(Warning: Spoilers Throughout)
Wednesday was probably the worst day for spoilers I've ever experienced. I woke up, checked Facebook and there it was: news that Professor Xavier had died. This was revealed because the comic-related media I follow mentioned the New York Post story about the events of Avengers vs X-Men #11. Later, after buying the comic book at 5:30 pm and going to the gym, I saw on a 24-hour news station that: 'Professor X, long-time leader of comic's X-Men has been killed by his protege, Cyclops'. I'm not kidding. It's like it was following me around! Still, I thought I'd write a review about the eleventh issue of Marvel’s summer event anyway.
|Marvel's Avengers vs X-Men #11 (November 2012) Writing by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils by Olivier Coipel and inks by Mark Morales. $3.99|
The story begins with the X-Men seeking refuge from the Avengers, having realised that siding with the Phoenix Five was a major error in judgment. Shortly afterwards, Cyclops took the last half of the Phoenix Force from Emma Frost and assumes all of that personality changing extra-terrestrial power. It then ends with a confrontation between Xavier and Cyclops and the result mentioned above.
|Magneto from Avengers vs. X-Men #11 (November 2012)|
I’ve enjoyed this series and have read it as we're supposed to read summer events: like the big-budget 'popcorn' comic books they are. But at the same time this issue disappointed me because its content was too important for the lens I was supposed to view it through. What I mean is Xavier did not die in a way worthy of one of the most important and iconic comic book characters of all time. Sure, he was surrounded by members of the X-Men and Avengers (including a Carol Danvers dressed in the old Ms. Marvel costume), but there should have been something more to his parting than mere paternal angst and Phoenix-charged murder.
|Cyclops assumes the remaining Phoenix Force from Emma Frost in Avengers vs X-Men #11 (November 2012)|
Now we all know that comic book deaths are a regular occurrence. But there has been a few that have had true meaning. The first Captain Marvel died of cancer in Jim Starlin's The Death of Captain Marvel (1982) and his suffering gave the death true importance and gravitas. As was the death of Uncle Ben in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962). While he was not a super-hero per se, the impact of Benjamin Parker dying completely altered Peter Parker's way of seeing the world and gave us Spider-Man. But in the case of AvX #11, I'm not sure Professor X's death will have that same meaning in the Marvel Universe. Marvel NOW! may prove me wrong, but #11 left me with a feeling that Xavier's death was a hollow marketing ploy.
|Professor X welcomes the X-Men to join the Avengers in Avengers vs X-Men #11 (November 2012)|
Which brings me to a larger chronologically-based critique of AvX. As said earlier, I've enjoyed this series on the whole. But at the same time feel it could have been done in less time than it has taken. The art has been great and I especially enjoyed Oliver Coipel's and Mark Morales' work in this most recent issue. But there just hasn't been enough story depth in this series to really leave me satisfied. Where was Hope Summers in #11 and why has the story shifted away from her? Why was the Hulk called in and not used? This series could easily have been cut down two or maybe four issues with more concise storytelling.