Over the years, the world has witnessed some truly epic showdowns: Muhammad Ali vs. Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, and Ralph Garman vs. Chelsea Handler. But all of those pale in comparison to Marvel’s huge upcoming crossover event, Avengers vs X-Men.
After the conclusion of the Schism storyline, which saw the X-Men team split into two factions, many thought the stakes couldn’t be raised any higher, but now we have the two cornerstones of the Marvel Universe about to do battle. The question is, over what? It would appear that the seeds were planted nearly seven years ago during the House of M when the Scarlet Witch, overwhelmed and driven crazy by her reality hex powers, altered the world into a land ruled by mutants and led by her father, Magneto. With the help of both the Avengers and X-Men, she came to her senses long enough to put the world back to normal, and uttered one more spell before disappearing: no more mutants. After those words, there were barely 200 mutants left on the planet, and as both teams tried to pick up the pieces one thing was for sure – mutants were now on the verge of extinction!
Since that time there have been several key moments leading to this impending clash of titans. Two young heroes, Wiccan and Speed, began to suspect that they were the spirits of the twin children the Vision and Scarlet Witch lost at birth several years prior. Both are members of the self-titled Young Avengers. Cyclops gathered nearly all of remaining mutants and relocated to the now independent island of Utopia after Norman Osborn’s attempt to eliminate them. Wolverine joined the Avengers, Magneto joined the X-Men, and we even had a little thing called the Secret Invasion during the time since no more mutants. However, the most important event to occur was with the arrival of a redheaded infant baby girl.
The first mutant birth since the Scarlet Witch condemned the species created a sort of arms race, as different factions scrambled to take control of the child, and at the same moment of birth, the Phoenix force completely vanished from Marvel Universe. In the end, Cable protected the child by taking her to the future to raise her safely from the interests and plans of others. Naming her Hope Summers, many saw her as the mutant savior while others the harbinger of the end. Ultimately keeping his promise to protect his “child,” Cable sacrificed himself to return Hope to the present as a sixteen-year-old girl.
Meanwhile, Wiccan and the Young Avengers went on a quest to find the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers Children Crusade storyline. With the help of the X-Men, the Avengers, Magneto, and her twin brother Quicksilver, they successfully rescued her from Victor Von Doom, but as we prepare for the release of issue #9, the question remains: should she be allowed to live, or is her inability to control her powers a liability that can’t be afforded?
Returning for what appears to be only a brief time, the techno-organically ravaged Cable has put a hit out on the Avengers in X-Sanction. With two issues remaining, a lot of question have been left unanswered about his return. He claims that the Avengers will be responsible for the death of Hope. There have been hints that the Avengers, particularly Iron Man, will create mutant hunting tech in the very near future. Is this out of fear of Hope and her mysterious connection to the Phoenix? This is the first of many questions being raised.
What is the connection between Scarlet Witch and Hope? With Wolverine, Storm, and Beast all members of Avengers teams, which side will they choose? Will Cyclops and Wolverine be forced to reconcile the X-Men to protect Hope? How will the Phoenix force return, and will it bring with it the long dead Jean Grey? While the answers to these questions will certainly draw interest, it is the potential battles that will drive sales.
Marvel has released a ton of teaser images to promote the event, and we can expect Iron Man to square off against Magneto, Spider-Man to trade wisecracks with Iceman, and Wolverine to battle his old war buddy, Captain America. With plenty of revelations still to come, this fanboy absolutely can’t wait for Avengers vs. X-Men.