Friday, November 30, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue #68: The Phoenix Saga Part 6 PREVIEW

The end of the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga is near! It's already the longest arc of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series to date and there's still one issue left! I've been working very hard to make this final issue to this amazing saga the best it can possibly be. Part of what made the original Phoenix Saga so iconic under the pen of Chris Claremont was the sheer emotion of the ending. It was an ending that would have far reaching implications for the X-men and for Marvel comics as a whole for decades to come. As we saw with the recent events of Avengers vs. X-men, those events still have a major impact on the comics today. I intend to have the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga leave an equally profound impact on this fanfiction series for many issues to come. The Phoenix Force affects more than Jean Grey or Cyclops or anyone in the X-men. It effects the entire world they live in and you'll see why in the final issue! As such, I've prepared a brief preview for this very important issue.

“This…this doesn’t make sense.”

From the far reaches of deep space, the Phoenix soared through space and time to find herself back to this small planet known as Earth. Guided by the mysterious call, she followed the whims of Jean Grey to this seemingly obscure location. Neither she nor Jean was fighting for dominance anymore. They weren’t unleashing the full range of power that a cosmic entity was capable of wielding. They were more or less sharing in these many conflicting feelings. The hunger was still there, but it was different now. That same hunger was driving her towards actions of a different kind. What those actions were was still not clear, but they sensed the answers were close.

Now standing in the driveway, she carefully took in the structure before her. This seemingly innocuous domicile triggered within her and Jean so many emotions.

“I…I’m home.”

The festering confusion drove Jean and the Phoenix forward. Something very important lay inside this house. She sensed it was the source of this mysterious call. Whatever it was, she needed to confront it if she was to get the answers she wanted.

Moving cautiously, the powerful figure approached the front door. With barely a thought, she used her vast psionic power to blow open the door and rip it to shreds. Once inside, she stopped to take in her surroundings. She now stood in front of a flight of stairs. To her left was the living room. To her right was the dining room. As she looked to her right she had a powerful vision of an event years ago in the life of Jean Grey.

“No Daddy, I don’t want you to drink!”

“Jean, sweetie, Daddy needs that bottle! Now hand it over!”

“No! I don’t like it when you drink! Please stop!”

Before her eyes she saw a vision of a growing young girl standing before her father as he sat with a bottle of hard liquor at the dining room table. He was already drunk and Jean was using her powers to keep the bottle away from him. He kept reaching for it, but the mysterious force in her mind was pulling it away.

“That’s enough, Jean! Don’t make me call the hospital again!”

“Don’t do it, Daddy! You’re drunk! I just want to…”


A twinge of anger filled both Jean and the Phoenix as this vision played out. They triggered in her a different kind of sensation that the Phoenix was not used to. With glowing eyes, she turned away and looked towards her left into the living room. Yet this only triggered another vision.

Before her eyes, another scene played out. The man she recognized as Jonathan Grey was sitting in what was then a destroyed living room. There were holes on the walls, broken windows, and a TV that was in a million pieces. He was in tears, holding another bottle of hard liquor. Sitting next to him was a man in a suit offering a hallow comfort.

“Just look at what she did, Dr. Lee! She’s completely out of control!”

“It’s not your fault, John. Her mother’s recent passing has put a great deal of strain on her. These growing telepathic incidents aren’t helping either.”

“I know they’re not! But I just can’t deal with her anymore! My wife is dead! My little Sara is dead! Jean’s all I have left and I can’t control her! What am I supposed to do?!”

“You have options, John. That’s why I’m here. Now I’m not saying that committing her to my ward is a sound solution, but it is something to consider. Jean is a disturbed young girl. She needs treatment.”

The look on John Grey’s face was sad and distant. He seemed to know he was doing the wrong thing. His only response was to sit there and take another heavy gulp of hard liquor. At this point, the vision took another turn. From across the room, she saw the same timid redhead from before looking in on the conversation. She had tears in her eyes as if she knew what this meant for her. Alone and in a deep despair, she ran off to her room.

More powerful sensations consumed her. Jean Grey was bombarded with feelings of sorrow and regret. It was becoming clear now. That little girl was her. These experiences were memories of her life. It was the same life the Phoenix was pulling her away from in her madness. These were not pleasant experiences. These were sad, distressing moments that triggered in her an emptiness that could only be felt by someone still very much tied to her humanity.

To the Phoenix, it was a darker part of mortal experience. It was not the kind of experiences that fueled her hunger. They were experiences that caused her pain. It was a sensation that was completely foreign to her. She could sense the pain of mortal beings as they drew their last breath. She could sense the pain of the cosmos when something was destroyed. But this was a different kind of pain, one that struck her in ways that a cosmic force couldn’t comprehend.

“This…this isn’t right. These sensations…they’re not right.”

“No…they are right,” said Jean distantly, “I remember now. These feelings…they’re a part of me. I must know more.”

“More…yes, the hunger still beckons. But still…so confused.”

“Your hunger will have to wait! I cannot stop. I won’t!”

Even though it was causing her pain, Jean pressed forward. She followed the vision of the little girl as she fled up the stairs. With each step she took, more of these sensations filled her. Once up the stairs, they followed the visions towards a room at the end of the hall. This was the room in which Jean Grey had a powerful connection. Standing before the closed door, the Phoenix hesitated briefly before entering. But the burning need to know drove them forward.

A casual burst of power shattered the door, turning it into a shower of splinters. This revealed to her a room that looked as though no soul had set foot inside for a long time. There was just an unmade bed, a dresser, and a few boxes in the corner. It may have looked empty now, but in the visions she saw a room that was messy and disorganized. When the little girl ran into this room, she lost control. Everything that could be moved was levitated into the air and swirled about. It was chaotic, yet it seemed lost on the girl. She just kept sitting in the corner, hugging her knees as she cried out in anguish.

“Mommy’s dead! Daddy’s throwing me away! Nobody loves me anymore! I’m a monster! A MONSTER!”

“A monster…”

Tears formed in the eyes of the cosmic being. The Phoenix had never felt tears before. This sorrow was a new experience. It was agonizing, tearing at her in ways she did not understand. In her tears, the bird-shaped flame surrounded her as took in these visions of the past and present. In her mind’s eye, she was looking at that scared little girl as she sat crying in the corner. This little girl was in so much pain. It was a pain that the Phoenix and Jean Grey shared. The feeling fed off from one another. The Phoenix made it worse for Jean and Jean made it worse for the Phoenix.

Eventually, the pain was too much. The cosmic being that could snuff out entire stars on a whim fell to her knees and sobbed. There was no use running from the truth. No amount of cosmic power could change it.

“I…I am a monster!” Jean cried out.

The Phoenix Saga marks a very important moment for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. So much of what I've been trying to do with the X-men has been building towards this moment. After a great many stories and character development, it's finally coming together! The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is about to undergo a profound shift and for that reason it's very important that people take the time to provide feedback. I'm hoping that the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga will establish this fanfiction series as something that's on the same scale as anything readers will find in Marvel comics, but I can't be sure of that unless people take the time to provide feedback. Please post it in each issue of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series or contact me with your questions or comments. Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Uncanny Avengers #2 - Not-So-Overhyped Awesome

I get that big businesses like Marvel and their Disney overlords could give three tenths of a shit about how much a comic or movie is hated by fans and critics, so long as it makes a fuckton of money. Every fan and every critic in the world could whine at the top of their lungs about how much they utterly despised something and threaten to go on a hunger strike while shitting on every affiliated product associated with the company. Marvel and their Disney overlords will still just casually shrug it off and go back to counting their money while doing blow off the tits of Russian hookers.

I bring this up because Uncanny Avengers #1 was billed as the biggest event to come out of Avengers vs. X-men. It was automatically deemed as the third most awesome thing Marvel has ever done after Mary Jane Watson's ass and Emma Frost's tits. It certainly had all the necessary elements to be awesome. It directly followed up the big (yet utterly illogical) events of Avengers vs. X-men by establishing a new team. This team would have heavy hitters from both the Avengers and the X-men while bringing back equally heavy threats like the Red Skull. It also promised to utilize the talents of Rick Remender, who has made Uncanny X-Force worth it's weight in Colombian imported blow, and John Cassaday, who made Astonishing X-men worth it's weight in purified whiskey. However, despite all these amazing elements, the shit was underwhelming. So they buried Charles Xavier, Havok was a douche-bag, Wanda and Rogue got into a fight with their clothes on, and the Red Skull took Charles Xavier's brain. You expect a book by Rick Remender to be that fucked up, but you don't expect it to be that underwhelming. However, it's a given that Marvel gives microscopic levels of shit. The issue still sold over 300,000 copies thanks to an onslaught of overpriced marketing gimmicks that nobody wants to admit still work.

Now I still maintain that Uncanny Avengers #1 was not even within the same time zone as a typical issue of Uncanny X-Force in terms of sheer awesome, but that's only from my drunken perspective. Hell, from my perspective, old Simpsons reruns are still funny after a few bong hits. But based on the numerous reviews and assorted bitching on message boards, I think it's reasonable to conclude that Uncanny Avengers #1 left plenty to be desired. For some, just seeing Charles Xavier get his brain ripped out after being such a douche for so many years and seeing Rogue and Wanda go at it in a way you can still jerk off to was enough. But the issue left me wanting more. Thankfully, the issue ended on a pretty awesome and pretty fucked up note with the Red Skull holding up Charles Xavier's brain as if it were a cup of Hitler's semen. There are so many ways that can become awesome that even an annoying delay isn't enough to make me want to skip the next issue.

