Saturday, June 30, 2012

X-men Legacy #269 - Old Grudges, Same Awesome

I try not to hold too many grudges. I'm no Ghandi. I'll still wish rectal warts on the asshole that holds up traffic at a stoplight because he's yelling at his kids in the backseat of his gas-guzzling Hummer, but overall I try to forgive, forget, and drink plenty of substances that aid in forgetting (amongst other things). In comics, many major story-lines revolve around characters holding a grudge way longer than they should. Hell, there are stories in the Old Testament that are less vindictive than some of the grudge feuds in comics. However, some grudges still make for awesome stories. Some of them involve grudges that are completely understandable. Others still involve two beautiful women trying to beat the shit out of each other and those tend to be the best.

Most modern X-men fans probably don't remember the bad blood between Rogue and Miss Marvel. Unless you watched a few select episodes of the X-men 90s cartoon (I weep for you if you've denied yourself such awesome), you probably wouldn't know that these two have a long list of reasons to want to kill one another. Rogue put Miss Marvel in a coma for a long time and ran around with her powers, stealing both her gigs and her sex appeal in the process. I imagine for women that's only slightly less egregious than stealing their imported shampoo conditioner. As forgiving as I may be, if someone puts me in a coma and runs around with all my drinking skills then I'm not going to let that shit slide. And Avengers vs. X-men offers a perfect opportunity to get some sweet vengeance and show two beautiful women beating each other up in the process. They're not covered in oil or mud, but it's better than nothing.

X-men Legacy has been one of the many X-books that has been directly affected by the events of Avengers vs. X-men #6. The Phoenix Five have asserted their power over the world and are looking to drag humanity kicking and screaming to a worldwide utopia. In X-men Legacy #268, we saw just one of those battles through the eyes of Frenzy. In X-men Legacy #269 we see the battle through another set of eyes that also happens to have a great rack.

The issue sets the stage with peace, prosperity, and all that other shit hippies think they see when they're high on acid. Rogue and the rest of the X-men not named Wolverine are enjoying the Phoenix Five's new policy of ending war and ensuring prosperity for every soul on Earth. In the previous issue, Frenzy got to fight to good fight by kicking the ass of violent warlords in Africa. Rogue gets to contribute in a far less violent way by helping with food and poverty efforts. After meeting up with Iceman and borrowing his powers, she flies to New Orleans where she helps the crew fix the shit that FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers fucked up pre-Katrina. And she did it while looking sexy as well. One of the workers even flirts with her. I guess when there's no more war or poverty to fight, the best you can do for excitement is flirt with a girl who could castrate you with her pinkie finger.

It's probably the least hectic Rogue's life has been since she first put a man in a coma by kissing him. I'm sure the same thing happens with Courtney Love, but for very different reasons. She seems content with what the Phoenix Five are doing and with the prospect of not having to do so much fighting from now on. So when Miss Marvel shows up unexpectedly under the guise of a phony distress call form a rescue helicopter, she's understandably pissed. Last she checked, the Avengers were still opposing the X-men and this is a woman who fucked up her mind worse than a dildo through the eye-socket. She has a lot of reasons to hate Miss Marvel and Miss Marvel has a lot of reasons to hate her so seeing Rogue skip the Q&A and go right to the ass-kicking is very appropriate.

What follows is a few glorious pages of two potent sources of T&A laying into one another like Mel Gibson in a synagog. Not much is said. Hell, even if they were talking most guys probably wouldn't listen because they're too caught up in wondering who will rip who's uniform off first. But there is a bit of narration from Rogue to ensure that this isn't just one of those comics a 13-year-old that's too much of a chicken-shit to steal a Playboy hides under his bed. She basically reminds the readers that she and Miss Marvel have a history. It's a history that's been somewhat lost since her glory days in the 90s when she had sass and wasn't boning Magneto. It's not too detailed either, but it's enough to explain that she has plenty of reasons to beat her up.

Moreover, she has to do it with only Iceman's powers as well since that's all she absorbed earlier. So she decides to get a little touchy with Miss Marvel and no, not in that way. But I'm sure plenty will fantasize about it none-the-less. To this point Miss Marvel has been trying to talk to her, albeit in a horribly planned way that involves faking a distress call. But once Rogue absorbs her again, she gets pissed and sets aside any sense of diplomacy as well she should.

Now armed with Miss Marvel's powers, the battle escalates. It's got a very old-school feel to it with all the flash and flare, but Christos Gage makes sure it doesn't play the nostagia card too much. I'm among those who thinks nostalgia is a cheap gimmick, although some shit like Rogue beating up Miss Marvel never gets old. But as the fight unfolds, Miss Marvel gets chatty again. She starts questioning Rogue's commitment to the Phoenix Five and these so-called utopian plan. She claims that this whole Pax Utopia deal sounds so rosy on paper, but like a business deal with Bernie Madoff it has a hidden cost. Rogue doesn't buy it though. She rightly points out that people are getting fed, bridges are being fixed, and shit is getting done that the Avengers couldn't be bothered to finish for years. Like the rest of Avengers vs. X-men, it argues a conflict that is not set in stone and does so with beautiful women. That's always a plus!

But as the battle unfolds, Miss Marvel's rhetoric escalates along with her attacks. She shows Rogue that boning Magneto made her a little soft and runs her right into the middle of a busy street. Never mind the possibility of traffic. She's trying to make a point and it's not an invalid point either. She even cites an old episode of the Twilight Zone to explain that living in a utopian created by people with god-like abilities is bound to get fucked up in ways that would make even Glenn Beck go running to the ACLU. She argues that the acceptance and peace the Phoenix Five are forcing is imposed so it's not a real peace. While I tend to believe that some shit is worth forcing down the throats of idiots that won't accept it, I concede that Miss Marvel has a point and a nice ass.

Rogue, however, still doesn't buy it. That and she probably never watched reruns of the Twilight Zone anyway. So after Miss Marvel is finished warning her about the dangers of world peace, Rogue effectively shuts her right-wing bullshit down by using what's left of Iceman's power to freeze her like a Popsicle that I would still lick while sober. She tells her she's not buying it, but even in defeat Miss Marvel tries to convince her that she's in a shit storm with a faulty umbrella. She thinks Rogue just didn't listen to her closely enough. My old parole officer probably thought the same thing and last I checked he retired early and moved to Switzerland. So once again, Rogue schools Miss Marvel and screws her over in a way you can't masturbate to but still enjoy reading.

While enjoyable, the extent to which Miss Marvel lost sort of makes you question why the fuck she would come to Rogue in the first place. She said it herself and Rogue added onto it with her narrations. She fucked her up when she absorbed her psyche. Yet she thinks Rogue would listen to her warning? I mean why the fuck would she try to hunt down Rogue and take her on alone in hopes of turning her off the Phoenix Five's plans for world peace? I've looked at it from many different angles while both high and sober and I can't figure out a reason that makes sense. So while I'm always happy to see two beautiful women fight, I more happy if it has a little meaning behind it and this shit is just contrived.

In the end, however, it doesn't matter whether Rogue listened to Miss Marvel or not. She still ends up vindicated even if she got her ass kicked. Because once Rogue calls for Magik, she finds out that the Phoenix Five have decided that they need to be dicks in dealing with the Avengers. So rather than just throw them in some normal prison or force them to act as body guards for the cast of the Jersey Shore, they actually decide to lock them up in a chunk of Limbo where Illyana's soul was tainted worse than a Catholic School Girl on a camping trip with Levi Johnson. Even if Rogue still believes in the Phoenix Five's utopian dream, she's gotta have a problem with literally tossing Earth's Mightiest Heroes into the Marvel equivalent of Hell. It may still be better than playing body guard for the Jersey Shore cast, but it's still fucked up.

Books like X-men Legacy have never left their mark by just blowing shit up or throwing tits in the readers' face (although tits do help). They rely more on character centered moments that send the reader on a journey alongside whoever is the focus. In the previous issue, we saw this new utopian world through the eyes of Frenzy. For the most part, it was fairly rosy. Violent warlords got their asses kicked and cute girls in school girl uniforms mind-fucked those too stubborn to accept peace. This issue followed Rogue and relied on much more violence. It also helped that most of the issue revolved around two beautiful women beating the shit out of each other. But in between this fight that will give most men the same boner they get watching two swimsuit models fight over a half-eaten chocolate bar, there was a serious debate here. Miss Marvel and Rogue argued over the merits of Pax Utopia as the Phoenix Five call it and how it could go horribly wrong. In the end, Miss Marvel's concerns were vindicated and all those LSD inspired hippie dreams quickly turn into a nasty hangover.

