Avengers vs. X-Men #5 is by far the worst issue to be released in the series. It tries to be edgy and on the cusp, but unfortunately it dives into the weird and starts to bend continuity to the breaking point.
I thought that the opening was just as stellar as the prior issue, but it was all down from there. It was definitely a great throwback to X-Men: Schism and seeing Wolverine burnt to a crisp (yet alive) is both wrenching and a testament to Logan’s awesomeness.
Continuing with last issue’s moon battle the (now standard) duels have carried over while the Phoenix Force speeds towards them. In traditional Stark fashion Tony has ‘hopefully’ devised a way to stop the Phoenix Force via a technological innovation. As a writer, this avenue is logical and fits fairly well into Stark’s overall character.
However, Stark’s invention looks incredibly like an early Transformers' Autobot. I found it an unusual path to take considering that within the world of science there were so many other possibilities that would have been more viable. Also, this precludes another contention: Where is Reed Richards during all of this? He would be the perfect asset to assist Tony Stark and would have been more than willing to help evade a world-destroying event, yet he is mysteriously absent. His expertise and knowledge are practically unrivaled, and it is disappointing to see him omitted from the plotline.
As the Phoenix Force appears, key individuals are depicted throughout the globe being affected by the God-like energy. Interestingly enough Charles Xavier (Professor X) and his son are shown within a single panel. It was out of place, and I hope that he has a larger role in the issues to come; otherwise he’ll become just another plot inconsistency.
The issue concludes with Tony Stark’s Transformer splintering the Phoenix Force into five separate energies, resulting in the force possessing Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus, and Magik. I am curious as to why the Colossus and Magik were chosen to be apart of the ‘Phoenix Five,’ when considering that there are other more prominent members of Cyclops’ X-Men such as Magneto. Overall, this plot twist is grossly unexpected and (yet again) redefines the entity known as the “Phoenix Force.”
END OF SPOILERS
Even with all of the narrative splices, John Romita’s artwork takes the leap in, and represents some of the best work that he has produced for the series. The cover is also incredibly apropos and appropriately sums up the intrigue of the issue. Jim Cheung and Justin Ponsor have really outdone themselves and created some spectacular covers for the series, and I am excited to see what they have to offer for future issues.
Avengers vs. X-Men #5 receives a flat three-out-of-five stars and can be purchased at your local Spokane comic book shop, Merlyn’s Sci-fi and Fantasy Shop.