Avengers: X-Sanction #4

One by one, Cable has been picking off the Avengers, but in "Avengers: X-Sanction" #4, he faces a marvelous team-up featuring Wolverine and Spider-Man. The duo is trying to locate their teammates and their search brings them to Blaquesmith's freighter in the Hudson where they find Cable, Cyclops and Hope waiting for them.

Without any true super villains in the fight, the story is powered by heroes fighting heroes and the wonderfully cliched "misunderstanding" plot, but in this case it's a precursor of things to come. It's classic, popcorn movie type fighting forcing this comic to be sparse on panels but big on action, celebrating the lack of budgetary restriction by letting Ed McGuiness go crazy drawing up wallpaper-worthy visual spectacles -- one of which comes in the form of a redheaded woman surrounded by a flaming bird. It's not surprising considering the impending explosive event coming in just a few weeks, but nonetheless, when drawn by McGuiness, the imagery is something to be enjoyed, studied and cherished.

McGuiness also plays around with some other layouts, delivering a series of panels depicting the Avengers fighting Cable as exclamation points punctuated by the reactions of Cyclops and Hope in the tittles underneath. There's another page with a particularly emotional moment but looks like the cover of a classic comic. It's quite clear McGuiness is having fun in his collaboration with Jeph Loeb and it makes for a fun read.

In fact, Loeb is having fun in his own right, evident in the banter between Wolverine and Spider-Man. Light and sassy, as should be expected from the duo under Loeb's pen, Spider-Man cracks wise, Wolverine calls him on it and the cycle continues. Spider-Man doesn't factor into this issue as much as Wolverine does, but in that regard, Loeb is able to give Spidey a few more concentrated classic Spidey moments.

This series may have had its detractors, but it delivers a complete story acting as a concise set-up for "Avengers Vs. X-Men" and it has plenty of fun in the process. Sides aren't drawn here, but the causes worth fighting for are defined. From here, Loeb and McGuiness turn it over to other creators for "AvX." Their interpretation of Cable's journey is complete and they had a blast bringing that tale to light, something that particularly shines through in this closing chapter.

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