Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Avengers-X-Men: Axis #5 of 9
Remender, Dodson, Dodson & Martin
The latest issue in Marvel's big event shows some slight improvements but continues to be riddled by problems with story, flow and artistic details. This issue of Axis sticks closer to a handful of character, which helps the consistency of the comic infinitely. However, reading this comic makes the previous look more like a complete throwaway book as this is simply more of a detailed setup than the previous issue. Perhaps reading this is in a collected format would be better but I tend to doubt it would make the book sparkle as an event of this nature should.
The comic focuses on Spider-Man and Nova. Spidey greets Nova as Nova arrives at the Avengers Tower. This helps to retell the story of the previous issue, but through Spidey's dialogue with Nova. The pair has some quips back and forth but the big surprise occurs once the Avengers are assembled.
Red Skull's body is missing and the new Captain America finds any Avenger not within his eyesight at the time of the disappearance to be a suspect. Naturally, he's assembled the Avengers to take them out of the picture. Spider-Man (and only Spidey) senses a trap and jumps out of a window with Nova. A chase ensues. They get help from an unlikely source. The backend of the book has the X-Men show up to claim what the Avengers have, which sets up the next issue.
Sometimes comics have to ignore common sense to get to what they want to tell. Remender wants the Avenger cast slimmed down so he takes them off the board ignoring that some of them (many of them) could probably sense a problem just as Spider-Man has, either with common sense or with powers. This is dismissible on one hand, but tough to ignore on the other.
The X-Men declared war in the previous issue. Why are they walking into Avengers Tower but not blazing their powers? This type of passive occupation with threats doesn't fit the idea that their personalities have been inverted.
Thankfully the comic explains that the inversion occurred as a result of the fight in issue three and not everyone was affected. Unfortunately this came and issue too late. With no build-up to this mystery they should have recapped this in the previous issue and saved a few pages with the half-hearted attempt at a mystery at large.
The artwork is perfect for a super-hero book. Perhaps not this super-hero book. The comic doesn't capture the darker mood in this comic at all. It's not to say the pencils and coloring aren't nice, they are, they just belong in a story where the heroes aren't all villains turning on each other. The consistent problem with this comic series has been the absent details in character's faces and that continues here as well unfortunately. Look no further than the first page where Spider-Man goes from heavily detailed to barely containing the correct number of appendages on the same page. This lack of details on the smaller panels is an annoying problem that is too noticeable in each comic in Axis.
Axis could turn out to be something awesome before this is all over. I can't say I have enjoyed any particular issue but this one sticks out because it at least explains some plot ideas and sets up some interesting dynamics for the next comic. This isn't an event I can recommend but this issue tries to provide some entertainment and manages to do so. At least it isn't a five-dollar book.
3.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles