attacking Wakanda.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #8: Namor wages war on Wakanda. He is defeated and loses his Phoenix power. The Avengers retreat to K'un Lun.
  • New Avengers #25-27: The history of K'un Lun, the Iron Fist, and the Phoenix. It's a story told to Hope. She is given a new master to train her: Spider-Man.
  • New Avengers #28: Hawkeye, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman in X-prison. They think they've almost escaped, but it's a mental prison where they replay the same scenario again and again.
  • X-Men Legacy #269: Ms. Marvel tries to convince Rogue that the Phoenix Five are evil. They fight. Magik shows up and imprisons Ms. Marvel in Limbo. Rogue doesn't like that and tries to help Ms. Marvel escape. She fails, but manages to escape from Magik.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #14: Colossus takes Kitty Pryde out on a date and shows himself corrupted by the power of the Phoenix. Iceman is wary of Magik and Cyclops as well.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #9: The Avengers try to rescue their captured teammates in Limbo. Spider-Man fights both Colossus and Magik, eventually turning them against one another, causing them both to lose their Phoenix powers. Storm and the Black Panther break up.
  • AVX: VS #5: Fallout fights from Avengers vs. X-Men #9.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #10: The Avengers fight Cyclops in K'un Lun. Hope beats him by using the powers of the Iron Fist and Scarlet Witch. The X-Men grow wary of Emma Frost who is obviously corrupted by the power of the Phoenix.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #15: The mutants at the Jean Grey School prepare for the fight battle with Cyclops and Emma Frost.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #11: The X-Men join forces with the Avengers to bring down Cyclops and Emma Frost. They fight. During the course of the fight, Cyclops turns on Emma to take her powers. He then kills Charles Xavier and becomes Dark Phoenix.
  • Uncanny X-Men #18: The events of Avengers vs. X-Men #11 from the perspective of Cyclops and Emma Frost.
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #12: The grand finale. Dark Phoenix Cyclops is brought down, Hope embraces the power of the Phoenix and unleashes it to bring back mutants. Cyclops is arrested.
  • AVX: VS #6: An expansion of the Hope/Scarlet Witch confrontation in Avengers vs. X-Men #12. Plus, some gag stories/strips.
  • Uncanny X-Men #19: The events of Avengers vs. X-Men #12 from the perspective of Cyclops. The issue ends with him unapologetic about his actions.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #18: What went down at the Jean Grey School during Avengers vs. X-Men #12.
  • New Avengers #30: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil escort Emma Frost to prison, get into a fight with some hi-tech racists, defeat them, and Luke Cage quits the Avengers.  
  • Avengers #30: Hawkeye and Spider-Woman fight bad guys and one another. Iron Man is tired after the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, but gets off his ass anyway, because that's what superheroes do. 
  • Uncanny Avengers #1: The funeral of Charles Xavier. Havok visits Cyclops in prison to be a dick.
  • Uncanny X-Men #20: Cyclops is visited by Sinister in prison. Danger is set free by Unit after he leaves. Colossus and Magik have a confrontation.
  • AVX: Consequences #1-5: Cyclops is in prison and escapes with the help of Magneto, Magik, and Danger. Emma Frost is in prison. Colossus is a recluse. Iron Man doesn't know what to think after the whole Phoenix/Iron Fist/Scarlet Witch stuff messed up his brain. Hope searches for Cable, finds him, and is trying to be a normal teenage girl.
  • A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1: The entire event in baby form. Kind of. Based on a variant cover.
  • What If? AVX #1-4: The entire event reimagined in four issues.
  • And that's it. Like I said, you can debate a few spots (especially when events overlap and don't line up nicely). But, that's the order I would recommend.

    Update Nov. 14/12: I was asked where Wolverine and the X-Men #17 would fall and that's before Avengers vs. X-Men. Since it's a one-off issue focusing on Doop and seemingly takes place before the event, I would stick it right after issue eight of that series. A little confusing on Marvel's part, but, hey, no surprises there.

    Update Aug. 17/13: In doing a read of the event, I changed the placement of tie-in issues previously situated between Avengers vs. X-Men #7 and 8. Some tie-ins were moved prior to issue 7 and some were moved after issue 8.