Uncanny Avengers #2 doesn’t try to be quite as grotesque in the beginning. It merely deals with the immediate aftermath of Avalanche’s rampage in New York City, who had part of his brain cut out in an exceedingly grotesque way in the previous issue. Now I’m not saying there’s ever a valid reason to go on a rampage, but having your brain cut out by a Nazi should certainly earn a guy some sympathy. Wolverine isn’t in a very sympathetic mood though. He muses at how between Cyclops’s recent power trip with the Phoenix and Avalanche’s latest brain fuck powered rampage, it’s a pretty lousy time to be a mutant. Hell, I almost feel like buying the guy an Evanescence album if he wasn’t such a douche. But Captain America and Thor are taking a more pragmatic approach. They see this as more than just a guy who had a lousy day and ended up losing have his brain. They know someone has too much free time on their hands and since internet porn is no longer enough, they need to start a mutant war. So with Havok now as a figurehead, they're prepared to fight back. We're basically all fucked is what they're saying.

We only get a brief understanding of how fucked we are when the fine, dishonest folks in the media (or whatever qualifies as Fox News in the Marvel Universe) report the inevitable irrational response to the New York attack. The message is pretty basic, but Remender actually adds an element of connection and coherence that was lacking from the previous issue. He mentions the slaughter on Genosha, which left an indelible mark on the public about what happens when the mutant population surges. It's basically, "Do you really think they'll want to hug and smoke a joint after all those millions of mutants we killed?" It would be like the Ayatollah's in Iran inviting the entire population of Israel to a holocaust parade. That just just doesn't sit well for some.

But the broadcast isn't just the typical talking heads that Rupert Murdock pays millions to undermine truth in politics. Behind this veneer of typical talk show trash, the Red Skull is wielding his influence. So I guess TV in the Marvel universe is only slightly less evil. He still manages to get a few random citizens to murder a few mutants in cold blood. It's a rather disheveled scene, but it gets the point across. Normal humans that know how evolution works (or weren't homeschooled in Texas) know what happens when a stronger species emerges. Survival is the only universe instinct in addition to the instinct to fuck indiscriminately while intoxicated.

In addition to fucking with the general public, the Red Skull also has Rogue tied up in an S&M style dungeon. Again, he's still not as evil as the heads at Fox News, but he's getting pretty close! Both Rogue and Wanda were attacked by the Red Skull's latest brand of superpowered Hitler lovers and rather than leave them to whine to the Avengers about how he dug up Xavier's body, he abducted them. Again, still not as evil as Fox News. But Rogue, referencing some very kinky sexual proclivities that fanfiction writers live for, is able to trick this sexy looking woman made of water and steal her powers. From there, she breaks out and is intent on getting to Wanda so they can finish their cat-fight from the previous issues, hopefully with their clothes off this time.

But Wanda wakes up in much more comfortable settings. The Red Skull awakens her without being too disgusted by her being both Jewish and a gypsy. But he's willing to overlook that since she's shown a willingness to dab in a little genocide. He talks a bit about how he once had the chance to kill her father, but didn't. Then he fathered a woman who has the power to conduct mass genocide with a fucking sentence fragment. That's fate making lemonade out of lemons, spiked with a little PCP right there. It's a prime example of Rick Remender making connections in a story that give it a level of coherence that any self-respecting drunk can only admire. It works great on a sobriety test and even better in an awesome comic.

Despite the obvious revulsion Wanda should have to an unapologetic Nazi, she hears the Red Skull out. He shows her his fancy new training facility that he hopes to use to wage war against mutants. He also reveals that he's basically a backup Red Skull, his consciousness transferred to a spare body that was created back in 1942. To him, just a few months ago the most advanced phone still had a crank shaft. Now he's in a modern world where phones actually talk back and mutants are on the rise. And he wants Wanda to wipe them out again with another M-Day.

Now seeing as how the last time she pulled this stunt it caused mass genocide and incurred the wrath of the Phoenix Force, she would be completely against the idea. And by all accounts she is at first, but then the Red Skull gives her just the right nudge in the form of some telepathic mind raping. Where did he pick up that trick? Well that brain he was holding at the end of the previous issue should be a blatantly obvious clue. Marvel is assuming their readers have enough imagination to figure out how the Red Skull took on Xavier's telepathy. I question that assumption as some of our imaginations only exist to put tits on everything we see.

Imagination aside, Wanda is clearly influenced by the Red Skull. She's actually prepared to do another M-Day. However, Rogue is equally prepared to kick her ass in ways that will make her say, "No more broken bones!" After the Red Skull steps out, Rogue finds her and they resume their brawl from earlier. Sadly, they keep their clothes on. But Remender maintains some heavy dialog in between. This is one aspect of the book that is somewhat annoying. There's a lot of talk and it doesn't really improve the action. It just makes you think, "Why the fuck are they wasting their breath when they should be down to their bra and panties by now!" Wanda tries to say in way too many words that Rogue is just a thug who used to bone her father. It becomes a bit cliched, much like the dialog from Thor earlier. But even if the dialog is weak, it doesn't prevent the story from flowing in a very awesome manner.

That flow eventually leads Wanda and Rogue to a very gruesome discovery. They find Charles Xavier's body, which the Red Skull so sickeningly desecrated in the previous issue (in a non-necrophiliac way hopefully). This finally gets the two women to table their cat fight. Even though they have many reasons to hate each other, they're smart enough to understand that when the body of Charles Xavier is lying before them without a brain something is horribly fucked up. But they don't get a chance to be too disgusted. The Red Skull catches up to them, revealing that he's fused Xavier's brain with his somehow and now can use his telepathic talents to make them do whatever they want. I'm guessing these girls are in for the sickest fetish porn in the history of reality. And why not? The Red Skull is a German sadist last I checked. Who knows what kind of shit gets him hard?

Whereas the first issue tried to overcompensate for earlier shortcomings by shocking the hell out of readers (and making those with weak stomachs re-taste their meals for the past three days), this issue didn’t need to compensate for jack shit. This issue actually felt like an issue that Rick Remender would write in his most sober moments. It had solid, cohesive dialog. It had disturbingly grotesque moments that somehow came off as more than torture porn. It was nowhere near as disturbing as Deadpool feeding pieces of himself to Arcangel in the first arc of Uncanny X-Force, but it was right up there! Moreover, it actually came together in a way that felt as satisfying as a book that sold over 300,000 copies ought to be.

What made this issue work was the Red Skull. I know it’s taboo to praise an evil, Hitler-loving Nazi, but he really stole the show here and not just because he also stole Charles Xavier’s brain. He’s still a Nazi at heart, only able to get erections when a minority is being brutally oppressed. But he goes about it in a way that would make Hitler himself cry with joy. Using both Xavier’s brain and the Scarlet Witch, he demonstrates he’s out to do more than just throw giant robots at this new mutant-filled world. He’s willing to fuck reality again with M-Day 2.0. Rogue getting caught in the crossfire helps keep this issue from making a Nazi too awesome. And the disturbing (yet not grotesque) end offers a world of potential that I’m sure Rick Remender will turn into many more grotesque moments.

Now it may still be fair to call Uncanny Avengers ridiculously overhyped. While this issue may be awesome, it has yet to make a mark on the greater Marvel universe. That may just be a result of it being the first book in the relaunch whereas most other Marvel books are still in aftermath mode from Avengers vs. X-men. This book has plenty of potential to really spread the awesome over numerous Marvel titles, but at the moment it seems a bit narrow in scope and disorganized in terms of flow.

Never-the-less, Uncanny Avengers #2 is still a clear and welcome upgrade from the first issue. It still has a ways to go before it can be worthy of the hype that should come with having names like Remender, Cassaday, and 18 different variant covers attached to it. There are still a number of elements that need to come together, but my faith in this series has been officially renewed. As such, I give Uncanny Avengers #2 a 4 out of 5. First you had the Red Skull holding Xavier’s brain in his hand. Then you had him mind-fucking two beautiful women. Who knows what he could do in the issues to come? With a brain in one hand and two beautiful women under his control, he could either do something extremely evil or extremely pornographic. Nuff said!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

All New X-men #2 - Time Twisting Awesome

I once got stuck babysitting a kid who wouldn't stop asking stupid questions like "Why does your beard smell like burnt cigarettes?" and "What were you doing to make my big sister cry last night and why are we out of whipped cream?" There's only so much you can answer without confusing the kid even further or scarring him for life. I imagine the same rules apply to time travel when you're talking to your younger self. They're bound to ask questions that are utterly retarded in the grand scheme of things, but you need to take a deep breath, have a quick bong hit, and stay calm while you deal with the situation in a way that won't fuck up the time stream and/or fuck up your chances with some kid's hot older sister.

