(This whole review is pretty spoiler-y, so if you may want to read the comic first…)  This issue opens with a disturbing scene on Planet Sin of gamblers betting on what new planet the Phoenix Force will next destroy on its path to Earth, with a death tally appearing onscreen.

Beast and Wolverine are relaxing, both fully recovered from their recent injuries.  (Wolverine’s legs were distorted and Sabretooth gutted Beast!  Read all about it here!)  Suddenly, Beast hears an alarm go off… a very special alarm set to go off whenever the Phoenix Force is detected.  Captain America arrives… and is assaulted by a Danger Room sequence!  Guess not all the bugs are worked out at the Jean Grey School!

Warbird is meditating, when she receives an inaudible call from Gladiator, the current leader of the Shi’ar.  Unfortunately, she can’t make out the message.

Cannonball and Husk have an uncomfortable discussion about the state of her powers, while teaching a class on flying in jet packs.  Simultaneously, Kid Omega and Rachel Grey experience psychic assaults resulting from the nearing of the Phoenix Force.  Quentin nearly dies when he falls from the sky, but is saved by an unlikely hero, who may have also found a romantic interest.

Captain America parlays with Beast and Wolverine.  Beast agrees to join a team of Avengers going into space to intercept the Phoenix Force.  Wolverine is torn between his loyalties to the X-Men and the Avengers, but Cap argues, “I’m asking you to help me save the world.  Will you?”

Logan later checks in on Quentin and Rachel, both recovering in the infirmary, cared for by Cecelia Reyes.  He goes to the statue of Jean in the yard and starts talking to it, unaware that Idie is having lunch nearby.  They share a quiet moment.

He then gathers the faculty and reveals that the Phoenix Force is indeed headed toward Earth, most likely to Hope Summers.  He tells them that Beast is going into space to intercept it and that he himself will be accompanying the Avengers to Utopia to confront Hope and Scott/Cyclops.  He entrusts the rest with protecting and maintaining the school in their absence.  Afterward, Beast cautions Wolverine that Hope is just a child.  Wolverine is undeterred, convinced that one child isn’t worth the deaths of millions.  As he departs, precognitive mutant blindfold cries.

The following scenes lead into ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men.’  Finally, on the Shi’ar home world, Gladiator reluctantly authorizes a death squad to go after Hope, while he himself heads to Earth to collect his son, Kid Gladiator.

This book continues to excel and entertain.  The characterization is spot on!  Jason Aaron really writes not just Logan’s but the entire cast’s voices just right!  Logan is suitably torn between his two teams, but he seems comfortable siding with The Avengers.  The art is just exceptional as well!  The Phoenix effects in particular, are rendered very well!  Overall, I think I liked this issue better than the issues of the actual ‘AvsX’ miniseries!  A lot of creators feel put out having to tie their books into mega-crossovers, but Aaron seems to have embraced it and delivered a great issue!

Verdict: Buy

Written by Jason Aaron
Art and Cover by Chris Bachalo