The second issue of Avengers Versus X-Men, Marvel's first big event of the year hit the shelves today, and man does it have me itching for more. The talking is done, and the fighting actually begins in this issue, and the creative team behind this issue, Jason Arron and John Romita Jr. shows it in all of its glory.
Each blow is chronicled by a quite poetic description by Arron, which gives a great illusion of looking into the battlefield from an outside perspective. This presents some true fanboy worthy moments, which is exactly what a cross-over event should do. The story itself progresses as advertised and doesn't really show any surprises, save for a silent panel showing Scarlet Witch's diary. However, given the contents of the page, an image of the Phoenix force, I really wouldn't write that off as a 'spoiler', but more of a nice little bit of foreshadowing. After all, the return of the Phoenix is what drives the conflict of the book anyway. Speaking of Phoenix...
We are lucky enough to get teased with this single panel of the return of the Phoenix as Wolverine is burning by her (its?) will. This is a poignant moment of character development for Wolverine, as he was the one who had to kill the last Phoenix, Jean Grey. Now of course no comic book fan would assume this story line would be wrapped up in just two issues, but I could see this moment haunting Wolverine for issues to come, specifically once the Phoenix Force starts going crazy and destroying everything. Why didn't I kill her when I had the chance? Is this my fault? I should have stopped her! We have all seen a tortured and harrowing version of Logan before, but this will present an interesting arc simply because killing Jean once almost killed Logan himself. Will he be able to do it again if the time comes? Will he be able to live with himself having Hope's blood on his hands? What will this mean in the eyes of his students at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning? This series, if anything, is going to push Wolverine's psyche to the bone.
Two other Avengers VS. X-Men themed issues came out this week as well, which tied in quite well to the main arc, but are not interfering with the chaos that has broken out on Utopia. Both Wolverine and the X-Men #9 and The Avengers #24 play into the arc well, showing what is happening at the school while both Wolverine and Beast are away, and giving some slight insight into the plans of the Avengers on how to stop the Phoenix Force before it even reaches Earth.
All in all, the second issue was action packed and stunning, with some great writing and superb art. I was weary at first with the rotating authors, but so far it is showing some nice results. Can't wait for more. And the best part? I only have to wait two weeks instead of a month.