Frag It faces off against GHERU on the topic of Avengers vs. X-Men in the second edition of VS.!
VS.! is a new column on The Outhouse that takes one trending topic, two comic book fans, and six statements about that topic, throws them all together, and finds out how everyone really feels!
The rules are simple. Your host, intrepid reporter Jude Terror, will make six statements about the topic of the day. Each participant will answer whether they believe the statement to be true or false, and explain why. The first participant will speak first on the first three statements, last for the last three.
At the end, we will tally up the number of times the participants agreed with each other. Then we will take it to the forums, where everyone will get a chance to chime in.
Hi, and welcome to this week's VS.! I'm your host, mutant messiah Jude Terror!
This week we're going to be talking about Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel's super ultra mega event which, like Civil War before it, pits heroes against heroes in a storyline Marvel hopes will be morally ambiguous, allowing fans to support either team.
Our first guest this week is Frag It, a longtime member of the Outhouse community who is currently serving as the President of the Outhouse after your lovable host Jude Terror helped him to win a popularity contest on the forums. Frag It is a college professor, but also Greek, so it's not too surprising he hangs around a place like this. Frag It has vocally denounced X-Men leader Cyclops on the forums.
Our second guest is GHERU, another longtime community member who is also a front page contributor, writing editorials for the Outhouse and also producing a regular text and video comic book review column called RUviews. It is a well known fact that GHERU's name should always be spelled with all capital letters. GHERU is also a longtime X-Men fan who shares your host's compulsive need to purchase X-Men comic books, even when they stink and are drawn by Greg Land.
I'm going to make six statements about Avengers vs. X-Men to these gentlemen (term used loosely), and they will tell us whether the statements are true or false. At the end, we'll see how many times we can reach a consensus between the two. Here we go!
1. Cyclops is the villain in Avengers vs. X-Men.
Frag It: Hell yes. The facts are all there.
1) He preemptively attacks Captain America on the beach.
2) He wants to risk the fate of the world on a hunch that Hope is a messiah.
3) Even Magneto thinks Scott is looking more and more like him.
The fact is that the Phoenix is an uncontrollable and unpredictable force. Even if Cyclops is 99% right, it is not his call to risk the entire planet on the idea that a young girl can control the Phoenix Force. Instead of working with Cap to find a solution, he attacks Captain America and even goes off on some spoiled brat-like tangent, asking where the Avengers were when the X-Men needed them. As Cap said, this wasn't the time for a debate.
The least surprising thing that could happen at the end of this series is for Cyclops to end up wearing Magneto's helmet or to reveal that he has been possessed since he absorbed Apocalypse's consciousness. This also continues the trend of Cyclops' turn after cheating on his wife, creating a group of X-Assassins, and creating his own country by threatening the UN.
Cyclops isn't just the villain of AvX; he is just a villain.
1) He strikes Captain America after Captain America came to his home (with an army behind him in an over grown fighter jet) and demanded that Cyclops hand over one of his own, with no real plan of what to do next. The X-Men have more experience and the same amount of resources to deal with the Phoenix Force as the Avengers. Captain America came to Cyclops' home armed and ready for battle, not as a friend, but as a commanding officer. Utopia isn't Massachusetts; a man has the right to defend himself against an armed invader.
2) Earthlings have a great track record of controlling the Phoenix Force at home. In fact, the only time the Phoenix Force is out of control is when it's on its own. Remember, Jean Grey was never the Phoenix. The entity cloned (or whatever) Jean Grey and took her form. What ended up saving the universe was the little bit of humanity the Phoenix took from Jean. Furthermore, every hero in the Marvel Universe has risked the Earth in some way or another. Kill the walking WMDs if we are concerned about how our feelings and morals affect the Earth.
3) So? Magneto has mellowed a bit over the years, and I don't see Cyclops one step away from trying to reverse the magnetic poles just to prove a point.
He is trying to save the life of one of his own, his adopted granddaughter, an innocent who everyone thinks – not knows, but thinks – might be the next Phoenix host. Let's say that the Avengers are 99% right and they hold / kill Hope. How does this solve the problem? Hope is held captive and the Phoenix comes...and then she breaks out. Hope is dead and the Phoenix comes and can't find the host it wants on Earth: bye bye, Earth. Or, there is that one percent chance that they are wrong about who the host will be, and they detain / kill Hope for no reason other than perceived potential, while the Phoenix Force comes to Earth with no one looking to try and control it, like every Earth host ever has.
I will grant you that Cyclops is a douche bag, but he is not the villain here.
