Avengers vs. X-Men #10: Hope Summers Gets A Codename
We're in the home stretch of Avengers vs. X-Men with issue #10, and the whole thing with Hope Summers is finally coming to a head. She's been heralded as the mutant messiah since day one, but we got a swerve a few issues back throwing the Phoenix at five X-Men instead of her because she couldn't handle it. That never stopped her from being the messiah, though. Still, she's always just been Hope Summers. No snazzy codename like Cyclops or even a lame codename like her father-figure Cable – someone we're still waiting for to make an appearance here. Here, however, we get a potential one for her, which could really exemplify the randomness with which she can copy powers and her new training in the mystical kung-fu city of K'un L'un.
How does "Chaos Fist" grab you?
I know, a little iffy. Perhaps that's a name better reserved for the move she employs in the face of the amped-up grandaddy-figure she faces in Cyclops, who is determined to take her from the Avengers. First, Shao Lao The Undying, dragon-born of K'un L'un is taken down after being able to hurt Scotty Jive of the Phoenix Five. Then the Scarlet Witch throws everything she's got at Cyke, and he shrugs it off thanks to last issue dropping the Rasputins in dumb-ass fashion and tripling his power. However, Hope copies both Shao Lao and Wanda Maximoff power and is able to clock Scott BANG ZOOM to the moon with the "chaos fist." Thus, finally unlocking the mystical riddle that Tony Stark's been confounded by for most of the series, ever since he created the Phoenix Five in the first place.
This leads the stunned Cyclops to decide he's going to take the rest of the Phoenix power back, and next issue should see him confronting his lover, the truly corrupted Emma Frost, who is spending her time making all the remaining X-folk bow to her power, including Magneto, despite his protests. Leading him to psychically call Charles Xavier for help.
Along with setting up the final Summers v. Summers throwdown, Avengers vs. X-Men #10 also sets the wheel of destiny whirling as to who will be the mandatory death that must always happen to give an event book its punch. The even money is on Cyclops, of course, as the figurehead of a hope polluted by absolute power and who has become the central villain of the whole affair. However, don't count out Xavier, since he's a major player who has nonetheless been put out to pasture in the X-books because no one knows what to do with the world's most powerful telepath. This would finally be something to do with him, and it has the bonus of killing him off so people stop asking "why isn't the highly educated Professor Xavier helping the entirely unqualified and murderous hairy savage run a school for his precious mutants?" And who on the Avengers looks primed to take a fall? Might Danny Rand bite it so Hope can become the new Iron Chaos Fist? Will the Red Hulk die, since his book is being taken over by his daughter, the Red She-Hulk, who will apparently declare war on all superhumans? There are two issues left to find out.
This is the great Ed Brubaker stepping into the AvX rotation again, although one might posit that being involved with this big event book is part of what burnt him out on superhero comics and has sent him off to do more creator-owned work. It's a perfectly adequate issue, but certainly not the kind of story where Bru thrives. Some interesting things happen, but nothing particularly surprising. Adam Kubert's artwork is always solid, of course.
There's still the central logic issue of Cyclops repeatedly claiming he's trying to save their species, but how exactly is he doing that? He's taking over the world. I thought the plan was to use the Phoenix power to override whatever genetic magic malarkey was happening that was keeping new mutants from being born. However, I suppose at this point we're just supposed to chalk up all character-based questions like that to 'Phoenix possession makes people jerky' and leave it at that. So let's shrug it off and get on with the rest of it.
Hey, it's still sorta fun. And it's not Fear Itself. So let's enjoy what we can. We do like liking things.