<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>After months and months of being told that it was coming, <b>Avengers Vs. X-Men</b> is finally here, with #0 released this week (along with #1, if your store was one of those who broke embargo whether intentionally or by accident) and titans on both side finally glaring at each other across the divide and getting ready to clash, old-school style whether in the main series of slugfest spin-off <em>Versus</em>. <p>But now that we've gone from "It's Coming" to "It's Here," should we already start thinking about "It's Over"? Here are ten suggestions of possible if, in some cases, entirely unlikely endings for what Marvel is calling its biggest event since 2006's <em>Civil War</em>. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
You may scoff, but this prediction has two things on its side: The onetime rumor of a <em>Wolverine and the X-Men/Avengers Academy</em> crossover that would've seen the two teams face off in a softball game the likes of which sports fans have never seen, and Marvel's history of resolving big cosmic battles with particularly mundane denouements (who else remember Daredevil betting the Earth and the Moon on a coin toss with the Grandmaster way back in <em>Giant Size Defenders</em> #3?). <p>Sure, it would make for a particularly lame ending for the violent, no-stakes-higher series that we've been promised, but letting both teams sort out their differences with bats and balls wouldn't be <em>entirely</em> out of character for the House of Ideas...
What? It worked out pretty well for <em>Civil War</em>, didn't it...?
OK, so we may have been promised that "there will be a winner" at the end of this title fight, but... really? That just seems like a very bad idea, given the historical precedents set by events like <em>Civil War</em> or <em>Marvel vs. DC</em>. <p>From a storytelling perspective, there's a definite thrill to the idea that there's a definite winner and loser and a different metaphorical landscape as a result, but from a franchise management perspective, it feels like an easy way to upset half of your readers and provide closure to the kind of "Can Thor Beat The Hulk?" argument that, let's be honest, really doesn't need any kind of closure at all if fans are to stay engaged and excited about your characters. Looking at things from that point of view, there's only one real benefit to declaring a winner: The possibility of a rematch somewhere down the line.
Marvel's been getting back into the alternate realities a lot lately, hasn't it? We've had Greg Pak and Mike McKone's <em>Astonishing X-Men</em> run with the alternate X-Men, Rick Remender and Greg Tochini's current <em>Uncanny X-Force</em> run with Otherworld and the parallel realities contained therein, the upcoming <em>X-Treme X-Men</em> (pictured) which seems to be a rebirth of the former <em>Exiles</em> title with Dazzler in place of Blink, and the possibility that <em>Spider-Men</em> will cross over the mainstream Marvel Universe with the Ultimate Universe for the first time. <p>Doesn't that seem like a <em>lot</em> of alternate parallel reality stories in a short amount of time? What if they're all a quiet way to remind readers that Marvel has its own multiverse, just in case the Avengers and X-Men manage to save their own Earth by shunting the Phoenix Force into another reality at some point during their big event miniseries...? Sure, it might not solve the problem long-term, but the "It'll do for now" strategy has worked for decades when it comes to Galactus.
It's a crazy idea, but... what if Cyclops is <em>right</em>? Seemingly overlooked in the rush to promote the "hero on hero" action of <em>AvX</em> is the idea that maybe the Phoenix isn't the destructive force that many believe it to be, and that it will, in fact, bring all manner of renewal and rebirth to the Marvel Universe? <p> Captain America and Iron Man will have red faces, it's true, but imagine how rare it would be if <em>AvX</em> ended up being an event that finished with more heroes left alive and more possibility of a brighter, hopeful tomorrow than when it started? Here's to this surprising twist in the tale coming true.
Reasons why the idea that some kind of collective power/emotion/consciousness of humanity overcomes the Phoenix Force in a cosmic clash unlike anything we could possibly imagine is very, very unlikely: <p> Grant Morrison is not writing this comic.<br> That kind of thing doesn't happen in Marvel Comics, anyway.<p> Reasons why the idea that some kind of collective power/emotion/consciousness of humanity overcomes the Phoenix Force in a cosmic clash unlike anything we could possibly imagine isn't that unlikely after all:<p> Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman and Jason Aaron, none afraid of a Morrisonian idea when well-paced, <em>are</em> writing this comic.<br> If no-one's expecting this kind of thing, that's all the more reason to do it. Just imagine the impact it will have!
Surely everyone has been expecting <em>something</em> like this since the initial announcement of the event? After all, if you're talking "Marvel Comics," "cosmic events" and "the fate of humanity," there's only one team you go to and it's not either of the ones with their names in the title. <p>We know that Ben Grimm is fully involved with the clash between teams, but who's to say that Reed Richards and family won't have something to say about the Phoenix Force or that, if they did get involved, they wouldn't end up taking a position that's as surprising as when Richards declared that Galactus must live and coming up with a way for everyone to win? Go Team Science!
How many times have we been told, in the run up to this event, that the Phoenix is an avatar of death and rebirth? If, as rumors continue to insist despite numerous firm denials, we're heading towards some kind of reboot for the entire (or aspects of the) Marvel Universe, what's to stop the Architects and artists from going for broke and killing the existing Marvel U in one fell swoop or, much more fun, lots of smaller swoops before hitting the cosmic reset button? <p>Just imagine how ridiculously epic a final battle between the two massive teams would be if heroes really <em>did</em> have to die trying if they weren't going to win! If the mass media turned out for the singular deaths of Captain America, Spider-Man and the Human Torch, just how many virtual column inches could be carved out of the death of <em>every single character in the entire Marvel Universe</em>?
What if the surprise ending of last week's <em>Avengers: X-Sanction #4</em> was foreshadowing in a way that you didn't see coming, and there turns out to be <em>two</em> Phoenix Forces? After all, we apparently saw Hope flame on with a Phoenix already, even as the Phoenix Force heads towards Earth, raising questions like "Why do we assume that there's only one, anyway?" and "Even if there <em>is</em> only one, what if Hope got the Phoenix Force in the future and then traveled back in time with the future Phoenix Force inside her all along?" <p>Worryingly enough, that isn't entirely impossible. After all, it might explain how she started to reignite the mutant race back in <em>Second Coming</em>...
If "When Superheroes Clash!" is the genre's second oldest story right behind "When Superheroes Clash With Supervillains!" then "The Avengers and X-Men Fight For A Bit Before Realizing That It Was All One Big Misunderstanding And Join Forces Against A Common Foe!" has to be the ending that you've been expecting since this whole shebang was first announced, and it has to be said: I'm not sure there's a foe more common than "the potential destruction of existence as we know it." <p>If ever there was a reason to give up on lesser arguments and band together, "because you won't be around afterwards otherwise" is a pretty damn compelling argument. If <em>Avengers Vs. X-Men</em> is the Mighty Marvel High Concept Writ Large that it appears to be, then this is the ending that the story deserves and the only one that will allow both sides to feel good about themselves the morning after it's all over.