Avengers Vs. X-Men #4

"Avengers Vs. X-Men" #4 concludes the first act of the battle between the legendary teams and ends with what I described as an "Oh, sugar honey iced tea!" moment (figure it out) when I turned to the final page. Sure, the Avengers and the X-Men are still pounding on each other and yes, most of the skirmishes are reduced to vignettes in this issue, saving the glory of those battles for elsewhere, but there are some important scenes in this comic that are handled reasonably well.

I was able to overlook the fact that Wolverine killed a polar bear, as desperate times call for desperate measures, and he was pushed out of a plane into the snow without even a spring jacket. I was even able to overlook the oversight that both Logan and said polar bear where in Antarctica (where polar bears don't live) to focus in on what is developing between Hope and Wolverine. The two appear to share a bond in this issue that seems to be the tipping point in the "Avengers Vs. X-Men" story, despite the fact that this issue marks the one-third point in the grander narrative. Of course, with eight more issues and several tie-ins remaining, not everything is as it appears.

The art seems to be John Romita Jr.'s brightest moments in this series to this point. There are a number of panels that are filled with characters doing their best imitations of statues, sure, but Romita pours details into the characters in the quieter moments, like the Wolverine and Hope beer trap scene, which really breathes life into the story. Of course, there are also panels filled with sameface-afflicted characters and the most horrible interpretation of the wretched Juggerlossus concept that I've seen to date. Romita's art is over the top and appropriate for the story, but gets wobbly when too many characters crowd a scene.

With a good portion of the series still ahead and a wide range of the Marvel Universe already reeling from the destruction these two teams cause around them when they scrap, I'm curious to see where the battle goes next. To this point, the repetitious nature of the fight has me wondering if this story is simply a glorified advertisement for Marvel's next big video game, bouncing from world to world as the story levels up.

I'm not looking forward to seeing more of the same fourteen characters knock each other around, though. After all, aren't there more X-Men and Avengers that could be called in for the fight? I'm hoping if this fight continues (which it will for a few more issues if nothing else) that we see some shake-ups in it, which the last page of this issue pretty well guarantees.

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