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Avengers: X-Sanction #4(of 4)
Written by Jeph Loeb
Artwork by Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines and Morry Hollowell
Marvel's biggest event pretty much ever starts next week with Avengers Vs X-Men #0, and this final instalment of Avengers: X-Sanction looks like being an important part of the build-up to that story, as well as a fun action story in it's own right.
This issue concludes the fight between Cable and the Avengers and X-Men (wait, they're working together? And seem like great friends? Dramatic Irony!) in a typically bombastic Loeb/McGuinness fashion. They are a great team, and deliver over-the-top superhero action like few others can. This mini was not quite as stupidly explosive as Hulk, but it was still great fun to see McGuinness draw all of these characters smack each other around. One of the best things about this issue was seeing McGuinness have fun and experiment. There were some great layouts in this issue, I particularly liked the double page spread that used 4 massive exclamation marks as the panels. If that doesn't sum up the Loeb/McGuinness style of comickery, what does?
But there's more here than just Wolverine and Cable fighting each other (as cool as that is), as this issue provides vital context for AvX, as it's finally confirmed that Hope is the new host for the Phoenix Force (we've seen her use it before, but it took until this issue for someone to actually straight out say 'Hope is the Phoenix') and that's going to cause problems. Cable came back to try and prevent a war between the Avengers and the X-Men, but he failed (and it's out next month! Order now! Hashtag! Free digital copy! Please give Marvel money!). Cable begs Cyclops to stand behind Hope, and this is presumably the reason why he ends up having to fight Captain America.
The ending of this issue was just great, when Hope goes full-on Phoenix to cure Cable of his techno-organic virus, I got chills down my spine. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, Cable is now cured, which is exciting news. I wonder where he goes from here? Will he join his dad's Extinction Team? Will he head over to the Jean Grey School? Or even rejoin X-Force and re-unite with Deadpool? I certainly wasn't expecting Cable to survive this mini-series at all, so his being back and better than ever is a real surprise. But he'll probably just die in AvX #11 to set up a shocking conclusion or something. I'm way too cynical aren't I?
This was a strong comic, I know that Loeb gets a lot of hate online, but he's always done well by Cable, and this book was a lot of fun. Not only did it work on it's own as a fight comic, but it's also an important chapter in the overall Marvel jigsaw.
Hope is definitely the Phoenix, so what now? I think you know the answer.
Review by: Niam Suggitt