The first issue of ‘Avengers & X-Men: Axis‘ started off so strong for fans who have been following every aspect of the Marvel Universe over the past year, that I was quite surprised at the direction the second issue took. I understand that we’re getting a dose of Axis every week until the event is through, but when it expands out into so many other titles you would think that the main event would not only be the best written and illustrated of them all, but be the easiest to follow without having to read each tie-in to follow through.
Rick Remender has long been one of my favorite writers in the Marvel Universe so I felt a little hollow with how this issue just felt phoned in from beginning to end. From a focus primarily on Iron Man and his monologue throughout the issue to each character feeling off, to a jump in time that doesn’t seem to match up – the issue just felt off.
Thankfully, we have Adam Kubert to come along and save the day with his quite outstanding illustrations right? Wrong. While the artwork in this issue starts off strong it seems to lose detail as it goes further in. The backgrounds seem to hold strong throughout, but the characters suffer further into the book. Not only that, but the fight sequences that he is usually fantastic at also fall short as the heroes battling the sentinels feels choppy. You also never get a full view of how these hero hunting behemoths (dreamed up by Stark during the ‘Civil War’) are shooting and confining them.
There are a lot of little tributes to the past couple of years in Marvel here. We see Cyclops and Havok burying the hatchet and not at each other for a change. We see Iron Man monologing to no end and going back and forth between moping and ego. We see a plan that almost works and is foiled by someone who shows up at the last second and charges in recklessly. We see heroes who have randomly arrived and have had no way to get to this location and none of the current tie-in issues seem to explain or show how they got there.
A lot of things here feel forced and many of our heroes don’t appear to be talking in their own voice. Was the plan that Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch came up with partially successful and is to blame for our heroes suddenly shifting how they talk or is this sloppy writing? I don’t think we’ll know until a few more issues. Also on the potentially sloppy writing, we are told a couple or even a few hours go by while a certain hero is knocked out. It leads to an amazing splash page of reinforcements at the very end of the book. The problem is, we see who is gathering these reinforcements in their own title and it seems to take much longer than just a couple of hours to do.
Honestly the best part of this issue is the splash page at the very end that is going to keep me coming back for more. Who am I kidding? I’m a glutton for punishment and would have been back anyway but with who shows up to save the day, I won’t lie. I am completely curious as to how this will play out. That being said, we should be up for something pretty fun next issue. I hope, because otherwise this event is really becoming a waste of paper. What went from the potential ultimate payoff for fans from the past two years is starting to look like a rather disjointed mess where the tie-in issues are much better than the main event.
AVENGERS & X-MEN: AXIS #2
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Adam Kubert