Six issues in and AXIS continues to be nothing more than a grab bag of underdeveloped plots. With three issues left, it’s fair to say that readers have made up their mind on where they stand with this particular crossover event so perhaps it’s time to look at AXIS in its entire scope to see just what went wrong in the Rick Remender’s handling of a story that’s apparently been years in the making.
Remender’s script once again checks in with multiple players of the inverted Marvel Universe but the main story thread seems to be the X-Men, banded under Apocalypse and now in control of Manhattan, threatening to wipe out humanity and an uninverted Steve Rogers putting together a team to stop them. I assume that this is the main thread because it’s the only plot not being touched upon in other books. The rest of the book offers small glimpses into stories that feel more like advertisements for the books that actually contain them. We see a small scuffle between Daredevil and Iron Man in San Francisco, which is currently being depicted in Superior Iron Man, one of four books launched under the AXIS banner. In this issue, Scarlet Witch shows up in Latveria and fights Doom while in Avengers World, released this week as well, we dwell much deeper into Doom’s feelings about Wanda and his defense plan against her. Heck, even AXIS Revolutions showed us a far more satisfying fight between Sabretooth and Nightcrawler than this issue did. To prove just how badly Remender is mining this concept due to stretching himself too thin; Magneto #12, released this week as well, is still taking place on Genosha within the earlier issues of AXIS and has for the past four issues of the title, and is more heartfelt and developed than anything that’s come out of the event so far. If Remender only trusted these other titles to do their job and honed in on the single story of the inverted X-Men’s plans, we might have a satisfying issue here. Instead, unable to stick to one character for too long, it feels like nothing more than an unfocused anthology title, never lingering long enough anywhere for readers to care about anything that’s happening.
Terry and Rachel Dodson’s art don’t help matters. Beautiful, bright, and clean as always and yet so wrong for this particular event especially when readers are already struggling to take the main story seriously. You would think think that with such drastic personality changes for Marvel’s inverted heroes and villains, we would get some notable redesigns but every character is presented even more colorful and bubbly than normal that it makes the inversions seem even more shallow. It’s a shame for the X-Men in particular, who finally given the chance to outperform the Avengers, fail to look imposing or threatening in any way. The only exception is the Scarlet Witch, for whom the Dodsons are kind enough to treat readers with a sinisterly sweet look for her bloody-thirsty revenge trip in Latveria.
Have we gotten to the point where tie-ins and aftermaths are so predestined to be more satisfying that the main event books are content with merely serving as the concept backbone, existing only for structural purposes? I think that after reading these past six issues of AXIS and being left feeling so unfulfilled, the answer is a solid yes.
The Verdict: 5.0/10