Saturday, June 16, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 11 (AVX: Vs #3, Avengers #27, and X-Men: Legacy #268)

Let's get the fights out of the way...

Match #5: The Thing vs. Colossus

Wait... is this a tournament of some kind? Both the Thing and Colossus have been involved in matches already -- and both won (or, they won according to the comic -- I still call that Colossus/Spider-Man match a time limit draw). I know this card isn't structured like a tournament, but wouldn't it be cool if it was? An unannounced tournament to determine who is the best out of all of the Avengers and X-Men... Then again, if you count fights outside of AVX: VS, we've already seen Colossus lose to the Red Hulk and the Thing have a rematch with Namor that ended with the Thing winning via Namor being embarrassed that wrestling involves two half-naked dudes rolling around and grabbing one another, and decided that walking away and losing again on a technicality is a lot better than someone thinking you're gay (that was the point of that fight, right?). So... here we are with the Thing's record of 2-0-0 and Colossus standing at 0-1-1, sort of. This match only confirms my idea that the Avengers are being portrayed as the villains in this story and the X-Men as the underdogs based on the pre-match attack by the Red Hulk as Colossus makes his way down to the ring. Clear heel faction tactic. He beats on Colossus and, then, throws him into the ring so the Thing can begin hammering on him in a weakened state. As does the Thing's response to Colossus's first attempt at offence: throwing what looks to be a piece of his rocky hide down the Russian's throat in a clearly illegal attempt at a choke. So, when Colossus takes the fight outside of the ring and uses that environment to his advantage, it's not cheating, it's giving the heel his proper comeuppance. While Colossus doesn't technically win as he never gets back in the ring, his beatdown of the Thing makes the double countout finish seem like a win. It's a moral win for the good guy underdog. Some solid storytelling on the card finally with a finish that wouldn't seem quite so bad if every other match wasn't booked with a similar sort of cheap non-finish finish. Still, a clear standout so far -- kudos to Loeb and McGuinness.

Result: Double countout [**3/4]

Match #6: No Disqualification/Falls Count Anywhere Match - Black Widow vs. Magick

In the ongoing 'card' that is the match line-up of AVX: VS, we finally had our first 'Divas' match. Okay, calling it that is somewhat dismissive. Three issues in and we see our first fight involving women (with two more next issue; though, those will be intergender matches). Nice to see that Marvel isn't afraid to show that women can fight just as well, if not better than, the men. And, surprisingly, it's the second fight of this issue to feature one of the Rasputin siblings. This match ranges all over the place, which isn't surprising given the obvious stipulation. They fight on the moon, in Limbo, and, surprisingly, finish back on the moon. Personally, I'm not a fan of Falls Count Anywhere matches that finish back in the ring after fighting all over -- nor ones that end with the Roll-Up victory. Both women gave it their all, but Black Widow had this thing won until BOOM! Roll-Up pin by Magick for the surprise win. It felt like a cheap win and undercut everything that came before. We all know that Limbo is where Magick is at home and no one has beaten her there before, but the Black Widow bested her there before putting her back in the ring to end things and booking things so she loses then... Well, why waste Magick not dominating in Limbo? For a swerve finish? That's bullshit, man. May as well had Colossus run in after leaving the Thing beaten...

Winner: Magick [*1/2]

Next up on the card looks to be Daredevil vs. Psylocke and Thor vs. Emma Frost in her first match since joining the Phoenix Force.


I'm not entirely sure what I think of Avengers #27 where Noh-Varr has betrayed the Avengers, then discovers that the Kree are fine with the Phoenix destroying Earth, decides that he kind of likes Earth and betrays the Kree (just like Mar-Vell did!) only for the Avengers to threaten him with death and give him the biggest backhand I've seen in a while before the Kree take away his Nega-Bands and we get one panel of him in his old costume.

I mean, no one is more excited to see that Protector bullshit dropped even though I had made my peace with it. To follow up on that narrative, Noh-Varr was basically put in a situation where his family's business made him steal company secrets from his job and, when he did it, he discovered that they were going to use those secrets to, like, kill baby seals or something, so he panicked. Instead of that making things better, he was fired from his job and his familar disowned him. We see him in the end wearing the shitty clothes he wore as a teenager, because... well, what else is there? He tried to be an adult and was put in a situation where he was going to either lose his job or his family and wound up losing both. Clearly, he will save the Earth from the Phoenix.

I don't know...

I did like seeing the old costume drawn by Walt Simonson. Even if it was for only one panel and kind of tiny.


X-Men: Legacy #268 is only superficially connected to Avengers vs. X-Men. It's basically a Frenzy solo story that happens because of the actions of the Phoenix Five. I found it heavyhanded and obvious. Fans of Frenzy might have liked it. Dunno.

Next week: Avengers vs. X-Men #6, New Avengers #27, Uncanny X-Men #14, Secret Avengers #28, and Avengers Academy #32.