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Comic Book / Avengers vs. X-Men

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"It's Coming."

A Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover for the year 2012, Avengers vs. X-Men (or AvX) is a 12-issue Maxi series with Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and Jonathan Hickman, scripting and John Romita Jr, Oliver Coipel and Adam Kubert for art.

The newest Nova crash-lands on Earth, warning vaguely of oncoming doom before lapsing into a coma. Based off the energy signature on his uniform, The Avengers deduce that the warning is about the approaching return of the Phoenix Force, which is heading to Earth to choose a new host, with teenage Mutant messiah Hope Summers being the prime candidate.

The X-Men suspect Hope to be the next host of the Phoenix as well, and, under the direction of Cyclops, those on Utopia are attempting to train her to be ready to take on the power. Cyclops believes she will be able to reverse the damage done to the world's mutant population at the end of House of M. But Hope believes she is already prepared, having trained for much of her life with her adopted father Cable in the future for the purpose of saving mutantkind.

The Avengers feel they need to secure Hope and take her off the planet in order to prevent another Jean Grey (or a Planetary/Species extinction event). The X-Men, naturally, will hold onto Hope at all costs, and therein lies the conflict between the world's most powerful superheroes with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Before the main series officially kicked off, a Jeph Loeb penned Avengers: X-Sanction mini starring Cable and #0 issue by Brian Bendis and Jason Aaron focusing on Hope Summers and Scarlet Witch were released; and Avengers: The Children's Crusade series, whilst not billed as part of the event, established the increasing tensions between the Avengers and X-Men whilst dealing with the fall-out of the Scarlet Witch's actions in House of M and Avengers Disassembled. The only non-ongoing tie-in mini series released alongside the main book, was titled AvX: VS, which was focused on showing the battles between individual characters from the Avengers and X-Men that didn't make the main book.

Despite the similarity of the titles, Avengers vs. X-Men should not be confused with the 1987 miniseries X-Men vs. Avengers, which centered on the character Magneto's (second) trial before an international court.

Avengers vs. X-Men provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The main series and some of the tie-ins had online content available to readers with smart phones. Some of it just expounded on the events of the series, showing the events from the points of view of characters whose experiences readers of the paper editions weren't privy to — but at least one tie in actually had a large portion of the dialogue only readable to users of Marvel's smart phone app (or those who can read Cyrillic!).
  • Arc Words: "No More X", with X being "Mutants", "Avengers", "Sinister" or "Phoenix".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Emma accuses Magneto of being a traitor and a murderer… and an absent father.
  • Artifact Title: What began as "Avengers vs. X-Men" ultimately ends with "Phoenix vs. Everyone."
  • As the Good Book Says...: Wolverine misquotes Proverbs 24:33-34 at Hope when she gets angry at him for alerting the Avengers while she was taking a nap.
  • The Atoner: Scarlet Witch.
  • Back from the Brink: Thanks to the efforts of Scarlet Witch and Hope, this happens to the entire mutant race, due to the reactivation of the mutant gene from the destruction of the Phoenix Force.
  • Because I Said So: The High Priest of Wakanda grants Black Panther an annulment of his marriage with Storm. The High Priest being Black Panther himself.
  • Berserk Button: Many buttons were pressed during the story. Storm when Black Panther revealed he had plans to stop her powers (which, considering how Shadow King loves playing Grand Theft Me on her, you have to admit is reasonable), Rogue and the other X-Teachers when She-Hulk injured Hellion and Glob Herman (who were attacking her), Moon Knight when Frenzy called him Marc Spector and X-23 and the rest of Avengers Academy when Emma Frost came to destroy Juston's Sentinel. The event was a big button-smashing event overall.
  • Big Bad: The Phoenix Force, which manipulates the majority of the Phoenix Five. Subverted however, while it indeed laid waste to other planets which reached an evolutionary dead end (which, as cruel as it sounds, is its job) it originally was not there to destroy Earth; all it wanted was to reignite the X-Gene. Things went downhill because it was repeatedly attacked. Captain America even admitted that.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Cyclops kills Charles Xavier, the closest thing he had to a father, and several of the X-Men are wanted criminals for their actions during the event. However, Hope and the Scarlet Witch were able to use their powers to get rid the Phoenix Force, with the unexpected side effect of undoing the effects of M-Day and reactivating the mutant gene; Captain America admits that Cyclops was right when he accused the Avengers of not doing enough to help the mutant race after M-Day, and subsequently the X-Men are officially endorsed by the Avengers.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: At the very beginning both Cyclops and Captain America have valid reasons for leading their teams to take the actions they're taking. On the Avenger side they are taking preventative measures in case Hope can't control the Phoenix, which does wind up happening, to prevent catastrophic damage to the planet. On the X-Men side they have a better understanding of the Phoenix and a very valid reason to believe it is coming to restore mutants as a species.
