Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Olivier Coipel
Release Date: June 20, 2012

Well….that was very impressive. If you’ve been reading my reviews you’ll know that I have, for the most part, enjoyed Avengers Vs. X-Men so far. All tolled, Act One was solid in my mind, and I was very curious to see where Marvel was going with Act Two. I can honestly say that this first issue of the second Act has blown me away. The second I finished it I flipped back to the beginning and started over to just to attempt to absorb everything this book contains.

In the first act I found Hickman’s issue to be the weakest, I will admit, so I didn’t know what to expect from this issue. To put it simply, he has more than redeemed himself in my eyes. This is one of the most heavily layered and multi-faceted stories in the event so far, with Hickman brilliantly demonstrating what these “Phoenix Five” are capable of without simply stating it over and over again. This book has shifted massively from simply being “one side vs. another” and Hickman shows readers some great moments with pivotal characters and how the events are rocking the ideologies of the Marvel Universe. To say that this event grows more complex with each issue is an understatement and Hickman has put the wheels in motion for an absolutely wild second act. Even more than the events of the book, his dialogue is exceptionally strong and the pacing of this oversized issue is perfect. I hope his next turn in the writing rotation continues in this vein.

Now, for the art. I have to come clean, Olivier Coipel is in constant contention for top spot on my ‘favourite comic artists’ list, so this may come across a bit biased: the art was amazing. In fact, it was stunning. This is the kind of artwork I have been waiting for since issue #1. This is crisp, clean, fantastic superhero art and from the first page to the last it is amazingly consistent. Coipel has a large cast of characters but never slips up: each is easily recognizable, even in Phoenix form, and there was not a single panel in this entire issue that I had to figure out what was going on. Truth be told, the double takes I was making were to soak in the scope of the artwork in this book as some panels are simply stunning. This is some of the best superhero art I have seen this year and I can’t wait to see more Coipel art in this event.

This is, hands down, the best issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men so far. I can’t wait to see where they are taking this book next.

Verdict: 9.5/10


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