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Avengers / X-Men: Utopia [Paperback]

Matt Fraction , Terry Dodson , Mike Deodato , Luke Ross
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 24 2010 Avengers/X-Men
WHO ARE THE DARK X-MEN? He has his own Avengers team and now Norman Osborn has his own X-Men team. The other shoe has finally dropped and Emma Frost has betrayed Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men. And that's just one of the huge surprises in "UTOPIA". Is that Namor? Cloak and Dagger? Professor X?! The thing that you aren't ready for is that Osborn is right. Collects Uncanny X-Men #513-514, Dark Avengers #7-8, Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia, and Utopia Finale.

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
The main Utopia storyline is only about 154 pages long, less than half the book's total page count. It is a good, well-written crossover event. Matt Fraction does not disappoint. The Dark Avengers VS The X-Men? A real treat. We even get Dark X-Men in this story: There's Cloak & Dagger [who are not mutants], who've been sort-of coerced by Osborn into joining; we've got Weapon Omega and Mimic [who are both nuts], Dark Wolverine [Daken] and... two surprise members. No love is lost between the Dark Avengers and the Dark X-Men, and soon both teams come to blows. Cyclops needs to figure out a way to beat Osborn and his cronies, which he does, with a truly ingenious plan. So, yeah, well-written story, great plot & smart dialogue. Where the book suffers [a bit] is in regards to art, which, while still good, is supplied by 4 artists. It's kind of distracting. 4 stars.

The rest of the book is comprised of:

- A story where Emma & Scott resolve some of their "problems". A bit melodramatic, but relevant to "Utopia". 3 stars.
- A 2-part tie-in where Rogue rescues a mutant and dukes it out with [Dark] Ms. Marvel. Unnecessary. 2 stars.
- 2 short stories, one about Namor, the other about Emma, which have NOTHING to do with Utopia. Irrelevant. 1 star.
- 9 short stories (taking place *before* Utopia) about how Osborn recruited his Dark X-Men. High points include great covers by Jae Lee, the stories about Dark Beast, Daken, and Aurora. 3 stars.
- Variant covers (by Jae Lee and Simone Bianchi) and character studies. 3 stars.

Bottom line: Well-priced as an online purchase, this book is a good read (overall), but it could have done without some of the bonus features.

Note: This is the second version of the review; it was expanded (and hopefully improved) after getting a "not useful" vote.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars !!ATTENTION!!! Issues printed out of order!!! READ THIS! April 3 2010
By D. Ness - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wish I had known that this collection was not printed in chronological order. If you want the full effect of this story, read it in this order:

Dark Reign The Cabal
Dark Avengers/X-Men Utopia
X-Men Legacy #226 & #227
Dark X-Men The Beginning #1 (Mimic & Dark Beast)
Dark X-Men The Beginning #2 (All)
Dark X-Men The Beginning #3 (Mystique & Jeanne Marie)
Uncanny X-men #513
Dark X-Men The Beginning #3 (Emma/Namor)
Dark X-Men The Beginning #1 (Namor)
Dark Avnegers #7
Uncanny X-men #514
Dark Avengers #8
Dark X-Men The Confession
Dark Avengers/X-Men Exodus
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good X-Men story Dec 21 2009
By Sean Curley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
With the "Dark Reign" status quo well underway at Marvel Comics, the spectre of Norman Osborn's rule falls across the pocket-universe of the X-Men, currently ensconced in San Francisco. With supervillain Simon Trask and his Humanity Now! coalition pushing 'Proposition X' to intrude on mutant reproduction rights, riots break out, and Norman, now the overlord of the Marvel United States, is called in to reestablish control of the streets. This collection covers "Uncanny X-Men" #513-514, "Dark Avengers" #7-8, and the event's prologue and epilogue one-shots ("Utopia" and "Exodus"). All of this is written by regular X-writer Matt Fraction, and drawn by an assortment of artists. Some spoilers follow.

Despite this being labelled as a crossover between the Uncanny X-Men and the Dark Avengers, and even involving the Dark Avengers' own title for two months, the actual Dark Avengers are a fairly minor presence in this story, apart from Norman Osborn. For the bulk of the story, the Dark Avengers sit on the sidelines while Osborn attempts to control the situation by using the "Dark X-Men" as a new public relations tool. The crux of this story is the plight of Emma Frost, who had for the previous six months been a member of Norman's Cabal (as a protective measure), and now has to pick a side as Norman comes into conflict with Cyclops and the X-Men. While the Dark Avengers play a small role until the final fight, Fraction is, per usual, playing with an absolutely giant cast of X-Men. Things often come across as a bit cluttered as a result of this, but many chracters get at least one moment. Dani Moonstar of the New Mutants, who has been making due without superpowers for the last few years, gets a particularly significant development.

