Comic Book / Axis

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/axis_inversion_112.jpg

AXIS is a 2014-2015 Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover between Uncanny Avengers, All-New Captain America, Magneto, and Loki: Agent of Asgard, written by Rick Remender as a continuation of Avengers & X-Men. Following his assimilation of Charles Xavier's brain, the Red Skull has taken over Genosha and instituted "re-education" camps to bolster his Evil Counterpart to the X-Men, the S-Men. However, his meddling with Xavier's brain reawakens a force of evil once thought vanquished, and leads to many heroes and villains undergoing "Inversion". Magneto must come to terms with his moral ambiguity and whether he wants to fully reform into a hero or revert back to villainy in pursuit of his goals. Loki, having seen their twisted future, decides to fight fate for all it's worth, but clashes with Doctor Doom, who has also seen the trickster god's future self and decided to kill them in the present to avert it ever happening.

Tropes applying to AXIS

  • Anti-Hero: Sabretooth, Hobgoblin, and Carnage ended up becoming "heroic" thanks to the Inversion spell, but they still maintain some of their villainous personality traits.
  • Back from the Dead: Brother Voodoo and Cassie Lang, both revived by the Inverted Dr. Doom.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Magneto and nine other villains (and Deadpool) at the end of the 2nd issue.
    • As of the 7th issue, it looks like the Axis of Evil is all that stands in the way of Apocalypse's Uncanny X-Men.
  • Badass Pacifist: Deconstructed with Zenpool. He retains all his combat skill but his inversion-induced pacifism leaves him near-incapable of actually using it when he really needs it. He can't even so much as cut a Thanksgiving turkey anymore.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The theme of the arc is exploring how thin the line between good and evil can be.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The inversion is undone, but Iron Man, Havok and Sabretooth are protected from it. The Wasp is kidnapped by Havok who forces her to escape. The inverted villains ended up making a tape declaring that this was all their plan, shooting down all of their good faith. However, Sabretooth seeks to use his newfound goodness to atone for his sins and find his inner Wolverine and the Avengers Unity Squad is reformed with both Rogue and the Scarlet Witch vowing to never let what happened again. Oh, and Spider-Man keeps his promise, which he hates.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Squid takes a family hostage, and when Carnage shows up picks a fight with him that ends badly. Fortunately, Cletus is feeling merciful and leaves him webbed up for a bemused Spider-Man.
  • Captain Patriotic: The cover of AXIS: Carnage #1 invokes this by having Carnage brandishing an American flag formed out of his symbiote.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In AXIS: Hobgoblin #1, we see Hobgoblin shutting down a bridge to prevent people falling off of it, a nod towards The Night Gwen Stacy Died. Two issues later, Phil Urich ends up getting skewered by his own Goblin Glider in an attempt to kill Roderick Kingsley, the same thing to happen to Norman Osborn in that story.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The chief weapon of the Stark Sentinels that allows them to take down dozens of superheroes with ease? A Pym Particle Ray.
    • All-New Captain America uses the same tactic by sapping the Wasp's Pym Particles when he stops trusting the rest of the Avengers completely. Only Spider-Man and Nova manage to escape due to the former's senses.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The first issue shows Iron Man operating as an Avenger and on good terms with Steve Rogers. This is in complete contrast to Jonathan Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers runs, where Iron Man was expelled from the team and branded a fugitive by Captain America.
    • Then there's Hulk speaking in third person, when he's now intelligent in his book and hates being called Hulk and going by the name Doctor Green. Editorial notes state that this is due to him being affected by the Inversion Wave.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Hobgoblin still proves he's this even while inverted.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The new Sentinels were designed as hero-killers, so Magneto brings in some villains to deal with them.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: This is essentially what Roderick Kingsley is doing with the Hobgoblin name, turning it into a heroic franchise and making a killing.
  • Demonic Possession: Onslaught makes a comeback thanks to Red Skull's meddling with Xavier's brain.
