I started a blog and then promptly developed a pinched nerve in my neck that made typing for any length of time unadvisable. Because that’s just how my life goes.
Now that Avengers vs. X-Men #12 is out, I want to try to organize some of my thoughts on the event.
First of all: I have read most of the related canon for the Avengers and the X-Men since House of M. There are some gaps in my reading, things I had no interest in reading or bounced off of rather strongly, but in general this is the era of Marvel canon I am most obsessively familiar with. And, as a bookend to House of M — as closure on a distinct chapter in Marvel continuity — I think Avengers vs. X-Men works well.
As a self-contained story though it’s rather sloppy and there are a lot of trailing and dropped threads that are never clarified. In particular, there were a number of characters who played a large part in the lead-up to A vs. X, but then were almost or completely absent during the event, or whose plotlines seem to have just fizzled out part of the way through the event.
Maybe some of my questions will be answered in some of the A vs. X Aftermath comics, but currently they’ve all been left unacknowledged and unresolved.
1) The Young Avengers. In Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the Young Avengers are responsible for bringing back Wanda Maximoff, a key player in all of A vs. X. At the end of Children’s Crusade the Young Avengers break up and are seen sitting out many of the big events that have taken place in the Marvel Universe in the last year. But then some of them are shown back in costume being honored by the Avengers.
We know that Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) has already returned to heroing in the new Hawkeye ongoing, and Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) is prominent in some of the Marvel Now teaser imagery. (His role is currently unclear, but it seems likely he’ll be appearing Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s as yet unrevealed title teased with the image “Amateurs” today.) Given their key part leading up to A vs. X, it really jumped out to me that none of the Young Avengers ever appear or are even mentioned in A vs. X.
2) Cable. In Avengers: X-Sanction, Cable returns from the future to try and kill the Avengers because he believes they will be responsible for the death of his adopted daughter, Hope Summers. Given his major role there, his absence in A vs. X is quite striking. We last see him at the end of Avengers: X-Sanction, where Hope manifests some of the Phoenix power and cures him of the techno-organic virus that has plagued him most of his life. On the last pages of the mini we see him still unconscious in the Utopia med-bay discussing Hope with Cyclops on the astral plane.
So, where is he during A vs. X? The Avengers do in fact come for Hope and her father is nowhere to be found. Hope defies and goes up against Scott Summers, but her father – Scott’s son — is nowhere to be found. Cable tells his father that he will “be there for you when you need me”, but when Scott is being gradually corrupted and then fully taken over by the Phoenix force his son is not even referenced.
According to this interview with Dennis Hopeless about his new series “Cable and X-Force”, Cable doesn’t awaken from his coma until after Avengers vs. X-Men is over, but that doesn’t answer the question of where his body physically is and why there’s no reference to him that I can recall anywhere in A vs. X.
3) The remaining Four Lights. Generation Hope was a great book, and the connection between Hope and the “Five Lights” — the first five new mutants since M-Day — is made quite explicit in it. We know that Hope has a psychic connection to the Lights and can both intentionally and unintentionally influence their actions.
In Uncanny X-Men #13 their memory is tampered with by Unit, but it’s unclear how much of their memory he changes. Certainly he cannot have erased their connection to Hope or their memories of their experiences with her, without it being glaringly obvious to anyone around them, but nevertheless in the rest of A vs. X they only appear as background characters, and always on the side of the mutants. Even when Hope leaves Utopia with Wanda Maximoff and the Avengers there is no indication of the Lights desiring to follow her, even though Transonic is actually present when the Avengers come for Hope.
Before Unit changes their memories, he tells the Lights that Hope may need them with her to successfully channel the Phoenix, but there is never any follow-up on this. Hope successfully channels the Phoenix with the help of her Iron Fist training and Wanda Maximoff’s chaos powers. It’s unclear if the Avengers even know the Lights exist at all, let alone that they might be useful in balancing Hope’s powers.
4) Unit. Speaking of dropped plot-lines. What the hell is up with Unit? This incredibly powerful android character is shown to have gained control of Danger and to be meddling with events surrounding the Phoenix from his place in the X-Brig, but he only ever appears in Uncanny X-Men and his meddling and its potential consequences never show up or are acknowledged in the main series. There’s only one issue of this run of Uncanny X-Men left and with all that happened in A vs. X it seems unlikely that the Unit plotline will be resolved before the series ends.
Also, if the Phoenix Five were all powerful and able to easily read the thoughts and intentions of everyone on Utopia — as is shown several times — how is it possible that they remained completely oblivious to Unit’s duplicity and secret agenda on Utopia.
I realize that even with an event as lengthy as A vs. X not everything can be addressed, but these particular absences and the lack of explanation for them really weakened the story in my eyes.