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Monday, December 12, 2011 

Marvel is dredging up the Phoenix for the umpteenth time

As part of their next overbearing "event", Avengers vs. X-Men, which predictably is an excuse for yet more quarrels between teams:
Avengers vs. X-Men is Marvel's major event series next year, running 12 biweekly issues and featuring five of the industry's most influential writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman and Matt Fraction.

"It's one of those legendary ideas: What if the Avengers fought the X-Men? It doesn't get much easier to describe than that," Brubaker says.

Kicking off in a special "zero issue" prologue in March written by Bendis and Aaron, Avengers vs. X-Men begins the next month with an extinction-level event barreling its way toward Earth, namely the cosmic entity of death and rebirth known as the Phoenix Force. It's looking for a new host who will possess all of its power, which may or may not be the mutant teenager Hope Summers.

Cyclops, Wolverine, Magneto and the other X-Men want to protect her and prepare her if she's to be the new Phoenix. Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man and their fellow Avengers want her handed over to them so they can figure out what to do with her and keep the world safe from a potentially fiery fate.

Suffice it to say, tensions — and fisticuffs — arise.
Big mistake: instead of teaming up to prevent disaster, they fight? And why should the teen in question have to be in possession of this entity and power to begin with if it's so monumentally dangerous?

The Phoenix story was famous in its time back in the late 1970s, but since then, the whole idea has been run into the ground as countless writers and editors kept recycling and over-referencing it, just like Hank Pym's assault on Janet VanDyne from 1981. A whole crossover where the heroes clash about how to deal with the chance that another cast member will become host to this entity/power is not improving on the cliche one bit. No matter how good the Phoenix story was in its time, it was one story that should've been left alone and not been as exploited as it's been these past 3 decades.

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I like the original Dark Phoenix story, but you're correct; they did start to overreference it right up until Jean Grey's second death in 2003 (which ended Morrison's awful New X-Men run, if memory serves). I don't know when this heroes fighting each other became so "in" with the current gang of hacks running both Marvel and DC nowadays. I thought superheroes existed to fight villains, you know?


So Clara from the Andy Griffith Show is the next Phoenix? Francis Bavier will be jealous.

Even the "Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men" from the late 1980s didn't really involve the heroes fighting each other, although they certainly were at odds with each other due to the X-Men seeking out Doctor Doom's help to cure Shadowcat from her permanent phase state.


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