"AVX VS" #4 is the comic equivalent of a really good song on the radio you have to turn up while driving. It might not be cool among the high crowd but it hits all the right chords to get your head nodding. Is it perfect? No. Does it deliver exactly what it sets out to do? Absolutely. Is it then forgettable even though you enjoyed it? Kind of. Does that make it a bad product? No, it does not. This issue, featuring one fight between Daredevil and Psylocke and another between Thor and Emma Frost, is admittedly thin on narrative but that’s entirely the point. With the right frame of mind, you get exactly what you pay for with this comic, especially in the second half.
Rick Remender and Brandon Peterson tackle the first fight between Daredevil and Psylocke. Remender does his best to generate some cool moments through the interaction of the powers of each fighter and decides to throw a variety of attacks for each. The only problem is the results are so often dulled -- somewhat conveniently in places.
This fight ultimately shows the futility between heroes grappling because neither is actually going for a fatal blow. The punches are pulled and the results become negligible. For this fight, there is enough to give Peterson opportunity to shine and he takes the devil by the horns. His kinetic panels show the action while still offering up keen composition that astounds in places. In the end, it’s still fun to see Daredevil fight a ninja lady with ties to the Hand.
The Thor versus Emma Frost fight was perhaps one of the most laughed at confrontations when the match-up was initially announced, but the sequence is amazingly well written, drawn and overall constructed. In fact, if it wasn't in an event tie-in book, this story could easily headline a book like "Strange Tales" and receive a standing ovation. Kaare Andrews writes and draws the hell out of this encounter. This is a truly terrific short story.
The opening page is enough as Andrews uses scale and focus to heighten tension and stir a calm before the storm. This battle is one truly of the gods and these titanic foes honestly make you feel like anything could happen and the end will hold weight. This fight has enough major moments to feel like a blockbuster but there are still enough turns of phrase to remind you this is also a well-written comic. Andrews satisfies us on all levels. He also uses the AVX Fun Fact captions to great narrative effect.
"AvX: VS" #4 comes out a winner due to the sheer level of fun and wow factor on each page. There is no real story and both writers find a way to make this work to their advantage. The Daredevil versus Psylocke story might be a little thinner but the Thor versus Emma Frost fight more than makes up for it. Watching a thunder god and an overpowered diamond lady tussle might just be the best superhero short story this year. Gorgeous art, silver tongues, mammoth moments -- admit it, some part of you wants this in comics.