It's Avengers versus X-Men. Time for a few one shots from the Avengers' point of view.
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Associate Editor:||Lauren Sankovitch|
|Assistant Editor:||Jake Thomas, John Denning|
|Cover Art:||Walt Simonson|
|Lettering:||VC's Cory Petit|
This is the story of the Red Hulk and doing what he thinks he needs to do, what Captain America can’t do and what Wolverine won’t do: Assassinate the mutant leader Cyclops. Red Hulk picks his moment, when the Phoenix Five are apart from each other and infiltrates Utopia. He reverts to his Human form of General "Thunderbolt" Ross and sets up Cyclops in the scope of his sniper rifle. But he can’t fire; Emma Frost has appeared and is stopping him. She tries to get Ross to slice his own throat, but stopping a Hulk isn’t that easy – even for a Phoenix it seems. Ross hulks out and punches Frost away. This alerts Utopia to his presence and soon Magneto, Magik and Cyclops join the fight. Emma realises they can’t just keep him at Utopia as a prisoner; he’s too strong and in the past has beaten up the Watcher and the Silver Surfer. Magik wants to kill him but instead Cyclops burns an X into his chest and sends him back to the Avengers as a message.
Red Hulk sees this as a sign of weakness. If you’re prepared to fight, then you should be prepared to kill. If you’re not going to kill, then you are going to lose. He thinks Cyke has just lost this war!
Interesting style to this story, told almost entirely from the point of view of the Red Hulk. It’s not really a character development issue, more character reinforcement. Red Hulk describing why he’s an Avenger and how he’s earned his place even though only Captain America knows who he really is. There is hardly any dialogue in the issue and it’s mainly the internal monologue of Ross that sets things up and tells the story. I think this works well.
Ross takes it upon himself to take out Cyclops; it’s not a mission from Captain America but he genuinely thinks this is what Rogers wants but can’t possible order. Not sure I agree, but Ross has a lot of military experience so maybe knows better! He certainly knows how to win wars, just don't ask him to take out a Hulk! Anyway, he fails in his attempt and so arguably makes things worse by raising the stakes another level. Ross thinks that as he is still alive, Cyclops has shown weakness and so victory will be theirs. I find it hard to believe that a Hulk is stronger than a Phoenix but I suppose he does have a history of taking down some big hitters, so maybe.
I don’t think this really advances the AvX storyline, as it’s more of a stop gap tale, but it certainly fits well with the Avengers line with Ross explaining what he brings to the team. The art is okay, though I think Emma Frost’s Phoenix outfit is ridiculous, even for her (though I can’t blame the artist of this book for that!).
Good story, though no Spiders (bar cameos) and a Hulk vs. Phoenix query limits it to 4 webs.