Another Civil War is upon us within the Marvel Universe and this time, it involves the Avengers versus the X-Men. Issue one of Marvel’s newest series was released just over a week ago and includes with it the introduction of Marvel’s latest technological innovation, Augmented Reality, or AR.
Let us start with the basics. “Avengers vs X-Men” has been out for a week and there is a reason the review is so late. It is good. It is very good and it has already been read by this reviewer several times.
*Warning* Potential Spoilers ahead for those who have not yet read the issue. *Another Warning* Potentially bad puns included.
There is a grave threat and a powerful force headed to earth. The mutant numbers are dwindling and the schism between the X-Men is still in effect. There may be only one Hope (pun intended) for the unity of the X-Men and mutant kind entirely. The preservation of the mutant power copycat by the name of Hope (now you see it?).
Upon flipping through the first few pages (and the information provided by issue #0), readers are introduced to the threat that aims to put the Marvel universe in disarray. The Phoenix force has returned along with potentially haphazard destruction. However, the Avengers do not plan on sitting by and allowing this return. The only problem? The Phoenix force has found a host, and all Hope might be lost (yes another Hope pun). Hope’s copycatting mutant power has drawn in this force along with a host of trouble and Cyclops will not stand by to allow the Avengers to detain her.
“Avengers vs X-Men” directly follow the events that take place in Marvel’s 4-part mini-series, Avengers: X-Sanction. However, Marvel’s writers have made it fairly easy to jump right in with issue #0 and #1. Who are the writers on this project you ask? A collaboration of some of Marvel’s best, including: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction and John Romita Jr. with the pencils.
Furthermore, these writers, along with the tech geniuses at Marvel, have teamed up with Aurasma, to introduce a new software that will enhance the comic book reader’s experience. This new technology, Augmented Reality (or AR), gives the comic book a more enhanced experience. I like to think of it as Blu-Ray additional content for comics. This application is free and available for newer iPhones, iPads, and Andriod devices.
Upon reading Avengers vs X-Men issue #1, I decide to scan the panel marked “AR” with my iPhone. Sure enough, I hear Brian Michael Bendis’ voice speaking to me in a “director’s commentary-esque” fashion. Or upon scanning the opening title page, Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso walks right onto my comic book, welcomes me to the new series, and introduces me to a whole new experience. The AR includes panel progression from storyboard to final draft, scene movements, and character biography.
In conclusion, Avengers vs X-Men issue #1 is an excellent read with stunning visuals. It poses interesting questions of what is to come in the series and fuels the excitement of this comic book reader’s anticipations. Where will Wolverine and Beast, both X-Men and Avengers, fit into this struggle? Will the Phoenix force destroy everything? Will Hope share the same fate as Jean Grey? How far is Cyclops willing to go to defend Hope and the mutant race? Many fans are looking forward to a lengthy, well-written series that will push the boundaries of friend and foe to answer these questions and more. Lastly, the introduction of the AR app has ushered in a new experience to reading comic books and has enhanced the overall story-telling experience.