  • Did Not Think This Through/Hoist by His Own Petard: Shrinking down (almost) all the uninverted heroes and Breaking the Fellowship with the inverted ones left Sam Wilson with no-one to back him up when the inverted X-Men came calling. A Curb-Stomp Battle in the X-Men's favor quickly ensued.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Zenpool.
  • Drop the Hammer: Loki, still inverted, is able to lift Thor's fallen hammer and smashes their inverted brother's face in with it.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Zenpool had previously made a brief appearance in the "Deadpool Vs SHIELD" arc of the Merc With a Mouth's own comic. He was seen as an aspect of Deadpool's mind, one whom he "hadn't met yet."
  • Even Evil Has Standards
    • Carnage thinks that a world under the brutal fascist heel of Nazis sounds like fun, but the fact that he'd have to kowtow to Red Skull instantly sours him on the idea as it just isn't "country".
    • Magneto is appalled by the Inverted X-Men and later says they've gone mad when they start espousing his old ideology. Admittedly, by this point, Magneto is more of an Anti-Hero than the Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Villain he originally used to be, but still.
    • The inverted X-Men (especially inverted Havok) were horrified when they found out that inverted Sam Wilson decided to betray his own teammates by sapping Pym Particles from inverted Wasp (who happened to be Havok's wife) and using them to shrink his teammates. Even though the inverted X-Men want to take over the entire world for the mutants, they are disgusted by Sam Wilson's lack of camaraderie for his fellow Avengers.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Iron Man builds his new Model 51 "Endo Sym" suit after being Inverted.
    • Scarlet Witch gains a new, darker costume after turning evil.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • Magneto's team of supervillains vs. the Stark Sentinels and Red Onslaught.
    • After the Inversion events, the inverted X-Men versus inverted Avengers.
  • Eye Scream: Rogue flies right through Red Onslaught's head and takes one of his eyes out.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • As a result of the inversion spell, Storm, Havok, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Shadowcat, Rogue, Colossus, and Cyclops decide that Magneto was right all along and that for mutants to survive, normal humans need to be subjugated or exterminated. To this end, they follow an inverted Genesis, who has become like the original Apocalypse.
    • Captain America (Sam Wilson), Scarlet Witch, Luke Cage, and Wasp become totalitarian sociopaths; Thor becomes an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight, and Tony Stark reverts back into the selfish, womanizing, militaristic alcoholic he was before becoming Iron Man.
    • Hulk transforms into the even more monstrous KLUH and sets out to destroy everything in his path. While the 'destroy everything in his path' isn't too different from what the Hulk originally used to do, it's worth noting that Kluh ALSO adds that he specifically plans to kill innocent people by doing so. Even on his worst days, the regular Hulk never, EVER killed anyone innocent on purpose. Heck, he never even killed many of the seemingly countless foes he's gone up against in the decades, not even villains (not most of them, at least) - but after his inversion, there's clearly been a change.
  • Fake Brit: invoked Kluh's an unholy fusion between a soccer hooligan and a punk rocker with an accent to match.
  • Fan Disservice: In issue #3, fans are treated to a shirtless scene, which, for a comic book, isn't unusual. It crosses into this because said character is a clone of Apocalypse, and also a 14 year old boy who's been forcibly age uped and twisted into the shape of a near immortal madman.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Xavier is doing what he can to keep Red Onslaught's powers at manageable levels so the heroes can have a chance at beating him.
    • "Zenpool" suggests that the original personalities of the inverted characters are still lurking somewhere under the surface, as in his tie-in issues, Deadpool is shown taking over as Zenpool's inner monologue voice, prompting him to make more Deadpoolish decisions. Just how active these personalities are in other inverted characters is unclear, however, considering Deadpool's unique media awareness...
    • Carnage has to actively suppress the urge to kill indiscriminately, further lending support to the above point.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Bruce is back as Doc Green in Time Runs Out, which is set after AXIS but released beforehand, so his transformation into Kluh, or at least into his stupid version in general, is temporary at best.
