The Avengers vs. X-Men Consequences 5-book issue dangles between part epilogue and part prelude. Its story takes place after the cataclysmic events of the main series, where Avengers and X-men each fought for the role of savior of humanity, when threatened by the all-powerful Phoenix force. At the end of that chapter, those that absorbed the Phoenix and were bent to its will are left on the downswing and must pay for the atrocities they’ve committed during this possession, as must those that followed their lead. Five mutants in total befall that role: Colossus, Magik, Emma Frost, Namor and most of all Cyclops.
Most of the Consequences books are based on what Cyclops must face, as the prime receptor of the Phoenix. He is put in a prison with a device that strips him of his power and so he must face everyday life as an outcast. Other characters are only touched upon in glances. Surprisingly, the series has little to say about any of the other possessed souls, other than they’re misfortune. Colossus and Namor both show a rare vulnerability, but as for the whole “consequence” part, there is very little. Even if Namor destroyed an entire country in the previous chapter, he is left virtually untouched. In all issues, this epilogue will not close up previous wounds and leave many questions; too many. Its focuses jump from one place to another, never fulfilling their final role. So, aside from the periodic touching moments, some quite extraordinary, this series will not entice many readers. By the end, it will open up more new doors to leap into other comic chapters, but as such it shoots itself down to present a fitting conclusion. The ending will hit this notion on the nose so blatantly, it almost feels like a middle finger raised to anyone who was paying attention until then.
As far as the visual presentation goes, it will follow a certain similarity of laziness, as to indicate a forced bridge between old chapters and new ones. It’s as if these artists were put to work to squeeze an additional dime out of the Avengers blockbuster momentum, without the effort to produce quality. In particular, the first three will skip all over the place, lacking any consistency in character models. Cyclops is featured with a different head width in just about any panel he appears in, sometimes even popping in and out of close-up facial hair, only to come back to a similar angle with other details. Tom Raney, who provides art in the first issue, is the worst offender in lazy drawings. Though he does also create a style of his own, many times characters will have off-center faces or ink will leave dark smudges where they should be detailed. This pinnacles into a full drawing of an atrocious Wolverine in the last panels, which is inexplicably reused in the next issue.
Issues two and three each come with different artists at the drawing board. While these tone down the errors a bit, they do get plagued with some overzealous inking, going extremely heavy on some contrasts, such as one on Emma Frost who almost completely changes color for it. That said, art does become more fitting, especially as the third book distances itself from detail shots for a while. Another trait that both these issues hold is that their panels are neatly assembled, varied and pleasing to follow around. Their cuts add a flair of tension or action where needed. Not content with just providing this element, the fourth book will go completely over the top with its panel assortment, going so far as by adding superfluous ones.
Yet, it’s only by the final fifth issue, with Gabriel Hernandez Walta at the board, that this AVX spin-off will also become enjoyable to watch. While many will find its gritty art with visibly worse crayon outlines to be of lesser quality than previous servings, it is the one that captures a comic book atmosphere the most. Here, smaller blemishes get lost in pencil strokes and characters become livelier as they lose the shroud of ink around them. There may even be a rosy cheek or two in all the chaos. Panel assortments return to their filed status and add a touch of charm with jittery, handmade outlines. Again: This is by some extent the least well drawn of all, but it fairs much better in comparison to other issues where they squander their chances and fail miserably for it. Less is more and issue five proves this with a decent sendoff.
Still, a sizable redeeming factor is available throughout the series, as Jim Charalampidis provides color schemes in all books. He does so by making the best of any situation, attempting to offset dark tones with lush colors, creating detailing light reflections and providing consistency where others falter. Hope Summers’ misshapen face and Captain America’s phallic head are much less annoying to behold due to Jim’s vibrant color use in the first book alone. Even in the final, grittier issue, he uses the dirty outlines to the best of their potential.
The main Avengers vs. X-men cycle provides an interesting narrative, seen from beginning to end, with a wave of characters. It even spins off successfully once with a visually enticing AVX VS punch-up number. However, Avengers vs. X-Men Consequences fails to live up to both of those scopes. Neither compelling for the gross majority of topics, nor well presented in all but 1 issue, this epilogue doesn’t live up to the expectation that a wrap-up should display. Perhaps diehard fans of Cyclops will receive a boost out of its focused story or to some extent a few selected X-men fans, but other than those, this cycle has unfortunately little to offer: not even as preparation for other comics.