  • Broken Tears: Cyclops has them after he kills Xavier.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The very reason why the Phoenix Five went insane. Even after making the world a better place and helping the Avengers on several occasions, the latter still thought it was a good idea to repeatedly assault them. When somebody is being possessed by a cosmic entity that amplifies emotions (especially negative ones) and is capable of annihilating entire universes, this is not the brightest thing to do.
  • Bystander Syndrome: When Captain America calls together the Illuminati in order to find a way to deal with the Phoenix Five, Reed Richards categorically states that his family are staying out this because they didn't want to take sides between friends of his family, and because it was down to the Avengers that the Phoenix Five are even a problem.
  • Call-Back: When Cyclops gains the full power of the Phoenix, he utters the same phrase that was said when Jean Grey was first thought to be the Phoenix.
  • Category Traitor:
    • As of the first two acts, most mutants consider Logan and Beast this since they are siding with the Avengers against the rest of the mutant race, especially given their past and current relationships with Cyclops.
    • Quicksilver also. Magneto (Quicksilver's father, no less) even refers to those 3 as "Benedict Arnolds of our time".
  • The Chosen One: Hope Summers had been speculated in-universe to be one for years. As it turns out, she is.
  • Conflict Ball:
    • The fighting started when Captain America turned up on Utopia and told Cyclops that, regardless of the X-Men's opposition, the Avengers were going to take Hope off-world in the event she couldn't control the Phoenix Force. Cyclops responded by optic blasting Captain America off Utopia, prompting him to call in the rest of the Avengers to start fighting. The entire mess would've been avoided if the two leaders of the superhero and mutant communities had actually talked things over like adults.
    • It's pretty much being volleyed back and forth between the two teams like it's an Olympic sport. There are plenty of fights that could have been easily averted if both sides just acted maturely and rationally like actual adults.
    • Lampshaded at the end by Captain America, who realizes that he should've done more to improve mutant/human relations so that these events could have been averted.
    • Also the whole point of the AvX: VS tie-ins.
  • Conflicting Loyalty:
    • Wolverine having to choose between siding with the Avengers, or with the X-Men despite disagreeing with Cyclops and his actions of late. Beast and Storm also face this decision, but Beast goes with the Avengers away team and Storm decides to go with the X-Men without a moment's thought.
    • Averted with Namor, who says via inner monologue that he has decided to side with the X-Men because he admires Cyclops for standing up to his "oppressors", not because he himself is a mutant.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of the final issue would have you believe that Iron Man saves the day against the Phoenix, after being juiced up on cosmic power by Hope and Wanda. Tony is a minor character in the issue, and Hope and Wanda do the day-saving themselves.
  • Crisis Crossover / Bat Family Crossover: Whilst serving as Marvel's 2012 Crisis Crossover, it's more accurate to classify it as a Bat Family Crossover, as it has only encompassed the various Avengers and X-Men titles (with the exception of X-Factor) but none of the individual titles.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: What Utopia becomes under the Phoenix Five and what they plan to do for the rest of the world.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several fights are just immensely one-sided... like Spider-Man vs Juggernaut-powered Colossus, and then the initial confrontation between the Avengers and the Phoenix Five. Spider-Man vs Phoenix!Colossus and Phoenix!Magik is another example that had the former nearly beaten to death before escaping, although he does actually trick the latter two into knocking each other out.
  • Dark Messiah: Magneto, who himself has been called this for most of his villainous career, passes the torch to Cyclops, whom he views as a Superior Successor. Cyclops is not amused by this.
  • Defector from Decadence: As the Phoenix Five go farther and farther into villainy, more and more of the X-Men begin siding with the Avengers, including Professor X, Rogue and Storm.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Hope and Scarlet Witch use the Phoenix Force to reignite the X-Gene and afterwards wish it away in the finale, which of course doesn't stick.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: From the penultimate issue of the series.