    • Despite Zenpool getting his head ripped off, Deadpool still has a issue for his ongoing coming up, so Wade'll get his head back on soon enough. That, and decapitation has never bothered Deadpool before.
  • Good Costume Switch:
    • Sabretooth sports a new costume reminiscent of the one worn by his fallen enemy, Wolverine.
    • Inverted Loki's costume still has the traditional green and gold, but also a lot of white, and switches horns for wings on their helmet/circlet. Maybe it's Evil Costume Switch though, depending on your opinion which one of them is better (or at least less annoying).
  • Good Feels Good: The Carnage and Hobgoblin mini-series deal with the idea that the inversion made Cletus and Roderick realize being good is pretty good.
  • Good Is Not Nice:
    • Good feeling good doesn't mean that Carnage is going to stop with the pointy weaponry, though. Carnage also has no problems burning down a bank when it comes to stopping crime.
    • Loki, while (theoretically) inverting to Lawful Good, turns into a massive jerk to their friends. He's a self-righteous, condescending and judgmental asshole. It's worth noting that for all of his original evil reputation and shady methods, the non-inverted Loki was not quite evil at all.
    • Amora is a true jerkass as hero. She is more self-righteous, condescending, and judgmental than Loki and turns I Did What I Had to Do into a heroic equivalent of Never My Fault.
  • Hate Plague: Red Skull's Hate Wave.
  • Hazy Feel Turn:
    • Magneto's character arc is about dealing with his moral ambiguity in his pursuit of protecting mutants. But after the inversion spell was cast on Genosha, when Storm and the other X-Men start proclaiming his old "destroy all humans to save the mutants" ideology, however, he walks away in disgust and joins Captain America and Spider-Man in order to set things right, ultimately ending up proclaiming his desire to protect humanity in Issue 9.
    • Loki also has to struggle with his own moral ambiguity in his quest to avert his Bad Future.
  • The Hedonist: Iron Man's inversion basically transforms him back into this.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing:
    • Deadpool, Sabretooth, Hobgoblin, and Carnage are among the anti-heroes and villains who have their moralities inverted by the Inversion, though the latter three are Reformed, but Not Tamed.
    • Seemingly also as a result of the Inversion, at the end, Magneto completes his Heel-Face Turn, swearing to honor Xavier's vision and work to create mutant/human peace. Tragically (and fairly ironically) Xavier's spirit has apparently crossed the Despair Event Horizon and become convinced that Magneto's horrible actions before were right all along.
    • In Roger Zelazny's novel Roadmarks he has a time travelling Crusader pull over and ask out of apparent idle curiosity just who the heck finally won the Crusades. On being told the Muslims and the Judeo/Christians essentially swapped territory, he disgustedly spat on the entire business and drove off. Much like that, Xavier and Lensherr wound up the two sides of the coin.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Inverted Carnage is aware of his new conscience, but has no idea how to act on it. For instance, you can't rob a bank if Carnage burns it down first!
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Tony experiences one at the start of Issue #2, but Sam snaps him out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Carnage ends up using himself to smother the blast of a powerful bomb, though before he goes, he gets Spidey to promise him to have the most gawdiest statue of him built, draped in the Confederate flag and blaring "Free Bird" in the middle of New York City. He survives, but his inversion is gone, rendering him a serial killer again.
  • He's Back: Steve Rogers ends up donning the old Powered Armor he used the last time his Super Soldier serum went out to go rescue the Red Skull and promises that if the Inverted Falcon doesn't stand down, he WILL kick his ass.
  • I Gave My Word: In Issue 8, Inverted Carnage's Last Request is an extremely extravagant and borderline sacrilegious memorial of him to be placed in the center of New York City, and he makes Spidey promise to give his word. In Issue 9, it's revealed that Peter is making good on that promise, seemingly at Parker Industries.
