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A Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover for the year 2012, Avengers vs. X-Men (or AvX) is a 12 issue Maxi series with Brian Bendis, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubacker and Jonathan Hickman, scripting and John Romita Jr, Oliver Coipel and Adam Kubert for art.
The newest Nova crash lands on Earth, warning vaguely of oncoming doom before lapsing into a coma. Based off the energy signature on his uniform, The Avengers deduce that the warning is about the approaching return of the Phoenix Force, which is heading to Earth to choose a new host, with teenage Mutant messiah, Hope Summers being the prime candidate.
The X-Men suspect Hope to be the next host of the Phoenix as well, and, under the direction of Cyclops, those on Utopia are attempting to train her to be ready to take on the power. Cyclops believes she will be able to reverse the damage done to the world's mutant population at the end of House of M. But Hope believes she is already ready, having trained for much of her life with her adopted father Cable in the future for the purpose of saving mutantkind.
The Avengers feel they need to secure Hope and take her off the planet in order to prevent another Jean Grey (or a Planetary/Species extinction event). The X-Men, naturally, will hold onto Hope at all costs, and therein lies the conflict between the world's most powerful superheroes with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
Before the main series officially kicked off, a Jeph Loeb penned Avengers: X-Sanction mini starring Cable and #0 issue by Brian Bendis and Jason Aaron focusing on Hope Summers and Scarlet Witch were released. One non-ongoing tie-in mini series is set to be released alongside the main book, titled AvX: VS, which will be extended versions of the battles between individual characters.
Avengers vs X-Men provides examples of:
- Conflicting Loyalty: Wolverine having to choose between siding with the Avengers, or with the X-Men despite disagreeing with Cyclops & his actions of late. Beast & Storm also face this decision, but Beast goes with the Avengers away team & Storm decides to go with the X-Men without a moment's thought.
- Averted with Namor, who says via inner monologue that he decided to side with the X-Men over the Avengers not because he's technically a mutant, but because he admires Cyclops for standing up to his "oppressors."
- Fastball Special: Colossus is thrown by Magneto, through the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier. Yes, the same Colossus who originally created the move with Wolverine & is usually the one doing the throwing, is the projectile.
- In a tie-in issue of X-Men Legacy Frenzy performs this with Kitty Pryde by throwing her through Iron Man's armor to short it out... with less than optimal results.
- Fighting Your Friend: Numerous instances, but perhaps the most extreme instance is Black Panther siding with the Avengers whilst his wife Storm sides with the X-Men.
- Good Versus Good: The Avengers and the X-Men are both desperate to safely deal with the Phoenix Force and save lives, but they have drastically different ideas on how to do it.
- Let's You and Him Fight: To the point that they made a whole separate miniseries (AvX: VS) just to feature such throwdowns.
- Living MacGuffin: Hope Summers since the day she was born.
- Oh Crap: Cyclops has one after optic blasting Captain America off Utopia, only for the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier to decloak above him, with the Avengers assembled.
- Magneto has one during his battle with Iron Man when he senses the Phoenix killing another populated world on its way to Earth. Magneto immediately stops fighting.
- Everyone has one, when the Avengers & X-Men are about to start fight on the Moon, only to be interrupted by Thor's battered body to be thrown into the middle of the two teams.
- Poor Communication Kills: Cable after miraculously surviving his last Heroic Sacrifice, winds up in a future where the world is destroyed, his body is breaking down and Blaquesmith one of his close friends, tell him because of something the Avengers do to Hope the world ends up like this, decides to travel back in time capture and nearly kill the Avengers in his last 24 hours of life, rather then have explain the situation or have Blaquesmith do so.
- Pursued Protagonist: Nova
- Shoot the Dog: Wolverine believes Hope needs to be killed to stop the Phoenix. This puts him at odds with the Avengers since they only want to take her somewhere safe off-world.
- Averted, in a tie-in Wolverine realizes that even with everything at stake, he'll never truly be able to kill Hope because he views her as child, one of the few things Logan will never harm.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: AvX VS
- Wild Card: Wolverine, a long-standing X-Man but at the same time an established Avenger currently on bad terms with Cyclops.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: The abbreviation "AvX".
- You Remind Me of X: After Cyclops says that Phoenix could be used to "put the world back on track", Magneto points that Cyclops is starting to sound like him.
- Averted with Wolverine in a tie-in when he says in narration that when he looks at Jean Grey Expy, Hope, he doesn't see that strong woman he loved, but just a child who has no idea what she's gotten herself into.