It's Avengers versus X-Men. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends, as the Phoenix Force heads back to Earth.
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Associate Editor:||Lauren Sankovitch|
|Writer:||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Artist:||Mike Deodato, Jr., Will Conrad|
|Cover Art:||Marte Gracia, Mike Deodato, Jr.|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
This story (bar the last page) is set 100 years ago. It therefore features none of the New Avengers.
Yu Ti, Master of the mystic land of K'un Lun, awakens from a dream in which a girl (resembling Hope Summers) summons a dragon to defeat the Phoenix, ultimately becoming the Phoenix herself. He believes this to be prophecy so walks amongst the people of K'un Lun searching for the red-head. Lei Kung, the Thunderer, has no such student and knows of no citizen that matches the description. After consulting the scrying vessel of Bo-Ling (a pool of water which tells him the Phoenix is a cosmic force) and a repeat of the prophecy dream (this time showing the girl as an Iron Fist), Yu Ti finds the girl in the village. Her name is Fongji, which means bird of fire (wait a minute, isn't the Phoenix a bird made of fire?!). He instructs Lei Kung to train her; she is to be the next Iron Fist – the first for 75 years.
Skip forward to today and Yu Ti is showing Lei Kung a book with all this information inside. When Lei Lung asks why he has never seen this before, Yu Ti tells him it was sealed until the Phoenix returned and he should tell Iron Fist what he must do to save the Earth.
This issue describes the previously unknown link between the Iron Fist and the Phoenix. As Iron Fist has no solo title, New Avengers is really the only place this story can be told (unless yet another limited series is set up alongside AvX). However, it's not really a New Avengers tale as none of them feature. I'm familiar with Iron Fist's background but having never bought one of his comics I don't know it inside out. Fortunately, this is a new story so I don't need to know too much. This is good as New Avengers is a team title so there will be plenty of people that are fans of one character, so want to collect other titles they appear in, but not have a lot of knowledge on the other team members. Unless they're part of an ongoing arc, I think stories should contain whatever you need to know within them and not have to depend on readers having enclycopedic knowledge covering several years. Don't get me wrong I love a nod to an old character or story, but if you're new to such a reference and it is significant to the story then it should be explained within that story. The only thing I have to assume (as it's not made clear) is that Yu Ti and Lei Kung are ceremonial titles and the ones on the last page are the latest incarnations. It could be they have extended life, coming from a mystical world, but then if they are the same ones as earlier why would they need to read an account of a tale which they were part of?
The story itself is okay but nothing happens to further the current AvX event, apart from set up Iron Fist as someone who can potentially deal with the Phoenix. It is also quite drawn out (in classic Bendis style), for example three pages of the essentially the same prophecy dream are repeated later in the comic, which is a bit lame and there could have been three more pages of story instead. The art is nice enough, portraying K'un Lun in pastel colours helps make the prophecy dreams and the red-headed Fongji stand out nicely.
Hopefully we’ll get more of a link to current day next issue.
An average story, not bad but ultimately just set up. The repeated pages were a shame.