Things are moving forward as Jonathan Hickman takes over the reigns with the scripting.
In a surprise move last issue, Wolverine and Captain America had a bit of a falling out. The lines are starting to get a little blurry as to who is on which side. Who Wolverine ends up with in this issue is borderline surprising.
We're seeing the story take place on multiple fronts. That, along with all the characters involved adds to the huge feeling that this is supposed to be a vast story. Not only do we have the battles raging all over the planet but we also have the team of Avengers that went out into space to take on the Phoenix Force directly. You can image how that will go.
We've been seeing a lot of the Avengers have the upper hand during the battles. It's nice to see to see a little variation in some of the battles (even if we don't see the full outcomes of them). The twists are nice and the cliffhanger ending promises to raise the stakes for the next issue.
The grand scope of the story trying to be presented is almost too much for this series. Of course there is the AVX series that will focus on actual fights but catching tiny glimpses here and then seeing characters unscathed pages later gives this a bit of an empty feeling. Part of me would like to see the AVX battles injected into the main story pages when this is all collected later this year. The betrayals do add twists to the story but it feels like that's all we're getting. We see characters fight and then someone switches sides on the others.
There seems to be some inconsistency in the art. Some characters appear to have changed their costumes (like Angel, who hasn't been wearing one since his change). There is just too much trying to be crammed into single panels in trying to show how many different characters are in battle across the world.
Overall it feels like we're going through the paces and are waiting for something to happen. Seeing how Wolverine survives since the last issue was fun but we need to start seeing more happen. But that doesn't mean more random battles.
We're four issues in and we haven't quite gotten anywhere just yet. We're seeing more battles and betrayals. There is a sense that you won't know what's going to happen next. The Phoenix Force is getting closer and that will definitely change the direction of where this series will go. Hickman handling the script here adds to the characterization of Wolverine and where his motivations lie. The problem comes when we get panels and pages of several characters fighting each other at different locations on the planet. We don't really see how these battles start or how they end because those will be featured in the AVX side series. It's meant to give us a bigger feel in that there is so much going on but it also takes away from the flow of the series. We see random characters fighting and find some of them show up later with no explanation how they got there. Romita Jr's art is basically the same as it's been on the first three issues. Some panels get overwhelming as there are so many characters thrown in and it feels as if there's a lack of consistency with some characters. It does appear that the next issue will bring the series to the next level as the focus may shift more towards the Phoenix Force.
We have an update on the cover. The great thing about the trailer/animated look is it's a great way to catch readers up on what's gone on in the previous issues. Inside we get some more look at pages and panels in the penciled, inked and finished stages. There's also a lesson on from a physicist on how to destroy our planet. Please don't try that at home.