Marvel’s newest (and still ongoing) event Axis has taken the brand in an interesting direction, and for the first time in a few years, I’m actually not excited to see where it’s going. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also HELLA excited to see where it’s going, but things are getting really dark for some of my favorite characters.
The last few years has shown several of Marvel’s most popular characters die, and evidently they’ve been Marvel’s moral compasses. Charles Xavier died at the hands of Scott Summers, whichA left Scott devastated, and has shown his morals completely out of whack. Wolverine has died, and since his death, the X-Men have made decisions that Logan would never have allowed. Which leads me to the final moral compass… Captain America. Since his rapid aging after the “expiration” of his Super Soldier Serum, the Falcon (Former pimp) has taken up the mantle, and is certainly not the moral center for the Avengers that Steve Rogers was.
The AXIS event started when the Red Skull took Charles Xavier’s body and dissected it for parts, so to speak. He took his brain, and stole his mutant abilities. He started using these powers to ignite hatred across the globe, in an attempt to start World War Hate, and kill all the mutants. He had created mutant concentration camps in Genosha, formerly the worlds center for the mutant population (Until Cassandra Nova screwed that up, and Wanda furthered that by depowering the world’s mutant population, but that’s a whole seperate story).
The X-Men and the Avengers united, including several members that were hiding from the law (Cyclops and his team), and a few less than reputable characters (Quentin Quire, Magneto). The plan was to take down the Red Skull and his team. Genesis (Or “Kid Apocalypse” as I like to call him) was speared by Ahab (90s villain of X-Factor, the Fantastic Four, etc.), and Magneto returns the favor by killing Red Skull’s entire team of villains, the S-Men, short of Ahab.
Magneto also attempts to kill the Red Skull by crushing his head, but only unleashed a wave of Psychic powers and transforming the Red Skull into Red Onslaught! Mayhem ensues, the heroes are all captured by the Red Skull and his newly formed Sentinels (Honestly, this is the worst part of the event, I have no idea where the hell these came from. I think I missed something), and it’s up to Magneto to gather the villains of the world (Sabretooth, Carnage, Mystique, Hobgoblin, and others). Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Doctor Doom perform an “Inversion Spell,” inverting the moral axis of everyone in the vicinity. The villains save the day, and destroy the sentinels and incapacitate Red Onslaught. He’s captured, and brought to Avengers Tower, and the villains disappear. Throughout the tie-in books, the villains begin to take up the role of the hero, much to everyone’s general confusion. Hobgoblin, who once made money by selling villain personae to criminals, turns it around by selling heroic personae instead (although, greed is the driving factor). Carnage actually saves lives, rather than taking them, and Deadpool has sworn off violence! The final twist in the aftermath– Genesis has grown full size, resembling his former, evil, personality, Apocalypse.
The Avengers are then confronted by Nick Fury Jr. over who should get custody of The Red Skull, and Captain America (Falcon) punches him in the face! Something is apparently wrong, and the heroes are all a little darker. Red Skull’s Hate Wave that spread over the planet has affected everyone.
The Avengers wage war on the X-Men, and decide to execute the Red Skull, but Jarvis wouldn’t have it. After some abuse, Hulk steps up to defend his friend, and Luke Cage punches him. Sad Hulk shows a new personality to ad to his many mental mannerisms. Kluh. Kluh is the darkest side of the Hulk, and is the most powerful. He escapes from the Avengers, and when the Avengers turn their attention back to the Red Skull… He has escaped.
Tony Stark shows his darker side in AT&T Park in San Francisco. He touches down center field, postponing the National Anthem, and offering a new Extremis App to the world– one that will make you the person you always wanted to be. Daredevil listens on, disappointed. Tony proceeds to imbibe an alcoholic beverage for the first time in years, something that brought out the darkness in Tony in the past.
The X-Men stand at an award ceremony at the X-Mansion, where Storm announces a new stance on Mutant-Human Relations– There will be no more. The X-Men will stand and fight against mankind that oppresses them. The dream of Charles Xavier exists no more. As they announce their plan to defeat the Avengers, Apocalypse steps up from backstage, and Magneto approaches from the back of the crowd. The X-Men have formed an army.
