What if? AVX #1

Issue Date: 
September 2013
Story Title: 
What if… A vs. X – part 1

Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Jorge Molina (pencils), Norman Lee (inks), Rachel Rosenberg (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Jorge Molina (cover artist), Jennifer M. Smith (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

As the Phoenix Force heads towards Earth, the Guardians of the Galaxy manage to send a warning before they are destroyed by it. Having received the message, the Avengers inform the politicians of the situation and intend to deal with the Phoenix. They already sent some Avengers into space as a first line of defense, with the others going to Utopia to take Hope Summers, the intended host of the Phoenix Force, into custody. While they are on the way in the heli-carrier, Wolverine fears he is going to have to kill Hope. On Utopia, Hope is receiving training by Magneto when the heli-carrier arrives. Magneto, Hope, Namor and Storm fly up to discuss matters with the Avengers. Tempers flare, especially those of Wolverine and Namor. Finally, Wolverine attacks Namor. When Storm steps between them, he accidentally injures her fatally. In retaliation, Magneto brings down the heli-carrier.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere in space flies the ship of Guardians of the Galaxy. Their leader, Starlord, calls the team on deck announcing a problem. Some sort of living energy force coming their way. He’s been trying to communicate with it, but no luck. It’s coming right at them, with no intentions of stopping. Drax announces that, no matter which way he manoeuvers the ship, it’s matching their coordinates. It’s heading right at them.

Starlord sends out a distress signal with the energy’s coordinates attached to warn others. “It’s coming!” he gasps and the Phoenix Force smashes right through their ship.

Earth, sometime later:

On the SHIELD helicarrier, Captain America informs several heads of state about the Phoenix Force and the SOS call they received, which alerted them to the exact trajectory of the force.

Iron Man continues that they have been in constant search for this particular signature since the Jean Grey incident. He has spent the night tracking and going over the star maps, doing the math to find the exact location this parasitic force is heading for. That would be the island known as Utopia.

Cap agrees they have an idea who the Phoenix is coming for. The person is giving off a distinct electromagnetic signal. That person is Hope Summers of the X-Men, Cap announces.

Their mission is going to be twofold: Their first line of defense is already in effect. They’ve sent Black Panther, Thor, Ms. Marvel, Nova and the Vision into outer space to try to intercept the Phoenix Force.

Ms. Marvel and Nova fly outside the spaceship. Nova senses the Phoenix enter the solar system. They cannot fail, Thor announces stoically.

On Earth, Cap continues his explanation. The second part of the operation is to go to Utopia and deal with Hope Summers directly. Is he asking what he thinks Cap is asking? the US president inquires. If their group in space fails and the Phoenix claims Hope Summers, he is afraid there will be nothing they can do to stop her, Cap explains. All life on this planet has the potential to be wiped out. The planet itself burnt to dust. The president gives him sanction to do whatever it takes to prevent this catastrophe.

In the meantime on Utopia, Cyclops, Storm, Emma Frost and Namor watch Magneto training Hope. Storm admits she has come a long way under Magneto’s tutelage. Let’s just hope he’s teaching her the right lessons, Scott remarks.

Magneto lectures Hope that she is their future. Her ability to evaluate a situation and react is key to a proper offense and defense. The humans fear them and there isn’t a second when they should be comfortable enough around them to let down their guard. Something obvious can easily be a deception.

A metal fist flies towards Hope but she doesn’t notice it, having to evade another obstacle. The fist slams into Hope. Magneto orders her to focus and not let her powers define her. If history has taught them anything, it’s that humans fear what they cannot comprehend and their reaction to fear is always destruction.

That’s a lot of speech to set up a sucker punch, Hope bristles. Training her correctly will save her life one day and those of her fellow X-Men. There is no such thing as playing by these imaginary rules. They must be united as one in order to become the dominant species.

Hope copies his power to catch another iron thing coming at her. He bursts it apart and has the metal trap Hope. Magneto reminds her that they are endangered. Concentrate, focus and unravel what binds her. A puzzle is always simpler to take apart than put together.

