“Avengers Vs. X-Men” #9 opens with a series of blood-spattered caption boxes narrating a point of view face-off with the Phoenix-powered Colossus. Given the image on the cover and the voice in the boxes, it’s safe to say that I’m not spoiling much when I reveal that the voice is Spider-Man’s.
Jason Aaron has a keen grasp on Spidey’s voice throughout the issue, but never moreso than that opening scene. Aaron flashes back from the opening sequence to show readers how the Avengers got to that point and darts all across the war-torn world of this series, stopping by each of the four remaining Phoenix-bearers to illustrate how slippery control over the cosmic entity has become. Aaron uses the Wall-Crawler as a guide for the reader through this issue.
The art is solid and rugged throughout. Adam Kubert draws a truly horrifying depiction of Magik’s Hell Worms and a regal looking Black Panther, despite the Wakandan King’s woes. Kubert hits every note in between, filling this issue with powerfully active characters that command the scenes in which they appear. While I’m preferential to the work Olivier Coipel brought to “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” Kubert certainly doesn’t disappoint. This issue, like the issue before, is a visual explosion of reds, yellows and oranges at times threatening to overpower Kubert’s collaboration with inker John Dell.
My one gripe is specific to a single panel in the book where Kubert depicts Spider-Man in a manner more befitting Mister Fantastic — the damage to Spidey’s face in that panel would have certainly left behind a grease stain and some random threads from his mask. Aaron works with that scene and plays to Kubert’s strengths throughout the issue, making it much less of a calamity than it could have been.
I feel as though I’ve said this before, but this issue of “Avengers Vs. X-Men” was the most enjoyable to date. Where most event series begin to trend toward predictability in their later issues, this series continues to offer up surprises and twists on traditional or stereotypically predictable plots. The end result is a story that picks up momentum at exactly the right time. There’s only a trio of issues left in the main series and while there may be some obvious developments coming up, “Avengers Vs. X-Men” #9 has proven that predictability can be superseded by a fun story. If nothing else, it certainly provides readers with a chance to enjoy a Jason Aaron-written Spider-Man.