Review: Avengers X-Sanction #1 by Jeph Loeb & and Ed McGuinness

Is it possible to have event fatigue even if you don’t read the events? One of the complaints I have about Marvel Comics is that they feel a lot like the WWE, once the big (Pay-Per-View) Event is over, there’s no time to even examine the status-quo because the hype for the next big Event. We just finished off the Fear Itself epilogues last month, and here comes the prologue to the X-Men versus the Avengers mega series. And let’s combine this with doing the tired old cliché of bringing a character back from the dead, only this time it’s a character who has only been dead for 18 months.1

Mega-events are not for the old guard, they are for the younger fans who sit around wondering who would win in a fight between Captain America and Wolverine2, whereas I’m wondering if the potential of bringing back the Phoenix reveals to the outside world that Marvel is just as tapped of “new ideas” as Hollywood.3

Mind you, none of this is an automatic indication of whether this is a good comic book or not. I’ve seen new ideas that had the worst execution, and vice versa.

Avengers X-Sanction #1: Midnight

Published By: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciller: Ed McGuinness
Publish Date: 12/14/2011
Cover Price: $3.99
Review: Digital Copy (from Comixology)

Let’s go over the big events that probably will affect this mini-series:

  • Cable died during the X-Men Second Coming event, which saw him bring his adopted daughter, Hope, back from the future.
  • Hope Summers is a young mutant with the ability to mimic and manipulate mutant powers, and has shown hints of having the power of the Phoenix.4
  • Recently the X-Men split into two groups, one group led by Cyclops staying in Utopia, the other lead by Wolverine (a member of the Avengers) moving back to Westchester County.
  • Warren Worthington has turned back into the apocalypse minion, Archangel, and plants on being the successor to Apocalypse.

Synopsis

  • The Avengers are fighting the Lethal Legion, when The Falcon is shot by the formerly deceased mutant, Cable. Cable abducts Falcons to bring the Avengers after him.
  • It is revealed, that after “dying” Cable was time-slid into the far future, where he learns that Hope wasn’t there to prevent the destruction of Earth, and somehow the Avengers stopped her.
  • Psylocke confronts Archangel and the other member of Apocalypse.
  • Captain America follows the abducted Falcon; Cable and he fight and Cable gets the upper hand; Cable places Captain America in an inhibitor chair, and “shoots him.”

Analysis

Sometimes a comic book is only a comic book. I like a little more depth, a little more characterization, a little more drama, the recreation or reimagining of a character, secrets revealed, and even the promise of resolving long dangling plots. But sometimes it’s just a decent conflict, some conflict resolution, and the hint of more conflict to come in the next issue. That’s what you got in this issue.

Now, when that’s all you’re going to do, then it all comes down to execution. It’s like diving. If you try something really difficult and don’t execute perfectly, you’re still going to get a decent score. But if you try to attempt a pretty basic dive, then you really want to nail it. Other than one small problem, this book executed its plot pretty well, all things considered.

So, Cable has only a few hours to live and wants to go back in time and rewrite history with the remaining time he has left. Um, wasn’t this an old Marv Wolfman idea for resurrecting Barry Allen in the Post-Crisis universe? Should I be bothered that Jeph Loeb is stealing an idea that was never actually used in a comic book? I mean it is on the Marv Wolfman website.

The one major problem is that I have no idea what was going on with the Archangel/Psylocke plot. Now, as I have not been a regular X-Men reader in some time, I had to look up why Warren was looking like Archangel again. But even after discovering that, I have no clue what Psylocke is trying to accomplish, and I have no idea what Archangel is doing. I don’t know why the guy in the turban was attacked. And I don’t know what boy needed to be killed. Totally confused.

For any Farscape fans, Archangel was totally rocking a Scorpius look in this book. I think that’s a good thing. Bravo Ed McGuiness.

   

I thought Cable defeated both Falcon and Captain America, just a little too easily. I especially didn’t really buy Falcon looking very weak after Cable shot him. Sure, I guess he didn’t’ know that Cable shot him, but the looking up and crying “Help” seemed a little out of character. 5

And I guess it’s good to be progressive and not automatically use a female as the damsel in distress, but having a black hero look weak, so the blonde hair, blue eyed white embodiment of all things that are good about America can save him… well let’s just say that it’s a good idea to not give comic book naysayers any additional ammunition.

And Captain America going down that easily, and shooting a gun. Not sure that Mr. Loeb has the best handle on Captain America, but Cable is bigger, from the future, has a cybernetic arm, and believes in his cause. Whereas Cap may have been conflicted, as he knows that Cable is one of the good guys.

I will be rather disappointed if Blaquesmith somehow is manipulating the situation for his own needs, or is secretly a bad guy. I hope not, only because it makes Cable look really stupid. This isn’t his first time dance. He has let future events influence him in the wrong way before.

Did the fight between Cable and Captain America seem like some unlocked character battle on Marvel vs. Capcom?

Verdict

As I said, it’s just a comic book. Given the degree of difficulty, I certainly didn’t love it, but it was a decent superhero romp that gave a good fanboy fight dream match. These are the types of stories that Jeph Johns is good at writing. The art was solid on most pages, and I’m somewhat intrigued by the story going forward.

7.5 (Mildly intrigued)

 

Footnotes

1 – Longer than Kim Kardashian’s wedding, but not long enough to have a significant impact.

2 – I’d give the edge to Cap, but just barely.

3 – Which there aren’t, especially if you believe in Joseph Campbell’s theories.

4 – Apparently the Phoenix power is attracted to attractive mutants with red hair.

5 – Possibly rendering Falcon to the bottom bunk status.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!