X-Men vs. the Avengers #2 (1987, May)
Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). I watched Spirited Away last night. It was as great as I remember. You should watch it. Anyway, here’s a comic. By Stern, Silvestri, Rubinstein, Scheele and Rosen, “Uneasy Allies.”
First, a recap page. And while this is going to be a weird, weird thing to do, I want to talk about it. Back then, recaps were done a couple pages into an issue. Often, they would be incredibly awkward and forced. You;d have characters doing “As you know” speeches. Or else a character would “reflect on how they got here.” Things like that. But this issue starts with what is actually a fairly modern-style recap page. Panels from the previous issue, with captions explaining what happened, to catch readers up before the story starts. I much prefer that approach over the old style. Of course, it would be years before Marvel figured out that dedicated recap pages were a good idea. Oh well.
Anyway! Fight! The Avengers and the Super-Soviet tangle, while the X-Men retreat with Magneto. Chased by Monica, of course, because you don’t outrun light. When the X-Men get back to the plane, Magneto wants to go back to the chunk of Asteroid M. He doesn’t want any of its technology falling into the wrong hands. Storm points out that the Avengers can handle that, but Magneto insists. He flies off, and raises the chunk out of the lake it landed in.
He collects what he can, and plants some explosives to deal with the rest. He finds his old costume. He puts on the helmet and wonders if he’s changed as much as he thinks. The Avengers find him, and another fight breaks out. And once again, Monica shows how damn powerful she is, by getting through Magneto’s force field.
And then the X-Men return, to get their own shots in on the Avengers. Captain America asks Dazzler why she’s defending Magneto, and she says he has no idea what it’s like to be a mutant, a race of pariahs. Kind of a nice moment. Magneto wakes up and shouts that the fragment of his base is about to explode. He then saves them all with a force field. Everyone is stunned, but he gets the X-Men to the Blackbird. Dr. Druid stows away.
This is pretty OK. It’s nothing stellar, either as an X-Men story or as an Avengers story. Stern, of course, was the Avengers writer at the time, so they still get more attention here than the X-Men do, but Stern does keep the X-Men involved. Their personalities here are a bit simplified, compared to Claremont, though part of that is the nature of the mini. It’s something to give readers of each franchise a glimpse at the other. As the Avengers writer, though, Stern does show a much defter hand at them, and gives them more depth. Monica, of course, gets plenty of opportunities to show off, because Stern loved Monica Rambeau. Luckily, so do I! So I’m fine with her showing off.
I think the best part of this issue, though, is the art. It’s not that there’s any particularly stand-out moments. It’s just great through-and-through. Silvestri’s a great line artist, and Rubinstein’s inks bring out the best in him. Faces look great. There’s actually not many close-ups, but when we do get a close-up, it’s great. But even at a distance, characters look good. Body language is also handled well. The colours are good. They’re pretty well typical for the time, but they’re top-notch for the time.
So far, this mini’s kind bland. Nothing to get excited about.