Given the history of Rogue and Miss Marvel, I'm not terribly surprised that Marvel threw these two into a brawl during an even that pits the Avengers against the X-men. Hell, I'm surprised Marvel doesn't try to force those two to fight more often and in more revealing uniforms to boost sales. However, it's that same history that makes it seem somewhat forced. Miss Marvel's life was royally fucked up by Rogue back in the day when she couldn't even give a guy a hand-job without sending him into a coma. So her logic for seeking Rogue out to warn her was somewhat fucked. Hell, Rogue would probably be the last person she should warn. And it's not like Rogue was in a position to listen either. She saw Miss Marvel and just started beating the shit out of her. Even if they both had valid points to make, the premise of their battle still felt forced even if it was a sight to behold.

While I try not to get too picky when it comes to beautiful women beating each other up, certain details do count in a story. In an event where plenty of tie-ins easily fall flat and flow with less coherence than a Sarah Palin interview, there's a premium on setting the right circumstances. It's like when you're trying to bang the governor's daughter. You gotta light a few extra candles, be extra romantic, and buy more life insurance to get the job done. Christos Gage did a great job detailing the fight and setting up the debate between Rogue and Miss Marvel. However, the premise was just a bit too off to be completely believable. For that, I give X-men Legacy #269 a 4 out of 5. Does it have two beautiful women beating each other up? Yes. Does it have a solid premise behind it? Not really. Will most guys care? Probably not. That's all you need to know about this issue. Nuff said!

Friday, June 29, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue 57: Rivalry and Reflections PREVIEW

Summer is here and the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is shifting into high gear! Tension has been building on many fronts for the X-men. Issue 56: Diary of the Fallen showed that there are conflicts that go beyond human/mutant affairs that are brewing. The X-men have always been broad in their heroics, playing the role of civil rights advocates and general heroics. Well that role promises to become more entwined as the X-men Supreme fanfiction series continues to unfold. X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope promises to lay the groundwork for this meshing of roles. However, there are still plenty more stories that need to unfold beforehand. One of those stories began back during the District X arc. Cyclops's embittered brother, Havok, made a fateful decision that put the two brothers on a collision course. Well in the next issue, that conflict is going to come to a head in a big way. As such, I've prepared an extended preview of what you can expect from this fresh batch of family drama in the pages of X-men Supreme.

While Scott wrestled with his family issues, the rest of the team prepared for another difficult battle. Any encounter with Magneto on Genosha was stressful enough, but this time they faced even more pressure. Unlike previous encounters, failure would affect more than their physical well-being or their cause. It could actually affect the course of the election and seriously hamper Professor Xavier media efforts.

“We better get to Genosha soon. That vein in Scott’s forehead is going to explode any minute,” commented Bobby.

“I’m surprised it already hasn’t,” said Remy, “As if Scottie wasn’t ticked off enough at his brother. He be pushing his buttons almost as much as Wolverine.”

“It’s times like this I’m glad I’m an only child,” sighed Kitty.

The air remained tense as Cyclops flew the jet in lower. He was a little rougher with the controls than usual, pushing the afterburners and making sharper turns. It added to the already heavy turbulence.

“Take it easy, Scott! We’ll get there,” coaxed Jean, who was sitting behind him.

“I’m sorry, Jean. But in case I’m being too subtle I’m pretty anxious to get to my brother!” said the X-leader with burning determination, “I’m not letting him get caught up in Magneto’s battles!”

“Funny, given how pig-headed he was back in District X I figure he would fit right in with Mags and his buddies,” said Logan.

“Not funny, Wolverine!” spat Scott, jerking the plane’s controls again.

“Scott please!” Jean urged, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder, “Try and focus on the mission. Don’t let Alex distract you like this.”

“Hell, you might as well ask me to quit drinking while you’re at it, Jeannie,” said Logan, “When you hate someone’s guts, you’re gonna be distracted. Trust me, I know.”

Jean’s caring tone helped the X-leader ease up a bit while Logan’s comment annoyed him. He took some deep breaths, trying hard not to let Alex affect him too much. He couldn’t forget that they still had a job to do.

“We’ll deal with him, Scott. But our main concern are these spies,” said Ororo, who was also sitting next to Jean, “Hank says he corroborated this with the Pentagon. The military is indeed conducting spy operations on Genosha.”

“Translation, Mr. McCoy hacked this from the government,” said Rogue.

“Big deal,” scoffed Wolverine, “Guys like Magneto should be spied on. I hate the military, but if I were them I’d keep tabs on everything down to his brand of underwear.”

“It’s still a major violation of the peace agreement,” Jean pointed out, “And we can’t have that falling apart at a time like this.”

“If he makes an international spectacle out of this spy operation, it’ll undermine more than just the election,” said Ororo, “And Hank says there’s a good chance he’ll expose it tonight.”

“What makes him so sure?” asked Scott.

“Because he also intercepted a message from the CIA. A major operation is about to begin.”

“Double translation, he hooked up with Tessa again to hack this out,” said Rogue.

“Wait...who’s Tessa?” asked Warren, having not been in the loop for a while.

“Long story,” replied Rogue, “But let’s just say she and Beast have been making time for each other in between hackin’ government files.”

“If hacking really is the right word,” said Bobby.

Ororo shifted slightly at the mention of Tessa. She was aware that Hank had been talking to her again. Since she was a major factor in their breakup, she still harbored her share of resentment for that woman. But she set that aside for the time being.

“What kind of operation are we talking about here?” asked Scott.

“A very ambitious one,” said Ororo, “They’re sending in their largest force yet tonight. They’re not just out to gather data. They’re out to sabotage Genosha’s infrastructure. It’s their way of keeping Magneto in check.”

“After he came close to destroying zhe whole vorld? Are zhey really zhat willing to provoke him?!” exclaimed Kurt.

“They’re the government, Elf. Being painfully stupid is practically a job requirement,” made Logan.

“That may be true, Logan. But that’s exactly why we have to stop this!” said Jean, “And if at all possible, we need to do it quietly.”

“Since when does it matter whether or not we do a mission quietly?” asked Bobby, “Isn’t that pretty much impossible when dealing with Magneto and the Brotherhood?”

“We’re going to have to make it possible, Bobby,” said Ororo, “Remember, any incident that can undermine the Professor’s media campaign will be exploited. So we have to be extra careful. Beast has already put together a plan for us.”

“What kind of plan?” asked Shadowcat anxiously.

“The kind that won’t satisfy either side, but will keep the conflict in check.”

A number of X-men groaned at the prospect. As if their jobs weren’t hard enough, now they had to worry about media impact. It was almost as if they were running for president as well and their every action was being scrutinized. It sort of took away from the heroic aspect of their cause and made it political.

“Boy, when did playing hero become so complicated?” groaned Kitty.

“When was it not?” argued Warren.

“Complicated or not, Storm is right. We have to be careful,” said Scott as he gripped the controls, “I’ll contact Hank to get the rest of the details. With any luck, we’ll catch them before they start their operation. And I’ll have time for another chat with my little brother.”

“And what if Magneto be the one to find them first?” asked Remy.

“Then we’ll have two fights on our hands and a hell of a lot of damage control to worry about. That’s why we’re not going to let it get to that point. The Professor is doing his part with his interview tonight. Let’s make sure we do ours.”

In addition to the escalating tension in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I've still find time to update the pics section of this website. I know it's been a few issues since Storm and Wolverine got together and became a couple. Their relationship took another major step in Issue 56: Diary of the Fallen. It's one of the more mainstream relationships in the X-men so I created a section in the X-Couples section dedicated to the Storm/Wolverine pairing. If you have any other pics of them you would like to add to this or other sections, please contact me and I'll be happy to add it.

