<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a> and <a href=http://www.twitter.com/LucasSiegel>Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Editor</a></i> <p>Marvel's 2012 event is titled <b>Avengers vs. X-Men</b>, but that doesn't mean things are quite that simple. <p>The lines between the two teams were somewhat blurry to begin with Wolverine, Beast and Storm are each members of both and even the X-Men are fractured in two camps right now, as a result of 2011's <i>X-Men: Schism</i>. <p>Also, with as many pieces in play both teams are pretty huge right now, with various subdivisions there are a lot of superheroes who might change sides during the course of the 12-part series, and with that could very well shift the dynamic of the entire conflict. <p>With <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #2</b> out this week, we've compiled a list of 10 characters to keep an eye on throughout <b>AvX</b>, as their actions could have a game-changing impact on the battlefield. <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>
They've dealt with the Avengers, and crossed paths with the X-Men. They've openly defied Iron Man and straight-up laid out Wolverine. This misfit band of sons and daughters of supervillains are a true family-team. So if their youngest member Molly says they need to go team up with the X-Men and help her fellow mutants, you can bet they'll answer the call quickly. <p>But having had some bad experiences with mutants of late (hi, Daken), and getting to know the folks at Avengers Academy, these kids, powerhouses in theory if not always in practice, could make a big change for the Avengers side as well. After all, a kid isn't going to grow up in the Marvel Universe <i>wanting</i> to be an X-Man, but you can bet at least a couple of them have always wanted to be Avengers.
Now, it's hard to think any of the "big three" would switch sides, especially during the <i>Avengers</i>' movie summer, but hear us out. If one of those three Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are going to go to the other side and help the X-Men save Hope <i>their</i> way, it's Iron Man. <p>The biggest reason? Tony Stark just isn't the type to repeat mistakes. When he followed the company line before, he started a superhero war that included the desecration of one of those two best friends and the death of the other (erm... he got better). Tony is a reasonable man with strong ties to many mutants, including Namor, Xavier (where is he in all this anyway?) and Emma Frost; not to mention Wolverine. If the right group got through to Tony Stark, and Iron Man started fighting for the mutant army, things could become very different indeed.
Much of the pre-<b>Avengers vs. X-Men</b> speculation centered on which side of the spectrum Wolverine, Beast and Storm would end up on, as all three are currently members of both teams. <p>While that's already been a factor in the few <b>AvX</b> comics released thus far, it's simplifying things a bit: Those three aren't the only Marvel characters in such position, and one very notable, very volatile one is X-23. <p>X-23 is the young, female clone of Wolverine, who has been a member of the X-Men, X-Force and had a number of her own solo adventures. Yet rather than siding with Cyclops or Wolverine post-<i>Schism</i>, she enrolled in Avengers Academy, where she's learning the ropes with a group of similarly troubled teen heroes. <p><b>Avengers Academy</b> writer <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/avengers-academy-runaways-avx-gage.html>Christos Gage told Newsarama in March</a> that X-23 will have a big part to play in the ongoing conflict: "X-23 will definitely have a major role in the <b>AvX</b> issues of <b>Academy</b>. She has one foot in each camp. She joined the Academy in part because she didn't like the Schism going on in the X-Men's world, but now she's caught up in a whole new conflict, and this time she's going to have to take a side."
Cable is back in a big way. His surrogate daughter, Hope, cured him of the techno-organic virus that has plagued him since infancy using her connection to the Phoenix Force. Now, he may not seem the type to switch sides and he certainly isn't ever going to kill Hope but just his very entry into the war could tip the battle in favor of the X-Men. <p>Right now, as far as the Avengers know, Cable is laid up in Utopia, completely consumed by the T-O Virus. Who better to show up at the eleventh hour, turning the tide and saving his daughter with a huge blast of telekinesis. We've seen what he can do at full strength (remember when he ran an ENTIRE ISLAND WITH HIS MIND?), and don't forget for all intents and purposes, Cable is the son of Jean freaking Grey. If there's someone else living on Earth with as strong, if not a stronger connection to the Phoenix Force than Hope, it's Nathan Christopher Charles Summers Dayspring Askani'Son. Nate as Phoenix... now that's a battle-tipper.