  • Idiot Ball: Nova II ended up revealing his civilian identity to Carnage after his fight with Kluh. Guess who Cletus decided to pay a visit to immediately after his inversion was undone.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: Deadpool's inversion turns him into a pacifist known as Zenpool.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Zenpool tries this on Apocalypse. All it gets him is beaten to a pulp and getting his head torn off. It works the second time.
    • Most of the fight between Loki and Thor. When it doesn't work, they opt for dropping the hammer.
  • Kick the Dog: Iron Man tells the bit of Xavier inside the Inverted Red Skull that he's going to rebuild the sentinels and kill the mutants and all his legacy was getting them killed and making him money.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Sam Wilson makes his debut as the All-New Captain America.
    • Roderick Kingsley extended his supervillain identity licensing racket to include the identities of obscure, dead, or retired superheroes, including Missile Mate, D-Man, U.S. Ace, and Anti-Venom.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The first issue contains a prolonged sequence where the various Avengers begin fighting one another after being exposed to the Red Skull's Hate Wave.
  • Light Is Not Good: Tony Stark's Superior Iron Man armor is white, contrasting the black Model 42 armor he wore as a hero.
  • Little "No": Magneto gives one after Wanda casts a spell which allegedly proves he's not the twins father and grievously injures Pietro.
  • Megaton Punch: Kluh decks Nova hard enough to send him from midwestern America to the Eiffel Tower, breaking his helmet. Apparently, Onslaught did the same thing to him at the battle of Genosha offscreen, sparing him from being inverted like the rest of the heroes present there.
  • Mirror Morality Machine: The Inversion turns the heroes and villains caught in it evil and good respectively.
  • Must Make Amends:
    • Hit by the Inversion Wave, Doctor Doom decides to cleanse his sins before the Scarlet Witch can try and kill him. His ultimate goal? To resurrect Cassie Lang, Ant-Man Scott Lang's daughter.
    • Carnage is swamped with crippling remorse for his actions, leaving him with the urge to make amends by becoming a hero but no idea how do do so.
  • Mythology Gag: In Hobgoblin's tie-in, one of the "heroic" acts he does is cordoning off the bridge tops to prevent people from getting thrown off. He defeats Goblin King by tricking him into impaling himself on his own Goblin Glider.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Inverted Sam Wilson decides to set up a fascist dictatorship with himself at the top, just as the Inverted X-Men crash the party with similar intentions.
  • Nerves of Steel: Alice Gleason, after getting over some initial shock, is quite alright with paling around with a nihilistic sociopath whose soulmate is a carnivorous alien parasite.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
    • While he's far more of an Anti-Hero by that point, it was Magneto who unwittingly unleashed Red Onslaught by crushing the Red Skull's head in with a bunch of bricks.
    • Nova unintentionally manages to make the heroes' first plan to stop Onslaught backfire spectacularly by attacking the Iron Sentinels and making them aware of Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange's actions.
    • Scarlet Witch's and Doctor Doom's inversion spell... doesn't go exactly as planned.
  • Oh, Crap!: A SWAT team is tasked with taking down someone in an X-Men costume during a robbery and uses a sniper to put them down. However, it turns out that headshots don't work on Shadowcat. "We're gonna need to use a different gun."
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Magneto murdering the Red Skull - who possessed Xavier's brain - in anger causes him to transform into Red Onslaught.
    • The now-evil Avengers accidentally awaken the Hulk's Super-Powered Evil Side, KLUH.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Post-inversion, Roderick Kingsley is still a greedy, heartless bastard... but he's a greedy, heartless bastard who's come to the realization he can make a killing by becoming a superhero.
    • Inverted Luke Cage plays this completely straight; his only concern is making money, and he attempts to sell the Mighty Avengers to the bad guys to this end.
  • Only Sane Man: Previews reveal that Old Man Steve Rogers, Spider-Man and the young Nova are some of the few heroes unaffected by the changes.
