October 6, 2022

I actually like comic book events (when they’re done well) because they leverage the strengths of having a large connected universe of characters. Event comics provide context to other books, and I like stories that exist in context.

Regenesis and Avengers vs X-Men

 

Wolverine & the X-Men (2011) [1-42]

Written by Jason Aaron,

Art Chris Bachalo [1-3, 8-10, 16, 42], Nick Bradshaw [4-7, 11-13, 19, 21-23, 31-35, 42], Jorge Molina [14-15, 18], Michael Allred [17], Steve Sanders [20, 42], David López [24], Ramón Perez [25-29, 42], Giuseppe Camuncoli [36-37], Pepe Larraz [38-42]

Wolverine, and most of the X-Men return to Westchester to reopen the school as The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, but they also have to deal with the new Black King of the Hellfire club, Kade Kilgore, a psychopathic twelve-year-old who manipulated the events that pushed Wolverine and Cyclops to the breaking point in Schism.

I like that this book doesn’t ever shy away from how dangerous running this school can be, or how messed up many of these kids already are. But it’s definitely a more hopeful and lighthearted book than those that got us here.

 

Uncanny X-Men (2011) [1-20]

Written by Kieron Gillen,

Art Carlos Pacheco [1-3, 9-10, 20], Brandon Peterson [4], Greg Land [5-8, 11-12], Billy Tan [13], Dustin Weaver [14], Daniel Acuña [15-17], Ron Garney [18], Dale Eaglesham [19]

After Wolverine takes most of the kids to go open a new school, Cyclops decides to form The Extinction Team. The idea being that if they save humanity from extinction enough times then maybe humanity will realize that they need mutants. It’s pretty close to an idea that’s been run before, notably Cyclops proposes a similar idea in Joss Whedon’s run, but this version is more… y’know, Supervillainey.

As I said already, Gillen took over Uncanny from Fraction with issue 534.1 (The point one was a gimmick to indicate a jumping on point) and his first arc was an explicit follow up to a story from that Whedon run. It’s good and I recommend it, but it’s space stuff and kinda tangential overall like the Brubaker run (Even if this is better X-Men space stuff.) But if you read Astonishing it’s worth reading. It even ends with a nice moment for Kitty and Colossus, which I think is well deserved for those characters. And then the next story Gillen tells is about Colossus selling his soul to become the new Juggernaut (And is a tie-in for the event Fear Itself). So much for nice. That volume ends with 544, so if you wanna fill in the gaps with Kitty Pryde and Colossus that’s what to read.

Even this run feels supplementary and not essential though. Both Uncanny and Wolverine and the X-Men basically get devoured by the mega event Avengers vs X-Men before they’re ten issues in; telling stories in between those issues, or fleshing out moments within the main series. Honestly that stuff is a nightmare to parse at this point but I’ll post the complete reading order list for the series and all it’s tie-ins after the summary of it.

 

Avengers vs X-Men [1-12]

Writers Brian Michael Bendis [1, 8, 11], Jason Aaron [2, 9, 12], Ed Brubaker [3, 10], Jonathan Hickman [4, 6], Matt Fraction [5, 7]

Art John Romita Jr. [1-5], Oliver Coipel [6-7, 11], Adam Kubert [8-10, 12]

This is it, the final big event (though not the last story) on this through line; the culmination of Hope’s story. The Phoenix Force is headed to Earth, headed for Hope, and uh people have some, let’s say, conflicting ideas about that. This is a story about character baggage resulting in bad decisions. It’s also one of those stories that kind of becomes a different story as it goes along, but that twist I won’t spoil here.

One of the character dynamics that’s kind of been living under the surface has been the distance between Wolverine and Hope. It’s pretty clear they would actually get along great, but Wolverine knows that if Hope goes Dark Phoenix it’ll be up to him to kill her. Cyclops might be the obviously crazy one, but it was nice to see that Logan’s baggage over the death of Jean was also clouding his judgment; he’s just one more factor that helps to exacerbate this situation until its spiraled out of control.

This story works because by the end so many people are at least a little at fault. Although some way more than others.

This is where Cyclops goes full Supervillain, willing to risk the lives of everyone on Earth for the chance at saving mutantkind. On the other side, the Avengers actions are kind of… thoughtless. Captain America isn’t wrong with what he wants to do really, but he goes about it in such the wrong way; or at least in a way that shows little empathy or understanding for where Cyclops and company are coming from. Another way to look at it is that Cyclops wants things to play out this way, in which case Cap plays into Cyclops’s hand.

The Avengers might be sharing the byline, but this still primarily an X-Men story, just one that’s big enough to drawn the attention of the Avengers. And if you’ve been reading all the X-Men stories that led up to here, you realize how crazy it is that only now are they really getting involved. Cyclops is crazy, but he’s not wrong, y’know until he’s wrong.

I also just love the size of this event, the way it dominated the landscape and the amount of talent it commanded. This was the A list of writers and artists at Marvel at the time. And as I made clear in the intro, that it really thrusts together the worlds of the X-Men and the greater Marvel universe means everything to me.

Avengers  vs X-Men Tie-ins and Reading Order

Post Avengers vs X-Men and Beyond

 

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