Review – A+X #15

Dr Strange and The Beast gracing the cover of A+X #15
A+X #15 Cover

From Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood, the awesome creative team behind the runaway hit Dream Thief, comes the super-awesome super-team-up that the world has been waiting for. That’s right, bros and bro-ettes, this month’s feature story in A+X #15 is a romp through the nether realms of the Marvel universe by none other than the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Dr. Strange, and the X-men’s resident expert on all the science, Dr Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy aka Beast.

For those out of the know, A+X is the latest Marvel incarnation of the holiest of all single-issue-story comic concepts: The Almighty Superheroic Tag Team. A concept book that  started humbly in the pages of such books as DC’s The Brave And The Bold and Marvel’s aptly named Marvel Team-Up has found its latest incarnation in this series which takes one X-member and one Avenger affiliated hero and pits them against some kind of thing or another.

In this issue, Beast has been called in to “The Village” by S.H.I.E.L.D. to investigate a yoga class that has gone horribly wrong.

No, this isn’t like the time you attempted that upside-down reverse Half Lord Of Fishes pose to impress that hottie from the Co-op in your beginner’s yoga class and you ended up with 55% less pants than when you started. This is much, much worse and ends with a more favorable pants to no-pants ratio, you show off.

However, when Dr McCoy arrives on the scene he finds that another expert doctor has also been called in to consult on what he is calling a “conjurer’s conundrum”. Yes, it seems that S.H.I.E.L.D’s extraterrestrial emergency task force counterpart, S.W.O.R.D. has called in Doctor Strange to investigate any possible magical causes for a room full of would-be yogis floating around in wacky dimensional rift energy.

The issue breaks down into some witty back and forth between the two doctors about the root cause of problem. Dr Strange insists that there is foul magic afoot, Dr McCoy seems to think that some kind of Shi’ar yoga is to blame and their disagreements just grow from there.

This story is awesome because it is pretty much all character-driven. The bickering and interactions between the two leading men is the meat and potatoes of this little jaunt. Sure they end up in Dormammu’s dark dimension and sure there is an even more impossible-to-guess force behind this science/magic mystery but that’s all just background for the real show.

Nitz does a fantastic job creating fun and engaging dialogue that will have any fan of classically written Team-Up stories giggling with sheer delight. The rivalry between the two really shines through and the way they are continually attempting to out do one another keeps the laughs going through this entire story.

Now, the story does only take up half of this issue of A+X so don’t be surprised when it sort of just wraps up out of nowhere. I mean, it’s just a yoga class that has inadvertently opened up a rift to another dimension which threatens all life on this plane of existence, it really shouldn’t take these two masters of their respective fields more than 10 pages to crack the case.

The rest off the issue is filled out by the ongoing team up of Captain American and Cyclops tracking down Skrulls stragglers left on Earth after their whole secret invasion business. Allegedly, these little green men pose a threat as a possible vanguard for a whole other Skrull secret invasion. Cap and the wet blanket just ain’t gonna stand for that and they’ve put their differences aside for now so that they can save the world.

Queue epic guitar solo and slow motion montage of Cap and Cyke running through explosions, punching dudes, driving very aggressively and drinking a couple cold ones into the sunset. Also fireworks at some point.

Gerry Duggan (writer) and David Yardin (penciler) are putting together a fun little romp tale here even though they’re using the lamest dude in any continuity to have red lasers coming out of his noggin’ since Kal-El fell to Earth. It’s a good thing ol’ Steve Rogers has his back in this tale otherwise those Skrull would probably be ruling the Earth right now.

If you’re looking for some serious superhero action full of epic battle cries and butt-kicking slug fests between some of the heaviest hitters in the Marvel-U then this book is not for you. If you love loads of banter and love a straight up Odd Couple/Grumpy Old Men situation when two ol’ curmudgeons who don’t get along are forced to work together for the greater good, then this one is for you.

Seriously, A+X features the best team up of all time since Bee met PuppyCat.

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Word Of The Nerd

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