    Hulk: Yes. Hulk will smash for you.
  • Expendable Clone: Mister Sinister invokes this to the nth degree in a tie-in issue dedicated to him. He has an army of mutant clones that he plans to unleash on the Phoenix Five when they inevitably show up to take him down. Not to mention all the clones of himself that he has.
  • Fastball Special:
    • Colossus is thrown by Magneto, through the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier. Yes, the same Colossus who originally created the move with Wolverine and is usually the one doing the throwing, is the projectile.
    • In a tie-in issue of X-Men Legacy Frenzy performs this with Kitty Pryde by throwing her through Iron Man's armor to short it out... with less than optimal results.
    • Wolverine gets to do it with the Hulk himself. However, he gets burned for it... literally.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Numerous instances, but perhaps the most extreme instance is Black Panther siding with the Avengers whilst his wife Storm sides with the X-Men.
  • Flanderization: A meta example, the tie in comic AVX: VS has the intro talk about how the tie in is just Avengers and X-Men members beat each other up with each additional issues has the narrator become more violent and gets mad at the reader wondering when each fight takes place in the story. The final issue after Hope vs Scarlet Witch shows multiple pages of heroes beating each other up, even characters who have zero involvement with the event.
  • Foreshadowing: In issue 9; Spider-Man tells Hope, anxious to get into action against the Phoenix Five, that being an Avenger means that whilst you may not be at the center of the action all the time, you need to be ready to step up to the plate. Later in the issue, Spider-Man steps up to allow the rest of the Avengers to rescue their captured teammates. It also serves as a Lampshade Hanging on Spider-Man's background role in the majority of Marvel's Crisis Crossovers since first joining the New Avengers.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In AvX #11 Captain America basically goes out to the desert with the rest of the X-Men and Avengers still available to ask the Hulk to assist them in taking down Cyclops. He more or less tells him that he's at the end of his rope and that while he normally wouldn't try to bother him, Phoenix!Cyclops has become so much of a threat that he needs everyone with massive firepower on the team. Hulk's response? "Yes, Hulk will smash for you."
  • Good Versus Good: The Avengers and the X-Men are both desperate to safely deal with the Phoenix Force and save lives, but they have drastically different ideas on how to do it.
  • Gratuitous Russian: When Black Widow and Magik fight on the Blue Area of the Moon (just before the Phoenix is torn apart by Iron Man), their dialogue switches back and forth between English and Russian in a quite liberal way.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: When Captain America shows up to collect Hope, he brings an entire battalion of Avengers for back-up, and clearly is making a display of strength to make Scott cow to his authority. Scott doesn't really respond well to the posturing and things escalate rapidly into a fistfight.
    Captain America: You chose this fight, kid. Not me.
    Cyclops: Right. You just showed up on my doorstep with a floating aircraft carrier and two dozen Avengers.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: When Sinister's Madelyne clones begin to lose control of the Phoenix Force, they say that they feel "somewhat queer".
  • Hell on Earth: Magik brings a portion of Limbo to Earth and uses it as a prison for the captured Avengers.
  • Idiot Ball: Along with the Conflict Ball above, the whole plot only works because everybody in the story is passing it around in one colossal game of Idiot Ball Hot Potato. Everything could have been prevented if the members on the two sides actually stopped and thought things through (such as had the Avengers deferred to the X-Men, who have decades of firsthand experience dealing with the Phoenix Force, while the Avengers had virtually none).
  • Ignored Expert: Rachel Grey, who not only had been a Phoenix host for years, but had achieved complete control of the entity. In fact, her possession of the Phoenix was - mostly - ignored by the writers as well (it did get a nod in one of the early issues of the series, when she pointed out to Thor that she was the Phoenix for years and was entirely familiar with godhood as a result). Even still, that was just about the only time it came up, as lampshaded with this parody.
  • I Have No Son!: Colossus' last words to Illyana; "If I ever see you again, I'll kill you."
  • Insult Backfire:
    Colossus: You're insane.
    Magik: Oh thank you, thank you! I knew you'd eventually understand!
  • Ironic Echo: When Cyclops tells his attackers that they are going to make him do something he doesn't want to do, he's repeating Xavier's earlier warnings nearly word for word.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Captain America agreed that the Avengers were not dealing with the social rejection of mutants, as Cyclops pointed at the beginning of the story.