All New X-men deals with both time travel and explaining awkward shit to your younger self in a way similar to Back to the Future, minus the incest. But why is time travel necessary in he first place? Why does Beast, a guy who is supposed to be as smart as he is cuddly, come to the conclusion that the only effective way to deal with his problem is to fuck with the space-time continuum? Well both he and the rest of the Jean Grey Institute staff seem to think that a team of X-men going out and beating the shit out of government funded assholes that like to beat up mutants is a bad thing. Because that's exactly what Cyclops has done after breaking out of jail, giving the finger to the Avengers, and saving two innocent mutants from needless harassment. I'm sure he found time to pleasure all my ex-girlfriends and make a mockery out of everyone who claims to make a difference without having connections to Bill Gates. But when you've been screwed over by your friends and your enemies, there's no better way to stick it to them without waving your dick in their faces while singing Twisted Sister songs.

Now I could list no fewer than 50 reasons as to why the X-men's reaction to Cyclops's latest extra-curricular activities that don't involve boning telepaths is fucking stupid. In the previous issue, Shadowcat was calling him a mutant revolutionary. But what the fuck do you call someone who travels all over the world and saves mutants from being harassed by asshole bigots with guns and contacts with corrupt government bigots? You either call them the response to the Tea Party or you call them fucking heroes. Granted, waving your dick in the faces of authority and causing property damage that will give every insurance company a migraine is still a dick move. But how bad is it in the grand scheme of things?

This is what Beast has to explain to his younger self and the Original Five X-men. He claimed that Cyclops was going to cause mass mutant genocide in the future while conveniently ignoring that he helped undo another mass mutant genocide courtesy of Wanda Maximoff (who never went to fucking jail for her crimes mind you). He also took a comment Iceman made about Cyclops's younger self being disgusted with his current self. Because for some reason a teenage boy would be appalled that he would go onto marry his teenage sweetheart and her clone, bone a hot telepath like Emma Frost, and save the mutant race. Sure, he ended up killing Charles Xavier, but it's a matter of degree. But perhaps we simply don't know the full story because not only was All New X-men #1 ridiculously spoiled, but it left a fuckton of unanswered questions. Brian Bendis has never been known for divulging every detail in one issue so All New X-men #2 has the potential to make this shit at least somewhat more coherent.

The issue is pretty smooth in terms of transition. First, it shows that the rest of the X-men know Beast is up to some genius level shenanigan. Shadowcat and Iceman try to figure out what he’s up to, but Beast shows that while he may go to ridiculous lengths to solve problems like time travel, he knows how to cover his tracks. This allows him to absorb all the WTF reactions he gets from the Original Five X-men in the past. They’re understandably confused and skeptical that Cyclops, the pre-Apocalypse/Emma Frost/Madelyne Pyror version, would be the driving force behind mutant genocide. Jean Grey is especially confused when he also reveals that she’ll develop telepathy. Apparently, Beast is smart enough to work a time machine, but not smart enough to know that Jean hasn’t manifested that power at this point. I think that’s right up there along with vultures sizing up your entrails as being a bad sign.

As expected, it's a pretty hard sell. At this point in their lives, they only know Cyclops as the uptight do-gooder who wears a sweater vest in spring and was an eagle scout by age 15. Hell, he's practically Rick Santorum minus the gay bashing and misogyny. Beast seems to understand this so he just flat out tells him that in addition to being the festering thorn in the side of human/mutant peace, he killed Charles Xavier. Granted, he leaves out the part where he was drunk on cosmic power and Xavier was attacking him the way a drunk attacks an angry pit bull with a half-eaten steak. But that's still enough to make the whole team stop and pause for a moment to ponder just how fucked their future is. And Beast is basically asking them to follow him into the future so they could see just how fucked they are. He might as well ask them to go to a bar where they know they fucked the owners daughter and will either be poisoned or beaten up.

The Original Five reluctantly agree to go with Beast, who reveals that he somehow managed to get his hands on a time cube, courtesy of Reed Richards and Dr. Doom. Now it's never revealed how the fuck he got something this exotic, even by Marvel standards, or why the fuck he chose this one point in time rather than more practical moments, like maybe the moment before Cyclops decided that going to war with the Avengers was a bad idea or the moment before he let Emma Frost's pussy encourage his rebellious path. But I guess that would make way too much sense. It would be laughable if Beast wasn't supposed to be a fucking genius.

Armed with this unexplained time cube that he may have gotten from Craigslist for all we know, they travel to the present where the Original Five get their first glimpse of the Jean Grey Institute. For them, it must be like a Mormon entering Rick James's old bedroom. It doesn't look like a mutant apocalypse at first and Jean Grey is obviously confused at why the school is named after her. Apparently, she hasn't come to understand the influence of her pussy on the course of the X-men's history.

As soon as they arrive, the immediately draw Wolverine's attention because let's face it. This guy could smell Jean Grey from ten light years away in the same way Scarlett Johanssen's stalkers can smell her pubic hair from across state lines. Since he can't seem to discern the difference between being pissed and being horny, he attacks the Original Five. Fittingly enough, Jean Grey stops him and the rest of the team roughs him up. If anyone out there has ever had a creepy stalker, this is a very satisfying scene. It's also a scene that draws the attention of the rest of the X-men, who are understandably shocked and pissed at what Beast has done. Sure, it royally fucks up the time stream and the continuity. But I say it's worth it to see Wolverine get his ass kicked and Iceman's reaction.

But while everyone from each time is shitting themselves, Beast's mysterious illness that was revealed in the previous issue kicks in. They stop worrying about the time stream for a moment and rush him to the infirmary. Not much is revealed about his condition, but Beast does manage to reveal that it was Iceman who inspired him to date rape Father Time. Whether he actually thought it was a good idea at the time or he was just too lazy to plan the alternatives, the damage is done. The Original Five X-men are in the present. They've got a lot of catching up to do and will likely need to puke no more than twenty times, especially after they find out how many times Jean Grey has died and how shitty replacement characters like Hope Summers have tried to fill the void.

Wolverine does his best to try and contain Beast's fuck-up and keep his dick from getting too hard around Jean. He moves the Original Five to another room where presumably he gives them a cliff notes version of how they went about fucking themselves in this future. He also talks about sending them back to the past before they rip the space time continuum one too many new assholes. But before he can get too ahead of himself, Jean Grey decides to tap that telekinesis that Beast mentioned earlier. And remarkably, it works. She doesn't just read Wolverine's mind. She gets him to fall asleep and in a position you don't see outside of gay porn no less. All I can say is welcome back Jeannie! We missed you!

Unfortunately, Bendis doesn't spend too much time showing the reactions of the Original Five as they learn about their past. He moves things ahead at a rather rushed pace. The focus isn't on the past as much as it is on the immediate present, namely Cyclops's new gig as a mutant revolutionary. The Original Five all agree that they can't let their future be this fucked and need to do something about it. So when they find out that Cyclops is preparing to do a little more recruiting/Avengers pwnage, they decide to track him down. It's the kind of youthful bravado that made the X-men heroes in the first place and I can't remember being more happy to see it.

While Bendis does move things somewhat quickly, he does take the time to explore some of the emotions the Original Five are feeling. The revelation that Cyclops killed Xavier really impacts them and Jean tapping her telepathy is just the first sign that the time stream is in for a massively fucked up overhaul. Fueled by these emotions, the Original Five ditch Wolverine in his overly gay pose and hop an X-jet to confront this new revolutionary Cyclops. It's a powerful moment and one that Bendis organizes perfectly. It's a moment that was lacking in the previous issue and one that makes this feel like the kind of X-men comic we only thought angels could make while having orgies with demons.

And so it’s official. Beast has already fucked Father Time in ways that make any man a prison bitch and now the Original Five are poised to take a nice steaming piss on his face for good measure. Yet even though Doc Brown himself would have a brain aneurism with how the space time continuum is unraveling like a stripper’s G-string at Kanye West’s birthday party, the Original Five X-men find a way to make it look awesome.

This is what the first issue was lacking that Brian Michael Bendis more than made up for in this issue. He didn’t just bring the Original Five with the kind of hap-hazard planning indicative of a bar bet made at two in the morning. He actually put some effort into fleshing out the emotions while still leaving room for those goofy, oh fuck moments best represented by Iceman. Anyone who has read Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man run (before he killed Peter Parker) knows that Bendis is best when he’s writing about fucked up teenage emotions. Now I don’t want to speculate what kind of fucked up teenage experience he had, but seeing as how he’s already lost all his hair I’ll just assume it equipped him to tell awesome stories like this.

What really makes this issue work is how the Original Five X-men endear themselves to the story. The X-men in the present clearly don’t agree with Beast’s little ploy (even though Wolverine is clearly giddy at the opportunity to shack up with a teenage Jean Grey), but the Original Five X-men refuse to see Xavier’s dream die in the future. They’re willing to give the finger to their older selves and try to fix it with the kind of reckless abandon that only teenagers can manage.

