Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #8

"Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #8 is a chaotic whirlwind through the remnants strewn across the battlefields of "World War Hate" as writer Rick Remender and artist Leinil Francis Yu continue the bickering and fussing between all of the wannabe heroes and would-be villains. The inversions are still in place throughout this issue, which leads to some interesting matchups despite the general laconic nature of the story.

Eight issues in, good guys are still bad guys and some bad guys are still good, but Spider-Man and Steve Rogers are trying to put everything right. Remender writes a quick zoom-tilt-pan-tilt-zoom blitz through the various parties, dropping one-liners and groaners, monologue-worthy posturing and eye-rolling worthy chatter. The crux of the battle in "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #8 is close to what it was in "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #5 -- or even "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #4. The players have inched across the board, but no true consequences are dealt in this issue. One character appears to make an ultimate sacrifice, but given his previously villainous nature, it's tough to get too invested.

There are some cool "What If...?" fan moments brought to panel, but they're rather indecisive, seemingly holding pat for the final issue of the series, which should be a blowout, given the amount of setup in this penultimate issue.

Remender serves up some nice moments for Yu to draw, but some heavy inking choices mire a few critical story beats. Where did Absorbing Man come from and how are the combatants swapping sparring partners from off-panel so quickly? For each of those moments, Yu gives readers a panel or a page to stop and study, such as Doctor Doom's return to the battle, with a surprise ally in tow, Thor putting Jarnbjorn to work and Apocalypse rallying the X-Men. With a four-color duet from Edgar Delgado and Jesus Aburtov, the coloring is relatively consistent throughout the story, even though the inking varies wildly in textures from scene to scene. Inverted, Scarlet Witch's powers have a decidedly purple tinge to them beyond their frequent magenta/bright pink shades. When Doom enters, the greens he brings with them make for strong visual impact, much like the story itself.

Yu's spotlight moments are scattered throughout "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #8, which has a setting of "rubble." He draws destruction well, keeping it just messy enough that it doesn't detract from the characters slugging it out in place. The settings are tightly identified upon their debut by Chris Eliopoulos' lettering, but the piles of destruction in Avengers Tower and Latveria could easily swap places and no one would know.

"Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #8 delivers a story that contains a war of inches and millimeters, not one of major battles and tide-turning confrontations. The sides may not be completely identifiable (like Absorbing Man beating the heck out of anyone and everyone within reach simply because he can) but most of the players have indicated at least moderate allegiance to other parties. Although the issue has some fun artistic moments, it doesn't do much to move the story along.

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