Thursday, November 6, 2014

Impressions of Marvel's AXIS storyline so far

I had really high hopes for this story.  I mean, sure, Avengers vs. X-Men was a pretty big let-down in the storytelling department, Original Sin is something I'm still trying to figure out the purpose of, Age of Ultron was pointless, Infinity was just bad, Fear Itself was ... well, it was "okay," but...

My point is that massive crossover events have tended to be rather lackluster from Marvel over the past few years.  Thinking back, the last big "event" I actually really liked were the two Annihilation storylines.  

Here's my big problem with massive crossover stories: in order to have the story continue, at least one character needs to act like they're incapable of making any intelligent choices.

In Civil War, both Iron Man and Captain America made some pretty terrible decisions.  Iron Man unleashed an untested Thor clone that killed Bill Foster.  Cap somehow decided that a completely unlikeable woman chastising him for not knowing what "Myspace" is justified him losing a battle for peoples' rights.  In Siege, Norman Osborn (the man who has been given the keys to the biggest paramilitary force in the world and has an actual army of supervillains to back him up) decides that what he needs to do is invade Asgard.  Because how could that possibly go wrong?

And now we have AXIS.  Let's look at a few story points so far and decide if these are awesome or stupid.

Or awesomely stupid.

Or stupidly awesome.

1)  Onslaught is the Red Skull with Charles Xavier's brain.

So one of the biggest evils has managed to have Charles Xavier's brain...well, it probably didn't replace his, so maybe they just... does he have two brains?  Did they just graft on part of the brain?  You knew, the part with mutant powers since it's genetics-based?  Are brain transplants not as risky as kidney transplants?  Is Onslaught the ultimate "type-O?"  How did he learn to use psychic powers so quickly?

Conclusion:  Awesomely Stupid

2)  Onslaught sets up concentration camps and sparks "World War Hate."

...okay, yeah, I can see a Nazi doing that.  Especially if he has the world's most powerful telepath's brain (somehow) under his control.  I'll buy that.

Conclusion:  Awesome

3)  They're revisiting the Xavier Protocols idea from years ago by having Onslaught have a plan to counter every single hero.

...I'm withholding judgement for the moment.  Get to fact 4.

4)  Magneto forms an army of villains to fight Onslaught consisting of Sabretooth, Carnage, Dr. Doom, Loki, Enchantress, Absorbing Man, Mystique (?), and others to counteract Onslaught only being prepared to fight heroes.

...okay, that's kind of awesome, actually.  Granted, it makes no sense why Onslaught's army of giant robots wouldn't be able to just adapt tactics that seemed to solely consist of "use Pym Particles to shrink them into storeable units."

Conclusion: Awesome

5)  A spell triggered by the Scarlet Witch and Dr. Doom (originally supposed to be Dr. Strange but he got taken out of the fight) reverses a lot of the mindsets of the people involved.  Heroes get darker, villains get...lighter?

...okay, we need to break this down further.

6)  Iron Man starts drinking again, becomes a huge massive ego, and starts selling technology with no fear of repercussions or sense of morality.

Conclusion: Stupid.  The guy has enough of an image problem in the comics to begin with.

7)  A new Hulk named "Kluh" appears.  It's the "Hulk's Hulk" which comes out when Hulk is sad.  "You wouldn't like me when I'm sad."

Conclusion: Awesomely stupid.  And done before.

8)  Cap-Falcon, Thor, Medusa, and other Avengers decide they're in it for themselves and will do whatever they want in the name of "protecting the world" even if it means executing prisoners or punching around Jarvis.

Conclusion: Awesomely stupid times two.

9)  The X-Men decide they can't trust humanity any more and prepare to go to war under the banner of Apocalypse.

Conclusion: What the f-   Hold on.  There was one thing in particular that stuck out about this for me.

At one point in Storm's speech when she's talking about how humanity has proven it will never stop trying to wipe mutants out, she mentions the fact that they lost Charles Xavier and Wolverine as proof of the "humans" just trying to pick them off.

Storm, maybe you were too busy thinking about getting a mohawk, but Cyclops killed Professor Xavier.  A mutant.  Your argument is flawed.  Plus, they can't really "pick you off one by one" when the whole point of Avengers vs. X-Men was that there's now new mutants appearing all the time.

Conclusion: Stupid.

10)  Dr. Doom, Carnage, Hobgoblin, Sabretooth, and other characters suddenly find themselves with strong moral centers and decide to start trying to do the right thing.

Conclusion: Awesome times two.

11)  War is brewing between the now "evil" X-Men and the "evil" Avengers.

Conclusion: Stupid.  We've seen it before just a few years ago.


If it was just a story where a few heroes turned evil and teamed up and wound up fighting some villains who turned good...that'd be an awesome story right there.  No need to bring in Apocalypse or anybody else, just have it be "Good And Formerly Evil Versus Evil And Formerly Good."  That's a great hook, that'll keep readers involved.

But don't just have people start making really stupid (and, in some cases, wrong) decisions or saying things that aren't true or intelligent, because it's obvious you're just sacrificing character for the sake of the story you want to tell.  Having the X-Men get pissy because the Avengers won't hand over the Red Skull ("But part of Charles still lives on inside him!") which means obviously the Avengers hate the X-Men which means they'll all quit being Avengers an- know, Wolverine's lucky he's dead for this.

My conclusion?  This storyline is officially STUPID and I'm likely to just stop paying attention to it now.

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