Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Review: Avengers Vs X-Men - Round Three

A VS X Round 3 By Aaron, Bendis, Brubaker (Script), Fraction, Hickman / Romita Jr 

After last issue's all out action, round three of this summer's Marvel event takes on a much calmer mood, although that is not to say that it doesn't contain its fair share of excitement. The series entire cast of writers are credited on this issue, with Ed Brubaker in sole charge of its script, and somewhat surprisingly it is not a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Round three contains far more in the way of the plot than the previous issue and is a much more satisfying read as a result. Both sides of the battle ending up searching for Hope was a fairly predictable turn for the series to take, but it feels far more fresh and exciting than another five issues of large scale action would. There is enough here to make me think that there will be a few twists along the way too, and the plot manages to keep the reader second guessing at every opportunity. There are still probably a few too many characters, but the set up of this issue allows individuals to shine a little more, and there are some nice character moments for the likes of Captain America, Iron Man and Wolverine. It is true that this will be a series where only the 'big hitters' will really be given the opportunity to impress, but that is to be expected from a heavily promoted summer event.

Brubakers script is impressive, potentially the best of the series so far. His Captain America feels as convincing as it should do given his lengthy run on the character, and there are some nice pieces of dialogue sprinkled throughout. This is not a humorous story by any means, and the scripting can read as slightly po-faced as a result, but once again that is an inevitable by-product of such a large scale storyline.

John Romita Jr's pencils are solid enough too, and although his backgrounds are not quite up to scratch he manages convincing versions of most of the characters that he is tasked with. The issue's one action sequence packs quite a punch too, and stands as the most impressive of the series' three issues - no mean feat given the wall to wall action of round two. Scott Hanna's inks traditionally bring out Romita Jr's best work and he too is on fine form here.

This issue seems to be about as good as a story midway through an event series can possibly be. It does feel a little drawn out, but for once I am genuinely curious as to the outcome of the series. The characters are being handled well, and Romita Jr's does not excel, by his high standards but provides an appropriately energetic batch of pencils.If you aren't a fan of event books then this will not convert you, but on its own merits it is a solid piece of work.



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