So what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Line? And who will stand up for what is right? First, let’s explore the path that led to this event. Charles Xavier, Logan, Steve Rogers, Peter Parker, and Scott Summers, have always been the moral compass of the Marvel Universe. While everyone else ran off and made bad decisions (Hank Pym hit his wife and created Ultron, Iron Man got drunk and killed a guy, Hulk hulked-out, destroying cities, etc) these five men stood firm in their beliefs.
1. Charles Xavier – Xavier was the founder of the X-Men and the dream that man and mutant would one day stand in unity. This dream has since been carried on by Steve Rogers, after forming the Unity team of Avengers. Xavier was killed by Scott after being possessed by the Phoenix Force.
2. Scott Summers – After the murder of Xavier, Scott went on the run, forming a new team of mutants that were being oppressed. He was trying to be a good man, but for years his moral compass had drifted towards pointing in the wrong direction. He had turned the X-Men into an army, which soured Logan. Logan would leave the team and form his own school back in Westchester, the Jean Grey School For Witchcraft and Wizardry, or something like that. He also remained an Avenger with Steve Rogers, who believed in Logan, no matter what dark paths he took to achieve his goal of Mutant Equality.
3. Logan/James Howlett – For decades Wolverine was the best there was at what he did, and what he did was never the most morally upstanding things. After the loss of Jean, and Scott turning the school into an army of kids, Wolverine took the students and went back to Westchester, not to teach them to fight, but to teach them important life lessons, and to help them with their general education. Logan became a teacher. He took the Xavier role that was left after his death. He would eventually lose his healing factor, and was killed. This left a moral void.
4. Peter Parker – Raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Peter was raised to do the right thing. He has always been morally good. After years of abuse at the hands of J. Jonah Jameson, Parker still would save him when needed. Peter has always been one of the best moral characters Marvel had. Even Xavier put kids in harms way.
5. Steve Rogers – Captain America has always been the moral center of the Marvel Universe as a whole. He took measures to ensure Mutant-Human relations stayed calm, and even believed that mutants could and should gain equality. He always respected the X-Men and their decisions, even when they chose not to take his side in Civil War. Captain America is a believer, and it’s not only his patriotism that keeps him grounded. It’s his firm belief in just being good. Doing the right thing. Recently he lost his powers, and handed the shield to Sam Wilson, The Falcon.
All Moral Compasses, short of Parker (And Rogers is still alive) are out of the equation. Scott is on the run, Xavier and Logan are dead. Who’s left to stand for what’s right?
1. Peter Parker – The obvious choice for the hero, Peter will stand for what’s right.
2. Steve Rogers – Even without his strength, speed, and Shield, Steve Rogers is still a man in peak physical condition. Years of training and muscle memory don’t just go away.
3. Wade Wilson – When Deadpool is the most morally sound you know something is wrong. Marvel has been working toward this. The mercenary in Wade has taken a backseat, especially after discovering his daughter, and more so after World War Hate. He’s sworn off violence, and has recently been working closely with Hawkeye.
4. The Guardians of the Galaxy/Venom – Agent Venom has been traveling with the Guardians, so he get’s in on this for free. With the Guardians of the Galaxy guarding the galaxy, they weren’t on earth when World War Hate happened. They didn’t get their axes (yeah, that’s plural for axis) flipped, and would be a great team to not only save the day, but sell some books (they’re on a lot of variant covers this month).
5. Scott Summers – Here’s Scott’s chance to redeem himself. Not to mention this is where my theory comes in to play. Theory you say? Yeah, I always have a theory.
The Inversion spell performed by Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, and Doctor Doom brought the darkness out of every major character’s heart– except for Spider-Man, Jarvis, and most likely Steve Rogers. Why? I feel like Axis only affected those that A. Had a strong moral compass, like Parker and Rogers, or B. Those that had succumbed to evil in the past, like Summers and Wilson. And this even applies to Parker, since his mind had recently been occupied by Doctor Octopus. It makes a lot of sense, and there are many heroes who could step in. If the villains are saving the day, and the heroes are going to war, how many heroes are still gonna be around? We’re gonna have to wait and see!