A+X #3

"A+X" #3 is the third installment of this anthology title. The title of the book makes it sound like it relates directly to the events of the recently finished event "AvX" when in truth this issue is completely standalone. While the hook that ties it all together is mixing one X-Member and one Avenger into a team up, this is about as close to tying into anything the book comes. I avoided this book because I thought it was just a post-event money grab when in actuality it's an anthology -- perennially a money sink -- sneakily dropped into our laps. The only thing you should consider when thinking of purchasing this book is the quality.

Sadly, this issue isn't fantastic. There are two stories: a Black Panther/Storm story from Jason Aaron and Pasqual Ferry and a Hawkeye/Gambit team up from James Asmus and Billy Tan. The Wakandan adventure is extremely average, oftentimes bordering on bad, while the frothy quips and fun Asmus and Tan churn out for the boys in purple is a rollicking good time. Unfortunately, when an anthology is 50% is bad, it's hard to make the purchase.

The action between Black Panther and some A.I.M. flunkies starts off fun, but the story soon loses all sense of clean structure and timing. The pages jump erratically from one scene to the next without a sense of clarity or build for the narrative. The final conversation between these estranged lovers is sweet enough, and perhaps the whole thing might have held more heart if it could have expanded that aspect. Instead, all we get is some nice enough Pasqual Ferry art and not a lot of anything else.

Hawkeye and Gambit team up to pick up the back end of the book and the results are funny and neatly constructed. Asmus plays the charm between these two men well for a successful short tale that expands and then concludes effectively while holding attention the entire way through. This isn't a high stakes installment, it's an obvious attempt at lightheartedness and fun. Asmus succeeds because nearly all of his jokes land well and he builds into them with a great eye and ear for the page. Billy Tan keeps the action flowing and uses these pretty boys smoothly enough.

"A+X" #3 has some fun moments but it's certainly nowhere near warranting a $3.99 price point. This sort of thing is exactly what 99c digital sales were made for. It's a shame to see Jason Aaron drop the ball with a character he's used brilliantly in the past, but it's nice to see James Asmus drop a very cool tale that will hopefully get the eyes it deserves. The concept of this book is better than I imagined but the execution is lacking in this installment.

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