Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1987 - X-Men Versus the Avengers

X-Men Versus the Avengers - 4 issue miniseries
April - July 1987
Writers: Roger Stern/Tom DeFalco/Jim Shooter
Artists: Marc Silvestri/Keither Pollard/Joe Rubinstein

The X-Men and Avengers stand at opposite ends of the super hero team spectrum. The Avengers are the Marvel Universe’s premiere team working with government approval. Despite their awesome powers, the general public adores them. On the other hand, the X-Men are feared by the very people they’ve sworn to protect and are usually hunted by government.

The X-Men and Avengers race to recover the fragments of Magneto’s former asteroid base that have fallen out of orbit (destroyed by Warlock's dramatic crash landing). The Soviet Super Soldiers, who want Magneto brought in to face Soviet justice, enter the fray and an all-out, three-way battle erupts.

The X-Men escape with Magneto, who has rediscovered one of his old helmet that will allow him to wipe mutant prejudice from human minds. The Avengers prevent him from doing so and Magneto surrenders himself. Magneto then decides to use the helmet against the Chief Justice of the Tribunal, who is trying to promote a mutant-human war. The charges against Magneto are dropped. However, Magneto’s plan backfires as the general public cries foul and tensions between mutants and humans increase.

This miniseries was unusual because it wasn’t written by Chris Claremont who had seemingly written every other X-Men special and miniseries in the 1980s. The overall story is well-balanced regarding the attention paid to both teams. Roger Stern neatly handles all the characters and plot lines. The characters aren’t lost in all of the action. It was nice to see a variety of reactions to Magneto’s recent change of heart, even among the X-Men.

Unfortunately, the entire effort is undermined when a new creative team comes in to finish the story. According to Stern:

“At virtually the last minute, I was told that the original ending to the series -- which I had insisted upon as a condition of my writing it -- would have to be changed. I chose not to write the new ending.”

Jim Shooter, the Editor-in-Chief, and Tom DeFalco stepped in to finish the story and Keith Pollard provided the penciled art. The final issue was a dramatic shift in terms of story and art and prevented this series from being the classic it should have been.

Did some digging and thanks to http://home.hiwaay.net/~lkseitz/comics/xmenvsavengers.html, I've pieced together the following.

Despite what has been reported, Roger Stern didn’t leave Marvel angry after the ending of the X-Men vs Avengers was changed.

Stern wanted to have the story end with Magneto showing himself for the bastard he really was. This plot was changed by the series editor and Stern “decided the miniseries was too much grief to deal with any further.”


  1. So what was Stern's originally planned ending?

  2. I've updated the post. Check it out.

  3. Yeah, the ending seemed to come out of nowhere even back then. Of course, I like my Magneto to be a full-on bad guy....



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