I’d suggest buying the back issues before diving in to Avengers Vs X-Men: Round 8, but sometimes people are just really big Namor fans and don’t want to be bothered with all this story nonsense. Even if you’re jumping into the middle of an ongoing arc (WHY?), not to fret. Here’s a general run down on what’s been happening thus far!
The story in Issue 7 left off as the originally intended vessel of the Phoenix Force, Hope Summers, was seemingly “kidnapped” by Scarlet Witch, who can somehow actually hurt the Chosen Five. In a roll-your-eyes, spoonfed version of deja vous, Cyclops turned a single blind eye to the fact that it was Hope’s decision to leave and has declared, “No more Avengers.”
What, you need more than that? Fine. All of Cyke’s boyscout training has left him trying to be the leader of four other strong and capable portions of the Phoenix Force and he’s slowly coming to the realization that he’s losing his grip on keeping them in line. Emma once again plays all the angles as she cheats it up with Namor behind Scott’s back, as only a power crazed Frost knows how to do. Emma lets it slip that during the battle of the Pacific Ocean (where Namor got his ass handed to him by Scarlet Witch. No biggie.) that his team had been taken captive and one specifically, Transonic, is being held as a prisoner in their super secret location. Emma is more than happy to give it to him, literally and figuratively, as she multitasks between telephatically divulging the super secret location and tongue dancing with tentacle boy.
Still with me? Good. Issue 8 opens with a two page spread of Namor as he takes out his sexual frustration on the entire nation of Wakanda. I could go into detail and multiple innuendos about Namor flooding the Lake of Twisted Visions, but really, we’re all thinking it. And also, he’s killing Black Panther’s subjects. Which, let’s face it …not cool.
In the laziest attempt at Epic Foreshadowing, Iron Man vaguely mentions to be sure and remember some “secret weapon” to the rest of the Avengers as they jet set Hope Summers to the mystical land of Kung Fu. Er, K’un-Lun. Whatevs.
King T’challa is mighty pissed indeed and threatens to kill Namor himself for the wreckage he has bestowed upon his nation. Captain America wrongly assumes that Namor’s attempt to rage/free the scapegoat Transonic is the entire Phoenix Five’s call for war and final reveal of their assumed evil agenda, rather than Namor acting as his own mutant. And good ole’ Cap seems to have a plan more substantial than T’challa’s alleged “talking him down,” as he calls for every single Avenger to assemble and face a fifth of the Phoenix Force in Wakanda.
Wolverine and Hope land on the other side of the portal, and the world, in the portrait worthy land of K’un-Lun. Or as Wolvie calls it, “the city where Kung Fu was born.” With Iron Man and Thunderer landing mere moments before the portal closes, Iron Man addresses Hope with the simple queary if she is ready to do what she has to do in order to stop the Chosen Five. Hope mirrors the reader’s sense of unknown and we jump back to Wakanda, where Namor is in full God-like Rage and gets bitchslapped with a shield to the sound of Cap’s admonishments.
Enter my favorite panel of the whole issue, known only as “FAKABOOM!” Seriously, best written sound effect ever.
The Avengers come out swinging in full force as Namor’s perfectly arched eyebrows furrow further in anger. We have yet to see the return of their ace-in-the-hole Ms. Maximoff, but as she’s the only thing that’s made any sort of dent in any incarnation of the firey entity, it’s clear to the reader that she is hanging in the shadows waiting for Namor to become distracted and swoop in for her opportune moment. Yawn.
T’challa confirms this plan with a behind the back sneak attack, that does less in the way of actually working and is more just an invitation to Namor’s weird buttcrack. Why the Phoenix Force dresses the Chosen Five like Lady Gaga is beyond even my comprehension, but Gods will do as Gods will do, I suppose.
Namor lays the smackdown RAW style on too many Avengers to name as he becomes more consumed with rage, and two pages later it’s suddenly the perfect time for Thor to try another behind the back sneak attack with a Mjolnir to the cranium. Because, Thor, that tactic worked so well only two pages ago.
Back on Utopia, the Mutant Capitol of the World, Magneto peeks his head around the corner and informs the rest of the Chosen Five of the situation on Wakanda. Emma lets it slip once again that she knows how when and why shit just got real. Just as she states “Namor is going to do what Namor is going to do,” it also seems that, as usual, Emma wont do anything that doesn’t benefit Emma. And regarding her status as a telepath and now a Phoenix host, the reader is left to guess at her ultimate endgame. Cyclops comes to the same realization Cap reached in the beginning of the issue and decides to lead the charge to Wakanda to smooth over the damage Namor’s actions have done.
So, remember when Thor decided it would be a good idea to try the same plan that didn’t quite work on Namor not two pages earlier? It worked! All you have to do to distract a God from the threat they should be watching for is hit ‘em with a hammer and you’re gold!
And it’s Namor vs Scarlet Witch, ROUND 2! Fight!
Which is very anticlimactic. There’s one page of pink and orange, no dialogue, and it’s over. Magic vs cosmic power is super effective against the other. Namor and Scarlet Witch fainted! Would you like to use the rest of the Phoenix Five? Oh too late, they showed up of their own accord.
The Avengers use their coveted “secret weapon” to escape just as Namor’s portion of the Phoenix Force leaves his form and is absorbed by the, now, Phoenix Four. Though the Chosen Five have been whittled down to four, they don’t seem to be pulling a Spice Girls, and have retained the same amount of power as before. And though she hasn’t done too terribly much thus far, I would like to point out the look on Magik’s face during her power up and how laughably orgasmic it was.
Issue 8 felt extremely rushed in pacing when compared with the rest of the accumulative arc and seemed to be less plot driven, as the dialogue mainly consisted of “I am fire and life incarnate, stand down puny mortals!” or “Guys, what do we do?” Watch out, Brian Michael Bendis, I’m coming for your job! Though it’s a nice break from the bickering and about time we saw some major action, I feel as though this issue could be executed much better. Stay tuned next week for Avengers Vs X-Men: Round #9!