The Avengers and X-Men have realized they are on the same side– against Cyclops and the Phoenix Five.  Hope and Logan have a chat and she asks if he loved Jean Grey.  “We all did,” he initially cops out, but then admits, “But yeah, me most especially, I guess.”  They join the other heroes for their upcoming battle.

Iron Man (who is seemingly permanently written as if he were being played by Robert Downey Jr… this is not a complaint!) confers with Beast, Iron Fist and Abigail Brand as they struggle to formulate an attack plan.  Broo to the rescue!  The genius Brood mutant fills in the calculations they were unable to come up with.

Kitty and Bobby (Iceman) have seemingly decided to pursue a relationship and she tells him he better come back in one piece, to which he quips, “That’s sort of always my plan.”  The students of the Jean Grey School are showing the former residents of Utopia around in some comedic vignettes.  Professor X has returned to the fold for this epic skirmish.  He and Rachel Grey have a meeting of the minds, literally as they share a telepathic conversation, interupted by upstart Quentin Quire.  That’s okay, Professor X fixes that little anarchist.

Husk apparently is now dating The Toad.  Ew.  Gladiator forces his son, Kid Gladiator to accompany him back to their throne world and this time he complies.  On the other hand, he tells Warbird that he doesn’t want her back.  She is upset, but he assures her that she is destined for greater things and wishes her well on her journey.

Finally, Wolverine and Iceman have a chat and do shots.  Idie is reunited with her best friend Hope and they have ice cream.  And finally Kitty promotes Angel from a student to graduate assistant.  Beast stares sadly at a framed picture of the original five X-Men before it is time to go.  Kitty remains as the other adult characters depart to face the Phoenix Five… and they all may not come back.

As much as it annoys me that this issue ties into the ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’ miniseries, which I have no interest in, it’s still a great read.  Jason Aaron gets every single character and gives them the appropriate voice and attitude and his dialogue is just about the snappiest this side of Bendis.  If you’re a longtime X-Men fan, this issue should please you as you really get the distilled essence of each classic character, plus we get some great characters bits from the students, who have been sidelined of late. This is one of those great “calm before the storm” stories.  These heroes are going off to war and some of them may not come back, so they take care of business and connect with one another.  It’s issues that like this that MAKE comics.  This is why we care when these heroes risk their lives, because we come to know them as individuals and human beings, underneath the masks and spandex.

Jorge Molina’s artwork, with inks by Norman Lee, is also fantastic.  There is a shot of Kitty resting her head on Bobby’s shoulder where she’s gazing up at him that is simply gorgeous.  The faces overall are excellent.  The dramatic angles are excellent.  Beautiful all around.

The tie-in to ‘AvX’ is annoying, but this is some of the best characterization I’ve read in ages, so I’m not even going to deduct for that.  I think any reader could pick this issue up randomly and truly enjoy it by itself.


Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Jorge Molina and Norman Lee
Cover by Stuart Immonen & Marte Garcia