X-Men vs. the Avengers #1 (1987, April)
The X-Men fought a lot in 1987. Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men hasn’t even finished, and they’re already picking a fight with the Avengers. Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). This story is by Roger Stern, Marc Silvestri, Josef Rubinstein, Christie Scheele and Joe Rosen. “Justice For All!”
It starts with the Avengers showing up at a shopping mall and evacuating it. Maybe they just don’t like shopping in crowded stores? Actually, I guess there’s a meteor swarm that’s going to hit the mall. Captain Marvel – Monica Rambeau – starts blasting some of them, while Thor, in his fancy new armour, joins in to smash them up. The best part is he’s riding one of the meteors. It’s pretty badass. The Quinjet gets hit by a meteor, because the Avengers can’t take a Quinjet anywhere without it getting wrecked. We’re in the introduction section of the story where we find out who the characters are and what they can do, and one of the things we learn is that they wreck Quinjets. I find that hilarious.
Anyway, it turns out the chunks come from a large asteroid that broke apart in orbit. The one large chunk that hit the Quinjet is magnetized. The Black Knight cuts a piece off, and some metal is revealed underneath.
In Soviet Russia, where I’ve heard that road forks you, there’s been a big train crash, and the Soviet Super-Soldiers – Vanguard, Darkstar, Ursa Major and Titanium Man – show up to help. The Red Guardian arrives to ask their help avenging a wrong done to Russia.
And now we get to the X-Men! Storm, Magneto, Dazzler, Wolverine and Rogue are relaxing on a beach. Alex is walking along the beach. A news report comes on about the asteroids, and Magneto decides to check it out. Wolverine calls the others and tells them there may be a problem. The meteor chunks are bits of Asteroid M.
The Avengers have learned the same thing. They’ve also learned that a trap is being set to terminate Magneto, with some in the US government helping. She-Hulk mentions there being too many bureaus operating outside the law, which is a really nice little touch on her own legal background. Of course she’d have a problem with that sort of thing. Druid mentions being ignorant of Magneto’s record. Really, dude? You never read the Avengers files on him? Or watched the news? Wait, of course he didn’t watch the news, I’ll bet he doesn’t own a TV. And then he probably boasts about not owning a TV every chance he gets. Druid’s a hipster douchebag. Anyway, it’s really just a way of setting up an opportunity for exposition about Magneto. The Avengers start to debate what to do about the assassination attempt. Captain Marvel says letting it happen would be wrong, and also argues it might worsen the anti-mutant hysteria. Which is a great moment. No one on this Avengers line-up is a mutant, so it’s nice that Monica is still keeping mutant issues in mind. Captain America also makes a comment about the word being cheated out of bringing Hitler to justice. Not cool, man. Magneto’s no Hitler.
Magneto’s in Kampuchea, looking for the piece of Asteroid M. Captain Marvel shows up to arrest him. Then Thor attacks, and then the rest of the team. And then the X-Men show up. And then the Soviet Super-Soldiers show up. So now we’ve got the set-up for a big three-way brawl . . . next issue.
This issue’s pretty good. Not much of the X-Men in it. The Avengers get the lion’s share of the focus in this issue, but then, Stern was the Avengers writer at the time, so it makes sense. And the X-Men will get their moments throughout the mini. They are written well here. Stern was always a talented writer, so he’s able to keep the X-Men sounding right. And it’s always fun seeing the Soviet Super-Soldiers, too. The story is interesting, too.
The art’s good. It’s fairly standard art of the time. It’s not as eye-grabbing as Silvestri’s Uncanny X-Men work. And the colours feel a bit flat, somehow. They don’t pop. But still, the art’s good. It’s fine. Nothing really wrong with it, it’s just not what I’ve been getting used to, I suppose, with UXM.