This Week in Comics: Avengers vs. X-Men, Daredevil, Fairest and more

Quick reviews of the comics on my weekly pull list.

Avengers vs. X-Men #12
Writer: Jason Aaron | Artist: Adam Kubert

And so it comes down to this. Marvel's latest universe-spanning event comes to a conclusion, but not truly an "end". Obviously your feelings on the issue will depend heavily on how you feel about the event as a whole, but overall I felt like this event was much better executed from start to finish than "Fear Itself", Marvel's last big universe-spanning event. The story was more coherent, the consequences were more obvious, and -- in this particular issue -- the action was pretty awesome. This issue finally paid off the purpose of Hope Summers being involved in the arc. The ending has me very excited for what comes next in a way that neither Fear Itself or Civil War did.

The artwork for this series has been great throughout, but this issue is a visual masterpiece. Adam Kubert plays with varied page layouts to get the most out of the multi-location events, using a trio of two-page spreads to great impact. The imagery of the Hope/Wanda battle is impressive, but I loved the Hope/Wanda scene at the end, which led into the big moment of the series. "No More Phoenix." The Phoenix Force is split up and spread across the earth, creating new mutants.

So in the end, as hinted at in the fallout scene with Captain America and Cyclops, both sides won. Realistically, that was always going to be the case, but

AvX Vs. #6
Writer: Many | Artist: Many

One of the best things about "Avengers vs. X-Men" is it gave us this series. Pages of uninterrupted action by some of Marvel's best artists. This final issue presents the expanded version of the Hope/Wanda battle, which looked amazing. The rest of the issue is filled with a series of short, mostly comedic, stories with all sorts of different art styles. I can't decide which is my favorite; it's probably a toss-up between Cap vs. Cyclops and Squirrel Girl vs. Pixie. Though the Hawkeye story is a sweet page of some hilarious fanservice.

Avengers Academy #38
Writer: Christos Gage | Artist: Tom Grummett

In my years of reading comics, I've seen plenty of series come and go. It's the nature of the industry. Some books simply finish their runs naturally, others get canceled due to low sales or creative indifference, and we all move on. I don't think I've ever been as upset to see a book go as "Avengers Academy". It's frustrating that not enough people picked this up to justify its continued existence, because it tends to be everything a comic should be, and this issue was a perfect example of that.

On the surface, the story seems frivolous: a meaningless flag football game between the AA students and the students from Jean Grey School, with teachers playing too. It's a fun story, but in between all the moments of levity, there's some serious character development too. It doesn't come across forced at all. It happens naturally, and makes what would seem like a one-off issue play a big role in the bigger picture. Hopefully these characters will get to do so as well.

Amazing Spider-Man #695
Writers: Dan Slott and Christos Gage | Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

The issue was good, can't wait to see where the arc goes, hope we're not in for a rehash of Spider-Man Unmasked from Civil War. OK, now that that's out of the way, what is happening here?

I can't be the only one who saw this page and wanted to immediately dissect every little panel, desperately trying to put the clues together, right? I mean, this is huge. I guess we'll just have to wait to see what it all means. Waiting sucks.

Charmed #24
Writer: Paul Ruditis | Artist: Rubine


Daredevil: End of Days #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artist: Klaus Janson

I'm not normally a "Daredevil" reader (though I've heard wonderful things about the current ongoing series), but this series intrigued me. It doesn't share the "The End" branding of the Marvel series that explores the end of certain characters, but is along those same lines. Set an indeterminate time in the future, the book begins with Daredevil being killed at the hands of Bullseye, and reveals its preceding mystery from there through the eyes and words of Ben Urich. The storytelling technique was fantastic and the art was perfect for this series. I wouldn't want to read a Spider-Man or Iron Man book written and drawn like this, but the style works perfectly for Daredevil. It's too early to say for sure whether "End of Days" will become one of those must-read Daredevil books that even people who aren't big fans of the character (read: me) pick up anyway, but it's off to a good start.

Fairest #8
Writer: Lauren Beukes | Artist: Inaki Miranda

I was a bit underwhelmed with the first arc of this series, but I stuck with it for two reasons: the Adam Hughes covers are worth the purchase price on their own and the concept has enough potential that it was worth giving a second arc a shot. The one-shot issue between the arcs raised my hopes, as it was what I'd expected from the series from the beginning, and this issue -- the first chapter in a new arc focused on Rapunzel -- continued to deliver. It's a much more fast-paced story with a more modern look and feel. And while it involves characters from "Fables", I didn't get the sense that you had to be reading that book to understand what was going on. The only thing that bugged me was the giant banner for "Arrow" plastered on the cover. How could DC do that do a lovely Hughes piece? Just awful.

Minimum Carnage: Alpha
Writers: Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost | Artist: Lan Medina

The cover of this book is labeled "one shot", but that's super misleading, because this is the first issue of a six-part series that continued in "Scarlet Spider" and "Venom" and concludes with another "one shot". It's pretty obvious that the creators of this book assumed people who were picking it up had been reading Venom, Scarlet Spider and likely even the Carnage USA mini-series. While they tried to rehash some things, most details were assumed. That's certainly fine, as long as you know that going in.