Lately I’ve been making an honest push to finally catch up with the recent string of Marvel comic events before the universe is altered or reset this October. My keeping up with comics began slacking after the Infinity event but I pushed through Original Sin a couple of months ago and have recently finished up Axis. I really liked the idea of Axis heading into the story because it came after the success that was Superior Spider-Man and expanding that concept to a larger part of the Marvel universe is all the more interesting. House of M is probably my favorite Marvel Comics story because it’s unique in offering readers a completely altered universe that acts as a fleshed out “what if” scenario. This is why I had high hopes for Axis, because it reminded me of House of M a lot. While Axis had plenty of good ideas, it found itself with many faults, falling short of the chance to be something great.
Having the Red Skull’s power alter everyone’s mind is a pretty fun introduction. The opening build really sets the tone for just how big of a threat the Red Skull actually is. He’s technically not even Red Skull, he’s Onslaught with Charles Xavier’s brain – powers and all. Not only do we see every hero that can come to fight him, but certain villains are convinced to set good and evil aside for the greater good of humanity. The story establishes a pretty heavy threat here and how human all of these people still are at their core.
The fight goes on for awhile but Doom and the Scarlet Witch combine their powers to finally overtake him. While the heroes technically succeed, Onslaught was able to plant his seed and cause a major personality inversion within everyone who was involved with the battle. At this point, Axis completes its opening and hits the portion that I was the most excited for; heroes and villains personality changes. Although I was excited to jump into the individual tie-ins of how Axis influenced different characters, I eventually noticed that it made the big event feel disjointed and lost. By switching up so many personalities the story moves into a period of re-introduction to its characters which takes time. I found that all of the tie-ins were able to accomplish a solid three issue arc that re-painted these characters; however, it was in a hit or miss fashion with many of the comics feeling sub-par.
I think that Carnage became my favorite Axis tie-in immediately. His story is touching and believable with strong writing from Rick Spears over the three issues. Carnage is essentially pure evil therefore he becomes pure good; it’s nice watching him seek out being a hero and really selling it. On the other hand you had stories such as Hobgoblin where the main character isn’t truly impacted from the inversion. Hobgoblin is still a greedy businessman who plays both sides which is something that is known. I just found his story boring compared to other characters. Superior Iron Man started out strong but grew old on me pretty quickly. It’s always at least a little bit of fun to watch Tony act above everyone else but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. I would have liked to have seen a better inclusion of the symbiote in his new suit being a problem.
Eventually everything begins to slowly bleed back together as you are finally grasping who is allied with one another. I think my biggest problem with Axis comes at this point, when the story turns into the Avengers vs. the X-Men. One side wants to use the Red Skull (now White Skull) to cause another inversion and make everything normal while the heroes turned villains (Iron Man, New Captain America) want to retain this new hunger for power. The story has three groups; the evil Avengers, the hero Avengers and the X-Men. The X-Men felt somewhat disconnected from everything going on because eventually their story gets wrapped up in Apocalypse while the two Avengers teams battle one another. When the Axis story reached this part it started to feel very repetitive and like other recent comic events.
Axis has a lot of good concepts in its foundation but feels like it needed more time to flesh the stories out. It’s tough when you write a story where everything requires re-introduction because it will take time to really communicate who the character is. The Superior Spider-Man is one of my favorite comic runs because we really learned about Doc Ock as a full character over the span of 33 issues. There was time for everyone to react, give it a chance, and, eventually love it. Axis tries to accomplish this over a couple of issues and it just doesn’t work as well.
For a time, Axis has all of the elements to be something great, but it gets choppy throughout the middle and never really makes a full recovery. For me, Axis was a fun read through that didn’t take too much time, but left me desiring a big scale well told Marvel event. Some parts were a big success while others never really grasped me how I was hoping they would. Overall, I think that Axis provides some solid moments but a sub-par story that felt rushed and crammed into a specific timeline. While the character inversion was fun, I think a lot of the tie-ins could have been better written and more compelling with a smoother connection to the main story. The finale of Axis never feels as grand as the initial build up makes it out to be. It never had me overly caring at any point and it wraps up really quickly. I’m hoping Secret Wars will be crazy and on another level compared to this.
- The relationship between Spider-Man and Nova over the course of this story is amazing. I hope those two can cross paths more often in the future.
- I think seeing Sam be so evil after recently becoming the new Captain America was the most upsetting hero change for me to read. He was SO evil…
- Sabertooth’s letter to Wolverine was neat. Definitely has me interested to read some more Sabertooth.
- Carnage killing people when initially learning to be a hero. Hilarious.
- I miss Wolverine and wish Steve had his powers still.
- Oh yeah! Deadpool had a really fun story as well. Per usual, it was funny and relaxed but a neat way to give us a sense for Deadpool’s true personality.