Marvel Comics has their marketing mutants using all of their powers to promote the big upcoming crossover story Avengers vs. X-Men.
The summer event is fairly monumental in a few ways: first because it marks the finale of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ epic run on the Avengers titles, and second because this story promises to bring decades of fan fiction to life by pitting the House of Ideas’ two most popular, and powerful, super hero teams against each other.
Few stories in Marvel’s history have spurred as much debate as this one is sure to ignite. And so, the debate begins…
As usual there are several tie-in stories that lead up to the big event and we’re here to help you navigate the waters, or inky pages as it were. None of these tie-ins are required reading by any means but if you are a story completest — you know, the kind of fan that plays every side mission in a story arc in City of Heroes — then you’ll probably be looking to soak in every word of related material out there. You’ll probably need the information anyway to win the inevitable debate with your buddy who insists that Iron Man just can’t face off against Magneto because he’s literally in a metal suit. Hello?? Magneto, you know, master of magnetism? Don’t underestimate Tony Stark’s distrust of everyone combined with his massive intellect that would spur him to always be prepared for such a battle.
What we know of the Avengers vs. X-Men story is well, very little. We do know that the Phoenix Force is returning to earth and Captain America and Cyclops have very different ideas about this return. Cyclops thinks the return of the Phoenix Force will save mankind and Cap is certain that such a return spells doom for us all. These differences of opinion inevitably lead to some promised massive fisticuffs.
That’s all we know for now but the various artwork that Marvel has released in promoting the story hints that the Scarlet Witch and Hope, daughter of Cable, will play important roles in the story. The tie in stories also hints at this same information. What is it with Bendis and his use of the Scarlet Witch in epic storytelling? Hopefully with this go around he can fix some of what he’s done to what was once a pretty cool character in the Marvel U.
Avengers X Sanction
This is fairly straightforward story. Cable, on his deathbed, is transported to the future where he learns that his promise to his adopted daughter will be broken in current time. That promise was that he’d protect her always. She will apparently be killed in current time and the end of the world as we know it will result. Who’s to blame you ask? The Avengers are to blame of course! With limited life left Cable travels back in time to deal with the Avengers, as only he knows how. We’re up to issue #3 of this 4 issue miniseries. This one comes from fan favorite writer Jeph Loeb.
Point One is a lengthy one shot Marvel released back in November that featured seven short stories that set up various characters for Avengers Vs. X-Men and the Marvel U in general. Many of Marvel’s best writers and artists pitched in on this book including Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and others. There’s a smattering of Avengers and X-Men throughout these stories and the book is just a good read if you’re curious as to where the Marvel U is going in 2012. This one’s on store shelves and in the Marvel Comics app now.
Secret Avengers #26
The Secret Avengers, led by Thor, are sent into space by Captain America to take on the Phoenix Force head on before it can ever reach Earth. This funny book doesn’t hit store shelves until April alongside the main Avengers Vs. X-Men book. This one’s written by Rick Remender with art from Renato Guedes.
As far as Marvel money grabs go this is a fairly minimal list of tie-in floppies to check out. It’s pretty much a given that there’ll be more tie-ins when the story begins in April with issue #0, but as always, you don’t have to get the tie-ins if the investment seems too great. Only two other story arcs come to mind when thinking of these two teams fighting it out and those are the original Secret Wars (awesome until the last issue) and the George Perez-crafted DC crossover Avengers/JLA.
Will Avengers vs. X-Men be as classic as those titles (that’s right I called Secret Wars classic and I stand by that)? We’ll see in April.