While I plan on having the new issue of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series ready by its usual date, please note that there may be complications in actually updating next week. I'll be going on vacation next week and while I'll try to have the necessary files on hand, I may or may not be able to post it online until late Friday or early Saturday. If an unforeseen issue arises, I will make an announcement on my blog or Twitter feed. It may delay my comic book reviews as well. However, I'll do what I can to avoid that. So if Friday comes and X-men Supreme is not updated as it usually is, you'll know why. As always, I deeply appreciate any feedback or comments for this or anything related to X-men Supreme. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Until next time, take care and best wishes.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wolverine and the X-men #12 - Rachel Grey's Overdue Awesome

Wolverine is often proclaimed as being one of the greatest comic book characters of all times. He's the kind of character guys wish they could be and the kind of guys girl's have the insatiable urge to bone. However, the appeal of Wolverine also reveals an inherent flaw in the mechanisms that make up the human condition. If Wolverine were a real guy, most men would hate his guts. He's hard drinking, impulsive, asshole with anger management issues that likes to lust after married women and get into bar fights for no good reason. Hell, if he were real most guys would probably fantasize about a tiger ripping his nuts. For women, he's about the worst guy you could bone. He'll try to fuck you when you're in a committed relationship and get you killed if you try to have one with him. It's one of those things about women that I think is destroying the human race. Stand the founders of Google and Facebook next to a guy with a neck tattoo, a motorcycle, and a long rap sheet and women are still conflicted about who makes a better life partner.

But regardless of how people would see Wolverine if he were a real person, he's still a compelling character in the comics. However, compelling doesn't make him any less of an asshole. He seemed to actually take the moral high ground for once in Schism, wanting to take kids away from the carnage that Utopia was attracting like herpes to a Mexican whore house. But then Avengers vs. X-men came along and he's had about as much moral high ground as Ted Haggard on snorting meth from a gay prostitute's ass. He favored actually killing the mutant messiah that the X-men fought so hard to save. He fought Captain freakin' America and got his ass thrown out of a jet, only to come crawling back later when he figured out that stabbing Hope Summers wasn't going to cut it. I know most people want to bitch about how Cyclops and the Phoenix Five have become these cosmic tyrants, but at least they're trying to make the world a better place. Wolverine is just being a douche.

The pages of Wolverine and the X-men have often shown Wolverine as his least douchy persona. Even during the AvX tie-ins, he's been ten times more likable than he has in other books. He's still the kind of guy that men would want to castrate if he came to take their daughter out on a date, but at least he was attempting to protect the school he founded from the conflict erupting around AvX. Well now that the Phoenix Five are on the loose and he was on the losing side, he's in a hell of a position. He might as well be Muslim in Rush Limbaugh's house because he's got powerful forces looking to screw him over.

Wolverine and the X-men #12 has Wolverine doing exactly what I would do if the world was after me, sitting in a bar getting shit-faced. And the Phoenix Five have tasked Rachel, who was among those that ditched the Jean Grey Institute and fought alongside the X-men before the cosmic parrot was on the business end of Tony Stark's latest gizmo (that could be a new dick joke). So after the events of Avengers vs. X-men #6 where Hope ran off with the Avengers, she's tasked with using those hound instincts honed in a future that's been butt-fucked by sentinels to track him down. She finds him trying to drink away his problems in a bar. That may work for a shitty day at the office or rear ending some douche-bag's Porsche, but not with the Phoenix Force. Rachel tries to reason with him and maintains that the Phoenix Force is doing good, but Wolverine isn't having it. He's an extra large, overly engorged, clear-the-room-I'm-ready-to-paint-the-walls dick about it and sparks the mother of all bar fights (outside of Spring Break in Tijuana that is).

While most bar fights need no prelude and can be triggered by simply looking at the wrong person cross-eyed, this fight and Rachel's role in it does have some precedent. As the Avengers and Rachel's team of X-men make life for a poor bar owner miserable, we get a quick flashback to one of her psychic lessons at the Jean Grey Institute. She's giving some pointers on psychic shielding to her students, presumably so they can guard their thoughts while they're thinking of her naked in the shower. Quentin decides to use the lesson as yet another chance to be a massive douche by having her recall her time as a Hound in the shitty future she came from. Rachel responded to that with the psychic equivalent of a 2x4 to the face. It makes for a satisfying scene for Quentin and a nice reminder that despite her undersized appearance, Rachel Grey has a history as a badass.

Back int he present, Rachel makes that badassery known as she leads the charge against the Avengers. She goes so far as to tell Captain America not to call her Marvel Girl because let's face it, Marvel Girl just doesn't say "I can drive a telekinetic spike up your urethra and rip out your intestines." She definitely steals the show, but she's not the only one. Phoenix Namor is present and more than ready to give Thor a worthy ass-kicking. So is Kid Gladiator, who in the previous issue ditched the chance to go home and wait out this conflict in the cozy luxury of the Shi'ar Imperial palace. However, some are memorable for all the wrong reasons.

In Avengers vs. X-men #6, I praised Beast for the first time since George W. Bush still had credibility. He finally showed that he wasn't just a fury blue asshole that liked to shit all over Cyclops's agenda for petty reasons. He even walked away from the Avengers when they started making plans to attack the X-men. Now for reasons that are completely unexplained, he's back with the Avengers and fighting alongside them to keep the Phoenix Five from Hope. If that wasn't enough reason for him to renew his douche-bag frequent flier miles card, he attacks Iceman by shooting him in the fucking face. This is his oldest friend from the days of the Original Five and now he's just shooting him in the face for going along with Cyclops. I get that you don't like Cyclops, but shooting your friend in the face is still a dick move of cosmic proportions.

Every scene with Beast in this issue makes you grit your teeth and want to throw his ass in a vat of hungry tics. But whatever frustration Beast may bring, it's more than made up for with Rachel Grey flexing the psychic muscle Marvel hasn't let her flex since before we had a black president. She doesn't just take on the likes of Captain America and tell her to kiss her ass. She even goes up against Thor as he's trying to regain whatever portion of his balls he can salvage after getting laid out by Phoenix Namor. She takes a few shots, but she takes them like Rocky Balboa against a coked up Ivan Drago. Given how Rachel has been so marginalized and left taking on jobs akin to the guy who cleans up Charlie Sheen's hotel room, it's a welcome sight to see her take center stage in a book that has Wolverine in the fucking title.

While Rachel holds her own, Kid Gladiator finds ways to contribute as well. He demonstrates that bravado that doesn't even try to walk the line between being tough and being an asshole by punching Giant Man in the fucking eye. He also tries to act out the fantasy of every high school student that was singled out by the principal during a drug sweep. After failing to pick up Thor's hammer, Kid Gladiator takes his frustrations out on Wolverine. He's able to get in a few hits. I find that if you imagine your old principal's face on to of Wolverine's, it helps make the nightmares about high school go away for at least a few minutes. Wolverine still ends up schooling his ass because even though Wolverine's an asshole, he's not an egotistical asshole and Marvel just can't let arrogant kids like Kid Gladiator win.

The chaos surrounding this glorified bar fight helps mask underlying purpose, which revolves around another red-haired, green eyed mutant that's nowhere nearly as awesome as Rachel Grey. This is where another fucked up inconsistency shows. In Avengers vs. X-men #6, Hope Summers left with the Scarlet Witch. So what the fuck are the Avengers doing guarding her in fucking bar? Did they suddenly want to get her drunk before she got to know Wanda Maximoff too well? Did they hope doing so would make for awesome lesbian porn? Even if they had a good reason, it makes for shitty organization int he story. She's just standing out in the midst of this fight being guarded by Black Widow, who might as well be trying to protect her with a feather duster. Because when Rachel Grey catches up to her, she lays her out like Vladimir Putin lays out dissidents in an election year.

This brings about a scene that's been more overdue than Sarah Palin's hysterectomy. Going all the way back to Messiah Complex and the events that brought Rachel back to Earth after Kingbreaker, she's never been in a panel with Hope Summers. This is a character that has a connection to the Phoenix Force just like she once did and who happens to look like her dead mother. You would think she would be fucked up about that, but Marvel hasn't had Rachel so much as mention Hope. So when they stand face-to-face, it's a big moment. Rachel narrates on how she prepares to attack her and reaches into her mind. Then in a scene that Jason Aaron left vague, but telling she lets her go. Rachel let's Hope escape.