  • Kick the Dog: After they break into their home and take Hope, Thor punches the (understandably) panicked Velocidad in the gut. Especially mean because he couldn't have possibly posed any kind of serious threat to him at all.
  • Killed Off for Real: Charles Xavier.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Averted by Emma Frost, who is shown to be arrested in New Avengers #30, which is set after AvX.
    • Averted by Cyclops, who is placed in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody after the final battle, forcing him to live with the guilt of nearly destroying Earth and killing the closest thing he had to a father. He accepts this as he regrets what he did as the Dark Phoenix, and initially refuses offers to break him out. However, he breaks out after one of the new mutants in prison is murdered.
    • Averted by Namor and, oddly enough Storm, as Wakanda has declared war on Atlantis for its destruction and, because Storm was part of that banner, she is now a wanted criminal. At the same time, the X-Men aren't too wanted there, either, as Logan and the Jean Grey School kids are chased out at the same time.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In issue 12; Dark Phoenix!Cyclops tells Nova "I see your secret. You don't even belong here, do you?" which alludes to the fact that the entire Nova Force was in Richard Rider when he was trapped in the Cancer-verse, and thus Sam Alexander logically has no explainable way to be a member of the Nova Corps.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: To the point that they made a whole separate miniseries (AvX: Vs.) just to feature such throwdowns.
  • Living MacGuffin: Hope Summers since the day she was born and she knows it.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: During AvX Consequences, Wolverine finds out that Cyclops wants to die. Why? So he can become the martyr for the revived mutant race. He doesn't.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Jason Aaron's endnotes offer three possible identities for the apparition of Jean Scott saw in the final issue. It could be either the real Jean speaking from the Phoenix's plane, the Phoenix itself undergoing a Heel Realization, or simply Scott's mind working things out for itself and using Jean as a cipher.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: At the start of issue 4, Wolverine uses a polar bear's corpse to protect himself from the low temperature of the Antarctica. Problem is, polar bears live near the other pole.
  • Missed the Call: In issue 5, after coming in closer contact to the Phoenix Force, Hope Summers realizes that she can't handle it and during her hesitation, a Tony Stark/Hank Pym invention intended to destroy the Phoenix Force ends up splitting it apart and causing the creation of the Phoenix Five.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Wolverine, as always, and gets repeatedly called out for it, with Spider-Man following him around because he knows that Logan is going to try and kill Hope. However it's not just him, Red Hulk also thinks that way and even says that the P5 acted foolishly by sparing him.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In A-Babies vs. X-Babies, Baby Thor is seen riding Baby Beta Ray Bill, using the same designs from Thor and the Warriors Four. Considering that Bill wasn't involved in the main story (and isn't even an Avenger), this was Gurihiru making a Shout-Out to their own work.
      • Also in the same comic, in the two page spread sheets of A-babies and X-Babies are fighting each other, baby Power Pack are shown in the background, witnessing the fight.
    • Captain America asking the Hulk to smash? Sounds familiar.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In her story in issue #0, Scarlet Witch is back to her power level pre-Avengers Disassembled. When she returns in the middle of the series, her powers are suddenly amped back up again. This is suggested to be tied to the presence of the Phoenix Force - which might make sense, since it's sometimes referred to as "the Chaos Bringer".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The Avengers accidentally split the Phoenix power five ways between Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik.
    • Reed Richards gives one to Captain America and the Illuminati in New Avengers #27.
      Reed Richards: This isn't someone out to ruin us. They are friends and they are making things better. The only ones getting hurt here are you because you keep poking them with a stick.
    • The Phoenix Five and associated X-Men didn't show any signs of aggression towards the Avengers until they abducted Hope in issue 5, prompting Cyclops to declare all-out war on them, which it could be argued leads towards the Phoenix Five's corruption and rapid degradation towards madness.
    "No more Avengers."
  • Not Himself: Both Aaron and Editor-in-Chief Alonso have strongly implied in interviews that any villainous actions done by the Phoenix Five are to be ascribed to the Phoenix itself and not the character it is possessing. Xavier also hints at this in issue 10. It's pretty easy to see that even if the Phoenix only amplifies what's already there, the Five still aren't responsible. Take as an example Cyclops killing Xavier. Scott was angry, but he's been angry before; it doesn't, in his unaltered state, lead him to commit murder.
