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X-Men vs. the Avengers #3 (1987, June)

January 15, 2016

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). Today, by Stern, Silvestri, Rubinstein, Scheele and Rosen, “The Soviets Strike Back!”

The Soviets Strike Back!

Couldn’t Wolverine just cut the guy’s arm off?

Titanium Man clips the Blackbird as it flies over the Soviets. Then the Gremlin finally realizes that, even though Darkstar has his armour trapped, he can get out of his armour. He’s a genius. A genius who apparently sat immobilized for kind of a while when he could’ve just gotten out. Imagine you get your shoes stuck in something. How long do you think you’d wait before you just slipped your feet out of your shoes? A couple minutes? Maybe? We don’t know how long the Gremlin stayed in his armour, but you’ve gotta figure it must have been at least a good 15 minutes. Some genius. Anyway, he finally gets out, and he shakes Darkstar out of her trance. Darkstar feels just awful. Oddly so, really. Crimson Dynamo bitches a little about the Avengers fighting them, and calls them mutant-lovers.

X-Men vs. the Avengers #3

Real smooth, Dynamo.

The X-Men want to know what Magneto’s hiding from them, but he refuses to talk. Druid contacts the Avengers to let them know he’s in the Blackbird – the call is coming from inside the plane! The X-Men figure out he’s there, and Rogue absorbs his memories to make sure he didn’t tell the Avengers anything. Actually, with a mind as strong as his would have to be, I’m surprised he didn’t take her over completely. Either way, Storm says there’s damage to the plane and they need to land, and luckily, Wolverine knows just the place. Turns out it’s Singapore.

The Avengers and Soviets both go there to look for Magneto. Vanguard sees a guy he thinks is Havok. He mentions that Havok’s costume doesn’t cover much of his face. Jeez, Stern, way to break the unwritten rule. We’re not supposed to acknowledge how ineffective the masks are at concealing identities! Anyway, Vanguard gets attacked by Vanguard, ineffectively. Poor move, Wolverine. You should’ve knocked him out from behind. Isn’t Wolverine supposed to be a smart fighter? Because he gives Vanguard warning before attacking. Not smart. Rogue takes him out with a kiss, though. And then his absorbed power shreds her street clothes, though luckily, her costume is fine. The X-Men then head to the harbour, where Wolverine’s arranged them passage on a Dutch freighter.

On the freighter, Magneto sits staring at his helmet. He’s got some chips hidden inside it that he can use to erase prejudice. Wow, that’s . . . something. He tells Storm he’s leaving the team, since he’s putting them in danger, but the Soviets attack before it can be discussed. Wolverine tells them they have no right boarding the ship, and are violating the law of the sea.

X-Men vs. the Avengers #3

Not a bad one-liner, actually.

So now it’s a fight. And there’s actually one panel I want to show here.

X-Men vs. the Avengers #3

Storm kicks a goddamn bear in the goddamn face!

I love Storm in this era. This is Storm at her best: Kicking a bear right in the face. That is a level of awesome that defies measurement. This is why Punk Storm will always be Best Storm.

Anyway, during the fight, Crimson Dynamo is a lunatic and blasts a hole in the ship that causes it to start sinking. The Avengers arrive to help out, so now it’s a rescue montage of all three groups working together to save lives. Hurray! Everyone’s friends now! Except Crimson Dynamo. Everyone thinks he’s kind of a dick. The Soviets have had enough of him, and Monica gets to chew him out for a moment, which is really the ultimate punishment. Being shamed by Monica Rambeau? That’s the kind of hurt that will never go away. Because Monica’s awesome.

Meanwhile, Magneto’s on a nearby cruise ship, on its way back to Singapore. He has Unfinished Business. The most ominous kind of business.

This was a pretty OK comic. It’s not stellar or anything. There’s some things that feel like filler, other things that just come across kinda weird. One weird thing is that a fair bit happens, but it doesn’t feel like it. We get a little plot advancement, we find out what Magneto’s up to, the Soviets end up removing themselves from the story. But at the same time, it doesn’t feel like much happened. The fight scene isn’t particularly exciting, aside from Storm kicking a goddamn bear in the face. (Not going to get tired of that.) A lot of that comes down to the art, of course, but a lot also comes down to the writing. Stern tried to pack in a lot here, which meant that not a lot got room to breathe. It also meant characterization was a little lacking, just because there wasn’t much room for it.

The art was fine. It wasn’t great. Silvestri could do better (and would, on UXM). I’m wondering if maybe it’s an inking thing? Maybe he had a better inker on UXM? On UXM, Dan Green will be his inker; here, it’s Joe Rubinstein. I kinda wish I was better at examining art. I have no idea if Green’s a better inker than Rubinstein, because I’ve never paid much attention to that sort of thing. Anyway, while the art’s not great, it’s still fine. I have no problems with it, it’s just really bland and forgettable.

The issue as a whole is actually pretty band and forgettable. I think I had more fun talking about it than I did reading it.

Except for Storm kicking a bear in the face. That was amazing.

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