|Image copyright of Marvel Comics|
With Bendis helming this issue, we're treated to his usual witty dialogue that made his Avengers book so great, yet not sacrificing the characters in the process. While the core of the event will take place over twelve bi-monthly issues, Bendis isn't dragging this one out, bringing the Phoenix force to Earth and pitting Avenger against mutant.
The action is split evenly between the Avengers camp, where the gang is tracking the arrival of the Phoenix, and the X-Men, where Scott Summers is preparing Hope for when the galactic entity inevitably comes for her. Immediately we're given the rift in attitudes towards the impending arrival, with Summers batting for the Phoenix team, believing it will trigger a rebirth in the mutant population, and the Avengers wanting to detain it. The issue culminates in the gauntlet being thrown down by the respective leaders of each group: Captain America and Cyclops, meaning next issue promises our first taste of Avengers on X-Men action.
Romita's art is good, but not without its minor inconsistencies, as some perspectives are off and for some reason Hope's head seems to fluctuate in size, but maybe that's just me. The pencils also seem less detailed than they usually are in Romita's books, but fortunately Laura Martin's colours shine through with a bold and vivid palette.
Avengers Vs X-Men #1 is well-paced and narrated, contrasting the Avengers' grand story with the X-Men's relatively small one. Working with so many characters is difficult, but the issue makes it work and gives a clear reason why Marvel needs the biggest hitters on the circuit to handle an event of this magnitude. The exchange between Cap and Cyclops towards the end is much reminiscent of Civil War, making it feel like a real event, unlike Fear Itself.