  • Not Quite Dead: As expected, the Phoenix has returned by now, shown manifesting in both the young version of Jean and Quentin Quire, which is logical, being a cosmic force of life and death.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Captain America experiences this during a conversation with Hope:
    Hope: Do you have any idea what it's like to feel all your life like you're destined for something great, but you can never quite get there? Almost like... Like you're something strong trapped in the body of a weakling?
    Cap: I... have some idea what you mean.
  • No, You: Iceman chews Cyclops out with this response during the final battle against the Phoenix Five.
    Cyclops: You see that, Xavier? They’re trying to assassinate us!! This is who you side with!
    Iceman: Not us, you! It’s just YOU everyone is sick of.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Things have got to be serious if Colossus is threatening Illyana. He normally will move heaven and earth (literally, if possible) for her well-being.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Phoenix Five's takeover of the world, during which they supposedly turn it into a utopia, happens during the time skip. Only a little of the aftermath is ever seen.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Cyclops seems to have one after optic blasting Captain America off Utopia, only for the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier to decloak above him, with the Avengers assembled. On the one hand, as Namor gleefully observes, he's forcing Cap's hand. On the other hand, he didn't seem to expect Cap to come with that much back-up all at once.
    • Magneto has one during his Curbstomp Battle of Iron Man when he senses the Phoenix killing another populated world on its way to Earth. He immediately stops fighting.
    • Everyone has one, when the Avengers and X-Men are about to start fighting on the Moon, only to be interrupted by Thor's battered body being thrown in between the two teams.
    • Captain America has one when Phoenix!Namor shows up in Wakanda.
  • Only Sane Man: Due to the colossal game of Idiot Ball Hot Potato going on, there's an unfortunate lack of these. Probably because it would have caused the whole plot to unravel. However:
    • After the P5 take control of the world, Reed Richards points out that they have done nothing but good for the world and that maybe they should just let things be. Given how things end when the Avengers decide to attack the P5 and trigger the Dark Phoenix rampage they feared all along, they probably ought to have listened.
    • During the tie-in with Avengers Academy, Wolverine more or less kidnaps the teenage X-Men and imprisons them at the Academy. X-23, who had been attending since before the whole mess even began, immediately calls Logan out for dragging innocent children into the middle of an incredibly pointless fight. She later tells off Emma Frost for her attempts to destroy Juston's Sentinel, eventually forcing Emma to back down by comparing what Emma is doing to Juston to the persecution they've faced all their lives as mutants.
      • In fact, all of the kids — both Avengers Academy and X-Men — in the tie-in show far, far more sense than the adults did.
    • On the Avengers' side, we have Spider-Man as this. While he is with the Avengers, it's clear he just wants to minimize any collateral damage while trying to figure out what is going on, all in the background. Perhaps because of this, fate would have him becoming Hope's teacher. In fact, one of his first lessons to her is on the ethics of "great power and great responsibility" and how it could motivate someone when they feel overwhelmed. This makes sense as, since Spidey is no stranger to being ostracized, he has over the years generally shown more sympathy for the X-Men's plight than most of his fellows and as seen with Hope, he definitely strikes a chord to many a teen hero and the odds they face.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Issue 2 has one in its narration after Emma Frost in diamond mode punches Iron Man.
    Organic diamond meets multi-billion dollar armor. The most expensive punch in history.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: In Consequences, after breaking out of prison, Cyclops orders Magik to put the prisoners who killed the mutant teen Jake into Limbo and then has Danger put an X-shaped scar on the face of the corrupt warden.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Cable, after miraculously surviving his last Heroic Sacrifice, winds up in a future where the world is destroyed and his body is breaking down. Blaquesmith, one of his close friends, tells him that the world ends up this way because of something the Avengers do to Hope. Cable decides to travel back in time to capture and nearly kill the Avengers in his last 24 hours of life, rather than explain the situation or have Blaquesmith do so.
    • Most if not all of the characters suffer from this, with Cyclops and Captain America probably being the most obvious victims of this trope.
  • Pursued Protagonist: Nova, apparently by the Phoenix. This is Subverted, however, as they both just happen to be going in the same direction. Double Subverted because the reason Nova is going in that direction is to warn residents of Earth that the Phoenix is headed their way.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Attempted to be invoked by Cyclops, as at the end of the day the effects of M-Day have been undone and ties between the mutant and superhero communities have been strengthened. Captain America counters this in a What the Hell, Hero? moment (See below).