This is a pretty big moment because it leaves the reader to wonder what she sensed in her mind. Does she have a clue as to what's coming? Does she now know something that even the Phoenix Five don't know? If she does, she keeps it to herself when she's later confronted by her Phoenix powered father. Cyclops is pretty pissed when Rachel reports (or flat out lies) that Hope was never even with the Avengers. It's probably the most bold-faced lie since the prom queen at my old high school claimed she was a virgin. You definitely get the sense that Cyclops isn't going to accept that kind of bullshit now that he has Phoenix powers. Any father that could find out every one of his daughter's secrets right down to the guys she blew for fancy new shoes would do the same.

Unfortunately, he never gets the chance. Just as Cyclops and his daughter are sharing a very tense moment, Kid Gladiator's old man shows up. He obviously noticed when his son ditched his transport and made his way back to Earth. He also probably noticed that the Phoenix Force has set up shop in a few juicy human targets. So while Kid Gladiator shits himself as to how much he'll be grounded, the big Gladiator descends towards Cyclops with every intention of purging the universe of a certain cosmic parrot. I've been on the bad side of many fathers of teenagers, but this is one that even I wouldn't want to fuck with.

This series may be called Wolverine and the X-men, but for this issue it was the Rachel Summers show. She started off by giving the finger to Wolverine and ended by giving the finger to a Phoenix-powered Cyclops. You don't do that unless you have planetary sized balls and the attitude to hold them. Rachel Grey has not been overly involved with major X-men affairs since she returned from space. She hasn't even been in the same panel as Hope Summers. It's been one of those massive glaring commissions akin to a 900-pound gorilla jerking off in the middle of an intersection during rush hour. Yet finally, we get a scene. It's not much. Jason Aaron left plenty to the imagination. However, there's definitely an impact here and one that has far-reaching ramifications for the Avengers vs. X-men saga.

Rachel may have shined most, but various other characters found time to kick ass as well. Iceman, Namor, Thor, and Kid Gladiator all provided an entertaining bar brawl that could only have been made more awesome by the offer of free shots to anyone with a concussion. The lone anal wart in the bunch was Beast. I can't tell you how frustrated I've been with this particular brand of dick-cheese. Avengers vs. X-men #6 showed him doing the first decent thing I've seen him do since he hit on Emma Frost back in the New X-men days. This comic has him back to his old, douche-bag self and offers no explanation. It may be explained in another tie-in, but if it there's no connection or explanation to not make you want to punch that furry faced asshole in the balls. The son-of-a-bitch bit into his best friend from the Original Five days. I've stooped to a lot of lows in my life, but that's right up there with stealing your grandfather's Viagra and replacing it with jelly beans.

Beast was really the only frustrating part of this comic. The end was only somewhat annoying because part of me wanted to see Cyclops grill Rachel for flat out lying to him about Hope. He has the Phoenix now. He should be able to call her out on her bullshit to the point where he knows when she's claiming period pains to get out of washing the dishes. But Gladiator just had to fly in at the end and tell the Phoenix he's pissed. I still think Beast is a bigger douche-bag, but the prospect of seeing him take on the Phoenix Five in the next issue still has plenty of appeal. No matter what he does, however, Rachel will still be more awesome than him after this issue.

Jason Aaron continues to be one of the most consistent writers when it comes to tie-ins with Avengers vs. X-men. Wolverine and the X-men is good enough to be ranked right up there with the main series, both in terms of how it links up with the events and the awesome with which the stories are told. This only had a few glaring issues, but overall this was a quality comic that X-men fans should love and Rachel Grey fans should be masturbating to for ages. I give Wolverine and the X-men #12 a 4.5 out of 5. In a series that has one redhead being a whiny little bitch, it's nice to know another is there to pick up the slack. Her mama would be so proud if Marvel didn't insist on shitting all over everything that made her awesome. Nuff said!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Astonishing X-men #51 - A Gay Affair (of Awesome)

What is it that makes someone want to marry someone else? Is it love? Is it sex? Is it the desire to get on their insurance plan? I've often wondered this as the closest I've ever come to getting married was proposing to my drug dealer when I was low on blow for Mardi Gras. I suppose I can't understand the kind of commitment that doesn't involve earning a hand-written thank you letter from Mexican drug lords. But for reasons that only show that religious people have too much free time on their hands, marriage is a big issue. In particular, the notion of two men getting married just makes people who worship magic sky pixies makes them feel all dirty inside. I say fuck those assholes (figuratively speaking) and let the man-love flow freely. In the pages of Astonishing X-men, there's been plenty of man-love to go around.

Astonishing X-men #50 actually gained national news when Northstar, the X-men's resident elf-eared homosexual, proposed to his longtime boyfriend, Kyle. This proposal comes after a rather messy attempt to become more serious by moving in together. Anyone who has ever had to move in with anybody without the aid of powerful muscle relaxers know that shit is stressful. For the past two issues, Marjoie Liu has been piling on the drama between these two and it eventually culminated with Northstar proposing. It was certainly no Disney moment (and I'm pretty sure Disney refrains from showing gay characters in their movies, although I have my suspicions about the 7 dwarfs). However, it coincided with developing plot involving mind-control, the Marauders, and guys armed with rocket launchers. In other words, it's basically your typical Thursday in the Marvel universe.

Now the marriage issue is something that Marvel has been pushing and low and behold, people are responding. There are actually gay weddings that are going to be performed in accord with this issue. Never mind the fact that Marvel's history with married characters is more fucked than every episode of Jerry Springer. Just ask Peter Parker about his marriage. Oh wait...bad example. Selling your marriage to the devil is too much even for Springer. But at a time when this country's religious nut jobs are trying desperately to revert mankind back to an era where gays were target practice, women were cattle, and minorities were slaves I applaud Marvel for celebrating love and pissing off these religious dick holes. The way I see it, if Rick Santorum and Glenn Beck burst out crying from this comic, I'll see it as an epic win.

At the end of the last issue, Northstar was tasked with confronting his mind-controlled boy toy before he gave himself the Kurt Cobain headache cure. It was a tense moment that ended on a rather tense cliffhanger. Astonishing X-men #51 begins by pretty much skipping ahead of all that shit and skipping ahead of the whole issue of Kyle rejecting Northstar's proposal as well. I can't remember the last time the beginning of a comic required a spoiler warning on the first page, but I guess with the massive public interest Marvel raised in promoting this wedding it's not too big of a shock. It starts with Northstar on his wedding day, making the final preparations before he becomes a married man and a nightmare to Christians everywhere. Iceman comes by to let him know it's time. This scene alone crushes the souls of all the die-hard Northstar/Iceman shippers. Surprisingly, there is a massive amount of gay fanfiction porn for these two. If you're among them, I suggest you avoid this comic because it'll kill your will to live.

But the events of the previous issue weren't completely forgotten. While it's all smiles and pre-wedding jitters to begin with, the plot from the previous issue wasn't forgotten for too long. Marjorie Liu picks up at that tense moment when Northstar was staring down a gun behind held by a mind-controlled Kyle. He manages to get it away from him and get grazed with a bullet in the process. This all comes after Northstar had to fight his way through the a bunch of other mind-controlled X-men. But even the X-men can't keep a gay man from his lover boy. They might as well try to keep a fat kid away from a chocolate covered hot dog...okay, bad example.

The source of all this mind fucking hasn't been revealed yet, but at the end of the last issue Karma had the rotten luck of being the only gay character Marvel will allow to get overly fucked in a comic. She was taken over by the same mysterious force that took over the Marauders in an earlier issue. Northstar managed to rough her up in a way that won't jeopardize his membership with the log cabin republicans, which allows her to reassert some form of control over herself and subsequently freeing Kyle in the process. While Northstar reconnects with his boy toy, Karma shows she's still in a world of pain. However, she's still under the thumb of whatever mysterious force that was hinted at being a hot brunette woman in the last issue. Unfortunately, we don't get to see her again. This is a comic centered around a gay wedding so for once a nice rack and a vagina gets you nowhere.

