Friday, 27 April 2012

X-Marathon would like to note its approval of the Avengers film. It really is as good as everyone is saying. More detailed thoughts may follow after the United States opening weekend.

X-Men back issue pontificating will resume tomorrow, although at a less frequent schedule than the initial one story arc per day, which proved a bit unsustainable.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Avengers vs X-Men: crazy predictions

Apologies for the delay to the regular posts. This has been due to ill health.

In the meantime, the first couple of issues of Avengers vs X-Men are out, and I want to get some predictions on the record. In six months time we can all be impressed at my grasping of the narrative logic, or laughing at my ridiculous ideas. (Or, if you're an insider, you can just go ahead and laugh at me now.) AvX can be viewed as an event in two ways. From the point of view of the Avengers it is the Marvel Big Summer Crossover 2012, following in the wake of Disassembled/House of M/Civil War/World War Hulk/Secret Invasion/Siege/Fear Itself. We can expect it to provide a certain reshuffling, but it's not like the Avengers books feel like they've been working towards a big conflict with the X-Men.

From the point of view of the X-Men, however, it is the culmination of seven years of storyline, starting with House of M, as the X-Men have been driven to their very limit, pushed to San Francisco and then to Utopia, and then splintered under the rule of Scott Summers. Summers' abandonment of Xavier's ideals and his use of Magneto as a trusted team member; the willingness to use child soldiers, and the very idea of the "Extinction team" have all pointed towards an eventual conflict with civil authority. This has come in the form of a dispute with the Avengers over a force that Summers hopes will restore the mutant race as a going concern.

The world of Marvel heroes and the X-Men are odd fits, and almost feel like they should be separate fictional universes. This was particularly true during Grant Morrison's run, where the number of mutants were inflated to millions, making the number of non-mutant metahumans statistically insignificant. House of M and Decimation created a world in which the X-Men and Avengers were plausible, but in the subsequent horrors it is fair to say the non-mutant superheroes (with their relative influence and money and respectability) have utterly failed as keeping the mutant population safe; despite the fact that some of their best friends are mutants.

Something has to give.

Whoever will win the actual fight will lose the moral high ground. Since I think the X-Men will be ultimately vindicated, and the Avengers will apologise; then the X-Men will lose in combat. Probably the mass-repowering of mutants will be prevented. There's no solid editorial rationale for reversing that, after all.

But there's another detail to "no more mutants", in that only a very few mutants have arisen since then (Hope being the first, and then the Lights). That I expect will change, and we'll see new mutants manifesting at a modest rate as we did back in the 1980s, without the weirdness associated with Hope's powers.

Hope will die. She's a messiah. It's what they do. Self-sacrifice or not? It'd be repeating a beat from the Dark Phoenix saga, and I'm not sure whether they'll deliberately do that to invoke it, or avoid it.

Summers will die. They toyed this in some of the post-Schism publicity, and people thought it was semi-plausible for a while. That means they can get away with doing it now (people will think they will just be teasing again if any rumours get out). Although it'd be quite funny if he did die of hypertension, I don't quite see that happening. Summers will die defending Utopia. Which will fall.

There are three people who are members of the X-Men and the Avengers. Storm has only been part of the Avengers for a little while, making it seem as if she's been put there specifically for this event. And yet, she goes straightforwardly back to the X-Men and fights on their side. And she's been established as the moral compass of the group. She'll defect for sure. Similarly, I'd expect to see Wolverine change sides. Beast, though, has been carefully detached from the main series by his presence on the space mission. Will that party even get back before the event is over, or have they been put up there in space to avoid interfering with the plot? Dunno.

Afterwards, the X-Men will regroup back at the Westchester school. Whether this will still be called the Jean Grey School will depend upon whether or not Jean Grey gets resurrected by the story. I'm guessing no, but I could totally see Hope's heroic self-sacrifice causing the rebirth of Jean in some way. In that case, it'll go back to being the Xavier Academy - a remnant of Utopia run by Logan and Jean. And you thought the people who hated Scott/Emma were vocal.

Meanwhile, Storm and Beast will be off founding some other group of X-Men. (Beast perhaps having found out about Wolverine's Uncanny X-Force) And with Summers dead, Emma could go either way - back to supervillainry or perhaps back to teaching.