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Zig-zagged — After Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik become the Phoenix Five, they proceed to use their new powers to make the world into a utopia by eradicating famine and disease; but they don't even attempt to restore the mutant gene, which was the entire reason Cyclops believed the Phoenix was needed in the first place. Word of God states that this was beyond their power, but they just forgot to put it in the book. As for Reed himself, well, he could assist but chooses not to because he thinks the whole thing is stupid.
  • Refusal of the Call: Inverted in issue 11, when Hope tells Scott that she's ready to control the Phoenix Force. However, Scott tells her it's too late — she had her chance and she blew it, and it's the Phoenix Five's turn now.
  • Resistance as Planned: Mr. Sinister, who has created his own society of perfect clones, where even the resistance is part of the system.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Similarly, in the lead-up the Phoenix Force destroys all sentient life on several inhabited worlds while headed towards Earth.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When the Phoenix Five start going about improving the world and Captain America is still intent on taking them down, Beast gets so upset at Cap's (and Wolverine's) persistence that he up and leaves them.
  • Shoot the Dog: Wolverine believes Hope needs to be killed to stop the Phoenix. This puts him at odds with the Avengers, since they only want to take her somewhere safe off-world. This is ultimately averted, as in a tie-in Wolverine realizes that even with everything at stake, he'll never truly be able to kill Hope because he views her as a child, one of the few things Logan will never harm.
  • Spin-Off Babies: A-Babies vs. X-Babies, by Skottie Young and Gurihiru.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The Avengers. They've been the viewpoint characters and got the most sympathetic treatment. The only X-Men that have gotten any focus are the Phoenix Five and those who choose to defect to The Avengers.
  • Status Quo Is God: By the end of Consequences, we're back to where we were prior to House of M: Mutantkind hated and feared by humanity. They just can't get a break.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Invoked. Once the "war" starts, the X-Men accuse the Avengers of never caring about mutants because they never took an active stance against the mess that mutants have had to face since M-Day, which involves several wholesale genocide attempts, which include a school bus full of dead children, and Mutantkind in general being forced onto an isolated island to prevent themselves being subjected to legislation that was meant to restrict them from having children.
  • Supporting Protagonist: While the Avengers are the viewpoint characters and (probably) who we were intended to root for, it becomes quite apparent by the end that that's all they are, and the true protagonist and central character of the story and indeed the entire Myth Arc preceding it is Tragic Hero Cyclops. A decent argument could also be made for Scarlet Witch being the actual main character, as well.
  • Take Our Word for It: Very little of the Phoenix Five's utopian world is actually shown, and by the time we do start to see hints of what they've done, the conflict with the Avengers and the Phoenix possession is already driving them over the edge.
  • Team-Based Tournament: Students from the Xavier School were sent to Avengers Academy to keep them out of the conflict. In the hopes of keeping tensions between the two schools to a minimum, the staff at Avengers Academy arranged a tournament between the two groups with multiple categories (like racing, surfing, etc.)
  • Title Drop: Spider-Man provides one in Issue 2.
    Spider-Man: Wow. Avengers Vs. X-Men. So this is really happening.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: You could say everyone, but here are the ones that stand out:
    • Captain America and, to a lesser extent, the Avengers as a whole, acted far more antagonistic than needed, or than they usually are.
    • Cyclops himself wasn't exactly civil either, though that's less of a surprise.
    • The Phoenix Five. Well, except Namor, who was a Jerkass to begin with.
    • And it turns out that Magik was Evil All Along.
  • Tragic Hero: Scott and Emma by the end. While Emma does terrible things, she's also horrified by her actions. Colossus could also qualify due to being set up for a fall by his sister. By contrast, Namor is the Holier Than Thou Jerkass he's always been (but with cosmic power this time) and Magik turned out to be a straight-up villain.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: AvX Vs., a six-issue miniseries released as the main event progressed. Thanks to their movie release being on the horizon at the time, the Avengers Side experienced Popularity Power in these fights.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Wolverine regarding the Phoenix Force. If the Avengers had got their information about the Phoenix from literally any other member of the X-Men (or even associates, like Captain Britain), especially former hosts like Rachel Grey-Summers, who wielded the Phoenix for years without problems, they'd probably have got a much more objective take - or at least, a more accurate one. Cyclops lampshades this while fighting Cap in issue 2.
