Avengers vs. X-Men (a.k.a. "AVX" or "AvX" or "A vs. X") was the "Marvel Event" of 2012. It was a monster. It truly ran out of control, covering some 86 separate issues.
I gave up on collecting all the X-titles back in 1994. But I always collect the main "Event" titles so I read the 12 issues of the main Avengers vs X-Men plot-line. On top of that my pull list included all of the Avengers, New Avengers and Secret Avengers crossover issues because of the Spider-Man appearances.
Missing the X-Men lead-in and supporting explanations, I totally failed to come to grips with what was going on. I understand that Spider-Man was helping train Hope, who was to become the recipient of the Phoenix Force. And five of the X-Men have cosmic powers which they used to capture the Avengers who opposed them, but the Avengers escaped. Beyond that, the detailed motivations and confused loyalties just became a blur.
Perhaps that isn't surprising. Truly, what kind of tale can you hope to tell, when it is written by committee, fragmented across 86 separate parts, involves literally a cast of more than a hundred named characters, and is distributed often in a non-linear and often incomplete format?
At least online fans with a complete marvel subscription can read the whole story in sequence. But splitting a story into 86 parts only to re-glue it back together seems a massive exercise in futility and inefficiency!
But I digress. I'm not attempting to review the AvX event. I'm here to cover the more recent, and far-more-manageable four-part mini-series "Giant-Size Little Marvel: AVX #1". Despite sharing the AvX name it was actually published three years later and ties in with the 2015 mega-Marvel-event, Secret Wars (2015).
As the opening page informs us, the Multiverse has been destroyed. All that remains is Battleworld, the fragmented domain of Victor Von Doom!
A quick flashby of some of the other parts of Battleworld in the two page introduction shows (amongst others) a land of many Spider-Men (see Spider-Verse (Vol. 2)). But our interest today lies in the patchwork piece of Battleworld they call "Marville". This is the new home of the mini-Marvels of the Avengers and the X-Men, where they abide somewhere between conflict and harmony.
Our story begins in earnest now (and from this point on, just assume that all characters mentioned are the "Little Marvel" versions, not the full-sized ones).
We drop right into the middle of conflict as Iron Man fights Magik until it's time for them to go home for dinner. Five pages later they say farewell and agree to continue the battle tomorrow.
The next day, there's a fresh start and the preceding events are entirely ignored. Toad and Blob head out to find some quality American street food. They pass by Iceman's ice cream van, Captain America's hot dog stand, Wolvie's burger grill, Thor's giant ribs, Gambit's gumbo, Iron Man's anything truck (Spider-Man is in the queue and orders wheat cakes).
Determined to win business for the mutants, Storm calls down a giant rain cloud and scatters Iron Man's customers, driving them to the X-Men's food stands, except that the Hulk (an Avenger) has eaten all the stores. This means war!
A general free-for-all now launches into full swing between the "A" and "X" factions. Spider-Man isn't actually shown in the conflict at all.
As night comes down, things calm down and the Mini Marvels head back to their homes. Hey, a pair of moody-looking twins (one boy and one girl) have moved into town. Both the Mini-Avengers and the Mini-X-Men want them for their teams. I guess that means more fighting tomorrow!
When I read this the first time, I said to myself
I know What this is... but I don't understand Why this is.
It seemed neither clever nor thought-provoking. Nor did I find it artistic, nor funny.
But a couple of things have changed since then. Firstly, a fellow-staffer pointed me at the artwork which in my bemusement I had entirely ignored. And I have to agree that Skottie Young is actually a very good artist and Beaulieu's color work complements it perfectly.
Furthermore, I proceeded (driven by my sense of duty as archivist of All Things Spidey) to read Giant-Size Little Marvel: AVX #2, and somewhere at the bottom of page 9, I laughed.
I then laughed again on page 10. Twice, in fact.
I think I "get" it now. The "Secret Wars" is just a flimsy (but nonetheless legitimate) excuse to bolt the Mini-Marvels onto the big event. The "AvX" is because in all four issues of the series, the Mini-Marvels are going to split into "Avengers" vs. "X-Men".
And the final key to reading this Mini-(Marvel)-Series is that "Everything is made-up and the points don't matter."
So based on my reading of issue #2, I'm going to go back and adjust my original "One Web" for this first issue, and upgrade it to an adequate "Three Webs" (not higher, because this first issue was a bit short on decent gags).
In the midst of the battle royal, Iron Man (still running his food truck) tries to hit on Spider-Gwen, who calls him a creep because he's a kid with a mustache. See, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about, right there.