Avengers: X-Sanction

Today’s one of those rare days where I have time to squeeze in some recreational writing alongside the washing, sweeping and genocide gaming I usually have to get done, and so I figure it’s time to take a brief look at one last prologue to the upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover.

“Dash!” I hear you all yell, “You’ve already covered three prologues already, what’s with there being another one?”

Well, I’d reply, it’s because apparently there’s a lot of ancillary material one needs to explore before getting into the meat of the crossover…which, when you think about it, isn’t a point in its favour. If there’s that much required reading beforehand, would that not alienate readers and make them fearful of the long-winding continuity cavalcade that needs to be explored, which is an indication of the stigma superhero comics suffer on a regular basis?

Sorry, too deep. Let’s back up and talk about a dude beating the Avengers up.

X-Sanction marks the return of comics veteran Jeph Loeb into the spotlight as he revives longtime X-Men ally Cable, fresh from his “death” in Second Coming, who then embarks on a mission to maim, bludgeon and kill any Avengers within spitting distance to protect future mutant messiah Hope. Over the course of the short, tight storyline Cable makes mincemeat of Captain America, Iron Man, the Falcon, Red Hulk and a slew of other related heroes.

That’s it. That’s really all there is to the story. It’s not incredibly deep – although there are some good pages where Cable’s motivations are explained, ish – and consists mainly of superhero smackdowns that smack strongly of the style used in AvX VS, where two heroes spend an entire issue beating the crap out of each other. It’s not a bad thing in this case, and it’s actually kinda fun to see Cable beat seven shades of piss out of some of Marvel’s most beloved roster. It’s also refreshing to see someone flensing heroes alive with a motivation that doesn’t involve brainwashing, an evil clone or extraterrestrial possession, since Marvel have a tendency to flog that dead horse with such regularity the whip now resembles a garrote wire.

Artwork’s pretty good – I hadn’t checked out Ed McGuinness before, but what I saw wasn’t too bad. It does get a little chalky at times, and Cable’s absurd muscle proportions can be a bit – ahem – distracting on some pages, but overall it’s pretty well-handled.

Dialogue is…a bit lacking. It’s not really notable for atrociousness or standout soliloquyising, but it’s passable. Hush was better, but then again this is a different kettle of fish.

So yeah, brief review for a brief book. It’s worth checking out (if you can ignore the absurd price you pay for the hardcover) and, if nothing else, does a great job of showing that superhero comics can give good narratives without particular depth. It’s just shallow enough to be enjoyable – not quite Attack of the Clones, but definitely above The Clone Wars.

STORY: 3.5/5
ARTWORK: 3.5/5

OVERALL: 10/15

BEST QUOTE: “The Avengers. I’m coming for every single one of you.” – Cable

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