This is pretty much it for the big struggle to free the X-men from mind control. It wasn't much of a struggle. Hell, it was remarkably light for the melodrama, which is pretty surprising given how Marjorie Liu loves to pour melodrama on a story in the same I like to pour whiskey in my coffee. Northstar saves Kyle and confronts Karma, but that's about it. None of the other X-men play a part. There's no struggle. It's essentially glossed over, most likely as a ways to get to the wedding. I know that's the big draw for this comic, but a little extra material here really would've helped. Maybe it's just because my luck with women has left me with scars and alimony that I'm still repaying, but rushing to get to the wedding just doesn't make for a good story.

Not only is the battle with Karma glossed over, but the drama between Kyle and Northstar isn't too heavy either. There's still tender moment between the two after they get back to the Jean Grey Institute. Kyle's ability to avoid shooting his lover boy was definitely a testament to the power, regardless of which body parts it involves. So after they have a tender reunion, Kyle (who rejected Northstar's initial proposal mind you) changes his mind and says yes. Apparently, that's all it takes for a man to change his mind. He just has to be mind controlled into thinking he's going to kill you. It sounds unreasonable, but given the way marriage is these days it's probably necessary for some people.

While tender, this moment was still a far cry from the detail Marjorie Liu put into earlier scenes between these two. It's a big fucking deal, someone changing their mind about a marriage proposal. I've seen the cops called as a result of arguing over marriage and that was just neighbor/pot dealer. A larger discussion would have been nice, but it really wasn't fleshed out and that's a shame because regardless of how you feel about gay love there just isn't enough romance in comics these days. Not when marriages die or are sold to the devil.

We finally return to the present from which this comic started. The spoilers are over and it's all about the wedding bells now. There's not much action or drama. There are just characters like Rogue, Sasquatch, and Kyles parents showing up. It helps build the scale of this marriage. It's not some quickie in Las Vegas done on a whim when you've had too much to drink and the stripper that's dry humping you is in need of a green card. It's basically treated like a normal wedding and not a gay wedding. In some sense that shows just how far Marvel is willing to take it, not playing up the gay aspect. Shit like that has to make Glenn Beck cry his eyes out.

Like any other wedding, it's also a family affair albeit with less bar fights. Northstar's sister, Aurora, shows up to wish him well. They even go on a quick flight and she presents to him a little wedding gift from his Alpha Flight days. It's another nice moment that takes the place of the action that usually fills an Astonishing X-men comic. Again, this isn't a bad thing considering how this issue was billed as a wedding issue and not a brawl. I'm sure Marvel is saving that for their first trip to marriage counseling, but hopefully that's a long ways off.

The ceremony begins and it seems the entire Jean Grey Institute has turned out to take part in the festivities. This is probably the one wedding that the Westboro Baptist Church wouldn't dare picket. How could they harass an affair that involves those with superpowers that can only make them wish their gay-bashing god was real outside their twisted imaginations. Members of Alpha Flight are present. Jubilee and X-23 show up. Havok and Storm even show up. No one from Utopia is there however. Given Wolverine's hatred of Cyclops, I'm assuming he "lost" their invitations. But I guess that's another story this issue glossed over.

The big moment is still very fulfilling. If you're a gay bashing bigot, it'll make you cringe. If you have any appreciation for love, it'll make you smile. So I guess it's win-win. There's no exchange of vows like there were with Cyclops and Jean Grey's wedding. Given how that ended with one of them dying, Northstar and Kyle probably prefer to wing it their own way. It would have been nice if some sentimental words were exchanged, but again it's also glossed over. In the end actions speak louder as they so often do and the ceremony culminates in a big kiss. And it happened without shit blowing up or Christian Conservatives staging a protest. It's as smooth a wedding as you could hope for in the Marvel universe.

Well, I suppose it's all relative because Marjorie Liu didn't completely forget about the plot with Karma. After Wolverine tried yet again to bone a married women with Storm, he slipped away for a covert drink. In doing so he met up with Karma, who is still under the influence and I'm not talking about the way that would get the Olson twins arrested. The wedding may have been successful, but their mission was not and that means Karma is able to take over Wolverine. And this a guy that's already comfortable hitting on married women. So he's the perfect guy to fuck up a wedding without inviting my Aunt Scrotumcrusher to the ceremony.

In terms of weddings, this one went over much better than the last wedding I attended. Hell, this one didn't have anyone's cousin get drunk off champagne and fuck one of the bridesmaids over a punch bowl. In fact, having it end with someone being turned down by a married woman and descending into a homicidal rage is actually a proud family tradition. So the last part of this comic brought a tear to my eye as I recalled my uncle's last wedding. He and his third wife couldn't be happier now. I hope Northstar and Kyle share that happiness. Their wedding here was wonderfully done. But for the comic as a whole, I'm afraid I can't share the same festive spirit.

Now I get that the premise of this comic was billed to be the big wedding. Marvel made sure the wedding dominated this issue because that's how they played it. However, it fit poorly into the overall story. The plot with a mysterious mind-controlling enemy was almost lost in the midst of the wedding. I say almost because it was thrown into the mix at the end. What's going on with Karma is clearly not over yet and the events that have been building since the first issue of this arc haven't been resolved. However, the two plots just weren't blended as well as they could have been. Also, there wasn't nearly as much of an interplay between Kyle and Northstar as there was in previous issues. Kyle just had a change of heart and said yes. There was no drama building up or no reflection of what they had overcome. It was just thrust ahead so they could get to the ceremony. Even with a comic that was giant sized, it felt rushed and that's a shame because this comic did plenty of things right beyond the wedding. It just didn't do them in conjunction with the rest of the story.

Astonishing X-men #51 is an important comic for reasons that go beyond the story. This is a time where gay marriage is a big issue and the loveless, joyless, assholes who use Bronze Age mythology to justify their bigotry are fighting tooth and nail like a real life Lex Luthor to stop it. Comics like this essentially give the big middle finger to assholes like that, as well they should. However, the story in this comic simply didn't fit together as well as it could have. Compared to how well-crafted Marjorie Liu's other stories have been, it was disappointing. That's why I can only give Astonishing X-men #51 a 2.5 out of 5. I can't give it extra points for sticking it to the Michelle Bachmann's and Rick Santorum's of the world. I can only grade it based on the content. But I understand the importance of this issue and no one else should discount it. We should all take a moment to cherish our inner gay and fantasize about making Pat Robertson cry. Celebrate love, people! Celebrate straight love, gay love, all love! Fuck Rick Santorum! May the marriage of Kyle and Northstar succeed until the day they die or the day they make a deal with Mephisto, whichever comes first. Nuff said!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Uncanny X-men #14 - Sinister Connections (of Awesome)

There's a certain charm to comic book villains who know they're assholes, but don't apologize for it. Guys like Lex Luthor are just assholes by design. They're mean, they're spiteful, and they have no sense of subtlety. They're just guys you want to punch in the face, kick in the balls, and shit on their grave. Then there are villains like Mr. Sinister. Throughout the X-men's history, he's been among the most twisted yet intriguing villains that Marvel has conjured. You still want to punch him in the face and all that shit, but his charisma is enough to make you stop and admire his twisted persona. He's the kind of guy who would fuck over the world with a cosmic dick and recite Shakespeare while he's at it. You just don't get that kind of charm now that House is off the air.

When Uncanny X-men relaunched, the first villain Kieron Gillen used was Mr. Sinister. He was MIA for a while after Messiah Complex. Hell, for a while he had big boobs and went by the name Miss Sinister. Why he gave those boobs up is beyond me, but he came back none-the-less and gave the X-men's new Extinction Team their first major test by hot-wiring a Celestial. He then proceeded to fuck with the X-men by creating an army of Sinister clones, each sharing his same love of devious wit and cloned redheads. During that conflict, he was also the first one to drop a hint to Hope Summers that she was about to get a visit from a fiery cosmic parrot and it wasn't a metaphor to let her know she was going to have her first period. Now Avengers vs. X-men has taken hold and the Phoenix Force has arrived. Does anyone really expect Sinister to just sit back on a beach in Brazil while doing jello shots off topless sunbathers? Okay, that's what I would do, but Sinister has a different approach.

