The event starts to turn around somewhat as the Axis throw down against Apocalypse’s unified mutants in an entertaining throwdown that has been a long time comin’.
Rick Remender slows the pace of things slightly in this one, focusing primarily on one huge melee rather than too many different theatres of war. The net effect is the strongest issue of AXIS yet, where the inverted personalities of characters clicked better than they have up to this point and some intriguing elements make their way into the storyline. Remender throws some curves at the early part of the issue that I found both funny and useful for driving home the inversion of personalities. Rather than just some out-of-character dialogue we get a true departure in behavior early in this issue and it will be interesting to see if that sticks going forward. The flipped dynamic of “heroes” vs. “villains” does not feel as forced in this issue, especially when the two forces of inverted heroes start to battle. These pages are the strongest of the series so far and their strength makes transitions to other fields of battle, such as Latveria, less jarring because they are an anchor for the story. The events in Latveria were truly unexpected and while some may consider it random, I’m a fan of the element Remender brings into play. There will be ramifications from this, and I’m a fan of ramifications. While I wouldn’t say the event-ship is righted just yet, it is heading in a much better direction than it has been and there are some story elements that I am interested in seeing progress, which is a huge improvement.
Leinil Yu delivers a mixed bag of work, visually, but for the most part he delivers solid artwork. With two other artists joining him as inkers there is bound to be some style differences and they are somewhat noticeable in this issue. Yu handles the grittiness of this conflict well and the inverted heroes do appear to be of a different temperament by his hand. Thor Odinson, especially, leaps from the page with Yu’s trademark sunken eyes and the power within the Odinson is apparent in every single panel he’s in. The Axis appear to be more dangerous than they have been in previous issues, and Yu’s work is responsible for that. He handles the chaos magic of the Scarlet Witch well in the Latveria pages, and the colour work by Delgado and Aburtov helped make those pages stand out. That said, this isn’t Yu’s sharpest artwork we’ve seen in a Marvel event, and I was disappointed to see that all his female characters have the exact same over-amplified anatomy, to the point of being distracting from the story at times.
Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #8 is taking some steps in the right direction as far as the story is concerned, and there are elements now in play that have me intrigued. This is the strongest issue I’ve read in the series so far, and I will be back for #9. I can see some interesting tie-ins being spawned from some of the events in this issue, and hopefully the upward trend continues for the event heading into the final issues.
The Verdict: 6.5/10