If you've not read this collection, and intend to, but don't want to know what happens, read no further, it contains lots of spoilers.
As we all know Marvel love a big event, and at the moment we have the AvX: Avengers Vs X-Men fist-fight. I've read all of them, bar this one for some reason, it sort of happened, but didn't have the huge hype that all the others have had. Now I've read it, and the conclusion I've come to is that this is probably the most important one of all.
It all started with Avengers Disassembled - The Scarlet Witch was so distraught after the revelation of her children/not children, that she went a little mental, and ended up killing Jack of Hearts, Ant Man (Scott Lang), The Vision and Hawkeye. This was closely followed by House of M, where she uttered those immortal words, 'No More Mutants'.
Then she pretty much disappeared off of the hero radar, until this little episode, mainly featuring The Young Avengers, with a big supporting cast, comprising of The Avengers, X-Men, Magneto, Doctor Doom, Wonder Man, and Quicksilver.
It turns out that two members of The Young Avengers, twin boys called Wiccan and Speed, possibly have the souls of The Scarlet Witch's children, which makes them technically, well, her children. Wiccan has magical powers, like the Scarlet Witch, and Speed has the same powers as Quicksilver. Magneto finds out about their existence, tracks them down, and they then go off in search of The missing Scarlet Witch.
The Avengers get wind of it, and enlist the help of former Avenger, Wonder Man, whose Ionic signature is linked to the Scarlet Witch.
Long story short, The Scarlet Witch is in Latveria about to marry Doctor Doom, but she's suffering from amnesia, so doesn't remember any of her past actions. One big fight later between, The Avengers, The Young Avengers, Magneto against Doom, and his Doombots, and one trip through time, and The Scarlet Witch is back, memory restored, and feeling rather sorry for herself.
Along the way they accidentally remove Scott Lang from the moment he was killed, by Jack of Hearts exploding, and bring him into the present.
That leaves just Jack of Hearts to return from the dead, from the Disassembled story line.
Enter The X-Men, gunning for The Scarlet Witch, led by an angry Cyclops, at the same time that The Scarlet Witch magically restores Rictor's mutant powers.
The Avengers are there and are prepared to defend Wanda against The X-Men, at any cost. Hmm, this now seems very familiar. The current AvX has The Avengers gunning for The Phoenix Force/Hope Summers, and The X-Men will do anything to defend her. I must admit Cyclops is really starting to get up my nose. In the 80's I really liked the X-Men, and Cyclops, but recently he's become annoyingly driven, and more like a villain, not a hero. Can you guess what happens?.... Yep... Fight!
Doom convinces Wanda and Wiccan to join with him to perform a ritual that will undo what she had done previously, this will restore every de-powered mutant in the world with their powers. It turns out that everything was a plan by Doctor Doom, and I mean everything. The Scarlet Witch contained something called The Life Force, which she couldn't contain, hence the madness, she'd turned to Doctor Doom for help, and that's when it all started going wrong.
Doom's plan all along was to gain control of the Life Force, which he managed to do, for a while, but he was warned by The Scarlet Witch that it was too powerful for him to control, but for a while he was all powerful.
Doom wants total domination, and everyone says, No, and a big fight ensues. Scott Lang distracts him by flying into his ear, and is seemingly squashed by Doom. His daughter's not too happy about this grows very large and attacks Doom furiously. At this stage in the book I'm thinking, hold on a moment, the story's almost finished and nobody has died. I knew it was too good to be true, Doom retaliates and...
kills Stature, before loosing control of the Life Force, and returning to Latveria.
Lots of tears, lots of anger, and Iron Lad, who is to become Kang in the future throws a fit, and kills The Vision (Version 2.0). The Scarlet Witch decides she needs to be alone for awhile and look for ways to sort out the mess she created. The End of sorts.
The one thing that sticks in my head the most is Captain America talking to the Scarlet Witch and telling her she's family, once an Avenger, always an Avenger. Wonder Man counters that by saying, The Avengers were a family once, but now they're just an Army. He's not wrong! The X-Men used to fight the good fight for the little guy, and The Avengers used to be the Boy Scouts of the Marvel universe. How far removed from that they are now.
I've said before, but The Children's Crusade is one of the most important story lines in recent Marvel history, and it brought The Young Avengers to my attention, who I always ignored as copycat Avengers for a new generation, but pleasingly so, they are not.