The Avengers are fighting the X-men, yes, but why? As someone who hadn’t read any 616 Avengers or X-men for a while, would I even be able to understand Avengers vs X-men? I figured it out and so can you – for your convenience, a (mostly AvX spoiler-free) guide to understanding Marvel’s newest comics event.
Avengers: X-Sanction: Cable comes back from a horrible future, sure that it’s all the Avengers’ fault because they killed his adopted daughter, Hope, who would have otherwise saved the world. With the Phoenix force. (Last spotted in his adopted mom, Jean Grey, and generally more prone to destroying planets than saving the world.)
Therefore he preemptively captures all the Avengers so they can’t do that. Blaquesmith, the friend who told him about the problem in the first place, and Hope, the one he’s trying to protect, set the Avengers free and tell Cable this was a terrible idea. Because… reasons. Cable is very confused.
MEANWHILE, WITH THE X-MEN…
The X-men are not all X-men. No, there are two opposing X-camps. Why? Well, it sold comics, I guess.
In an event called X-Men Schism (2011’s big event), Oya, a fourteen year old mutant, saves the X-men and some civilians, but has to kill some Hellfire Club goons to do it. Wolverine is really mad Cyclops didn’t tell her not to kill anyone. Also, Cyclops let teenage mutants fight dangerous battles! (Which is sort of how the X-men started in the 60’s, but that’s just me.) Wolverine pitches a fit and leaves, taking his supporters with him.
In the end, Cyclops’ X-men has Magneto on it (don’t ask), as well as Hope (all becomes clear). And a bunch of other mutants also picked sides, and Wolverine starts his own rival school for mutants, named after Cyclops’ dead wife, Jean Grey. BURN!
But the heart of all this is that mutants are now an endangered species. Why? It all goes back to the end of House of M (2005), when reality bending mutant and former Avenger the Scarlet Witch – aka Magneto’s daughter Wanda Maximoff – accidentally de-mutanted most mutants, leaving only several hundred active mutants with no new mutants being created. Only one new mutant was left to be born, the miracle baby Hope Summers.
Hope was adopted by Cable and raised in the future, thanks to his time travel powers. Cable has been pretty sure all along that his daughter is the mutant messiah. See also X-Men: Messiah Complex (2007-2008), Messiah War(2009), X-Men: Second Coming (2010)… No pressure, Hopey!
Wanda, meanwhile, is really really sorry, you guys. (This is all you need to know from Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (2010-2011). You’re welcome.)
So, to sum up, the Avengers are annoyed at Cable for beating them up and think the Phoenix Force will destroy the world. The X-men think they’re going extinct and believe the Phoenix Force will save their species; also, they know Hope and want to save their friend. Aaaaand FIGHT.
(This post brought to you with the help of Wikipedia, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and your local comic book store.)