You probably know the feeling.
You’re trying to get into a major Marvel event after the fact. The hype around Avengers Vs. X-Men has come and gone, and now you’re left with a 12 issue event that alludes to countless tie-ins. Couldn’t Marvel just sell a stinking book that included all of the tie-ins at once?
It would seem our longstanding trade collection nightmare has passed.
Presumably this was announced some time ago, but I stumbled across this gem on Amazon yesterday: The Avengers vs. X-Men Companion Reader.
The hardcover trade is available for pre-order on Amazon right now, with a scheduled release date of May 21, 2013. It includes all of the following tie-ins and crossovers: Avengers Academy 29-33; Secret Avengers 26-28; Avengers 25-30; New Avengers 24-30; X-Men Legacy 266-270; Wolverine & The X-Men 9-16, 18; AVX: Consequences 1-5; Uncanny X-Men 11-20, A-Babies VS. X-Babies 1.
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The whole reading order challenge surrounding Marvel comics (or at least major Marvel events) could easily be mitigated with trades exactly like this one.
The vast glut of tie-in trades and crossover issues makes event reading an exercise in organizational management. For example, with Secret Invasion, I count 28 separate trade collections you could purchase in an effort to get the full scope of the Skrull attack.
Naturally this can lead to a lot of debate, questioning which narrative arcs are truly worth it, and how many trades you can actually afford to add to your collection.
A companion reader along the lines of this AvX book immediately eradicates these concerns. Every tie-in issue is included, and you can enjoy the Avengers vs. X-Men experience the way it was originally intended.
We’ve seen variations on event-based omnibus collections before, but this might be the best example I’ve seen in the modern Marvel era. There’s a really great Avengers Disassembled collection that includes the entire run of Cap, Thor, and Iron Man, but that offers a pretty focused scope, and each series is separate from the others rather than interwoven to reflect event continuity.
Events like Dark Reign have had their own semi-companions, but the “Accept Change” trade is really more of a prequel to the event.
My favorite example of a Marvel trade collection that puts reading chronology first? The Age of Apocalypse trade collections. These books do a fantastic job of interweaving disparate series titles in an order that maintains the closest possible semblance of a shared universe. With so many different writers and creators weaving stories, comics may never tell a truly cohesive whole, but that’s always the promise.
It’s nice to see a trade collection that finally delivers on this perceived promise for the fans.
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