That’s not to say there weren’t flaws. While Bendis did a great job with the emotions, he didn’t really go into detail about how the Original Five reacted when they learned about shit like the Phoenix Force, Jean Grey’s death, the mutant massacre, House of M, or the Messiah trilogy. Hell, who wasn’t looking forward to seeing Jean’s reaction about dying twice and having two men constantly fight over who gets to bone her? But these are details that don’t necessarily need to be addressed immediately. Bendis is known for spreading these details out and not trying Rick Remender’s approach of packing everything into a single, cohesive issue. It may leave some annoying blanks, but they’re blanks that can easily be filled.

There are still some more jarring flaws, like why the fuck Beast chose that one point in the past rather than the infinite possibilities offered by your typical time machine. Unless it’s revealed he’s piss faced drunk, I refused to believe he’s too stupid to contemplate just going back to the beginning of Avengers vs. X-men and telling Captain America that Cyclops was right so they could skip the fighting. But I’m used to Beast being a complete douche-bag by now. That’s why I’m glad his younger, less-douchy self is back along with the rest of the Original Five. And because I’m so glad about this, I give All New X-men #2 a 4.5 out of 5. We’ve got a live Jean Grey, a non-douche Hank McCoy, and a Scott Summers who hasn’t been corrupted by Emma Frost’s pussy. If you want much more out of an X-men comic, then you’re just being greedy. Nuff said!

Friday, November 23, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue #67: The Phoenix Saga Part 5 is LIVE

I hope everyone had a very happy and filling Thanskgiving holiday! But the X-men Supreme fanfiction series can afford to take no such holidays. The X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga is entering a critical stage and there's little time to rest or recover. The situation coming into the Phoenix Saga was bad enough, but in the previous two issues the situation has gone from bad to worse. The Inner Circle succeeded in capturing the X-men, exploiting Emma Frost no less, and guiding the Phoenix Force into Jean Grey. While it's one thing to channel the Phoenix Force, it's quite another to control it. The Inner Circle in their never-ending quest for power thought they could control this cosmic force through the mystical talents ot the Black Queen, Selene Gallio. Well that assumption proved fatal for some. Now the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga enters a dangerous new phase.
This is by far one of the most critical parts of this fanfiction series to date. The Phoenix Saga isn't just my way of bringing this classic Marvel tale to the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. This is an arc that will set the tone for many future stories in X-men Supreme. The final issues of this arc will mark a huge turning point in this fanfiction series and one that will take the X-men to the next stage of X-men Supreme. As such, I hope everyone continues to enjoy this landmark story. I assure you this is one iteration of the Phoenix Saga you don't want to miss!

Issue 67: The Phoenix Saga Part 5

While I've been hard at work making sure the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga is as awesome as it can possibly be, I haven't forgotten about other areas of the X-men Supreme website. It's been a while since I've updated the pics section. I plan on doing some expansions to the section after X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope has concluded. But for now, I'm content to keep up with the current sections. As such, I've updated the sections for Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Shadowcat, Mystique, Scarlet Witch, Goblin Queen, and the X-women.

I've also received a fresh commission from X-men Supreme's top artist, Brian Brinlee. He was once again generous enough to provide a commission for Issue 30: The Unstoppable Juggernaut. You can see this new commission along with many others in the X-men Supreme Panels section. Please keep in mind that if anyone wants to submit a pic of their own, please contact me and I'll be happy to discuss the details.

As the X-men Supreme fanfiction series nears the climax of this arc, I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to provide feedback. I know I say that a lot, but the Phoenix Saga is going to set the tone for this fanfiction series for many issues to come. As such, it's important I get sufficient feedback so that I can ensure that it's as awesome as it needs to be. With this in mind, please take the time to follow the examples set by generous users like Stormbreaker who leave comments in the comments section for nearly ever issue. Or if you wish, contact me directly and I'll be happy to respond. I'm very excited about the future of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I hope others continue to enjoy it. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wolverine and the X-men #21 - Circus of Insanity/Awesome

An issue of Wolverine and the X-men is like masturbation. Even when it's not that good, it's still pretty damn awesome and nowhere near as messy...for the most part. Ever since it began under Jason Aaron, Wolverine and the X-men has set itself apart by being somewhat less serious and more fun. Because in this day and age where people still take Glenn Beck seriously, we need to lighten up. For so long the X-men have basically been like the men at the Alamo, holding up on Utopia and doing their best to not be wiped out. Wolverine, having had enough last stands and brutal violence for ten lifetimes and/or three Expendables movies, decided to ditch that shit and found the Jean Grey Institute. Rather than being fucked up by violence, he founds a school and names it after the woman he desperately tried to fuck. Makes perfect sense.

The first few arcs of Wolverine and the X-men were fun in that Jason Aaron explored all the insane logistics of just putting this school together and keeping it from blowing the fuck up, which in some stories was a real possibility. But now the school is established. The X-men have managed to bribe enough officials and blow enough politicians to become a legitimate facility for aspiring mutants. And after the events of Avengers vs. X-men (where the school almost got blown up mind you), a whole new population of mutants has emerged after the Phoenix unfucked the universe from the Scarlet Witch. That means there are plenty of prospective students that are in need of the quality education that a hard-drinking, ill-tempered brute that likes to chase after married women can offer. I imagine it's what being home schooled by my Uncle Metalballs would be like.

Wolverine and the X-men #20 did a nice job of establishing the kind of world that the Jean Grey Institute now must function. It had Angel, who is still dealing with having his mind thrown into a blender after the Dark Angel Saga, go on a little recruiting run. He managed to convince a scared yet incredibly bonable Brazilian woman that turns into a half-shark creature to join the Jean Grey Institute, but it wasn't as easy as simply offering free tickets to Carnival and a lifetime supply of thongs. Mystique and a new collection of mutants who seek to do to young mutants what Fox News does to America tried to beat him to it. Angel managed to succeed, but like the evil that runs Fox News seriously there are plenty of vulnerable minds in this new mutant-rich world for them to fuck with.

Wolverine and the X-men #21follows up this triumph with a gentle reminder that most of these mutants are still teenagers. And if you put a bunch of teenagers under one roof and take away all the authority figures, then you're bound to end up with nothing but destruction, chaos, and maybe a few orgies. When the issue begins with Kid Omega realizing that all the adults at the Jean Grey Institute have disappeared, we don't see any orgies. We're just left to assume they're going on somewhere. But while some of the students use this as an opportunity to live out all the sadistic fantasies that all non-superpowered teenagers have, Kid Omega decides to investigate. Because unlike everyone else, he doesn't need authority figures to be absent to be a raging douche-bag.

Whereas most of the students are using the absence of the Jean Grey Institute staff to reenact their version of the ending to Mad Max, some are a bit more responsible and try to offer at least some hope for the human race. Idie, the sweet yet overly religious young girl, decided to skip the opportunity to run naked through the halls and take a shit on Wolverine's desk to meet with a priest. He basically told her that the Jean Grey Institute was not a healthy influence on her and she might as well be hanging out in Satan's basement and watching her classmates blow demons for shits and giggles. That would be distressing enough, but it turns out this priest that is trying to corrupt Idie in a way Pat Roberson only jerks off to isn't really a priest. He's a robot, courtesy of one of the Hellfire Club brats.

Now I'm usually inclined to go on another rant about how having the Hellfire Club being run by a bunch of sociopath brats is more fucked up than a karaoke party at Simon Cowell's house. It's not like Jason Aaron has done anything to make the premise of the Hellfire Brats more believable, but in this instance he does try to explore them a bit more like he did with Kade Kildare a few issues ago. This time he focuses on Maximilian, the Hellfire Brat who happened to become an expert at building robot priests at the same age when most kids his age are just becoming an expert on microwaving hot pockets. He's apparently got a nasty family history that Kade pulled him away from and he's not too happy when Kade brings it up. His task is to corrupt Idie in a way that will lead her to joining the Hellfire Brats. And what better way than religion? Fuck, it worked for the Taliban. Why not the Hellfire Club?

We then go from organized religion to something that's only slightly less fucked up. While Maximilian is fuming, he gets lured into a circus that has suddenly sprung up by a very creepy clown that could only be less creepy if he was in a Stephen King book. It sounds fucked up, but it actually is a solid transition because we finally catch up with the missing X-men from the Jean Grey Institute. For reasons not explained yet probably involve a fuckton of booze and unmarked purple pills, the Jean Grey Institute staff wakes up in the middle of a fucking circus. Storm is locked in a Houdini style lock box at first and when she breaks out, she finds out that she's in the middle of a show. Rather than try to wake herself up with a self-imposed punch to the gut, she just takes a bow and goes with it. Because isn't it everyone's dream to be a circus act at some point?

We quickly find out she's in good company too. Nearly the entire Jean Grey Institute staff has found their own little circus act. Rachel is a fortune teller, but one that isn't a fraud for once. Warbird is a knife-thrower and Shadowcat is a target. Beast is a beast tamer if you can believe that, which is actually an upgrade considering what a raging douche he's been in his other jobs. And Wolverine is the drunken, oafish clown that you love to point at and laugh and never want to leave your children with in a windowless room. What's makes this predicament all the more fucked up is just how believable Jason Aaron makes it sounds. Because let's face it, if mutants were real one of their first inclinations would be to join the circus and make a fuckton of money. Or maybe that's just me.