    Cyclops: I don't need you or anyone else to remind me of my dead wife! Or the power of the Phoenix! Which you apparently know even less about than you do about me and my people! If you really wanted to talk this out, you would've come to me first... Instead of consulting with the lunatic fringe.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The justification the X-Men use when called out on their more morally gray actions or met with opposition. The Phoenix Five X-Men are building a utopia on Earth free of war, hunger, and persecution, so who in their right mind would be against that? Rachel even says "Why would you want to stand in the way of true utopia?"
  • Versus Title
  • Wham Episode: Issue 11 — Cyclops kills Charles Xavier.
  • What Have I Become?: Colossus has a moment of this when he accidentally burns his love interest Kitty Pryde in a brief rage.
  • What If?: A 4-issue What if series where Magneto trains Hope instead and Logan kills Storm by "accident" in the helicarrier and escalate events early. It ends with everyone on Earth and the Guardians of the Galaxy dead except Wolverine, who reunites with a Phoenix Force-empowered Jean Grey to breathe life into the world again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Captain America plays at one to Cyclops after he's placed into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. The fan reaction to this has been mixed. Let's just leave it at that.
      Captain America: Don't you dare! Don't you dare try and turn this into a win! You waged a war that set friend against friend! You played Russian Roulette with the planet! You left wounds that will take years to heal, if they ever heal at all. And you killed one of the finest men I've ever known. If you consider that a win... I pity you. I really do.
    • An incarcerated Scott fires one right back at Logan in Consequences, pointing out that his plan to murder Hope to stop the Phoenix would have basically doomed everyone had he succeeded.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: After Cyclops kills Xavier, he breaks down crying and blames Captain America and the Avengers for it. Whether his accusation has a point (like Hawkeye's arrow on his neck had a point) or if this was just further proof that Scott was just falling further off the edge is up to the reader - though it's suggested that it's a little bit of both (Scott's mental decline didn't begin until the Avengers started attacking the Phoenix Five).
  • Wild Card:
    • Wolverine, a long-standing X-Man but at the same time an established Avenger currently on bad terms with Cyclops.
    • A promotional comic which listed the sides and teams of the battle listed Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Nova, Deadpool, Savage Hulk and Cable as wild cards. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch both rejoin the Avengers before the halfway point; Hulk finally shows up in Issue #11; Nova crash lands in New York in the first issue, avoids the majority of the fighting and only appears again in Issue #12; and neither Deadpool nor Cable play any part in the event itself.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: With the checks to their behavior gone and their emotions being amplified, the Phoenix Five grow ever closer to going over the edge. As of Issue #9, Cyclops is the only one still holding it together. However, by Issue #11, he's gone fully Dark Phoenix.
  • The Worf Effect: While the battle wages back and forth first, all the characters save the Scarlet Witch and Hope (even the heavy hitters like Thor and Hulk) repeatedly get their asses handed to them by the newly created Phoenix 5 in almost hilariously one-sided battles.
  • Working with the Ex: After Storm defects from the X-Men to help the Avengers, she's swiftly told by Black Panther that due to her association with the Phoenix Five (one of whom had just flooded Wakanda in a fit of rage), the High Priest of Wakanda has granted T'Challa an annulment of their marriage. The High Priest being T'Challa himself. However, with Storm actively working with Black Panther to save the captured Avengers, its possible this might be averted. As of A+X, they have officially separated.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The abbreviation "AvX".
  • You're Insane!: Colossus gives this to Magik. However, it results in an Insult Backfire, as that's what she wanted him to see in the first place.
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • After Cyclops says that Phoenix could be used to "put the world back on track", Magneto points that Cyclops is starting to sound like him. It turns out this is a Berserk Button for Cyclops when this happens one too many times. For a while, people have been saying this to him when he gets particularly protective of mutantkind, and this bit is essentially him spitting back. But, as he's now Phoenix-powered and as such insane, he replies that the difference is "he's winning".
    • Averted with Wolverine in a tie-in when he says in narration that when he looks at the Jean Grey expy, Hope, he doesn't see that strong woman he loved, but just a child who has no idea what she's gotten herself into.
    • After hearing Captain America justify his actions, Iron Man claims that he sounds just like himself when the Captain opposed him during Civil War (2006).
    • Iron Man lets Cap have it again when Cap calls together the Illuminati in an attempt to figure out what to do.