First up tonight? You guessed it, this week's Pick of the Litter, the third issue of the Avengers vs X-Men series. Last issue Hope went all Phoenix-y and bugged out, we'll see what kind of effect that action has on the brawling heroes in this one.
Avengers vs X-Men #3(of 12):
Summary: We get started with Wolverine waking up after being fried by Hope last issue. Spider-Man tells Wolverine that the X-Men had surrendered peacefully to Captain America and the Avengers(?!), which Wolvie realizes doesn't sound right at all... Iron Man and Cap are trying to figure out what to do with the mutants, with Cap considering all sorts of steps that would “keep them out of the way”... Tony RIGHTLY tells Cap that he was sounding A LOT like Tony during Civil War(in an AWESOME little piece of dialogue) as Wolvie storms over yelling that Cap had been fooled... It turns out that Magik had defeated Dr. Strange in Limbo and used a spell to make the two look like one another, which allows the X-Men a head start in finding Hope. Meanwhile, Hope is running around San Francisco, acting kind of crazy. Both the X-Men and the Avengers realize the best bet at finding Hope was Cerebra, and the only active Cerebra unit was at Wolvie's school in Westchester... Cap and Wolvie contact Rachel Grey and she tells them that she was getting five different coordinates showing Hope's whereabouts. After she's done talking to Cap and Wolvie, Rachel contacts Lord Summers mentally(!!) and gives him info on where Hope may be, warning him that the Avengers were already on the trail... TRAITOR!!! Cap splits his forces into five groups and sends them to the five locations Rachel gave them(Wundagore Mountain, Tabula Rasa, Wakanda, Latveria & the Savage Land), taking himself, Sharon Carter, Hank Pym and Wolvie with him to the Savage Land. While on the plane, Cap pulls Wolvie aside and bitches him out for going lone wolf back on Crazy Mutie Island and causing Hope to run. Wolvie comes right out with it and tells Cap that he had already seen the Phoenix destroy people he loved and knew that Hope had to die, as there was nowhere Cap could take Hope that the Phoenix couldn't locate. Seeing that Wolvie wasn't going to play by his rules, Cap attacks Wolvie(!!!!) and the two brawl in the back of the plane. The fight is pretty evenly matched, but before we get a definitive winner, Pym SMASHES Wolvie in the back(!!!!), allowing Cap to down him with his shield(!). From there, Cap tells Sharon to open the hatch and Pym kicks Wolvie out of the plane(!) allowing him to plummet several thousand feet to earth. With Wolvie out of the way, Cap instructs the plane to continue onward to the Savage Land. This issue ends with Wolvie emerging from the snow stating that it(saving the world) was all up to him.
Thoughts: Well holy shit, I didn't see THAT one coming! And yes, I realize that I used A LOT of exclamation points in that review, but that Wolverine/Cap battle NEEDED them! See, I'm STILL using exclamation points! I can't stop myself!! Okay, let's start at the beginning here... This issue actually did something I didn't expect, it made Cap look... well, it made him look kind of bad... Iron Man pointing out that Cap was starting to sound like him from during Civil War was a masterstroke from Ed Brubaker(who did the scripting here), because, in a way, it was true... During Civil War, Iron Man truly felt that he was doing the right thing, and that by locking up his friends and teammates, he was saving America. In this issue, Cap wanted to save Hope and the world, even if it meant locking the X-Men and up... That was a very nice comparison. That, coupled with the Cap/Wolvie battle actually has me thinking that for once Cap may not be 100% in the right... So yeah, that Wolvie/Cap fight... I hate to say it, but Wolverine? He's the only one who seems to see the big picture here... Lord Summers is living in a fantasy world where the Phoenix Force will restore mutantkind to their proper place on the evolutionary charts, while Cap seems to think that he can hide Hope from the Phoenix... A cosmic force... Quite frankly, and as much as it's gonna rub people the wrong way? The ONLY way to prevent the Phoenix from bonding with Hope? You have to kill Hope. And only Wolvie seems to have the stomach to do that. So that leaves me in an interesting position... The first two issues I was FIRMLY in the Avengers camp. This issue? I'm kind of leaning towards Team Wolverine, which currently consists of... well, of Wolverine and nobody else. Lord Summers is crazy, Cap is naïve, but Wolvie? He's practical. To wrap this up, this issue was pretty interesting... The beginning dragged a bit for me, the X-Men didn't really do much and I was a bit annoyed by Rachel going double agent. But the fight at the end more than made up for the slower beginning and middle. So for a score, I'm gonna go with an...
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.
Yup, this fight right here is what got this issue such a high score... Plain and simple.