Uncanny X-men #14 deals with this latest twisted approach to fucking over the world that Sinister has conjured. Not content with just creating an army of look-alikes, Sinister has set up shop in a subterranean world in a cavern once occupied by Moloids. Apparently, he's had so much free time on his hands and so much extra manpower that he used it to create an entire recreation of London. I know some people are nostalgic and really get into Renaissance Fairs, but there is such a thing as overkill. Some people just need to be content with a beer and a porno. Now you would think an entire city of Sinisters would get alone nicely, but as devious as Sinister may be he's not without his flaws. This comic is told from the perspective of a flawed clone. He has Sinister's dashing looks that would strip the paint off a Buick, but he's apparently not comfortable in a hidden world buried deep underground composed of nothing by clones. Some folks are weird like that, although with Sinister weird really doesn't apply.

This Sinister beta if you will narrates a good portion of the comic. He's not a terribly interesting guy. He lacks Sinister's twisted charisma with his whole whining about how something about this world seems off. He sees himself and everyone else as just pieces in a game. Seriously, you expected something different from Sinister? If the clone factories, the various waves of Sinister as boys and old men, and Victorian style ambiance that looks like it was pulled from an over-budgeted Shakespeare play wasn't telling enough then I don't know what this Sinister beta is smoking, but I want some.

Because this world is so fucked up, this beta Sinister seeks to have a chat with Sinister Prime if you will. Together, they have a nice stroll through the elaborate psuedo-London that Sinister has created. He explains how he pushed out (by that he means slaughtered) the Moloid's living in the caverns to make this city. One even shows up, which Sinister promptly takes care of (again, through slaughter). His reason for doing this is simple. He's biding his time in a place where the X-men would rather not pursue him. Because who wants to confront an army of Sinister's in a deep underground cave? That's like challenging Mike Tyson to a Yo' Mama's So Fat contest in a windowless basement.

Through these narrations, the beta Sinister continues to muse over how this so-called civilization is affecting them. While Sinister Prime argues it's making man less an asshole, beta Sinister believes it's only making man's shit smell even worse. There's a very twisted unabomber-like feel to him, seeing all the wonders of civilization and believing them to be evil. It may be cliched, but Kieron Gillen once again flaunts his talent for twisted inner narration. As they continue to tour this psuedo-London, the beta Sinister makes it increasingly apparent that he despises this world Sinister has created. He believes it has to end. So also like the unabomber, he plots an attack on this wondrously twisted world that Sinister has created. It might have just been easier to ask him for an internet connection and no porn filters.

The beta Sinister continues to follow Sinister Prime on their little tour. He acts as though he's a scholar looking to appropriately catalog the wonders of this world Sinister created and the intent behind it. That kind of fluff should raise red flags for anyone with a history of narcissism and sociopathic tendencies. Seeing as how Sinister was smart enough to make an entire army of himself and recreate his old hometown to an exceedingly creepy degree, it's really not too surprising to find out that he's smart enough to detect this beta Sinister's bullshit. Beta Sinister manages to get Sinister in a position where he can shoot him and hopefully destroy the prime Sinister of this twisted world. In probably the least surprising turn of events since Lindsey Lohan's last traffic accident, it backfires horribly.

As expected, Sinister Prime doesn't take kindly to flawed clones that try to fuck with him. Also as expected, he's smart enough to keep tabs on his clones when they don't cooperate. So he's not stupid enough to send his prime self into an enclosed room with the guy. That Sinister the beta blasted was just another clone. That clone tricked the beta Sinister and was in turn transported into a Victorian style dungeon basement. It's only slightly less appealing than being transported inside George W. Bush's asshole. Moreover, the prime Sinister reveals that the so-called beta Sinister that thought he was flawed was actually working perfectly fine. Sinister made this clone specifically to rebel. Why? To test the system he created and presumably for shits and giggles.

This kind of devious plotting is one of Sinister's finer qualities. It's a quality that Gillen writes extremely well. It helped make the first arc after the Uncanny relaunch so memorable. However, as skillful as Gillen is at handling Sinister's character, it's a bit overly predictable here. The whole notion of making a clone specifically to rebel is novel, but rather bland because it implies that Sinister neither makes mistakes and just enjoys fucking around. While admirable qualities in any successful comic villain, making it predictable just makes it difficult to enjoy.

This revelation also makes it difficult to feel disappointed when this so-called beta Sinister gets fed to a pack of angry Sabretooth-like wolves. The whole revelation about him just being designed to rebel made it difficult to really connect with this character. Granted, it's difficult to connect with any character associated with Sinister, but it would have been nice to actually feel something for this character when his true purpose is revealed. Gillen has been good about doing that in the past. Here, it just makes the whole first part of the comic feel unneeded. It's like watching the IT guy test your PC after he's purged it of your porn. There's nothing exciting to look forward to.

However, the successful test so to speak helps set the stage for a much more engaging event. With the beta Sinister now in the process of becoming wolf shit, Sinister prepares for the next little test of his. Along the way, more plot holes from the first arc are filled in. He reveals that he used the Dreaming Celestial as merely a way to kick start his little Sinister world. He intends to use the Phoenix to sustain it. He sees the Phoenix as a force of nature and the point of civilization is to contain nature. It's not a completely fucked up premise and it shows that Gillen is capable of giving a sort of refinement to a character. He rightly predicted that the Avengers wouldn't let Hope gain the Phoenix and that it would seek other hosts. Having had experience with the Phoenix before, it's not too much of a stretch to believe that he anticipated the events of Avengers vs. X-men as they unfolded. Now he's poised to do what he does best and exploit the fuck out of it.

That leads to revelation that is far less predictable. In his throne room, he reveals that he has with him an army of other hosts for the Phoenix in the form of more Madelyne Pryor clones. Because that's just what the Marvel universe needs, more Jean Grey replacement characters. At least Madelyne can say she was the first and wasn't intended to be the bullshit rip-off character that Hope Summers turned out to be. That and she looks much hotter in a corset. Sinister muses about how he's preparing to take on the Phoenix Five and take the Phoenix Force for his own use. It's the kind of devious plan that would bring a tear to the eyes of Kim Jong Ill himself, may he rest in torment.

This issue of Uncanny X-men was a charming departure from previous tie-ins that only really touched on the perspectives of others actively involved in the events of Avengers vs. X-men. It also had the added benefit of tying in the events of first arc that transpired after the relaunch where Sinister hot-wired a Celestial. While this issue does a nice job of filling in the blanks as to what Sinister has been up to since that first arc, it still feels like only half an issue. The whole plot with the renegade clone really seemed unnecessary. So Sinister doesn't like it when one of this clones is defiant and prefers to feed his ass to wolves. That's understandable, but there's really no need to make a major story out of it. While it was well told as Kieron Gillen's solo perspectives often are, it really didn't contribute much to this story. It wasn't until the end where the promise of a Sinister influence in Avengers vs. X-men really heated up. It was good enough to make the issue worth buying, but not enough to pay full price. And unless you're willing to suck the dick of the guy at the comic shop for a discount, you're shit out of luck.

Kieron Gillen has done a great job of giving Sinister a devious and engaging new persona. This is by far the most interesting Sinister has been in a decade. No longer content to just fuck with the Summers/Grey bloodline on his own, he has enlisted an army and a new sense of charm to further enhance his ability to frustrate the X-men. This twisted plan of his that began in the final issue of Uncanny X-men flowed nicely into this issue. Even though half of it was unnecessary, it succeeded in filling in the blanks between Sinister's last ploy and how he's been preparing for his next ploy. The promise of Sinister taking on the Phoenix Five with an army of Madelyne Pryors is very enticing and knowing Sinister, he'll find a way to be deviously charming in a way that even Charlie Sheen would envy.

When a comic starts strong, but fizzles at the end I tend to be a bit harsher than I would if it started slow and got stronger in the end. I'm a firm believer in making up for slow starts. I have much more respect for the stripper that falls flat on her face and breaks her nose in the middle of a lap dance yet still earns an extra $50 tip than I do the stripper that really gets into it only to pass out drunk on your shoulder when she's fondling your balls. Uncanny X-men may not have strippers, but it contains women like Madelyne Pryor who dress like them. For that with the forgettable first part in mind, I give Uncanny X-men #14 a 3 out of 5. If you're okay with half a sandwich and half a chocolate bar, you'll probably enjoy this issue. If you can't be satisfied without stuffing your face, then get some exercise before picking up this book. Your cardiologist will thank me. Nuff said!