    • The Avengers World deals with Doctor Doom and Valeria Richards assembling an emergency team of Avengers consisting of the few remaining heroes not affected by the Red Skull. The group consists of C-listers like U.S. Agent, Elsa Bloodstone, Valkyrie, 3-D Man, and Stingray.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Averted. The reason Red Onslaught doesn't need to leave Genosha to cause havoc is because his telepathy allows him to incite hate anywhere.
  • Palette Swap: Initial artwork for the crossover indicated the Green Goblin was going to play a role in the story, but later on he was recolored into the Hobgoblin.
    • Further lampshaded by Steve Rodgers in a memetic fan edit; he says Kingsley was only there because Magneto couldn't find Norman Osborn.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Genesis quickly grows into adulthood in a matter of moments. So much so that Deadpool starts squeeing that his little pal's all grown up.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Red Skull is just as nauseating as ever. It says something that Onslaught, an Omnicidal Maniac and psychic demon, comes off as more polite than him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The heroes came up with a plan to mix Dr. Strange's magic with Scarlet Witch's in order to allow Professor Xavier's consciousness to overcome Onslaught's. Thus the heroes attempt to distract him and his Iron Sentinels from the two as they work a complicated spell. No one bothered to brief Nova on this plan as he was literally in Onslaught's grip when they were explaining it. Thus he manages to accidentally sabotage it the moment they free him.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: AXIS kicks off Superior Iron Man.
  • Powered Armor:
  • Pure Is Not Good: As of the end of his Axis tie-in, Inverted Carnage is now free of guilt from all the atrocities he ever committed before Axis and is now free to do as much "good" as he likes with a clear conscience.
  • Reality Ensues: Luke Cage informs the Mighty Avengers that he's sold them (and their brand) to Cortex. He's quickly informed that the Mighty Avengers are a collective, that every member has individual rights to the team, and that technically all he did was sell himself. It's easy trying to pull something like that when one of your teammates is She-Hulk.
  • Redemption Promotion: Steve Rogers ends up recruiting Hobgoblin this way, letting his Hob-Heroes have their own fun and giving the Hobgoblin a provisional membership into the Avengers.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: This is Carnage's thinking come the end of his mini-series. Of course, it comes off more of a parody of True Art Is Angsty.
  • Retcon:
    • In Issue 7, Scarlet Witch casts a spell to strike down those who share her bloodline. It affects Quicksilver, but does not affect Magneto, giving a retcon that shows herself as not even slightly related to Magneto (and likely, by extension, the same going for Quicksilver). Technically it's a counter-retcon, since the twins being Magneto's children wasn't revealed until the 80's, over 15 years after they were introduced.
    • In AXIS: Carnage #3, the "new" Sin Eater is revealed to be the ghost of Emil Gregg, who's revealed to have been the original Sin Eater in the first place. Too bad Eddie Brock wasn't around to find this out. note 
  • Screw Destiny: Loki, having seen their future, decides to fight fate for all it's worth. Doctor Doom, having also seen Loki's future, is of the opinion that You Can't Fight Fate and decides to kill them to avert a Bad Future.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: KLUH. Three guesses who that one is.
  • Self-Deprecation: The "Deadpool Variant" for issue 1 does this, sniping at everything, from the Crisis Crossover concept to Dan Slott's run on Spider-Man.
  • Shirtless Scene: As mentioned above, Evan gets one in issue 3 after transforming into an adult Apocalypse look alike. Whether it's Fanservice or Fan Disservice depends on the reader since he doesn't resemble a teenager anymore.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Tony refers to Captain America as the Sam to his Frodo.
    • In AXIS: Hobgoblin #1, the Hobgoblin's heroic exploits spoof the covers of Amazing Fantasy #15 - the original Spider-Man comic, and Action Comics #1 - the original Superman comic. Phil Urich snidely remarks that the most villainous thing he's done since his inversion is copyright infringement.
    Carnage: X-Men—come out and pla-ay!