Enough! Hope shouts and in a burst of fire the metal breaks apart. Hope has no idea what just happened. Emma warns them of trouble heading their way, as she looks up.

Aboard the heli-carrier, Wolverine asks Captain America if he is sure. 100 percent, Cap replies. They have to act quickly and he has to know Wolverine is with him. Wolverine reminisces about Jean Grey killing herself to stop the Phoenix, and even that wasn’t good enough. He’ll stand with the Avengers because he knows what happens if this goes bad. But when the chips are down, he’s on his own side. He’s gonna do whatever needs to be done to stop this thing.

If he is suggesting what he thinks he is, he can’t condone this, Cap warns. Logan snaps that Rogers knows who and what he is. Deal’s always been the same. He’s trusted him before. No reason this should be different. Fair enough, Cap concedes and leads him outside to the others.

On Utopia, Emma assures Scott they have seen the signs. The Phoenix is coming. She can feel it. Magneto thinks it’s just the thing they need right now. It might give them a chance to start anew. Storm points out that the Phoenix brings the power of rebirth but with it death and destruction. Is Hope prepared to be host to such a power? Magneto promises she will be ready. In the end, the decision is Hope’s.

That may not be the case, Emma warns them. They have company. The heli-carrier hovers above them. Scott wants to talk to the Avengers. Does he really think they will negotiate with him after all he has done? Magneto asks and decides he will go with Hope and Storm and Namor. Try to convince them that Hope is prepared to receive the Phoenix and all will be well. Scott asks for Emma to keep him connected. As they fly up Magneto tells Storm to do the talking.

As they enter the heli-carrier, Storm asks how can they help them. Captain America demands they take Hope into protective custody. Storm replies they have faith Hope will be able to handle this. Cap doesn’t believe she can. They need to take her and—

And what? Hope demands. How are any of their kind going to help her more than her own people? This isn’t a mutant versus human problem, Cap replies. They need to work together.

First, he wants to take her, then they want to work together? No wonder they can’t trust him, Namor mocks.

Wolverine reminds Storm of what happened to Jean. There is no way in hell this can be contained. What is he saying? Storm demands. Isn’t it obvious? Magneto asks. Wolverine is here to kill Hope. He asks Cap if he takes them for idiots. They fear that the Phoenix will herald the rebirth of the mutants and are doing what human usually do when they dread something. Kill it! That is not going to happen.

Angrily, Spider-Woman asks why they are even listening to Magneto; this is ridiculous! He retorts the alternative would be war. She accuses him of being a genocidal murderer. Angrily, he gives orders to shut her up before he deals with her himself. Spider-Woman attacks and is restrained by the metallic ground.

While Magneto and Cap argue, Wolverine tells Namor they know what’s gotta happen here. Get out of the way! Make him, Namor retorts. Storm shouts at all of them to stop this. Wolverine demands that they hand over the girl or they’ll take her with force. Namor accuses him of having gotten soft.

Namor hits Wolverine and Magneto smirks. Storm tries to restrain Namor when a furious Wolverine comes running at him. When Storm steps between them, she is inadvertently gutted by Logan’s claws. She and Hope fall out of the entrance and downwards.

With her dying words, Storm tells Hope to follow her heart and trust what she feels is the right thing.

They have drawn first blood, Magneto tells the shocked Avengers. They have murdered one of his people. This means war! And he breaks the Heli-carrier apart, much to the shock of his fellow X-Men.

Characters Involved: 

Ant-Man, Beast, Black Panther, Back Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Fist Iron Man, Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Thor, Valkyrie, Vision, Wolverine (all Avengers)

Nova III

Colleen Wing & Misty Knight

Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Hope, Magneto, Namor, Storm (X-Men)

Drax, Gamorra, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Phoenix Force

Story Notes: 

This is a “what if” story based on the Avengers versus X-Men limited series.

Strangely, there are several factors which are different to the main continuity instead of just one, e.g. Magneto teaching Hope, Nova already being an Avenger, a different team of Avengers heading to meet the Phoenix.

It is unclear why the X-Men think it is a good idea to send Magneto to deal with the Avengers. At this point, Cyclops shouldn’t be persona non grata with them yet.

Issue Information: 
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