We are now starting the final act of Avengers vs X-Men. After the great issue that was #9, I was hoping #1o would continue the momentum. But alas, it seems that AvX is spinning its wheels, waiting for the huge ending.
Ed Brubaker is a great writer. Anyone who has been reading Captain America and Fatale knows this. But his writing has never favored team books. His Uncanny work was ok, and his Secret Avengers was decent, but not on the level of solo books. Brubaker does his best here, focusing on a few characters instead of many. The inclusion of K’un Lun in this event was a great idea, as it takes one of the fringe areas of the Marvel universe and shoves it straight into the forefront. His characterization of Hope has good, and her growth feels natural. Hope’s powers are finally used effectively, and it puts a cap on her abilities to fight. I have seen her powers used quite a bit, but not in this way, which uses them to their fullest. Sadly, the insane character outbursts are back. Emma Frost has been interesting, with her attempting to hold back the Phoenix Force being a great sub-plot. But it jumps to the front of the story, with all subtlety going out the window.
The biggest problem is how the plot spins its wheels. At this point in the event, I’m starting to wonder if this event should have been ten issues instead of twelve. It would have cut out a lot of the stalling, which has appeared in a few issues. Start the event off with a couple of issues a month, then go down to one, making people more excited for the next issue. This entire issue can be boiled down to one sentence: we find out why Hope is so powerful. Avengers vs X-Men feels like the calm before the storm, with the final two issues capping off everything that has come before. Now that we have to wait four weeks for #11, #10 feels that more off-putting. If #11 was coming sooner, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. Also, it might have been a mistake to have Brubaker write a full issue again. I love his writing, and I’m glad he’s in this think tank. He brings a different writing style that thinks differently than writers like Bendis and Aaron. If he had been assisted in these issues, they might have turned out better. Or Marvel was being constrictive and wouldn’t let him write what he wanted.
Andy Kubert rocks this issue. His facial cues work well, even when the panel zooms out. He’s penciling more issues than originally planned*, which makes his un-rushed pencils that much more impressive. The dragon looks bad ass. The panel that made me put the issue down and stare was when Hope let loose on Cyclops. It has a 3D quality too it. The chaos fist is a worthy name for that punch. Kubert uses stagnant panels quite a bit in this issue, and it suits his pencils well. He nails the timing of the punches and kicks in these panels, giving them movie like qualities. Maybe someone can explain, but is Captain America crying when he is talking to Professor X? I can’t tell if it’s sweat or if Cap is actually crying. Hopefully Marvel will find a book for Kubert to join for Marvel NOW!
Avengers vs X-Men #10 gets 3/5.
*As I write this, a preview of Avengers vs X-Men #11 has been released, and Olivier Coipel is penciling it. It seems that which issues the artists are penciling has slightly shifted.
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