With multiple writers and perhaps a few too many chapters, “Avengers vs. X-Men” felt a little rambling and unfocused from time to time throughout its twelve issues. And if you created a plot outline for the first issue of follow-up mini-series “AvX: Consequences” by Kieron Gillen and Tom Raney, it might sound like another rambling story. In the execution, though, it’s a comic that spends just the right amount of time on each plot line and ends up more interesting than its parent story.
“AvX: Consequences” #1 offers up exactly what the title gives us; consequences from “Avengers vs. X-Men.” There are several threads followed here: the destruction of Wakanda and its going to war with Atlantis; Cyclops’ imprisonment by the government; Hope trying to find a new path for her future; the Avengers trying to find the remaining at-large members of the X-Men’s Extinction Team. It’s the rubble (both figuratively and literally) from “Avengers vs. X-Men,” and these four wide-ranging stories don’t have that much in common save for what they all sprang from.
Gillen’s writing bridges the gaps between them all easily, though; it’s a comic about people doing what they feel is right (similar to “Avengers vs. X-Men” as well) in bad circumstances. The sequence with Wolverine, Storm and the Jean Grey School kids is easily the strongest of the four and the comic wisely leads off with it, but from there it feels like each story gets time to show the reader what it’s about, then steps into the background for another piece of the story.
The sequence with Cyclops is probably the most heavy-handed, but it still works. The shift from where we’d last seen him in a ruby quartz prison cell is discarded for something new, and while it’s perhaps not as inventive a place for him to reside, it also provides a much better opportunity for an interesting story. It’s the one with the biggest question mark hanging over it, and a lot will depend on the interactions between him and his new neighbor, but for now it (like the rest of the issue) feels like it has a voice and a purpose.
Raney’s art overall looks good, with its slightly cartoonish, full-featured style. The panels with Wolverine flying the Blackbird look fantastic; you can see the stress on his face and they feel perfectly on-model. He’s good with flight here, too; Iron Man and Captain Marvel zooming above and down to Mexico looks strong and easy to follow. There are a few bits that don’t quite come together, though, and those are in the sequence with Hope and the Avengers. Captain America’s outfit looks truly bizarre and extremely dated under Raney’s pencil, and Hope’s little tatter-cape looks slightly ridiculous. (With any luck, wherever Hope lands a new costume will be the first order of business instead of this apocalyptic-future fashion.) Still, overall it’s a good looking comic, and a smart choice on how to kick off “AvX: Consequences.”
With four more issues to go, of course, “AvX: Consequences” could easily zoom off in a different direction. With this strong first issue, though, it feels like a project that’s on track for a strong finish. With a strong focus and momentum already moving forward, this feels in some ways to have the drive that the parent series could have benefited from, too.