Let's face it: Spider-Man has a well-documented history of changing his mind. <p>At the start of 2006's <i>Civil War</i> event, Spidey was one of Iron Man's top soldiers in the battle against Captain America's anti-registration forces. The two of them grew closer than ever, with Tony Stark becoming something of a father figure to Peter Parker. <p>For a lot of very legitimate reasons (including the ill-advised decision to unmask publicly), Spider-Man switched over to Cap's side in the middle of the series, and became one of Cap's number one guys on the eventual losing team. <p>So who's to say he won't do that again? Spider-Man has a long history with the X-Men and close ties to several of the members (including Wolverine that guy's got a lot of friends). Maybe most importantly, he clearly can identify with their perpetual underdog and outsider status presumably much more than the bright and shiny Avengers, despite his presence in their ranks in the past few years.
Quicksilver has been an Avenger for the bulk of his superheroic career, but that's ignoring a few very important aspects of the character. <p>1) He's a mutant, 2) he's Magneto's son, 3) he's been a member of X-teams before, notably as part of Peter David's '90s <i>X-Factor</i> team. <p>So though Pietro Maxinoff might be part of the Avengers Academy faculty right now, there's no reason to trust he'll stay on the "A" side of <b>AvX</b> forever or even much longer, given the way his sister, the Scarlet Witch, was unceremoniously kicked out of Avengers Mansion by the Vision in <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #0</b>. <p>A partial reunion of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants Magneto, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver would be a significant acquisition for Team X-Men, not to mention thematic implications of the "is Cyclops acting like a villain?" undercurrent that's been running through the X-books lately. (Heck, Toad is the Jean Grey School janitor, throw him in there, too.)
As the headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and a card-carrying member of the Avengers, Wolverine isn't just a top candidate for potentially switching sides it looks like it's definitely going to happen. <p>In the climax of <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #1</b>, he's among the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes descending from a Quinjet, ready to bring the pain to Cyclops (someone Wolverine has had quite a few issues with as of late). Yet at C2E2 this past weekend in Chicago, Marvel was excitedly promoting a full-scale Wolverine/Captain America fight in <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #3</b> exactly how they get to that point remains to be seen, but it's clear that Wolverine is as unpredictable as ever. (Whether or not his fellow mutants with dual A/X membership, Storm and Beast, turn out to be as mercurial remains to be seen.) <p>Also, if Wolverine is switching sides this early into <b>AvX</b>, who knows how many times he might go back and forth before Marvel hits issue #12?
<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-comics-july-2012-solicitations.html>Marvel's July solicitations</a> made it pretty clear: <b>X-Men Legacy #270</b> will feature a long-awaited Rogue vs. Ms. Marvel fight characters with history dating back more than 30 years and by the end, one of them will change sides in the <b>Avengers vs. X-Men</b> war. <p>So, which one could it be? As previously announced, Ms. Marvel is soon becoming <b>Captain Marvel</b> in a new ongoing series, and shunning her Avengers teammates would certainly be an auspicious way to kick that book off and further her new direction. <p>But if you were going to lay down some cash (not really recommended, but we don't want to tell you what to do), Rogue is definitely the safer bet. She has had legitimate beefs with both Cyclops and Wolverine recently, and well, let's be honest even her codename makes it pretty clear that she's not too keen on doing what's expected of her.
Hope sure seems like she will be the full-on Phoenix soon. The X-Men think they can harness this phenomenal cosmic power into an itty-bitty living space and use it to essentially reboot the mutants who have lost their powers thanks to Scarlet Witch: a mutant <i>and</i> an Avenger, for the record. The Avengers think she needs to be imprisoned and maybe even killed if that's what it takes to keep the Phoenix at bay. <p>But what does <i>Hope</i> think? That's likely going to be a central theme throughout the whole series. Jean Grey did manage to sacrifice herself to stop the Phoenix, so what if Hope simply decides it's time to lock down the Phoenix once more? Hope not necessarily going against the X-Men but rather deciding to turn against the Phoenix itself is always a possibility. Of course, she could just go bats*#t insane and start killing people. That could be it, too.
"Is Jean Grey coming back?" <p>That question gets asked over and over again at conventions, during interviews, heck, <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/avengers-vs-x-men-lowe-brevoort-interview.html>we asked Marvel editors Nick Lowe and Tom Brevoort ourselves</a> recently (but no, they didn't dish). <p>Jean Grey is the ultimate X-Factor (sorry) in this story. If Jean does come back, like most fans seem to think she will, the way she handles the return, the Phoenix, the fact that mutants are divided, mutants are nearly gone... oh man, a lot of stuff has just plain gone to hell since Jean's been dead, hasn't it? <p>That statement right there, the fact that this is <i>not</i> the world she left it, could make Jean decide that the X-Men aren't the right group to side with. Or she could flat out say that both teams are wrong and do whatever she darn well pleases, she's Jean freaking Grey after all! If/when Jean Grey returns, her word will very likely be bond.