Avengers Vs. X-Men #7

"Avengers vs. X-Men" #7 releases July 4, 2012 and I find that rather apt. In many ways, "Avengers vs. X-Men" is turning into the summer popcorn movie of comics. It's full of in-your-face action, explosions and is remarkably padded out. Is that a bad thing? It depends on how you look at it.

"Avengers vs. X-Men" #7 picks up right where the last issue left off; the Phoenix Five put remaking the world to one side in favor of wiping the Avengers (and the Scarlet Witch in particular) off the map. It makes sense for one simple reason: this is a comic titled "Avengers vs. X-Men." We get a series of fights between the two teams with the occasional interlude showing plotting and scheming on both sides. The story from the Aaron/Bendis/Brubaker/Fraction/Hickman hive-mind isn't bad, but it continues to drag on. It's hard to keep from feeling that "Avengers vs. X-Men" is 12 issues because someone higher up thought that it should be 12 issues, rather than there being enough plot to maintain this size. It's slow, although by being published twice a month, it should keep readers from getting too bored.

At the same time, there is a certain entertainment level going on in the story. The Avengers and the X-Men having match after match could have gotten old quite fast, but there are lots of little bits -- like the cliffhanger at the end of this issue -- which nicely escalate the property damage and inventiveness quotient. That's a good thing. Occasionally there are some head-scratching moments, like Hope explaining that she was trained her entire life to possess the Phoenix (I read the entire two-year run of "Cable" showing Hope growing up, and that certainly wasn't on the agenda), but then again the whole idea of Hope being the proper host for the Phoenix is hardly the main point of "Avengers vs. X-Men." It's really all about two teams hitting one another in as many ways possible.

Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales and Laura Martin's visuals for "Avengers vs. X-Men" #7 is certainly part of what makes the comic work as well as it does. I love how they create the fire imagery on the page; it actually looks hot, be it a huge fireball or a little flicker of flame -- and when Scarlet Witch and Namor tangle, the look of those moments is particularly impressive. It's got not just energy, but an interesting design element to the moment as well, turning what could have been everyday into memorable.

"Avengers vs. X-Men" #7 is full of sound and fury, but unlike "Macbeth" I wouldn't say it's signifying nothing. Rather, it's the soundtrack to the latest surround sound, IMAX, mega action flick. If you know what it is going in, you'll find something to enjoy. If you're looking for a thoughtful insight into the differences between the two teams and their methods, though, that's for a different comic.

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