There is noting quite like Free Comic Book Day. For one thing, you can’t beat the prices, but it’s more than that. Free Comic Book Day is a celebration of the hobby as a whole. On the first Saturday of May, local comic book shops and publishers commemorate the day with special sales and exciting new releases. Marvel in particular uses Free Comic Book Day to build hype for their upcoming storylines. Every year Marvel will publish a free one-shot which serves as a special preview for their next slate of stories.
Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1 (2023) was one of their offerings this year, and it packed quite a punch. For example, we saw the return of Captain Krakoa, but it’s not a return that the X-Men should be thrilled about. We saw the deadly Stark Sentinels make their move, which is bad news for mutantkind. And Stephen Strange debates the nature of good and evil with a mysterious new character.
If you didn’t make it to your LCS for Free Comic Book Day, we’re here to bring you up to speed. Here’s everything that went down in Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1 (2023)!
Burning down the treehouse
The first story is written by Gerry Dugan and penciled by Joshua Cassara, and features the return of Captain Krakoa. On the night of the X-Men’s annual Hellfire Gala celebration, a shadowy figure sneaks into their New York City treehouse. According to the captions, this figure works for Orchis, a notable anti-mutant organization. The shadowy figure injects an unknown concoction into the walls of the treehouse, causing it to slowly come apart.
Cyclops arrives to stop the intruder, and a battle ensues. It’s worth noting that Cyclops does not recognize the shadowy figure, making it likely that he’s a new character. Whoever he is, the shadowy figure easily beats Cyclops in battle. Before departing the treehouse, he dons the Captain Krakoa costume that the X-Men had kept on display. Captain Krakoa had been created as an alternate identity for Cyclops during a time when the X-Men were trying to hide their resurrection technology. Because Cyclops had publicly died, Scott Summers had donned the Captain Krakoa persona so he could continue to operate in public.
The new Captain Krakoa throws Cyclops off of the treehouse, seemingly killing the hero. Captain Krakoa then flies away, as the X-Men’s treehouse burns behind him. This seems to be the moment that was previewed when Kang traveled through time in Timeless #1 (2022). Cyclops will probably be fine, thanks to the X-Men’s resurrection technology. But whatever Captain Krakoa has next can’t be good for mutantkind. Don’t forget, the next storyline is called 'Fall of X,' and it sounds like Captain Krakoa will do everything in his power to make that title a reality.
Beware the Stark Sentinels
The second story is written by Gerry Duggan and penciled by Javier Garron. It can be divided into three separate scenes, which never really intersect. The first scene has Captain Krakoa invading the United States Capitol Building and attacking lawmakers. Remember, as far as the lawmakers know, Captain Krakoa is a member of the X-Men. The villain is most likely trying to stage a false flag operation in order to turn humanity against mutantkind.
The second scene involves Captain America dodging assassins. Cap fights agents of Orchis before being rescued by Rogue. The two then decide to call all the heroes they could find, mutant and human. This is setting up Uncanny Avengers, a title which launches this August. Duggan and Garron will be the creative team behind the title, which will feature a combined group of X-Men and Avengers working together.
The third scene features a scene that might be familiar to many readers – a parent trying to get their child to eat their vegetables. The child in question is Ellie Camacho, the daughter of Deadpool. She’s currently in the care of Emily Preston, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. It’s a loving arrangement, but Ellie is not a fan of the vegetables. Of course, there is one thing children hate more than veggies, and that’s being hunted by giant killer robots.
The dinner is interrupted when a duo of Stark Sentinels arrive outside of the Preston house. Stark Sentinels are like the traditional mutant-hunting Sentinels, only they’ve been equipped with Stark technology, making them more dangerous. You might be wondering why Tony Stark would do such a thing, but the matter was out of his control. Over in the title Invincible Iron Man, the villain Feilong has bought Stark Unlimited, and is using the company’s resources to build the deadly Stark Sentinels.
Something strange is brewing
The final story is a preview of G.O.D.S., a new project written by Jonathan Hickman and penciled by Valerio Schiti. Not much is known about the project, only that it will explore the space where science and magic intersect in the Marvel Universe. The preview features a conversation between Doctor Strange and a mysterious individual named Wyn. The two figures debate the nature of good and evil in a chilling scene.
New York City can be seen in the backdrop, with a mysterious purple sky-beam engulfing parts of the city. What is going on? If this scene seems familiar to you, it’s because Marvel released it as a YouTube video back in March. Wyn is a new character, and his true nature hasn’t been revealed yet. According to Marvel.com, Wyn is a member of an eons-old hierarchy that includes the omnipotent rulers of the universe such as Eternity, Infinity, and the Living Tribunal. In other words, he deals with some powerful forces. G.O.D.S #1 will be published sometime in fall 2023.
Marvel has given us plenty to chew on with this one-shot. From the fall of mutantkind, to the rise of the Stark Sentinels, and the mysterious Wyn, it seems like the rest of 2023 is going to be a rollercoaster. Keep your eyes peeled to Popverse as we continue to unpack these unfolding events.
DC also revealed a big of its big plans for summer 2023 on Free Comic Book Day Read our spoiler-filled rundown of FCBD 2023's Knight Terrors book here.