    Jack O'Lantern: Man, that is one tired reference, Kasady.
  • Smug Super: Inverted Loki in the tie-in issues. His older self from the Bad Future (who, as the narration points out didn't change one bit) finds this hilarious, their friends not so much. After being called out by Odin he manages to better themself to the point of being worthy of Mjölnir, and then the inversion ends.
  • The Sociopath:
    • Carnage is a diagnosed psychopath, and even after his Inversion he has to struggle with his murderous impulses.
    • Tony's monologue and Red Skull's psychoanalysis of him hint that Tony was (and still might be) this. This is played straight when he gets inverted.
    • All the inverted Avengers are this to the point where they are not even trusting their own teammates.
  • Spanner in the Works: The villains prove to be key in fighting off the Sentinels, as Tony had never bothered to make contingency plans for dealing with bad guys.
    • Doctor Doom's ace in the hole to stop Scarlet Witch is Brother Voodoo, who was dead at the time of the Inversion and is thus one of the few mystics capable of stopping her.
  • Status Quo Is God: Other than Iron Man, Sabretooth, and Havok, everyone was returned to normal. More or less. Loki lost the ability to lie (thanks to the inversion and the truth wave), which is a bad thing because his whole life is a lie (Axis forced a Gut Punch in that series).
  • Take Up My Sword: This is Phil Urich's drive in AXIS: Hobgoblin, as he seeks to kill Kingsley to prove he is worthy to take up the title of Goblin King after the Green Goblin disappeared at the end of Superior Spider-Man.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Daniel Drumm still hates the Avengers for what they did to his brother, but has no problem working with the heroes just so long as it makes the Avengers look stupid.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Thanks to the mere existence of the Superior Iron Man title, as well as preview art from Johnathan Hickman's "Time Runs Out" crossover, we know that Tony Stark is going to remain inverted once the event is over and the Hulk's transformation in Kluh will be temporary. The solicits have also confirmed that several other heroes and villains will also continue with their new status quos once the story ends.
    • Solicits for Spider-Man And The X-Men spoiled that Evan will indeed be restored to normal by the end of the event, despite the comic making a big deal out of Zenpool initially failing to restore his old personality. Other solicits ruined the reveal that Carnage survived his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Unfortunate Name: Invoked when Spider-Man is complimenting the second Nova on living up to the original's legacy.
    Spider-Man: His name was Richard Rider... there's a joke in there when you think about it.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Tony Stark's first action as the Superior Iron Man is to infect the city of San Francisco with the Extremis enhancile. Though not so much "unwilling" as "unknowingly", as the civilians are elated to have this chance at physical perfection, but then Tony starts charging people $100 a day to keep using it.
  • Villain Team-Up: Promo art implies this is the case between Doctor Doom, Sabretooth, Loki, Red Skull/Onslaught, Hobgoblin, and Carnage. The actual story is far more complex, with Magneto recruiting (and in some cases outright threatening) the Absorbing Man, Carnage, Doctor Doom, Enchantress, Hobgoblin, Loki, Mystique, Sabretooth, Jack O' Lantern, and Deadpool (who claims to not actually be with them, he just hitched a ride) to help fight the Sentinels. Though by this point, Loki, Deadpool and Magneto were more on the Hero side of the fence, but still morally ambiguous enough to be considered Anti-Heroes..
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Genesis gets a good one of these on Cyclops and Havok in Issue #1.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Hobgoblin!
  • Would Hurt a Child: The inverted Scarlet Witch has no qualms in attacking the (allegedly) three-years-old Valeria Richards. Although she mostly attacks the little girl for wearing the similar armor as Doctor Doom's and she only destroyed the armor, while Valeria wasn't injured by the attack.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: After the reversion, the inverted villains release a tape claiming that everything that happened was orchestrated by them in order to protect the reputations of the Avengers and X-Men, with Steve Rogers being their Secret Keeper.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Comicbook/Axis