Avengers vs X-Men saw two of Marvel’s greatest superhero teams at each other’s throats, but the first official AvX is actually way more heartbreaking.
The Marvel Comics event Avengers vs X-Men is one of the most groundbreaking storylines to date as it pits two of the greatest superhero teams in all comic book fiction against each other in an epic showdown for the ages, although many may not be aware that it wasn’t the first ‘Avengers vs X-Men’ in Marvel Comics history–and the first one was actually way more heartbreaking.
In 2012’s Avengers vs X-Men, the Avengers learn the Phoenix Force is on its way back to Earth, and that its new host will likely be Hope Summers. Hope Summers is the first mutant born after M-Day, and is often referred to as the mutant messiah–and it seemed to the Avengers that she was about to fulfill a cosmic purpose, although they feared that could mean the end of the world. So, the Avengers approach the X-Men in an effort to take Hope with them and keep her under their supervision, although at this point in the shared universe, the X-Men aren’t so trusting. It wasn’t long before this that nearly every agency on Earth was after Hope when she was a baby given her mutant status following M-Day, so there was no way the X-Men were going to hand her over now just because the Avengers thought she might be a threat if the Phoenix even comes back at all. So, this disagreement led to violent conflict, sparking an all-out war between the Avengers and the X-Men as both sides were fighting for what they believed was right.
In Avengers #53 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, the Avengers are approached by Angel for help after the X-Men were being held captive by the villainous Magneto. Since Magneto recently took control over Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch once more–both of whom were recently Avengers themselves–Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were happy to lend a helping hand. Once they got to Magneto’s base of operations, however, things started to immediately go awry. For starters, Cyclops didn’t believe the Avengers were who they said they were when they tried to rescue him, and he battled all the Avengers single-handedly. It wasn’t until later, when Cyclops had reunited with his fellow X-Men while still trapped in Magneto’s fortress, that he realized the error of his ways–but by then, it was already too late.
The First Avengers vs X-Men was Started by Magneto Against the Heroes’ Wills
Getting the Avengers and the X-Men together within his base was all part of Magneto’s villainous plan as he had a device that would allow him to warp the minds of those he used it on and make them do his bidding. So, Magneto used this device on the X-Men and forced them to battle the Avengers–thus beginning Marvel’s first Avengers vs X-Men. What’s so heartbreaking about this story as opposed to the more well-known version is that, here, neither the X-Men nor the Avengers have a say in their actions. In fact, Magneto is making them do the exact opposite of what they want to do. Just as the X-Men recognize the Avengers as fellow heroes, Magneto rips that thought away from them and forces the team to fight the Avengers. In 2012’s Avengers vs X-Menthe two teams were at least fighting for what they viewed as right, but in the original version, they’re just puppets who could have killed or have been killed without having any say in the matter.
When the subtitle to this Avengers issue read “Avengers vs X-Men“, readers knew it was going to be a fun comic–though the troubling undertones tell a different story. While this official ‘Avengers vs X-Men‘ comic was a much shorter and overall a less impactful story than the 2012 event, it was definitely more heartbreaking as it showed Marvel Comics‘greatest heroes stripped of their free will and forced to viciously battle one another rather than exercising their right to fight for what they believe in.
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