Review: Axis: Avengers & X-Men #4 by Rick Remender & Leinil Francis Yu

Axis: Avengers & X-Men #4

Written by: Rick Remender
Penciled by: Leinil Francis Yu
Inked by:
Gerry Alanguilan & Leinil Francis Yu
Cover by:
Jim Cheung &; Justin Ponsor
Colored by:
Edgar Delgado
Lettered by:
Chris Eliopoulos

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): This issue starts with Captain American and Hulk on board the SHIELD helicarrier talking to Fury 2.0 and Maria Hill. The United Nations wants the Avengers to turn over Red Skull to their custody immediately. There are concerns because Stark designed his current holding cell, and Red Skull had already been able to manipulate his mind.

Captain America refuses, saying, “I’ve made my decision, and I didn’t invite discussion.” Fury tries to cool everything down, and Falcon clobbers him.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, police are dealing with a hostage situation by a villain named The Squid. Carnage arrives on the scene. Minutes later, Spidey arrives and discovers that Carnage seemed to have been there to try and help out. He arrested the Squid without any violence, and didn’t even steal the loot.

In San Fransisco, Stark lands in the middle of a San Francisco Giants game to announce that he is launching an Extremis App which will reshape the world…but right now, he’s only giving it to the people of San Fransisco. He is also drinking during this announcement…

At Westchester, Storm seems to have re-united both side of the X-Men This united team declares war on humanity. They seem to be lead by Apocalypse (I assume that is Evan).

At Avengers Tower, Captain America seems to enjoy his new perspective on life.

He announces that he plans to kill the Red Skull to prevent him from reversing the Inversion. This will also help force the mutants into a war. Thor admits that he wants to freely slaughter all mutants.

Jarvis tries to stop them from killing Red Skull, so Scarlet Witch blasts him. He seems fine, but this act has really upset the Hulk (who’s intelligence was regressing throughout the issue). This causes him to turn into a new black form. He calls himself Kluh. Yuck.

Kluh bursts through the side of Avengers Tower to leave. In the chaos, they discover that the Red Skull has escaped.

Review: First of, I want to praise this issue for “NO MORE HEADERS AND FOOTERS!” That really annoyed me in the first two issues, and I am glad they got away from that. It is sort of weird to see each “chapter” of Axis will be drawn by a different artist. Leinil Francis Yu took over here, and I thought his art was much more consistent that some of what we saw Adam Kubert do in the first three issues.  Definitely a huge improvement.

A lot of people pointed to the end of the last issue as Marvel trying to create more phony conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men. But, I kept telling people that I suspected it was part of the “Inversion” process and that Doctor Doom seemed to have screwed up the entire world, inverting characters’ personalities. This was confirmed in some of the crossover issues (I really liked Hobgoblin and Carnage and particular).

What made this issue interesting to me was that it wasn’t quite as simple as “all the good guys are bad now.” I loved seeing Stark’s attempts at giving people the chance to live their perfect life…through technology. And seeing Evan embrace his “Apocalypse” side, that definitely caught my attention. I have become really invested in Evan over the years. I wonder if Remender (who created Evan way back in Uncanny X-Force) had this planned for a while. Seeing the X-Men unite under his banner was just damn cool to me.

One thing I didn’t like about this book was Kluh. Not only is that just a dumb name (and sadly, it’s not even original), but I also thought the design was kind of lame too.

I also would have loved to have seen a different villain focused. Carnage already has his own mini-series showing what his inversion looks like. Sticking with Carnage just seemed like the easy way out, instead of showing how this impacted other characters we hadn’t seen yet. I also thought that the Carnage we saw in the mini was a lot more nuanced. He was trying to play hero…but still had a lot of his bloodthirsty tendencies, which made for a disturbing balance.  We didn’t get a chance to see that here, which I thought was a mistake.

While not a lot really happened in this issue, I thought it was a solid way to show where all the pieces ended up after “World War Hate.” It never felt decompressed, instead it just felt like a natural point to breath and assess where we were. The first three issues were a lot of GO! GO! GO! so this was needed, especially since Marvel doesn’t seem inclined to spell everything out for the readers (which is a very good thing to me).

Remender seems to have a strong vision for this story, and I have enjoyed watching it play out so far. As I’ve said before, I typically like events, and I think Axis has really provided something new. I was worried that it would tread some of the same areas as Forever Evil, but so far, it’s done a great job setting itself up as something different. And now, we have three major villains on the loose to deal with…Red Onslaught, Apocalypse, and Doctor Doom. I definitely find this FAR more compelling that “realities crashing into each other.”  I will always prefer character conflict to Earth shattering vaguely defined threats.


Title: Axis: Avengers & X-Men #4
Written By: Rick Remender
Art By: Leinil Francis Yu
Company: Marvel
Price: $3.99
Pros:
  • Some terrific character moments as we see the effects of Doom’s inversion
  • Huge improvement in terms of the art.
  • I like that they have given it a little more depth than “Good is now evil.”
Cons:
  • Pretty slow issue where not a lot happens.
  • Would have liked to see a more variety of characters who were impacted.
  • Kluh.  Yuck.
Is it worth your $3.99? 8.0/10 – Definitely an event I have been enjoying.  Inversion is a cool idea, and the execution has been real well done so far.

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