Issues #1 and #2 both came off a tad on hasty side. With better storytelling and some curve balls thrown into the plot, Issue #3 felt like a step in the right direction. Now, issue #4 finds the Avengers and the X-Men on a witch hunt across the globe to find the runaway “Mutant Messiah” known as Hope. With the story shifting from skirmish to a race against the clock, there just may be more to this story than just superheroes fighting superheroes.
This issue provides readers with more plots to go along with the punches. One of the more interesting portions of the story consists of Hope Summers asking the least likely candidate for assistance. Meanwhile, a small team of Avengers are on a suicide mission to intercept the Phoenix in deep space. (Good luck with that.) The battle between the two teams rages on, only now they are facing off in smaller squads. The pursuit of Hope has taken the fight global to precarious locations like Latveria, Tabula Rasa and the Savage Land.
Each issue has been fashioned by a different writer and this time the duty goes to Jonathan Hickman. If you are familiar with Hickman’s writing from Fantastic Four, then you know Hickman has the expertise to tell some truly expressive tales. Hickman’s knack for storytelling and his use of dialogue aren’t wasted here. Using Emma Frost as a way to report on the multiple skirmishes is a nice touch and then there is this issues cliffhanger conclusion. Artist John Romita Jr. returns for more penciling duties. Johnny’s had his hands full working on each issue so far and although issue #2 felt a little dicey; his handling on issues #3 & #4 looks a bit more refined.
My only real gripe with issue #4 is the fragmented combat sequences combined with the overall hurried pacing left me feeling a little discontent. Sure, there are plenty of tie-in titles like New Avengers, Uncanny X-Men and the VS mini-series which all expand on the story. Nonetheless, I don’t feel you should be required to read all the related issues in order to get a sense of satisfaction with the core book. Even so, I still view issue #4 as another positive step for this series.
Final Grade: B