this was originally supposed to be a video review, but life kept me from getting around to it.
I mentioned in my second video review that with Avengers vs X-Men #5, the Event was starting to get good. Things have kicked up a notch for the sixth issue and it’s no surprise that Jonathan Hickman is at the helm of this one. As we saw in the last issue, the Phoenix Force was split among five X-Men. At this point it’s unclear whether it was because of Hope’s rejection or Tony Stark’s Phoenix-killing Transformer. However, in a previous Uncanny X-Men issue, Unit – a weird mind-controlling alien robot – seemed to suggest that if the Five Lights had been there, they would have gotten the powers along with Hope anyway. This is both a great way to tie in the recently ended Generation Hope series as well as explain how it could be that the Phoenix split among the Five who ended up getting it. However, while this is a GREAT bookend to all that has happened in the X-Men since House of M, it is less than desirable for new readers who haven’t had a decade worth of stories to truly appreciate this Event for anything more than a fight between the X-Men and Avengers.
We had hints of what the world would be like in this issue from last week’s X-Men Legacy where we caught a glimpse of a world run by the X-Men. In this issue it’s clear that the X-Men are now essentially gods on Earth. However, in a nice twist from what I thought would happen after the end of the last issue, they’re benevolent gods. After all we know that
1) absolute power corrupts absolutely
2) the X-Men have been persecuted and if anyone is ready to “get theirs” – it’s the X-Men
3) The Phoenix Force has never enabled its hosts to be the good guys.
So the X-Men provide clean water, free and limitless energy, unlimited food. And you’d think things would be wonderful. However, anyone who’s ever studied history would not be surprised at what happens. No matter how benevolent the dictator is, no one and no country ever feels safe if they can’t end things on their own because the dictator is too powerful. In a way, this was the main cause of World War I. A unified Germany, which might not have done anything to any other country was a threat to the other big powers of Europe. Because neither of them could take on a unified Germany on their own. Hence the alliances there were at least partly responsible for the outbreak of war. But it goes back even further, in the third Peloponnesian War, member states in Athens’ empire supported Sparta against Athens because they thought Athens had grown too strong.
So even though everything going perfectly and life is better for everyone than it was before, America bristles at the idea. So they have the Avengers trying to undo things. This has the added side effect of making Captain America look like the crazy fanatic that Cyclops was early in the Event. After all, if everything’s going so well, why rock the boat? Thankfully we’re not in the Golden, Silver, or even Bronze Age of comics so not everyone goes along with the plan both on the Avengers and X-Men sides. And, even on the X-Men side, Cyclops’ interaction with Hope shows that perhaps all is not as well with him as it seems. I find that added realism really adds to the story and gives it some of the unpredictability that it sometimes seems we need to read indie comics for nowadays.
I’m not going to spoil the ending or who decides not to be part of the X-Men or Avengers’ plan, but I’m glad to see some characters finally making an appearance. The ending leaves me pretty excited for the next issue. The best thing the writers have done with the last two issues is make it so that I have no idea where the Event is going or how it might end whereas when it started I was pretty sure that by now we’d have the X-Men and Avengers teaming up to work against the Phoenix.
I give this issue 5/5 stars.