Avengers Vs. X-Men #8

Brian Michael Bendis writes a script for "Avengers Vs. X-Men" #8 featuring Namor as he washes out Wakanda in his mad search for Hope Summers. It leads to an action-packed issue that Bendis crams chockfull of egos and quips. It's also the first major battle of this war that takes a significant toll on both sides. Following the conclusion of "Avengers Vs. X-Men" #8, both teams will re-evaluate their attack strategy and lick their wounds, especially with the Phoenix Five subtracting one from their number.

Adam Kubert and John Dell jump in for the art chores, rendering architecture collapsing under tidal waves, stunning battles scenes and lots of characters shouting. Captain America shouts at Namor, Namor shouts at everyone else, and Red Hulk shouts as Namor -- quite literally -- gets the upper hand in the fight. Beyond that, this is the most violent issue of the series. Everyone has a chance to take out some aggression and the end result is not pretty, even though Kubert makes it all look cool.

Laura Martin and Larry Molinar corner the market on orange and yellow-orange as Namor and his Phoenix-powered compatriots exude scads of power throughout the issue. The scenes where the Phoenix Five aren't fired up are both visually unsettling and rather relieving in their relative coolness. Rounding out the visual creative team is Chris Eliopoulos who does a stunning job of showcasing his inner John Workman with thunderous sound effects and meticulous word balloon variety.

With the tie-in stories focusing on individual battles, skirmishes beyond the main team-on-team fights and repercussions of those battles, this series really feels like it has finally figured out what it wants to be. Unfortunately, like "Fear Itself" before, it just doesn't quite feel as large as its pitch. Nothing's missing; it's just that for a conflict that threatens the very fabric of the universe, there should be more parties invested in the outcome. Adding Wakanda, K'un-Lun and attacking hordes from Atlantis is a nice start, but "Avengers Vs. X-Men" needs more. The stakes are getting higher, so there's no time like the present for more parties to be interested.

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