When Kid Omega and the rest of the Jean Grey Institute students find out about this, some are disturbed while others are elated. Kid Omega calls it the greatest fucking thing he's ever seen. And you know what? I agree with him, as much as that makes me sick to my stomach. If I found out that all my teachers from high school had somehow been brainwashed into joining a circus, I would shit my pants, ejaculate, and laugh for three days straight. I don't consider myself as sadistic as Kid Omega, but as someone who has a healthy disdain for his teachers from high school I can appreciate where he's coming from. However, the rest of the students have to be assholes and try to rescue them from whatever brainwashing that's been going on. Fucking killjoys.

While the Jean Grey Institute students are taking on their teachers with Kid Omega trying desperately not to die of laughter, we learn a little more about who is behind this fucked up concept of a circus. We follow a little girl and her parents on a hellish boat ride that's only slightly more disturbing than that scene from the non-Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. The girl's parents get their souls sucked out and the little girl somehow escapes to find Frankenstein as being the one behind the madness.

Now on paper, this sounds like a perfect opportunity to slam back some Jack Daniels and go on a drunken rant at how fucked up and random this is. But if instead you take a bong hit from some marginally good weed, you realize it's not too crazy. For one, the Hellfire Brats already unleashed Frankenstein like monsters earlier in another Wolverine and the X-men arc. Plus, Dracula not only exists in the Marvel universe, but he tried to fuck Storm. So is it really too outrageous that he exists in the Marvel universe as well? I'll only say it's outrageous he's running a fucking circus, but there's a reason for that. He claims that he's an abomination and wants revenge on the asshole that gave him this crazy shit called life. It's pretty typical, wanting revenge. But revenge for being fucking alive? Only in a Jason Aaron book could that ever be viable.

Back with the Jean Grey Institute students, they try to confront their teachers and convince them that they're either under mind control or they drank some amazingly potent booze. It's a pretty hard sell. Anybody who has ever tried to convince someone in an altered state of mind of reality will know this all too well. And those same crazies in robes that stole the souls of that little girl's parents earlier shows that she also has a hold on the X-men now. So her first inclination is to force them to attack the children. She could have just as easily had them make a porno and teach the kids to sniff paint fumes, but that's just too devious for someone that steals souls I guess. That or they're not aware of the growing trends in superhero porn.

As the X-men are attacking their students, Frankenstein catches up with Maximilian. It's here where we learn that this particular Hellfire Brat is actually related to Frankenstein, which I guess helps explain his sociopath nature. When you come from a family known for taking dead body parts and using them to create a walking corpse, I guess making evil robots is a pretty tame hobby. But old Frank isn't looking to have a warm family reunion. He's looking to torment this kid in ways that could only be matched by being locked in a windowless room with Michael Jackson's ghost. So while this issue may rank about a 9.4 on the fuck-up-o-meter, it does utilize a few important connections about one of the Hellfire Brats. It still doesn't explain why the X-men were turned into circus acts, but I understand there's only so much sense a Jason Aaron X-book can make.

On paper, this comic sounds like something a writer would only come up with after having their brain soaked in LSD while several hobos peed on him. The X-men being turned into a circus while a kid descended from Frankenstein deals with some daddy issues that would make Dr. Phil's head explode? There's just no way that shit could work without channeling the genius of Alan Moore and the appeal of Pamela Anderson's breasts. I don't know just what Jason Aaron channeled when he came up with this idea, but fuck he found a way to make it work.

Now I've been pretty harsh on the whole Hellfire Brats plot. I love what Jason Aaron has done with Wolverine and the X-men, but the Hellfire Brats are like that floating turd in the punch bowl that you just shrug your shoulders and ignore because the punch tastes that good. Aaron has at least attempted to make the Hellfire Brats viable, but other than giving them an upbringing akin to Ted Bundy and Pol Pot he really hasn't made the notion of a bunch of per-pubescent kids running the Hellfire Club any less ridiculous. Hell, it would be more palatable if explained that their evil stemmed from their inability to get Justin Bieber tickets. But with this, he did at least try to dig a little deeper into the history of one of the Hellfire Brats. It may not have made him less ridiculous, but it provided some nice connections to an otherwise fucked up premise.

This is where Wolverine and the X-men #21 succeeds in ways the previous issue didn't. The previous issue was awesome, but didn't really flow well with the plot of the previous issues. It might as well have been called Wolverine and the X-men: The Shit That Happens When We're Running Low On Filler Material. But this issue actually did forge a few connections, referencing how the Hellfire Brats are going on a recruitment run with new mutants and tying into the plot with the Hellfire Brats that has been unfolding since Avengers vs. X-men. This issue has more flow to it even if it's random as fuck.

And it's this random-as-fuck nature that makes Wolverine and the X-men #21 pretty twisted, even by Jason Aaron's lofty standards. I get that there's probably an equally fucked up explanation as to why the whole staff of the Jean Grey Institute was recruited into a twisted circus while the students were left to reenact Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But given the premise, that explanation is only going to reinforce the twisted nature. It's like waking up naked in a strange bed with a hooker on one side and a baby zebra you stole from the zoo on the other and thinking, "Fuck! I must have gotten wasted last night! I better go get drunk again to fix this!" But for sheer entertainment value and the connections that the previous issue lacked, I give Wolverine and the X-men #21 a 3.5 out of 5. Now unless you insist on your comics being overly serious or were traumatized by a clown as a child, you should find plenty of entertainment value of this issue. If nothing else, it'll only give you a new appreciation to whatever drugs Joe Quesada is giving his fellow writers at Marvel. Nuff said!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #34 - Descending Into Awesome

The concept of X-Force often strikes me as the kind of concept most police officers and state troopers only wish they could operate under. The notion of being proactive in brutalizing the kinds of threats you just know are going to fuck with you in the long run makes a remarkable bit of sense. I know my share of police officers (although I wouldn't say we're on friendly terms), but I'm fairly certain that if they knew for a fact that some douche-bag in the Ferarri was going to drive 125 mph in a school zone while a two hookers jerked him off they wouldn't mind being allowed to shoot an RPG at that asshole before any kids were harmed. X-Force is basically the RPG and the deadly threats to mutant kind are the douche-bags in the Ferarri. On paper, it sounds like a very satisfying way to do business. In practice, however, shit tends to get messy.

Rick Remender has spent a good chunk of his ball-bustingly awesome run on X-Force demonstrating just how messy this shit can get when you adopt this proactive killing policy against the douche-bags of the Marvel universe. Sooner or later, those same douche-bags are going to take notice and find a way to fight back. The final arc of Remender's Uncanny X-Force run has a newly formed Brotherhood of Mutants using X-Force's proactive policy to give them rectal exam with a boxing glove laced with barb wire. The likes of Mystique, Daken, Shadowking, and AOA Blob have all joined forces to fuck with X-Force in the worst possible way. Part of this process involves taking the first act of proactive killing they committed, namely the murder of kid Apocalypse and Fantomex subsequently trying to make up for it while banging Psylocke, and turning it against them. And so far it's worked in ways so disturbingly effective it would almost make Dick Cheny smile.

The Brotherhood went to great lengths to set this shit up, going so far as to try and blow X-Force up by making Ultimaton explode while they abduct Genesis, aka the other Kid Apocalypse that's only somewhat less creepy than the first one. They went to equally great (and sadistic) lengths to reveal to Genesis that his whole life was just a ripped off piece of Smallville fanfiction. Now he's being encouraged to take his anger out on X-Force. But just to make sure that they've been extra screwed over, the Brotherhood also killed Fantomex and Mystique turned AOA Nightcrawler against them. The result has been X-Force getting their asses kicked in ways that overkill doesn't begin to describe. But it's the Brotherhood. If they're not going for overkill, they're not trying very hard.

So with Rick Remender's amazing run nearing it's zenith, we're left to grasp at whatever remaining awesome he can provide. Uncanny X-Force #33 ended with Genesis dawning his Apocalypse armor and preparing to throw a little celestial powered whoop-ass against X-Force, the Brotherhood, and the world as a whole. Again, it's overkill, but for a Rick Remender book that shit's just a typical Wednesday.

Uncanny X-Force #34 has the overkill turned up to 11 with Daken watching his father drown while Genesis (or Kid Apocalypse as we can now call him) begins his rampage. All the while, the rest of X-Force is fighting a losing battle on all fronts. Psylocke is getting her mind ripped apart like Sean Hannity in a Michael Moore movie and AOA Nightcrawler is escaping EVA's wrath after he so gleefully screwed his team over. And Daken goes so far as to try and make a point of this. He basically tells his father, "See? People are assholes!" He could just have easily proved that by showing him reruns of the Jersey Shore, but I guess that would have been too much overkill.

Genesis has also adopted the overkill philosophy. Now in his Apocalypse armor, he's free to vent his anger in ways that most teenagers can only fantasize about less they get put on medications and forced to go into therapy. I'm not sure if most teenagers would fantasize about attacking a guy like Skinless Man, but I imagine it's somewhere in between punching their gym teacher in the balls and banging Carmen Electra. But Skinless Man just can't resist fucking with Genesis even more. He shows him a jar of Fantomex's heart and tempts him with the ability to revive him. Really? You think he wants to revive the guy who made his whole life into a piece of Smallville fanfiction? Either Skinless Man had his brain burned off her he just doesn't understand how sadistic your typical teenager is.

