By: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Walter Simonson (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Jason Keith (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: The Avengers hunt down Rachel Summers in an attempt to neutralize the X-Men’s telepathic advantage.

The Review: The main Avengers title has been frustrating me for a while now.  Despite being what should be Marvel’s flagship book and being helmed by a fantastic, generations-spanning creative team, the book has been flailing, seemingly without any meaningful direction.  This led to a frustrating arc where Bendis and Simonson did an inexplicable re-tread of a story that was already being told in Secret Avengers.  Sadly, this month continues that trend, this time with Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men in its sights.  For reasons unknown, Marvel decided that it would be a good idea to have Bendis retcon a random issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, and not even  particularly good one at that, that came out June.

I have no idea why this was considered to be a good idea.  First and foremost, it makes this issue of Avengers feel hopelessly late to the party, tracking AvX related events from two months ago.  Moreover, Bendis’ big twist to the issue (*gasp* Professor Xavier!) was revealed a month ago in the main AvX series.  Worse still, so much of the issue is just a simple, straight-up re-telling of the exact same events that Jason Aaron relayed to us two months ago.  Why was this necessary?  Is creativity really THAT lacking?  Because honestly, up until that big Professor Xavier twist that you’ll see coming three miles away due to Xavier’s involvement already being known to us, it’s literally just a near verbatim rehash of Wolverine and the X-Men #12.

So Bendis retcons that issue by shoe-horning Professor Xavier into that random issue of WatX.  What purpose does this serve?  Honestly, the jury’s still out on that.  It’s not as though that issue of WatX was a particularly strong or pivotal one for the Marvel Universe, so getting Xavier involved doesn’t really have any jaw-dropping effect.  There’s just no reason to care and, frankly, I don’t see why it was even necessary to change the story from WatX in this manner.

The only plus-side is that Walt Simonson’s artwork is still a lot of fun to look at and is almost overloaded with energy.  The retro/nostalgic buzz still has not worn off.  That said, I will say that Simonson fumbles in his illustrations of Xavier in that the good Professor looks like he’s around 8 feet tall due to having legs that would better suited to Stilt-Man.

Really though, this was just a very strange issue overall.  It feels like Marvel just picked a random AvX related comic and had Bendis retcon it by pointlessly inserting Professor Xavier into it.  There’s no reason for it and I can’t figure out what makes that one issue of Jason Aaron’s book so pivotal.  It truly feels like everyone responsible for this issue was just creatively out of gas when it came to figuring out how to kill a month before AvX‘s conclusion.  So they just hijacked another issue that had been told 3 months ago and did a minor, pointless alteration to it, had Walt Simonson draw the whole thing, and slapped a brand-new $3.99 price-tag on it.  For someone who follows WatX, it’ll feel like you’ve been cheated out of your money and for someone who doesn’t read WatX, this still isn’t a good issue given that it’ll feel several months late.

Conclusion: A complete waste of time for everyone involved.

Grade: D+

-Alex Evans