JP On Gaming

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

[Kinda Book Report] X-Men vs Avengers/Fantastic Four

Another book I drew from the bargain bin. This trade book includes the X-Men vs Avengers and X-Men vs Fantastic Four (FF) along with the issue where the two groups first meet. The oddest thing is that the more modern series is FOLLOWED by the first meeting, when it seems the other way around would be more natural.

The Fantastic Four vs the X-Men series comes first. Here we have Reed Richards having a personal battle with his demons, doubting himself and his capacities are he is challenged by the X-Men to find a way to save Kitty Pride who is phasing away following the mutant massacre (a cross-over event I really loved at the time when I began secondary school). After Richards refuses to help, the X-Men turn to the next brightest mind: Doctor Doom.

This is Chris Claremont at his best. Everyone of the characters gets to shine here. Reed Richards' crisis is not trivial and understandable. His relation with Sue and Franklin are strained. On the X-Men side, they have to deal with internal conflicts, their alliance with Magneto and working dealing with the coma of both Colossus and Nightcrawler, and Kitty Pryde's condition. They come of as very stressed and some of their decisions are rash but not foolish. The two teams clash multiple times but the pace and story keep moving on.

Easy 4/5 with re-readability.

Next we have Fantastic Four #28 where the X-Men are sent to kill the FF because the Puppet Master took control of Professor Xavier. This is a classic early hero vs hero issue serving as a way to expose FF fans to the X-Men. It's serviceable yet it's greatest value is its nostalgia of seeing these early X-Men before they became the accomplished characters Claremont later gave us.

4/5 (rounded up from 3.5) with good re-readability.

The third series are X-Men vs. the Avengers. The line-up of both teams is one I'm familiar with and timewise happened before the FFvXM series. Here, we have Magneto recently turned good guy with the Avengers trying to arrest him, the X-men protecting him, and the Soviet Super-Soldiers (SSS) trying to kill him for his crimes.

After fighting on and off for three issues, the two teams eventually join forces while SSS exit because the Crimson Dynamo manipulated them to go after Magneto. It's a little wonky, but works. I must say that I really like how Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Druid (who they are really trying to push) are pivotal to the plot.

The final issue has Magneto put on trial for his crimes. In the end, he is found innocent which only seems to fuel more anti-mutant sentiment. In a way, it's a very bittersweet ending, yes he is released but things are not going better.

The biggest downside I have with this is that there is a LOT going on, as does not feel as refined as the FFvXM. Still the final issue is absolutely reveting as Magneto tries to find if one of the judge is crooked and whether he should influence the judges. It really add gravitas and keeps his character intact: he may have decided to reform but he's not suddenly a goodie-two-shoes. He is still willing to do some underhanded actions. Claremont knows Magneto and this series advances him and the X-Men.

4/5 with high re-readability (5/5 on issue #4).

The final issue is X-Men #9 when the X-Men first meet the Avengers. Again the hero vs hero formula, though this time the X-men are going to deal with a problem when the Avengers show up and effectively tell these kids to stay out of the way. After beating up the X-Men, the Avengers decide to leave when Professor Xavier tells them he needs the X-men.

The villain is creative if his name (Lucifer) is not. He has a nuclear device that will destroy America if he is damaged. The Professor and Cyclops finally disable the device.

This is the weakest of the stories in this book, and my rating may be biased from nostalgia but I'll go with a 3/5 with some re-readability.

Overall, this book rates a solid 4/5 with the biggest issue I have with it is the odd order the issues are in the book. I would've preferrred a chronological presentation with FF 28, X-Men 9, X-Men v Avengers, and finally FFvXM.

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