AvX Post Game, Week 16: The X-MEN Prison Experiment

***Spoilers for AvX: VS #4, New Avengers #28 and Wolverine and the X-Men #13 follow.***


We're back from San Diego, and there's no time to rest when we've got the latest AvX Post Game to get to, covering AvX: VS #4 (from Rick Remender/Brandon Peterson and Kaare Andrews), New Avengers #28 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato and Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw's Wolverine and the X-Men #13.


This week saw a first in AvX history — a draw in AvX: VS #4, between Psylocke and Daredevil. Series assistant editor Jordan D. White talked to us about why this particular fight ended in a tie, when they were all pretty close thus far (well, except for Captain America vs. Gambit).


Newsarama: Jordan, in AvX: VS #4, the fight between Psylocke and Daredevil ends in a draw, which is a first for the series. What was the methodology behind ending the fight between those two equally, given that several others thus far in the series were quite close? Was it deemed that Psylocke and Daredevil were just exceptionally evenly matched, and/or was there a notion that it simply made sense to have a draw at some point in the book, given how powerful and skilled the characters involved are?

Jordan D. White: The idea to do that came from the writer of that story, Rick Remender. For my part, the reason it worked for me is that, on sheer powers, I think it's pretty obvious that Psylocke has a tremendous advantage on horn-head… but he used one of his specialties, his ability to make an argument, to instill reasonable doubt in her. That worked on a character level for both of them: Matt being a skilled lawyer, and Betsy already being on somewhat shaky mental ground from her experiences in Mr. Remender's Uncanny X-Force. If you'd prefer, you can declare this fight settled out of court.



AvX: VS #4: As noted earlier, this issue depicted the first draw of the "fight-only" series, between Psylocke and Daredevil. In the second feature, Emma Frost takes on Thor, God of Thunder, in what at one point in the recent past would have been a decidedly one-sided affair, and is now much more of a contest thank to the former's Phoenix powers. In fact, after getting literally split down the middle thanks to Thor and Mjolnir, Emma is able to rally back for a decisive victory — bringing the score within AvX: VS now 4-3-1 in favor of the X-Men, making a major comeback since the rise of the Phoenix Five.


New Avengers #28: 1971's famous "Stanford prison experiment" documented the profound psychological effect that the role of prisoner or prison guard has on someone, and though Danger has prior experience as the warden of Utopia (and, strictly speaking, isn't really a someone), she sure seems to be taking major liberties with her treatment of Spider-Woman, Luke Cage and Hawkeye, who are imprisoned and forced to repeatedly act out a virtual reality simulation where they narrowly escape — but in fact are in Matrix-esque pods. Pretty inhumane treatment, but since Danger isn't human, she's probably not overly concerned about it. Plus, Hawkeye reveals a preference for In-N-Out Burger, at least within the simulation. (Sorry, Five Guys fans.)


Wolverine and the X-Men #13: Warbird first appeared last year in Wolverine and the X-Men #1 with not much of an explanation other than she was acting as Kid Gladiator's bodyguard, but this issue provided a lot more in the form of backstory for the character, born "Ava'Dara Naganandini." (In the Shi'ar Throneworld, that's probably like "Sarah Johnson.") Turns out, for as fierce and violent as she is now, her shameful secret is that she actually wanted to be an artist, a soft side that comes to light later in the issue. (Also, she kisses Iceman's temporarily disembodied ice head, a surprising moment for him for at least a couple of reasons.)

Worth noting:

- Marvel's digital "House of Ideas" panel last Thursday at Comic-Con brought news of the next Infinite Comics release, coinciding with Avengers vs. X-Men #10 and written by Mark Waid, "storyboarded" by Balak and illustrated by Reilly Brown. It's set to star Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Beast.


- Was Rick Remender sowing the seeds of Uncanny Avengers in AvX: VS #4? Both Daredevil and Psylocke's narration ruminates that the Avengers have virtually ignored the X-Men for years, which by all accounts is a major theme of the October-debuting series, and what the blended team is tasked with rectifying.

- In case you were wondering if his look in recent years was not strictly a choice, New Avengers #28 confirmed that Luke Cage can indeed grow hair and a full beard, both in a virtual reality simulation and apparently in real life (well, real Marvel Universe life).

- The cover to Wolverine and the X-Men #14 was pixilated when originally solicited to obscure who was handing Kitty Pryde flowers, but, surprise! It's Colossus, as the last page of issue #13 makes clear. (Whether or not being both possessed by Cyttorak and 1/5 of the Phoenix is the best emotional place to be in a relationship remains to be seen)



Another week, three more AvX-related books, including Avengers vs. X-Men #8 from the main series, picking up with Namor's water war on Wakanda (preview here); more of Emma Frost's war on Juston's Sentinel in Avengers Academy #33 (preview here); and the Phoenix Five paying a visit to Sinister London in Uncanny X-Men #16 (preview here).


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