Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So now that Avengers has happened on-screen, I fully expect X-Men to be coming back to the forefront.

I mean, if you really wanted to call a spade a spade, I suppose the Avengers and the X-Men universes are the two big lines of continuity within Marvel. There are all sorts of crossovers and threads here and there, but for as long as I can remember X-Men features issues, characters and ideas that are so vast and beloved that it has always kind of stood alone as a comic and a series of spin-offs (fitting, given what the book is about).

In fact, I’m probably not telling anyone anything they don’t know by saying that it’s really only been recently that the Avengers have kind of coalesced into a fully realized and enthralling line of continuity on par with the X-Men canon. I mean, I really think Brian Michael Bendis’ writing (among other contributions) was a big part of what has brought the rest of the Marvel Universe alive with the same flair and magic that Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men had back in the day.

And honestly? In between all of this stuff going on with Civil War and Osborn and the New Avengers? Everything going on with X-Men these days is really exciting.

Granted, the cast of characters has (one again) DOUBLED and some characters have returned in forms I’m not always quite sure of. For instance, Colossus is running around in Juggernaut’s helmet. You’d think after turning him evil, killing him off and resurrecting him we could let the guy be who he is. Overall though, I think everything about Utopia and Cyclops really stepping in as the new leader of mutantkind has been really intense.

There’s been plenty of old-school X-Men lore tossed around too. I feel like the reception of that entire "X-Men fighting for their lives against time traveling Sentinels from the future" arc was a little dimmer than I thought.

I really love some of the writers’ willingness to get in there and get crazy with the X-Men mythos. The Phoenix Force, time travel and, hell, even Deadpool, have played big roles in what has been going on in X-Men lately. A lot of that feels a little lost in the wash with all this Avengers movie hype.

Children’s Crusade was cool. I think the young Avengers are cute and I ALWAYS love seeing Doom make an appearance. But see, I think the whole Magneto-Scarlet Witch- Quicksilver family-angst thing has really become (surprisingly) a staple of the Avengers' storyline. I mean, obviously, it bridges both groups, but I’m just saying Dissasembled, House of M and Children’s Crusade--while ostensibly all about mutants--really seems to showcase a lot of Avengers characters.

I guess that’s partly why, thus far, I have been mostly pleased with Avengers vs X-Men. I mean, this is a comic that doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. It’s an old-school, superfluous all of your heroes duke it out kind of crossover. But I really dig the idea that Hope Summers is an important part of what’s going on. Hope’s birth is a BIG DEAL and the ramifications of her existence should echo all across the Marvel Universe.

I’m obsessed with understanding the Summers/Grey family tree. The kinds of strange time paradoxes embedded in it (Rachel Summers, Scott and Jean’s daughter from an alternate future/timeline, actually helped raise their son, Nathan “Cable” Summers, after transporting him to the distant future/timeline) are intriguing and doubly so now that Scott and Jean aren’t together anymore.

And don’t even get me started on Mr. Sinister and Madelyne Pryor.

Guess the big question on everyone’s mind has always been is Hope actually Jean?

I’d be surprised. Not saying it couldn’t happen. I just think the answer might be a little more complicated. I mean, the Phoenix Force is exactly what a sounds like: the sort of embodiment of destruction and rebirth.

Jean has come back in one form or another before.

But maybe it’s sort of like Hope isn’t a ‘clone’ of Jean, exactly, but a new being altogether with all the best parts of Jean still in there. This seems to make sense given the Phoenix Force’s purpose. The idea being that it may destroy part of the universe only to re-grow and recreate it in a better and more powerful image.

Inevitably, I doubt the Phoenix Force is going to take a look at all the Avengers and X-Men slugging it out and decide that this little corner of the universe is a nice place to visit. I just don’t know exactly how the end game of the entire thing is going to play out.