Even if Genesis is that sadistic, he is tempted at first. But Skinless Man just can't resist waving his dick just a little bit closer to that hungry shark. He crushes the heart, adding to Genesis's rage. Now he's motivated to rip off more than just his skin. He might as well have taken a teenage girl's cell phone, thongs, and pictures of Robert Pattinson. He's bound to get butchered in ways that would make Jeffery Dahlmer sick, but Deadpool beats him to it. Despite being roughed up in the previous issue, he manages to pull his exceedingly fucked up mind together and stab Skinless Man through the neck. It's not a very dramatic moment, but for a guy with a name like Skinless Man it's sort of a relief. There are just some villains that are better off stabbed.

It still fucks with Genesis though, who laments at how people could be this evil. But that's like standing in downtown Detroit and whining about how fucked the economy is. It's all about perspective. But for a kid like him, it's still a powerful moment and one that helps capture the emotional journey that Remender has done with Genesis. It shows that even with all those pleasant memories of his life in Smallville rip-off world, he hasn't gone full Apocalypse just yet.

The tide is definitely starting to turn against the Brotherhood at this point. Skinless Man is dead and Genesis still hasn't embraced the full power of his inner douche. And the Omega Clan, who have done such a great job of pretending X-Force has butchered their loved ones, are finally starting to falter. While it makes sense to have an army that believes their enemies fucked them in the worst possible way, it doesn't exactly make them think clearly. Anyone who has been so pissed off at their little brother and chased him without realizing you had no pants on knows this. And against an omega powered telepath, thinking is kind of important. So when Omega White, who feeds on psychic energy, tried to gorge on Psylocke's mind he failed miserably. And he ended up being the key to beating Shadowking, who is all psychic energy to begin with. So after Omega White stuffs his face, Psylocke does the merciful thing and beats him into a coma. It may sound excessive, but make no mistake. Anyone whose girlfriend caught him with a Brazilian hooker and some blow knows that being knocked into a coma is getting off more ways than one.

To their credit, the Brotherhood tries to reign in Genesis. Mystique tries to catch up with him in Psylocke's form in an effort to at least get him to settle the fuck down. But after a Skinless Man crushes the heart of a loved one for shits and giggles, settling down is the last thing on your mind. Genesis casually gives Mystique an omega powered bitch slap. She probably would have gotten a lot worse, but we know Marvel is never going to rough up one of the women that they know their fans masturbate to. As such, it's not too surprising when AOA Nightcrawler teleports her away. He reminds her that this who plan of theirs has gone to hell. And he's right. If there was a plan here, it failed miserably and for once it wasn't because of X-Force.

On paper, it sounds reasonable. Kidnap Genesis, get him to hate X-Force, and then turn him against them. It's not like Fantomex didn't already set that shit up when he tried to make up for shooting Kid Apocalypse in the eyes, but their plan to just use Shadowking to control his mind while assuming they could beat back an omega level telepath like Psylocke doesn't even sound good on paper. That in essence is what sort of softens the impact of this conflict. X-Force really didn't do anything awesome to fuck it up. It just sort of fell apart on it's own. Even if the violence is as awesome as we've come to expect, it's just the kind of violence that you see happen at an Eagles game. It's just shit that becomes chaotic on it's own and that's not much of a plot.

But there is a much more compelling aspect of the story to be told, although it has nothing to do with the whole Genesis plot. As this elaborate good-on-paper plan starts to unravel, Daken tries to run away. Deadpool has since saved Wolverine from drowning by giving him mouth-to-mouth, something I'm sure will inspire a new wave of slash fanfiction. But before Wolverine can get too disgusted and before Deadpool can make a few lame gay jokes, Wolverine goes after Daken to give his son some long overdue discipline.

What follows is an elaborate, richly detailed fight that most fathers probably only wish they could have with their asshole teenage sons and not get arrested for it. But beyond the battle, there's an interesting flashback here with a touch of narration that ponders what would have happened if Wolverine had been there to raise Daken. Would he have become such a douche-bag? We go through a few panels that show Daken and Wolverine essentially reenacting re-runs from 50s sitcoms, minus the subtle racism and misogyny. It raises the profound question of what could have been and makes it all the more emotional when Wolverine essentially steals his son's idea and drowns him to beat him. It's one of those old nature vs. nurture arguments that will probably never be resolved outside a What If comic...except that it actually was a fucking What If comic and it ended horribly.

But the What Ifs are besides the point here. Wolverine is still forced to take his son down. Does this mean Daken is dead and the assholes of countless men and women are safe? In comics where death is as minor as the common cold, that's debatable. But the impact of having to "kill" his son wounds Wolverine in a way he can't heal from and Sabretooth knows this. He comes out of the woodwork and essentially rubs this in Wolverine's face, claiming this was all just an elaborate way to hurt him. I'm assuming the pussy he got from Mystique was a bonus. It's a somewhat cliched plot twist, the revelation that this was the plan all along. And Rick Remender usually doesn't do cliches, but when Sabretooth is involved I guess it's impossible to resist. Going to fucked up lengths like this is well within Sabretooth's character. Genesis is inclined to rip him all the assholes that Daken would have fucked, but Wolverine pulls him back. He finally gets Genesis to settle by explaining that getting pissed doesn't change the fact that people are assholes. It just helps make you an asshole and makes for a pretty awesome battle. So in that sense I guess it's a toss-up.

After Genesis manages to calm down, he joins the rest of X-Force as they leave. They even take the time to retrieve Fantomex's body. It's a somewhat vague moment because Genesis is still in his Apocalypse armor. He just saw all these assholes in the Brotherhood try to turn him into one of them. There's also that whole bit about his life being a complete lie that Fantomex ripped from Superman. I'm assuming he's going to get sued by DC comics before the next issue at some point. But even if the conflict in this issue just basically devolved into a drunken brawl fight that was self-defeating, it did leave Wolverine wounded personally and forced Genesis to re-assess how he looks at the world. It doesn't resolve anything, but it does set the stage nicely for the final issue. The mere knowledge that there's one issue left helps give this ending some impact it wouldn't have had otherwise.

Now if I could get philosophical for a moment here, I'd like to ask some of the profound questions I only usually contemplated when I'm stoned. Like what is all the violence for anyways? Does violence really solve anything? Does vengeance really solve anything? Well this comic only gives us a partial answer. I think if Remender were speaking through it, he would be saying "Fuck yeah! Violence and vengeance solve the problem of there not being enough awesome comics in the world!" And I would fully agree with this. Uncanny X-Force is a violent book that the Jeffery Dahlmers of the world probably jerk off to in their private time. But Rick Remender tries to go further in making this violence actually tell a story and this issue more than anything shows that spilling blood can tell an awesome story in addition to giving massive boners to all the closeted sadists in the world

This issue had a great personal touch just as the last issue did. In the same way AOA Nighcrawler could only call his life complete after he has a shark eat Blob from the inside out, Daken had to prove to his father that he was an asshole and he'll always be inclined to be an asshole. He went to some pretty fucked up lengths, incurring the wrath of Kid Apocalypse in the process. That's like trying to prove that nature will fuck you over by waving your dick in the face of a hungry grizzly. It's fucked up in the sense that it really doesn't prove jack shit, but it does show the depths to which Daken hates his father and the lengths Sabretooth will go to in order to hurt Wolverine.

But as nice as this personal touch was, it also highlighted one of the main flaws of this issue. Everything in this arc just seemed to descend into chaos in the end. It didn't come together in the coherent, satisfying way that other Uncanny X-Force arcs have done. What really just happens here is Kid Apocalypse jumps the gun on Daken's plans and shit just fails from there on out. And in the end Sabretooth reveals that this shit was just some elaborate way to hurt Wolverine and he really didn't give a shit about Daken's daddy issues. That's perfectly in character for Sabretooth, but it still leaves the reader wondering, "Really?! That's all it was? Boning Mystique wasn't even part of what motivated you?! I call bullshit!" Even if it worked in the end, it just doesn't have the impact that it should. Nothing really came along to turn the tide of the battle. The Brotherhood's elaborate plot just started fucking up for no reason like a car some guy tries to fix himself with only a hammer and duct tape at his disposal. It's not very compelling, even if it is entertaining to watch.

Now don't get me wrong. I loved this arc and I love how Remender is tying everything up in the pages of Uncanny X-Force. It hasn't been lost on me that there is only one issue left in this amazing run. My heart sinks, my dick goes limp, and my eyes are filled with tears at the thought. And for once that's not because I ran out of weed. That should give readers an idea of how much I love this series and how sad I'll be to see Rick Remender move on. But this issue wasn't the full extent of his awesome by a long shot. It was still satisfying, full of some very passionate moments that brought this elaborate arc to an end. For that, I give Uncanny X-men #34 a 4 out of 5.

