|Copyright of Marvel Comics|
Pitching two hero groups against each other is nothing new and I doubt there are readers out there who don't think AvX smacks a tad of Civil War, but with two huge franchises about to battle it out, I doubt many people care. Of course, big comic heroes come hand-in-hand with big comic writers, so we'll be seeing seasoned vets like Ed Brubaker, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman and Jason Aaron at the helm of the event.
Avengers Vs X-Men #0 is the prologue to the cross-over that kicks off in April, setting the scene for the battles to come and it does a pretty good job with it. We're given two stories: one about the Scarlet Witch, the "disgraced" Avenger, and the other about Hope Summers, a girl from the future who is said to restore mutant-kind back to its former glory. The characters' backgrounds aren't over-explained, Bendis and Aaron do a great job of telling us everything we need to know but also move the story forward rather than dwelling on exposition.
It's a pretty emotional ride for an issue that's introducing what promises to be the brawl of the century, but the characters are written beautifully and the emotion isn't forced. We genuinely feel for Scarlet Witch and Hope, even if their situations are different. There's the sharp dialogue we've come to expect from Bendis but it doesn't clash with Aaron's style. In 29 pages they managed to fit a hell of a lot of story in, making this a great starting point for readers old and new.
Frank Cho shows us his usual A-game with this issue, capturing nuanced emotion better than most artists could ever do, while delivering superbly on the widescreen action shots. If you're going to have a massive event, then you can't go wrong with Cho.
While we saw no actual fisticuffs between the titular groups, the issue sets us up for what looks to be more than just an epic brawl. There's some raw emotion coming through the pages, which will definitely be adding fuel to the fire for things to come. After the disappointment of Fear Itself, Avengers Vs X-Men is shaping up to be a proper old-school event driven by characters instead of plot. It's still early days, so it's hard to say whether it will live up to the hype, but Marvel are off to a good start with AvX #0.