Before Captain America and Cyclops raised fisticuffs over the fate of Hope…
With The Avengers still reeling from the second Secret War …
When the Mutant race was an endangered species on the brink of complete annihilation…
The X-Men Vs. The Avengers.
Writer: Roger Stern (First three)
Tom DeFalco/Jim Shooter
Artist(s): Marc Silvestri with Josef Rubinstein (first three)
In this episode of Retro Vision, we’ll take a look at one of my favorite Marvel events The X-Men Vs. The Avengers (1987), which is oddly fitting, considering the current state of affairs in Universe 616.
I should warn you though: this isn’t a battle between the classics. Each team is composed of their weird 80′s roster. Now, I’m not a fan of the whole “brevity thing”, so indulge my fanboy OCD as we look over the key players for each team.
At the time, Chris Claremont’s X-Men were in the midst of the Outback Era, with the beefier roles belonging to Magneto, Storm, Wolverine, Rogue, Havok, Dazzler (Longshot and Psylocke being very minor in this miniseries, sorry fans of those two characters).
Opposite, we find Stern’s era of the Avengers, which favored the melee fighters: Captain America, armored Thor, She-Hulk, Black Knight, Dr. Druid and Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel. If that wasn’t a big enough cast list, the comic also adds in the Soviet Super-Soldiers (Ursa Major, Vanguard, Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo and Darkstar).
A mouthful, I know. But if that doesn’t pique interests, then just wait.
The premise is relatively simple, fragments of Magneto’s old asteroid base, Avalon, enter Earth’s atmosphere, threatening to destroy a bunch of cool stuff. The Avengers are quick to engage, mitigating the damage inflicted by the space rock, all the while Magneto temporarily allies himself with the X-Men to ensure that remnants of his space station don’t fall into the wrong hands.
But in the words of the late, great Billy Mays “There’s more!”. A third faction comes in, the Soviet Super-Soldiers who want to arrest Magneto to face justice for all his crimes. In the midst of this fiasco, the Master of Magnetism discovers one of his older helmets, which would alter minds all over the globe, erasing prejudice towards Homo Superior. Before he has a chance to mind melt the world’s inhabitants, though, the Avengers arrive, and in a very bizarre twist, Magneto surrenders. Eventually ol’ Maggie stands before a court, but he discovers that the Chief Justice intends to use the proceedings to spark a new human-mutant war. So the purple robed villain can do only one thing… use his helmet to brain wash the judge. El Fin.
If it feels like the plot is loosely summed up, that’s because this is one story that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Unlike the current AvX storyline, Roger Stern handles both teams well, neither outshining the other or feeling in the wrong at all. Even the Soviets shined in this, granted that could be because my inner child always gets excited for people turning into giant bears. The fight scenes are stunning, with no character getting lost in the scuffle and even Doctor Druid, an character that’s never been high on my list fit well in both the fights and the quieter scenes.
The art is simply spectacular. The fight scenes aren’t cluttered or rushed. The colors are vibrant and clear. Even now, I would pick Silvestri over some current artists. So with that, whether you’re pro-Avengers or standing defiantly with the X-Men, it earns 4.5 out 5 Stars!