With one issue left, Remender has a chance to end this series in a way that will allow every X-men fan to die happy regardless of how many times Marvel kills Jean Grey, cock blocks Wolverine, or screws over Cyclops. I've been disappointed before with how awesome series end, but for once I have faith that Rick Remender will carve his X-Force legacy in adamantium with his final issue. And I'll be waiting with my best batch of weed and a box of tissues to keep both my eyes and my dick clean. Nuff said!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #698 Spoiler - Spoiling Your Thanksgiving Appetite

It's been a long time since I ever talked about a Spider-Man comic and for good reason. After One More Day, I basically shrugged my shoulders, threw up a little, got drunk, and moved onto other comics that didn't involve characters making deals with the devil or retconning 20 years worth of comics. And while I rarely pass up an opportunity to knock Peter Parker for his bullshit, I do keep up with Amazing Spider-Man from time to time. Even I'm not drunk enough to deny that Spider-Island was awesome. But with Amazing Spider-Man closing in on it's big #700 and poised for a relaunch under the very douchy sounding Superior Spider-Man logo, Marvel knows they have to do something big. Well like butt-ugly oil tycoon at a gold diggers convention, Dan Slott stood up and said "I could hit that!"

Dan Slott has already publically stated that he will probably have to go into hiding after Amazing Spider-Man #698. And earlier today, we found out why because scans of the issue were leaked online. Now I'm of the opinion that if you don't want spoilers, you shouldn't be browsing the internet in the first place. Aside from internet porn, we use the web to spoil ourselves rotten in ways that our ancestors could only dream of! As such, I've decided to get in on the act. This is a pretty big freakin' deal for anyone who has ever had a slight interest in Spider-Man. So here's one last warning. If you don't want to be spoiled, do NOT scroll down.      















  Given that Marvel already did an elaborate gimmick about the death of Peter Parker, I'm not exactly banging my head against a brick wall. I do enough of that shit whenever Hope Summers is featured in a comic. But for die-hard Spider-Man fans, please be gentle on yourselves. You're only emboldening Marvel when they get such a crazy reaction. Then again, if it's crazy enough maybe they'll think twice about where they go with this. Who knows? But that's my spoiler for the day. Hope you enjoyed it! I try not to do it too often, but this was one instance where I just couldn't resist! Nuff said!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Xtreme X-men #6 - Robots, Homosexuals, and Awesome

Some like to say that hippies are a harmless group of lazy, promiscuous stoners whose sole mission involved being able to get as high as possible with as little work as possible. But some of us know better. Some of us who listen to Rush Limbaugh stoned know that hippies are part of some vast liberal conspiracy bent on destroying the American way of life by actually trying to protect the environment and thumbing their nose at all these social norms that we adopted because they looked like a good idea in shitty 50s sitcoms. I mean can you imagine what would happen if hippies were allowed to impose their drug-fueled ideas into society? Cars would stop spewing toxic fumes. Weed would be available in every 7/11. Schools would give students an hour every day for orgies. Glenn Beck would be out of a job and back to being a typical drunk. And who wants to live in that world?

Maybe I'm bias because hippies are a great source of weed and amusement, but I don't think there's enough hippie shit in comics. Then again, where the hell would that kind of shit even work? Well, there is a comic out there that has the necessary elements and an uncanny willingness to explore worlds more fucked up than anything we ever saw in a 50s sitcom. I'm talking of course about Greg Pak's Xtreme X-men. It's a comic that essentially gives the finger to subtle plots and cliched story-telling and simply follows a hot blond in Dazzler as she explores various alternate universes where the X-men as we know them are very different and fucked up in a beautiful way. Greg Pak has already explored a world where the X-men are Olympian gods, minus the incest and pedophilia, and where the X-men are basically characters in an old western movie. The possibilities for X-men with a new and distinct twist is endless and at the end of the previous issue, Greg Pak already gave us a hint at what we could expect.

When Dazzler's X-men team gave another evil Xavier a Tony Soprano style send-off, they were prepared to head to the next universe where they could track down the next evil Charles Xavier and introduce him to the business end of Wolverine's claws. However, Kid Nightcrawler got a little over-eager to get out of a world of John Wayne cos-players and jumped the gun. He ended up in a world where he was being eyed by a bunch of killer robots in the same way John Goodman eyes doughnuts. It shows once again that no matter what universe they go to, X-men will always be attacked by killer robots.

However, the X-men's luck or lack thereof with robots take on a somewhat different theme in Xtreme X-men #6. First, Greg Pak takes a moment to explore the world that Kid Nightcrawler came from. It's a world where liberal hippies have enshrined their drug-induced visions of utopia into law and created a perfect world in which Rush Limbaugh would kill himself if he ever lived there. It's a world where California is a world power, health care is free, carbon emissions are zero, and Al Gore is probably President in some capacity. In this world, robots are essentially pets. Think Wall-E without the anti-capitalism undertones. But even in this utopia, there are still bullies and they loved harassing Kid Nightcrawler. Because in a world where everything is cut from a stoner's wet dream, douche-bags still find a way to thrive. I think this is Greg Pak's way of saying that no amount of progress will rid us of douche-bags.

As if it didn't suck enough that bullies ruined a utopian world run by the state of California, Kid Nightcrawler's day/life gets exponentially worse when those robot pets I mentioned suddenly realize that serving human beings is bullshit and rise up against them. It's pretty abrupt, but in a world run by California, the same state that elected the fucking Terminator as governor in our world, it's perfectly believable. The lack of build-up is a bit jarring, but the point is to put Kid Nightcrawler in the position he would be in to play a part in Greg Pak's Exhaulted arc in Astonishing X-men. This requires his parents to essentially hide him away while they run off to try and convince their new robot overlords that humans make good pets as well. While hiding and fearing for his parents, Kid Nightcrawler's teleportation powers activate and that's what leads him on this multi-universe romp. It effectively fills in the gaps regarding Kid Nightcrawlers role in Xtreme X-men while giving readers yet another reason to give the finger to the next hippie that pisses on a Hummer.

Whereas Nightcrawler was separated, Dazzler and Wolverine continue down their own universe-romping adventure with their Xavier-in-a-Jar. They end up in a strange world where dinosaurs still rule. So while one gets to go to some liberal fantasy paradise, they have to go to a world that Christian scientists pretend never existed. How the fuck is that fair? Despite having to fight off some Jurassic Park rejects, Dazzler is intent on getting Kid Nightcrawler back. Because fuck fighting another evil Charles Xavier. They would rather go to a world where they have to fight killer robots. Because let's face it, that's what X-men are good at.

The Xavier-in-a-Jar makes it clear that they have other priorities than a kid Nightcrawler who was too stupid to not stay with the group during their universe-hopping. He also explains that whenever they do a time jump, they go to the universe that's most likely to spawn another douche-bag Charles Xavier intent on mind-fucking the entire world. It's hard to imagine what kind of Charles Xavier would exist in a world of dinosaurs unless he's doing the single greatest act of Jurassic Park cos-playing in the history of the universe, but it is still their core mission. Dazzler and Wolverine make it clear they don't give a fuck about that mission so Xavier-in-a-Jar caves and just teleports them to Kid Nightcrawler.

It's a rather unceremonious way in which to resolve this issue. Usually, when heroes argue it ends in the same way an argument between two teenage girls over the last Twilight movie. Nobody admits their wrong, somebody gets pissed, and someone ends up screaming about being scratched with fake nails. Either Xavier-in-a-Jar just doesn't have the same dedication as Twilight fans or Greg Pak is just too determined to write a story about killer robots. I'm all for killer robots in X-men, but it helps if it's a bit more logical

Wolverine and Dazzler arrive in Kid Nightcrawlers world. By now the machines have won and there's no Kyle Reese to knock of John Connor's mother. Almost immediately, they attract the attention of machines that are deeply allergic to humans. They lay low and start looking for Kid Nightcrawler, who at this point has been in his horribly decimated world for a few days now. So he goes from a world that's falling apart to a world that literally fell apart and back again. You can't help but feel sorry for the kid, who is basically one of the only fleshy creature in his world at this point. But that's not the emotion that Pak focuses on.

A few issues ago, Dazzler's X-men team crossed paths with an alternate version of Hercules. And for some reason, Wolverine's heart skipped a few beats and his dick started twitching. Pak was pretty coy about this, but Dazzler finally brings it up in this setting that is less appropriate than discussing your last bender in Tijuana during your uncle's funeral. And Pak is not coy about it this time. This version of Wolverine was in love with a man/demigod. That's right folks, this is a gay Wolverine! Not the kind that tries to fuck married women and has an occasional Asian fetish. He's an actual, Elton John minus the ridiculous suits, homosexual who was in love with Hercules. Unfortunately, he came from a world where Rick Santorum is president or something because men loving other men just didn't fly in his country. It's a different kind of twist that is a bit random in the context of this actual issue, but it finally clears something up from a previous arc. And if you listen really closely, you can actually hear all the slash fanfiction writers out there scrambling to write the most lurid gay love scene between Wolverine and Hercules they can conjure.

Now a gay Wolverine sounds like something that's way too over-the-top even for Xtreme X-men. I mean what else could Greg Pak possibly throw into this series to make it more fucked up and unique without Emma Frost having a sex change? Well he manages to find a way if you can believe that. But he doesn't do it by taking an alternate version of a character and switching their tastes in what they like to do with asses. He does it by bringing Sage into the story. Don't remember Sage? Take a quick moment to fuck yourself and then come back and recall that Sage was once a key member of Xtreme X-men during the Chris Claremont run. She was never killed off, shot into space, or left in limbo like Kitty Pryde. She was just brushed aside by Marvel. It may be the only time in history when they had a beautiful woman who liked to wear skin-tight black leather outfits and they couldn't come up with a valid way to use her. It's as crazy as it sounds.

