Everyone is heading back to school. I know – bummer. But just because we are assigned to read books for English and text books for math, that doesn’t mean we should neglect the fun stuff as well. School is in session and Professor Charly has some assigned reading for you- comic books.
First assignment: Avengers vs. X-Men. Issue 10 of 12 is out now, so you have plenty to catch up on if you haven’t been reading the event of the summer. The Phoenix Force has returned to Earth and is residing in five of the X-Men. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colosus and Magik have received the power of the Phoenix, split five ways. When one falls, their share of the power transfers into the others, making them more powerful, but that much less stable.
The Avengers know that the Phoenix Five, as they are known, don’t know what they have gotten themselves into and have been corrupted by the power. The war rages on between Earth’s mightiest heroes and Xavier’s uncanny brethren.
Spider-Man made a brilliant last stand in issue nine and helped to take down both Colosus and Magik. Namor fell after fighting all of the best Avengers. Now it is down to two – Cyclops and Emma Frost. They are exacting their terrible revenge on a world that historically has hated and mistreated them. And as the Phoenix takes over more and more, the pair loses more of themselves. Definitely a worthwhile read. Only two issues left in the limited series that changes the face of the Marvel universe.
A companion series, AvX Vs. is quite possibly one of the greatest comics series ever created. I will be very sad to see this one conclude with AvX concurrently. Vs. is a comic without a plot. It is just overflow from the AvX storyline. So much dialogue and story is jammed into every page of AvX that there is hardly any actual fighting. That is why the geniuses at Marvel created Vs. to have just the fights that we all want to see. Only fighting. Long awaited grudge matches and surprising rivalries alike are played out in this theater of smashing, punching and all around butt-kicking. Who would win – Iron Man vs. Magneto? Thor vs. Phoenix Magik? Spider-Man vs. Colossus with Juggernaut’s demon powers and the Phoenix Force? There is no new info here, just the battles that we all want to see. Read it. Now.
Another assignment for you: Hawkeye. Writer Matt Fraction has begun a new ongoing series that seems part super hero, part noir detective in both story and art.
Hawkeye is one of the few regular guys on the Avengers roster. He has no powers, no magic, just a skill-set that any person can have with training. So when he gets thrown across a city block, unlike Thor who shakes it off and goes back to battle, Hawkeye spends six weeks in the hospital. He is a mortal man living with super heroes. An interesting way of looking at his story. And who better to bring us this tale than Fraction, one of Marvel’s best writers?
If you haven’t been doing your homework and don’t know much about these characters in comics, try Season One. This is a series of graphic novels that update and retell the origin stories of some of Marvel’s greatest heroes as well as some of their first adventures. Ant Man came out in July and it was amazing. A character who isn’t very well known and yet he has such an amazing genesis and arc to him. August saw Season One of The Incredible Hulk and upcoming is Doctor Strange. Also available are X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.
So do your reading for next time. It will help you relax and get some cathartic stress out as well.