Many people know that when it comes to releasing hardcover and trade paperbacks, Marvel knows what they're doing. The final issue of AVENGERS VS X-MEN went on sale in and the hardcover release is already available.
There is some debate over how much time should pass in between the single issues and the collected release. There is an advantage to not having to wait up to half a year later to get the collection. Releasing the trades may not necessarily mean people will stop buying the single issues since many readers (like myself) love getting the collected versions when a story is really good.
You'll immediately notice that this hardcover is pretty thick. It has a retail price of $75 but chances are you'll be able to find it cheaper. Even the retail price is reasonable for what you get. This collection features all twelve issues of the miniseries (plus the zero issue), the Nova story from the first POINT ONE issue, all six issues of AVX: VS as well as the three INFINITE comics that have never been printed before and there are no plans to reprint the again. Doing the math, you can justify the price plus there's the fact that the Marvel hardcovers just look so nice.
What I've heard from others, and I completely agree, the story reads better in this collected format. The downside is the collection has issues the Nova story, 0-12 and afterwards you get AVX: VS 1-6 followed by the three INFINITE issues. It must have been a hard decision to not try to present the stories in the correct chronological sequence. That was one my complaints about the overall series and tie in issues. Too many times you just had no idea what order to read them. The tie in issues sometimes were dealing with events that already passed in the main series which meant you knew the outcome already.
Another unfortunate aspect is the INFINITE comics. Seeing them printed just doesn't compare with the presentation in the digital format. The big charm of those stories was seeing how the panels unfolded as the story progressed. To make up for this, you always have the option of reading them, and the entire collection, digitally. As Marvel sometimes does with their hardcover releases, you get a code to redeem in order to read the entire collection digitally. Provided you have an iPad or tablet, you can still check out what the fuss is about the INFINITE issues.
It was a little disappointing not having all the tie ins, or at least some of them, included here. The reality is there were quite a bit of them. There would also be the dilemma of whether the attempt should be made to try to fit them all together in the proper chronological order. That would be great to see but would also interrupt the flow of the main story.
As with most hardcover releases, the book is a little larger than the original comics. It's not a huge difference but that little bit gives you a closer look at the art. And let's be honest, it was the art that really stood out here at times. Reactions to the actual story have been mixed. Some have complained about the lack of outcome or that it was all about fighting just to reach the conclusion. Others were able to enjoy the story as an event allowing us to see our favorite heroes fight one another. And whether you liked the story or not, it did change the atmosphere for the X-Men, Avengers and the Marvel Universe.
Besides the issues, there are some other extras included. You can't have a collection without a cover gallery. Even though it was just a twelve issue miniseries, there are plenty of covers to see. The series had many variants and exclusive covers. It's great to see them all in one place.
One thing we often saw in the AR content for during the series was the various stages of art. We were able to see selected panels in their penciled and inked form. It's always great to see the original art as it can develop a completely different look with inks and colors. Included is commentary from artists John Romita Jr, Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert. There's some really cook art in this section.
All of the AR content from the original individual issues is included as well.
There's also a fun "scorecard" breakdown of each battle. It's pretty detailed and a fun read.
Is this the collection you've been looking for? If you haven't picked up the series and have managed to avoid most of the spoilers and outcomes, it is something worth checking out. It was Marvel's big event for the year and the status quo for several characters has been changed. Getting a more complete version with the tie ins would be great but of course that would mean an even higher price tag. It really comes down to how much you like the characters and the creators involved in the series. $75 is a lot of money. It is comparable to the price of all the individual issues. I didn't love every single issue but I love having this hardcover in my library.
It's also worth noting that this is a limited-edition release. It's not clear exactly how limited it is but I'd imagine at that retail price, many shops may have decided not to order large quantities.