The next major Marvel Comics event has been announced: Avengers vs. X-Men. Teaser art has been hinting at the return of the Phoenix Force since New York Comic Con in October, and USA Today confirms that the storyline will indeed feature the return of the nigh-omipotent cosmic deity of destruction and rebirth who most famously possessed Jean Grey.

In Avengers vs. X-Men, a twelve-issue series that launches in April 2012, the heroes of the Marvel Universe learn that the Phoenix Force is making its way back to Earth, prompting yet another conflict over Hope Summers, the young girl considered both the messiah and the harbinger of doom for the mutant race. Long heralded as the the next host of the Phoenix Force -- and possibly, a reincarnated Jean Grey -- Hope sparks a conflict between the X-Men and the Avengers, who have different ideas about how to protect both Hope and the entire world from the deadly and incredibly powerful entity.The writer of the book will change every issue, rotating through a who's who of Marvel scripters: Brian Bendis, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, and Jonathan Hickman.

"It's interesting to see each guy bringing his best to the table," Aaron told USA Today. "You don't want to be the weak link who lets the team down. Each issue, every guy's trying to throw down the gauntlet and one-up the guy who came before him."

The artist will alternate as well, with John Romita Jr., Oliver Coipel and Adam Kubert each illustrating one four-issue "act" of series, which will be released the same day digitally and in print. Readers who purchase a print issue will also receive a free digital download of the comic on the Marvel Comics app.

A prologue issue illustrated by Frank Cho will precede the series, and focus on two characters who are integral to the event: Hope Summers and the Scarlet Witch. Aaron will script the Hope story, while Bendis focuses on the Scarlet Witch, a character who suffered a mental breakdown and depowered all but 198 mutants on Earth in the 2005 House of M storyline. Hope Summers was the first mutant born after the nearly extinction level event, making her a symbol of both hope and fear for the future of the mutant race, which is still struggling to survive.

"[The Scarlet Witch has] been on a road of almost impossible-to-perceive redemption over the last few years and now is going to come face-to-face with the Avengers," Bendis said.

Marvel has promised to reveal more details about the event tomorrow in a live news conference at 3 PM EST with Fraction, Bendis, Aaron, Brubaker and Hickman. Marvel will also make the creators available through Google+, and suggests that fans use the hashtag #AvX to discuss the event on Twitter.

What do you think of the premise so far?

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