2. Captain America's actions in Avengers vs. X-Men are consistent with his actions in Civil War.
Frag It: This is a hard one. While his actions in Civil War and AvX aren't consistent with each other, I believe they are both consistent with Cap's character. Sending the team to space, talking to Cyclops man to man and being ready with a contingency plan are all things Captain America would do.
I know that it may contradict his character to want to take the X-Men prisoner, but that is what happens in a battle. He is still doing what he would do in any situation: being a leader. So to answer the question, I think Cap's actions are consistent.
GHERU: No. Civil War started because Captain America did not believe detaining super powered beings before they did anything other than "not tell the government who they were" was wrong, and now he wants to detain a teenager before she has done anything wrong. He is a living breathing convert to Tony's point in Civil War, and that is that possible WMDs need to be tagged, tracked, and kept on a leash – or put away.
3. Avengers vs. X-Men can be read and enjoyed without reading any tie-ins.
Frag It: Yes. I hadn't read any of the tie-ins till after I read issue AvX #4. In New Avengers, we get some Iron Fist/Phoenix backstory. In Avengers, we get some crap about Protector's betrayal. All of this can be explained in one panel of the main series if necessary. AvX: Versus just shows longer versions of the fights and has added nothing to the main story. It has also been poorly written. Not only can AvX be read and enjoyed without reading any tie-ins, but it also should be.
GHERU: Yes, so far. Other than some cool Iron Fist / Phoenix stuff, nothing in any of the tie ins seems to matter beyond more detail they can't fit into the main mini. Anything that is important will (or should) be explained in Avengers vs. X-Men proper. Say what you will about Fear itself (it sucked), Siege (meh), and most of the recent Marvel events, but they know how to contain the meat of the story in one book.
4. Wolverine has betrayed the X-Men with his actions in Avengers vs. X-Men.
GHERU: Yes. He joined a preemptive strike force in order to kill a member of the X-Men. Agree or disagree with Cyclops – maybe Wolverine is right (he's not) – but the first people to take him in, to trust him, to give him a family – the people who made him credible – are the X-Men. The Avengers invaded the home of half the remaining mutants, half of his (old?) teammates, and he joined them so that he could kill one of them.
If that is not a betrayal, I don't know what is.
Frag It: Not really, because not all the X-Men agree. He betrayed the Uncanny X-Men, but not all mutants agree with Cyclops. It's like a black person voting Republican. Are they betraying blacks because they made their own decision?
It's not like Logan is fighting the X-Men. He is trying to fulfill his promise of killing Hope if things go wrong. It's a disagreement, not a betrayal.
5. The mutant race will be restored to its pre-House of M status after Avengers vs. X-Men.
GHERU: Depends on what you mean by "restore." If you mean that all ex-mutants will regain their power, then no, I do not think so. The Scarlet Witch will restore some more mutants, but not enough to reach even close to what there were before House of M.
If, instead you mean that more mutants will be born and that adolescents will again have active X-genes, then yes, the mutants will be restored. Too much time has passed and too many spiteful stories have been told, its time for Marvel to get over Grant Morrison pissing in their Wheaties and make the mutants a force to be reckoned with again. It's hard to feel the fear and hatred when there are only 200 active X-genes.
Verdict: Sort Of
Frag It: We won't all of a sudden see two million mutants pop up all over the map or Genosha be reborn. We'll probably see a new crop of mutants being born and a few new villains for the X-Men to fight, but it won't be some drastic jump like it was before. The mutant population had become so large that their minority status stopped being such a big deal. They could just move to their own country. Now, they can add more to the 198, but it won't be like it was before.
6. Avengers vs. X-Men will lead to a soft reboot of the Marvel Universe.
GHERU: No. Marvel doesn't need a soft reboot, Marvel doesn't want to be seen as late to DC's party (their third one), and,most importantly, I do not want them to do it. Since the 1990s, Marvel's continuity has been mostly in quotation marks; they have not been a slave to continuity as DC has, especially to the Silver Age stories. Rather than rely on the past for structure, Marvel sees it as a guiding force. So, instead of needing a reboot, for things to make sense, they just need a panel or an issue to explain away unwanted stories, continuity, and plot points. Basically, Marvel's way of saying "F*ck off!" to the fans is to toss out a story line or two (or ten), so they don't need a reboot. Reboot is for the unimaginative... and DC.
Frag It: No. I don't really understand why people expect this to happen. Will some series end up relaunching with new #1s? Probably. But I don't see anything happening except for minor continuity fixes. I also don't think Marvel would reboot other books like FF and Hulk without involving them in this crossover.
Final Score: 2 of 6
Well, there you have it! Our guests were able to agree less than half of the time! What about you? Join us on the forums and tell us what you think about the statements above! See you next week!
Written or Contributed by: Jude Terror