Through the clutter, Fraction writes a very compelling set of characters in Emma, Norman, and fellow Cabal member Namor. His take on Cyclops is a bit more variable; all the attempts to build Cyclops up as an unquestioned badass leader since "Messiah Complex" haven't been wholly convincing. He also does a good Ares, in the few moments in which Ares does anything. The art credits for this are split four ways: the prologue is done by Marc Silvestri; the UXM issues by Terry Dodson, the regular artist; the Dark Avengers issues by "Captain America" artist Luke Ross, doing his best impression of Mike Deodato; and Deodato himself does the climactic "Exodus" in collaboration with Dodson. It's overall a good-looking collaboration, though the split between the cartoony and the realistic is pronounced.

Overall, this is a pretty good X-Men story, and leaves the characters in a potentially interesting place for future stories.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An attractive presentation of a problematic story. . . April 1 2010
By Nathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The X-Men story Utopia (nominally a crossover with Dark Avengers, but make no mistake, this is an X-Men story) is problematic both within the larger context of the X-Men books and on its own terms. In the bigger picture, this story was published all of a year after the X-Men relocated their headquarters to San Francisco -- an event that was marketed as a big deal, a major change in the status quo -- so to have another big change in the status quo arrive so quickly is somewhat disappointing. Further, the line-up of X-books as a whole is suffering from "event fatigue": Utopia follows hot on the heels of the X-crossover Messiah War, and is immediately followed by the X-Necrosha event, which itself is immediately succeeded by the "Second Coming" crossover. The Events are coming so quickly that the stories and characters barely have time to breathe, and even when they do it feels like it's just treading water between events. The line seriously needs to calm down and remember that not every story has to be a Major Event.

As for the Utopia story itself, all six issues are penned by Matt Fraction, one of Marvel's bright young stars. Fraction is at his best focusing on fewer characters. Even his earlier team book, The Order, was structured so that each issue focused on a specific team member. Here, however, he's playing with a cast of hundreds, including three teams, one of which is divided into multiple squads; all these characters are being twined through multiple plot threads, and the overall impression is that Fraction has bitten off a bit more than he can chew. The plot moves along rapidly, but there's so much going on that there's very little narrative momentum to keep the reader engaged, so it's just things happening in sequence instead of an exciting story. And with so many characters all crammed into so many conflicts, very few of them have much of a chance to shine. And Fraction doesn't seem to have a grasp of several of these characters, particularly Daken (Dark Wolverine). As for the art, the cartoony style of the Dodsons and Luke Ross doesn't work terribly well with the tone of the story, especially contrasted with the sharper pencils of Marc Silvestri and Mike Deodato in the bookend chapters. This is a story that would have benefited quite a bit from a more consistent, less cartoony artistic vision.

The story is packaged nicely in an attractive hardcover edition with plenty of material supplementing the disappointing main story. Also included is the "Dark X-Men: The Confession" one-shot by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, in which Cyclops and Emma Frost let each other in on their secrets, providing some vital background information for the main story; the superior two-issue X-Men Legacy tie-in "Suppressing Fire" in which Mike Carey, the best X-writer these days, takes his little team of Rogue, Gambit and Danger through the beginning of the conflict in the main story; the Emma Frost and Namor stories from the "Dark Reign: The Cabal" one-shot, which provide some insight into these characters; and the three-issue anthology title "Dark X-Men: The Beginning", which is basically a bunch of gathering the team stories showing how Norman Osborn assembled his Dark X-Men. These stories are not bad but are largely forgettable, serving to introduce the members of a team that got virtually no introduction in the main event; the best stories of the bunch are, unsurprisingly, those penned by Paul Cornell and Jason Aaron.

To sum up, Marvel has done a very nice job of packaging a disappointing event story with all the supplemental stories that help to flesh it out a bit. If you follow the X-Men comics, this is one you probably shouldn't skip, but don't expect to be blown away, either; the pretty cover and the hype promise much more intensity than the story actually delivers.

Continuity note: The main story in this book follows Uncanny X-Men: Sisterhood and is followed by X-Men: Nation X.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding collection of comics!# Jan. 7 2013
By Joshua Cabral - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am thoroughly impressed with the writing and art style in each of these stories. Each comic has its powerful unique feel and story to our whole still keeping the chain of events moving forward!! If you like The X-Men then you will love seeing them at full strength fighting an enemy who is just as powerful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read Jan. 3 2013
By Corey81 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not an avid comic book reader; however, this comic was a marvelous blend of chaos, love, and insanity with no stops in between. The artwork was eye catching and dark; a great scheme for this story, a definite must read.
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