Friday, June 22, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue 56: Diary of the Fallen is LIVE!

Every so often, I like to do an issue of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series that focuses heavily on a certain character. One of the biggest challenges in writing X-men Supreme is having time to properly flesh out every character. I love all the characters of X-men and I want to do every one of them justice. In writing this fanfiction series, I have a new appreciation for how hard the writers and editors at Marvel must work to try and accommodate every character in their vast arsenal. I hope other Marvel fans understand that in both reading Marvel comics and the X-men Supreme fanficition series.

For this particular issue, X-men Supreme takes a break from the ongoing political drama surrounding the presidential election and focuses on a story involving everyone's favorite weather goddess, Storm. While I've made an effort to explore some parts of her life with arcs like Cajun Chaos, there are some parts that I still haven't been able to touch on. This latest issue will dig a little deeper into what makes Ororo Munroe tick while also putting her new relationship with Wolverine to the test. Romance and drama have always been a staple of the X-men world and it promises to continue with this latest romantic development. In addition, this story will also explore the mystery surrounding Nightcrawler's father and Mystique's former lover, Azazel. It is a story that will span multiple volumes of X-men Supreme, but expect some majuor developments with this latest issue. I hope you all enjoy it!

Issue 56: Dairy of the Fallen

I also have done some small updates to the X-men Supreme pics section. I've added some new pics to the Mystique and Storm section. I figured since they're such a huge part of this new issue, it was only fitting that I give them an update. I should have more updates soon. If anyone has something to contribute, feel free to contact me at any time and we'll discuss it.

This issue is a one-shot, so that makes providing feedback all the more important. I deeply value every review on every issue I get for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. So please take the time to post a comment in the comments section for each issue or contact me with your feedback directly. Thanks again to everyone who has supported the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Avengers vs. X-men #6 - No More Avengers, Plenty More Awesome

I've never been a terribly religious man. In fact, the closest thing I ever came to being spiritual was seeing Jesus Christ dry-hump the Greek goddess, Athena, while strung out on peyote. I tend to look at religion in the same way I look at a penis laced with sores oozing with small pox. You don't wave that thing around in someone else's face and you don't thrust it into someone to infect them with your poison. But I can understand the appeal of wanting god-like power or god-like knowledge. That is, essentially, what ever religion seems to promise. Personally, I think that shit is overrated. But nobody in this day and age can possibly know what it's like to have god-like power. In the pages of Avengers vs. X-men, five lucky X-men are finding out what god-like power feels like and by all accounts it's as awesome as a week in Vegas with a mountain of cocaine.

Act One of Avengers vs. X-men is over. It concluded in truly spectacular fashion with the Avengers royally fucking up the Phoenix just as it was about to enter it's chosen host, Hope "Jean Grey's shitty replacement" Summers. The Avengers thought Tony Stark could make a gizmo that could destroy something whose very name implies it always comes back to life. They might as well have asked him to make Apple products run Adobe Flash. His fancy, micro-dick compensating contraption only split the Phoenix and caused it to inhabit five hosts in Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Namor, and Magik. So instead of one Phoenix host, they have five. They could easily take their new cosmic power and give the Avengers the cosmic finger. However, that wasn't their plan.

Act One ended with something that turned into one of my Sunday Rants on the morality of superheroes. Since I'm too drunk to recall every detail, I'll just say that the Phoenix Five as they're called chose not to end the Avengers for all their bullshit. Instead, they plan to hit them with something that'll make them wish they were dead and wish they were born without testicles. They're going to use their powers to fix the world in a way the Avengers never could. Now if I had god-like power, that would only be fifth on my list of things to do after creating an army of Pamela Anderson, Carmen Elektra, Hallie Berry, and Lucy Liu clones. But in terms of actually not being an asshole after being imbued with so much power, I gotta tip my hat to the Phoenix Five.

Act Two of Avengers vs. X-men shows the Phoenix Five making good on their word and making the Avengers look like slackers. A week has gone by since the events of Avengers vs. X-men #5. Before your panties start to tighten, take comfort in the knowledge that this time period isn't glossed over. It is addressed in other tie-ins, some of which I'll be reviewing. So please refrain from yelling at me for not ranting about skipping ahead. I'm too hung over for that shit. This issue doesn't need to cover all the shit that happened in the span of a week. All the reader needs to know is that when armed with Phoenix powers, shit can get done. So much so that Utopia has been turned into a home that even Donald Trump would envy. It's so bawdy that it actually lured Charles Xavier out of hiding. Apparently, it takes his X-men gaining cosmic power for him to show up in the books now. He travels to the new and improved Utopia where he meets up with Magneto, who makes it a point to show that his students pretty much one-upped his ass to the nth degree. He should be either proud, ashamed, or both. It's hard to tell.

Xavier then meets up with Cyclops in what has to be the most awesome pent house observation deck outside of a Las Vegas high roller villa. Xavier expresses concern about his first student gaining cosmic power, but Cyclops gives him the finger in a very subtle way by explaining how the Phoenix Five have essentially made the world into a hippie fantasy. They've created free, limitless energy. They've provided enough food to end hunger. They've provided abundant, clean water. They have essentially silenced every liberal douche on the planet.

Full blown peace on Earth isn't enough to ease Xavier's concerns. And they say I have high standards on this blog, but fuck if I wouldn't be okay with world peace. It would be worth it just to see Dick Cheney have a heart attack. But some of Xavier's concerns are valid. He points out that there will be complications. He also points out that power like this tends to turn people into raging douche-bags. Cyclops turns it around and says Xavier gave him the necessary vision to see this through. This new world was part of Xavier's dream essentially and someone else aside from him accomplished it. I think that definitely gives Cyclops a reason or two flex his nuts.

But if global peace left Xavier with concerns, it has left the Avengers shitting themselves in ways they never thought they would. It isn't just that the Phoenix Five now have enough power to fuck them up with their pinkie toe. They're actually upstaging them. After picking themselves up and leaving a good chunk of their dignity behind on the moon, they return to Earth to come up with a plan as if a plan even applies with this shit. It's a rather abrupt transition, but since a week has past it leaves readers to wonder what the fuck the Avengers did with themselves. Even if it's addressed in other tie-ins, it's still pretty shaky. It was probably a light week for them anyways because Iron Fist reveals how the Phoenix Five took a race of hostile energy creatures known as the Electric Legion and were able to turn them into a new source of clean energy without having to resort to any violence. It sort of defeats the purpose of the Avengers and makes them look more inept than FEMA.

Yet this doesn't stop the Avengers from plotting a way to take on the Phoenix Five. Iron Man even talks about tweaking the very suit that caused this shit as a means of evening the odds as if infinity can ever be even with anything. But it's at this point where someone raises their hands and asks the very valid question, "Uh...if they're making the world a better place, why are we planning to fuck it up?" Even more remarkable is that the person who said that shit was Beast. He's so pissed that the Avengers are actually plotting against world peace that he flat out quits the Avengers.

Now I know I've used Beast as a punching bag laced with pictures of Paris Hilton for a long time now. And I still stand by those criticisms. He's earned every dick joke and douche-bag remark that I've ever made about him. However, I'm not without mercy. I'm the kind of guy that will allow someone who just dented my car to make up for it if they show they're sincere. That usually involves buying me weed, but Beast's position here is more logical. He believes they should adopt the same motto as Congress and do as little as possible while the X-men succeed where they've often failed.

Even though the world is getting much nicer by the minute, there are still some loose ends. Namely, the Phoenix Force never got to inhabit the host it wanted. She has red hair, green eyes, and is NOT named Jean Grey. In Avengers vs. X-men #5, Hope rejected the Phoenix Force after spending several issues claiming she was ready. In addition to making her more of a bitch than she already is, it left her to see five others take on the Phoenix. At one point Cyclops flat out offers it to her, but then pulls back like a pedophile pulls on a fishing line with a twinkie at the end of it. He tells her she doesn't deserve it and given her bullshit attitude from earlier in the series, he has a valid point. But Hope also points out that she can still hear the Phoenix Force. She senses it wants more. Leave it to a Jean Grey ripoff to ruin what should be a great moment for the X-men.