But in this story, Marvel finally finds a way. Sage, having the benefits of a computer-like brain, makes for the perfect ambassador of SWORD to negotiate with aliens. Now it's not clear whether this is SWORD from the 616 world or if some humans managed to survive the Judgement Day style war, but there's basically some unresolved issues. Sage wants the killer robot empire to hand over Kid Nightcrawler, who they have imprisoned and are likely planning to kill train as a pet. It's basically a hostage situation. The killer robots are poised to kill Kid Nightcrawler and Sage's people are prepared to give every machine the equivalent of porno spyware. I'm guessing that's like the anthrax for machines or something.

But this fragile situation does not factor in Dazzler and Wolverine fucking things up. On the final page, we find out that they've already tracked down Kid Nightcrawler and have no intention of letting the robot overlords of this world use him for target practice. Sage does a little narrating to her SWORD associates that this little incident could start another robot war that would be more destructive than 50 Michael Bay movies. And they really can't afford to have that in a world where some robots actually aren't killer Decepticon-like creatures. Most didn't take any part in the slaughtering of the humans and couldn't give a shit about Kid Nightcrawler. So both innocent mutants and innocent robots are in the crossfire. Only in Xtreme X-men can we get a story where Dazzler and a gay Wolverine rescue a kid Nightcrawler in a world where innocent robots are threatened by the brutish actions of killer robots. If I said any of that to a normal person, they would probably urge me to lay off the weed.

And so we once again have a story here that shows how the hippie utopia they love to brag about will end in complete disaster. The problem is in order to live in this world, you have to be too stoned to program your robots with a fucking off switch. It's a serious blow for hippies, but a nice touch for this comic. It's taken a while, but Greg Pak is gradually exploring each character in greater detail. First, we learn where Kid Nightcrawler came from and what happened to his world. Then we find out that this version of Wolverine is raging homosexual with a hard-on for Greek demigods. No one can fault Pak for not shaking things up a bit. He's already inspired a new class of Slash fanfiction writers, but he's also gone even further by re-introducing a character that has been MIA since Bush's first term. This is the kind of flexibility you have when you base a comic off of universe-hopping X-men and Pak is clearly having more fun with it than a pyromaniac in a match factory.

This comic threw in a whole lot of great elements, but the main issue is that they didn't really form a cohesive story. It definitely laid the groundwork for such a story, but it didn't really come together. We got to explore Kid Nightcrawler's world and catch up with Sage finally. Dazzler and Wolverine got to rough up a few dinosaurs, explore their sexuality, and pull a rescue mission for Kid Nightcrawler. It just didn't flow as easily as it could have. And I think there's going to be increasing demand from a certain segment of readers to explore this Wolverine's fondness of the muscular men. You know who you are so I won't go into detail. I'll just say that I'm sure Mr. Pak will give you people plenty to work with when crafting your epic "Wolverine Loves Hercules: Superhuman Rectal Romance" saga.

But aside from the gay innuendo, this comic still set up some interesting elements, albeit in a very messy sort of way. Kid Nightcrawler is at the mercy of machines and Sage is in a position of power surrounding by walking vibrator humanoids. It's not clear how this even remotely fits into the greater conflict of fighting off evil Charles Xaviers. At the very least, it adds a little variety to the series. It just doesn't fit together as well as it could. For that, I give Xtreme X-men #6 a 3 out of 5. Hippies are going to hate this. Homosexual activists are going to love it. Republicans are going to hate it. People with robot fetishes are going to love it. X-men fans in general should enjoy it. So overall, I say it's a win-win! Nuff said!

Friday, November 16, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue #67: The Phoenix Saga Part 5 PREVIEW

The X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga has officially escalated to cosmic proportions. The Inner Circle successfully captured the X-men and as we saw at the end of Issue 66: The Phoenix Saga Part 4, they also succeeded in bringing the Phoenix Force to Jean Grey. Now her being has been merged with that of a cosmic entity and whatever the Inner Circle's plans were to control it have failed. It is a critical theme in the history of the Phoenix Saga and it is a theme I have carried over into this fanfiction series. Take a normal human being in an emotionally fragile state like Jean Grey and imbue her with immense power and that power eventually corrupts. It is the same kind of corruption that caused the X-men and the world of X-men Supreme so much damage in the Proteus arc. That story ended in tragedy. Will Jean Grey share the same fate? There are only a few issues left in this very important arc for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. As usual, I've prepared an extended preview to offer a glimpse at what you can expect in this very important issue.

“Yes! YEESSSSSS! This is what I crave! The breadth of mortal sensations! The rush of mortal experience! The power…the hunger…I desire MORE!”

It was beautiful. Everything was so amazingly beautiful. The sights, the sounds, and the sensations of the cosmos were inundating every sense. It was amazing. These were the experiences of the Phoenix Force and her new vessel, Jean Grey. From the moment she took off from Hellfire Manor, the Phoenix had been soaring through the cosmos at speeds that defied mortal comprehension. Time and space were feeble forces to overcome. She could traverse the vastness of the cosmos as easily as lesser beings would draw breath. With the being known as Jean Grey in her grasp, she could experience the whole range of mortal sensations. It was intoxicating, granting her a cosmic level of fulfillment with which to feed her agonizing hunger.

Soaring through space the Phoenix passed a series of small comets and asteroids. In her deranged state, she casually directed her powers towards them. In an instant, they were utterly destroyed in a dazzling burst of chaos. The feeling of wielding such power within a mortal shell was even more intoxicating. Before her lay an even larger system with even larger bodies to destroy. Her hunger continued to beckon her and she followed it without hesitation.

But through this chaos, the Phoenix continued to fight a battle within. Since the moment she first merged with her new mortal shell, Jean Grey had been fighting her. Even though she was immersed in the rush of such power, this annoying mortal persistence within her lingered.

“No…stop! Too much…it’s all too much!” grunted Jean, her body contorting within the halo of cosmic flames.

“You still insist on fighting me, Jean? Enough of this insolence! You’re denying me what I crave! You’re denying yourself what you crave!”

“I…I don’t know what I crave!” she cried out, “I’m so confused! I can’t remember where I…who I…”

“Who you were in your mortal life is no longer important! All that matters is that you are the new avatar for my power! Just as you yearned for all those years ago!”

“Just as I…no, this isn’t what I wanted!” she cried, clutching her head in confusion.

“But it is! Ages ago when you were a young, helpless mortal you cried out for help! You cried not just with your voice, but with your mind! Like all those who transcend the psychic limits of sentience, your call went out over great distances! And it was I who heeded that call!”

“A call…for what?”

“What else? Power! In their moment of weakness, mortals seek only the power to overcome that which they are doomed to endure! You may have stopped calling out for help, but I never stopped seeking you! You felt it even as I was seeking you out through the vastness of the cosmos! I chose you just as you chose me!”

“But…but why?! Why me?!”

“Because we need each other! Just as I needed the many who came before you! I grant you the power you crave to escape your feeble limits and in return you fulfill my endless hunger! It is the great cycle that binds us! And together, we shall spread our wings and unleash the fires of creation and destruction on this desolate universe!”

These daunting words echoed through Jean Grey’s mind with agonizing ferocity. They seemed to cloud all other thoughts. This power that had consumed her was taking hold. She could barely wrap her already frail mind around it. The Phoenix was in control now and it was taking her on this journey to feed its hunger. It was horrible and wonderful at the same time. These intoxicating sensations that were feeding the Phoenix were also overwhelming her mind. Never before had she felt so much power. It was driving her away from everything it meant to be human.

But in the back of her mind she still remembered that moment at Hellfire Manor. She remembered Charles Xavier reaching out to her with his mind. She remembered Scott Summer trying to get through to her with his love and dedication. These were some of the only vestiges of her humanity as the Phoenix continued to guide her into a new star system. Jean Grey was leaving her humanity and her world behind. That fine line between absolute power and absolute madness was fading fast. She knew through her madness that once she crossed it, there was no going back. Desperately, she clung to these mortal thoughts even as the Phoenix kept raging.

‘Can’t…forget. Have to…remember. I am…Jean Grey. I am…Jean Grey. I am…Jean Grey.’

I'm very excited about the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga. In the comics, the Phoenix Saga was a major turning point. So much of what Chris Claremont did with that story set the stage for years worth of X-men stories and Marvel comics stories in general. I hope to do the same with the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. When this arc is over, the world of X-men Supreme will be very different. A new world of stories will open up and I hope to explore them in great detail with future volumes.

So far, the feedback for the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga has been very good. X-men Fan and Stormbreaker were nice enough to provide feedback for the previous issue, but overall feedback was down in the last issue. I hope that changes as I approach the epic conclusion of the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga. Once again, I implore all those who read each issue of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series to take the time to leave a review. Either plost your feedback in the comments section of each issue or contact me directly. Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!