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Brian Michael Bendis (House of M and Secret War) and John Romita Jr.‘s (The Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men) ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’ #1 has hit the stores harder than the combined strength of Thor and Colossus (with the power of the Juggernaut). As we speak second printings are already on the shelves. In this most anticipated summer crossover twelve issue event the Avengers will be facing off against the X-Men as the Phoenix force heads back towards earth. In what could possibly rival Marvel’s Civil War event the potential for this is pretty high (especially with the Avengers movie hitting theaters soon). I’m especially curious to see how characters such as Wolverine and Beast who have ties to both teams will deal with the situation.

In this issue we see Cyclops training and pushing Hope (the ‘Mutant Messiah’) while the Avengers tracking the Phoenix force as it returns to earth. We see both sides of the conflict arise while some of the mutants see the return of the Phoenix force to be a rebirth for the dwindling mutant population while other see it has a planet killer which will lay waste to the planet. By the end of this issue we see the first punch being thrown and lines drawned/crossed in the sand.

Bendis does a decent job here in handling such a huge cast with big personalities. Now the art here is a bit of a mixed bag, there are parts where it was top notch, there were also bits here and there that looked a bit odd. Colorist Laura Martin (Astonishing X-Men and Civil War: Front Line) here shines a pretty bright spotlight (pun not intended) here. Her colors are just popping more than Orville Redenbacher. With this opening shot into the AVX event I’m quite intrigued on how this series develop.

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