Speaking of bullshit replacement redheads ruining other established redheads, we get a quick glimpse of the situation that has been unfolding in the pages of New Avengers with K'un Lun. Now if you're wondering why I haven't reviewed it, just know that I would have to come up with a whole new slew of ways to explain why replacement characters and rip-off characters are bullshit. And I already did plenty of that shit during Generation Hope's run. All you need to know about New Avengers is that apparently there was another bullshit Jean Grey look-alike (in China of all places) named Fongi and she dealt with the Phoenix Force hundreds of years ago. Right, because the history of Marvel just doesn't have enough Jean Grey rip-offs. If you didn't think Hope was a rip-off character before, there's no fucking excuse whatsoever after reading New Avengers and the scene here in K'un Lun only echoes how the key to controlling the Phoenix is in whatever trick Fongi did.

I wish I could be kind about this. I really could. But there is way too much WTF here even for Marvel. How many more bullshit Jean Grey rip-offs are they going to make? Hope was bad enough. They could've made her ass look like anything, but they made her look like Jean. Now there's another bullshit ripoff in the past? One from a past that was never even hinted at in all the time Jean Grey was alive? I would call bullshit, but there aren't enough bulls in the history of the world to adequately represent that level of excrement. If Marvel really wants to use Jean Grey's imagery, just bring her the fuck back! They bought fucking Bucky Barnes back for crying out loud. They have no fucking excuse for what they've done with Jean Grey. But I digress.

My frustrations with Jean Grey aside, Marvel does a good job on showing the political ramifications of world peace. Naturally, politicians and diplomats aren't too thrilled with the prospect of being out of a job. Going back to work at a KFC just doesn't jive with them. But the Phoenix Five aren't having it. They show up at the UN and officially declare that war is no longer cool. All this bullshit fighting that they've been doing to each other and to mutants has to stop. It's not an unreasonable request. I doubt it would stop Pat Robertson from continuing his war against gays. But the President of the United States and the Avengers are still sweating over the prospect of having this policy enforced by cosmic powered X-men. They rightly point out that while peace may be a noble thing to enforce, the X-men are doing it without any accountability. What happens when their notion of peace becomes watching naked men wrestle bulls while women pleasure themselves with a lizard's tail? Who tells them that shit is fucked up? Even though the Avengers may come off as dicks for opposing world peace, their concerns are valid.

It may not matter how valid those concerns may be though. As the Avengers plot their next move, we get only our second glimpse of the very reason for all this shit and for once she doesn't have red hair and green eyes. Wanda Maximoff showed up earlier in Avengers vs. X-men, but didn't do jack shit other than watch her brother join the battle and see the world that she declared shouldn't have any mutants get more fucked up. Well after all this time of sitting on her ass, she has a vision about the Phoenix (who hasn't lately?). She sees the Avengers getting torched in cosmic flame. Given how they're planning to oppose the Phoenix Five, that isn't so much a vision as it is common fucking sense. If this counts as a vision, then my vision of me getting drunk on St. Patrick's Day is fucking biblical prophecy.

The Avengers decide (foolishly) that the only way to oppose the Phoenix Five is to raid their bawdy Utopian stronghold and take Hope. They believe she's the key to turning the tide. It's not an unreasonable assumption, but it is unreasonable to think they can raid the X-men's stronghold and take their (presumably former) mutant messiah. Perhaps unreasonable is too kind a word. More like stupid as fuck would be more appropriate. They don't go in full force. They just swoop in with a small team and think that'll be enough.

As such, I don't think anybody should be surprised when Cyclops and Emma Frost take a break from cosmic sex to come fuck their shit up. The battle here is horribly one-sided. No one should be too surprised to find out that the Avengers here are horribly overmatched in taking on the Phoenix Five. The problem is that the battle here is horribly depicted as well. The action isn't nearly as epic as the moon battle was in the previous issue. It's actually pretty bland, which is a first for this event. The outcome is still clear though. The Phoenix Five have the edge and the Avengers have dick.

That all changes when some quality dick shows up in the form of Wanda Maximoff. Her presence actually makes the battle somewhat more interesting because Cyclops and Emma actually sense the chaos she brings with her. It's like that sixth sense Tiger Woods must have when a porn star is nearby. She even causes Cyclops pain when he tries to grab her, possibly hinting at a much more even fight in the near future.

But Wanda doesn't fight in this instance. Instead, she demands that she be allowed to teleport the Avengers away, presumably leaving more of their dignity behind in the process. Hope also offers to go with her. This of course doesn't sit well with Cyclops for a second. The Mutant Messiah hanging out with the crazy bitch that said "No more mutants?" No good can possibly come from that shit. But Hope eventually goes with her. So I guess the mission, as fucking stupid as it was, ended up being successful.

But that success doesn't sit well with Cyclops for a second. The thought of Hope now hanging out with Wanda probably has the same feeling as a parent must feel when their per-pubescent boy goes on a camping trip to a secluded area with a Catholic priest. In wake of this attack, all that power finally starts to lead him to the kind of conclusions you can only reach while strung out on the best cocaine in the world. He concludes that the only reason that humanity won't accept peace is because they believe Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be there to bale them out. That means there can be only one way this shit will end. The Avengers have to go. So like Wanda's infamous "No More Mutants," Cyclops ends this issue with an equally infamous "No More Avengers." Because if heroes are going to stand in their way from ultimate peace, they're not heroes. They're charcoal for a cosmic cook-off. If Xavier was worried about the cosmic power going to Cyclops's head, he must be shitting himself into another wheelchair by now.

Avengers vs. X-men is officially at the halfway point and already this series has met and exceeded the cosmic expectations it boasted. The first issue of Act II was actually a nice change of pace because it not only showed what the X-men are capable of when they have a little cosmic power, it also downplayed the role of Hope "Jean Rip-Off" Summers. She's just a prop now and the Phoenix Five are the stars of the show. They put the Avengers and even the readers in a bind by presenting a very difficult dilemma. Here they are, making the world a better place in a way that Bano only thinks he's doing. After years of endless war and pointing guns at mutants, I think the Phoenix Five are well within their right to tell the world to cut that shit out. Yet at the same time the Avengers are rightfully concerned that these cosmic powered X-men have no filter. They're like Charlie Sheen if you give him unlimited money and unlimited cocaine. There's nothing preventing them from becoming a raving mass of destruction and douche-baggery. It's hard for anyone to take a side. I still side with the X-men because Emma's ass looks great in that Phoenix costume, but I'm assuming others out there have more ridged standards.

As an issue that bridges Act I to Act II, Avengers vs. X-men #6 is flawless. As an individual comics, it's not without some WTF. Marvel was nice enough to make this comic extra long, yet it still turned out choppy. There were transitions that were confusing and the battle at the end with the Avengers and the Phoenix Five left way too much to the imagination. Also, where the fuck has Wanda Maximoff been while this shit has been unfolding? Has she just been jerking off with a Ryan Gosling dildo for a week? She clearly knew about this shit before she had that vision of the Avengers getting torched by the Phoenix. But let's face it, you don't need to be Miss Cleo to assume that something like that would happen. Her meeting up with Hope was way past due and could've been a lot smoother.

Yet still, the Avengers vs. X-men event as a whole has been awesome in more ways than a schizophrenic whose brain was soaked with LSD could imagine. Marvel it telling a story that feels truly cosmic while maintaining a very ambiguous sense of who is the hero and who is the asshole. Usually you don't know which side is the asshole until they start shitting on the other and while it appears the X-men's side were the constipated ones at the end of this issue, there's still a sense that they're still the heroes. Avengers vs. X-men #6 has kept Marvel on the path of awesome and now that they're officially halfway to the finish line, they can hold their heads high and say "See? For once, you can't say we were bullshitting you!" Avengers vs. X-men #6 gets a 4.5 out of 5. The world is now a better place, but for some folk that ain't enough. Someone is going to fuck this cozy little world that the Phoenix Five has created and it's still not clear which side is hiding the raging boner. If your assholes can take it, we should find out soon enough. Nuff said!

PS: This issue also came with an extremely awesome bonus called Infinite Comics #2. Even if you hated this issue, check this shit out! It actually tells a story that will further enrage Cyclops haters and further torment Jean Grey fans. It couldn't be a better bonus if the comic came with a free blow-job coupon! Nuff said...again!