Friday, February 28, 2014

X-men Supreme Issue 95: Time Bomb Part 1 is LIVE

Everything that has been unfolding in X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear has been building towards this. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is about to undergo yet another transformation. In the dead of winter with the prospect of a thaw seeming so remote, X-men Supreme is about to enter its coldest and darkest hour before the dawn. It seems everything has been going wrong for the X-men and Charles Xavier in their efforts to promote peace and understanding. They thought they could take a step forward by partnering with the likes of General Nathan Grimshaw, who formed the Mutant Security Agency as part of President Kelly's new mutant initiative. But due to various circumstances beyond their control, the prospects for peace seem so remote.

While things may seem dire for the X-men and the X-men Supreme fanfiction series as a whole,all hope is not lost. There are still ways for the X-men to forge a new peace out of this chaos. It may seem impossible, but it can be done. That's something that often gets overlooked in the comics, cartoons, and movies. Everything only seems to get worse. There's little sense of progression for Charles Xavier's dream or the mission of the X-men. I don't want to do that with X-men Supreme. I want to show that it is possible for there to be a sense of progression with the X-men's mission. I also want to show that this progression can be made interesting. I've already shown in many instances how bad it has gotten for young mutants in the world of X-men Supreme. But I haven't really shown how it can get better. Well now it needs to get better because Magneto is about to make one last effort to undermine everything the X-men stand for.

Since the X-men Supreme fanfiction series began, Magneto has made many bold attempts to assert mutant dominance over the world. Many of those efforts have failed due to the X-men. But some have succeeded. He managed to become leader of his own country. He established himself as a charismatic ruler and visionary for a large segment of the mutant population. But this wasn't enough. He wanted more for his people. This is what led him to tamper with the Cambrian, a power he neither understood nor controlled. It has left him physically and mentally damaged. Yet he is still capable of pulling off one last attempt to assert mutant domance. And that's what he'll do in Time Bomb, the final arc of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. What he does here and what happens afterward will force the X-men, the governments of the world, and humanity as a whole to take a step forward. Because if they don't, all could be lost.

X-men Supreme Issue 95: Time Bomb Part 1

It has been a long, eventful journey since X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear began. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series continues to evolve in many different ways, some of which I never imagined. But as it evolves, I hope it continues to maintain the spirit of the X-men mythos that so many have come to love and anticipate. However, over the past year or so, support for X-men Supreme seems to be flat or declining. This has made it difficult to continue updating at this regular pace. And once X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear is over, I may have to re-assess how often this fanfiction series is updated and how long it will go. But readers do have the power to influence these decisions. Just take the time to submit feedback for this fanfiction series. Either post it online in each individual issue or contact me directly. Either is fine. Expect some major announcements about the future of X-men Supreme very soon. But until then, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wolverine and the X-men #1 PREVIEW - More Phoenix Please

When it comes to magic spells, the closet real-world equivalent is Photoshop or the undo button on a computer. I admit I feel a little like Doctor Strange when I fuck something up that I’m working on and the simple click of a button undoes that mistake as though it never happened. If only that worked as well for parking tickets. But whenever magic is used to fix something in a comic, that’s usually a sign that nobody can come up with a better idea on how to resolve a story or somebody ran out of acid. It’s basically a cop-out. It’s part of what made the ending to Avengers vs. X-men so shitty. This whole “No More Phoenix” bullshit might as well have been “We’re sick of the Phoenix. Just go away for a while.” Well as we already saw in X-men Battle of the Atom, that while has passed.

The combined magic of the Scarlett Witch and Hope fucking Summers proved to be about as potent as watered down light beer. In the future, the Phoenix Force isn’t just back. It has set up shop with Kid Omega of all people. It helped him take on Xorna/Jean in Battle of the Atom. Granted, he got his ass kicked and the Phoenix Force still showed that it had an affinity for pretty redheads, but it did give him a fighting chance. We saw him again at the end of Wolverine and the X-men #42, which showed that the Phoenix Force didn’t make him less a douche. Even cosmic power has its limits. Bet we never got an explanation or a hint of the ramifications for giving a douche-bag like Kid Omega the Phoenix Force. Like pumping Mike Tyson with crystal meth in a room of Don King clones, nothing good can come of it.

Now Wolverine and the X-men is getting relaunched. It will focus some of the same characters while bringing in new ones. It also promises to deal with new threats and maybe even answer some of the questions left by X-men Battle of the Atom. But that might be asking for too much. That said, Newsarama released a preview of Wolverine and the X-men #1 and maybe we will get some of those answers. They may be bullshit answers. But unlike my old gym teacher, I do give points for trying and I don’t throw deflated basketballs at fat kids for motivation.

Jason Latour (W) • Mahmud Asrar (A/C)
WELCOME TO THE JEAN GREY SCHOOL OF HIGHER LEARNING! The ALL NEW MARVEL NOW smash hit series schools with Jason Latour (WINTER SOLDIER) and Mahmud Asrar (X-MEN) leading the charge with drama, action and homework(?)! World-famous X-Men Wolverine, Storm, and a star-studded faculty must educate the next generation all-powerful, but inexperienced mutants! But with their own lives steeped in deadly enemies and personal crises, how can the X-Men guide and educate—let alone defend—the school? At the Jean Grey School, you never know who will enroll…or who will lead the class! And what mysterious organization waits in the shadows to destroy Wolverine’s mutant sanctuary? These questions and more are answered in the All-New Marvel Now sure-to-be-smash, WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #1!

Before I touch on anything Phoenix related, I think one point needs to be made. Idie grows up into a total babe. I need to say that for the record. But with respect to Kid Omega, he gives the impression that he’s trying to be responsible with the Phoenix Force. That or having cosmic powered has made him bored of being a douche-bag. I’m not sure which it is. His future self hasn’t shown much charisma outside flaunting his Phoenix powers. But if X-men Battle of the Atom applies at all, then the Phoenix still has a connection to Jean Grey. And Kid Omega’s hold on it is more tenuous than the Congress’s approval rating.

It’s also not entirely clear who is the asshole in this preview. Is Kid Omega trying to stop Apocalypse or is it the other way around? Does Genesis grow up into being an apocalyptic douche-bag or does Kid Omega grow up to be Dark Phoenix? It’s left vague and the guy who has his dogs shit on my yard, it’s probably intentional. So I guess this means any “No More Phoenix” shit can be effectively thrown out and Avengers vs. X-men can be increasingly marginalized. And I’m perfectly okay with both. Nuff said!

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #17

I don’t attempt to explain how my drunken thoughts become semi-thorough reviews. I also don’t attempt to explain how my drunken words seem to piss off every judge in every traffic court in this time zone. Because of that, I tend to have a negative view of those who are overly judgmental. But when someone giving the judgment has real, actual power I still have to respect it because if I don’t, I get thrown into a jail cell with a cell-mate that likes pissing on my face to wake me up. I imagine if some of the judges I know had the power of a Celestial, then I would really be fucked. And in Uncanny Avengers, the Apocalypse Twins did something much worse than just crashing a car into a Dunkin Donuts at two in the morning. They fucking murdered another Celestial. Now Earth is about to be judged in the same way an exterminator judges cockroaches. All the mutants have already been saved. And despite multiple character deaths, the Uncanny Avengers have to find a way to save Earth and their timeline. That’s why I’m hoping Uncanny Avengers #17 contains some advice on legal loopholes because my driving record really can’t take much more.

While the main battle is going on in space, the rest of the Avengers back on Earth, and even a few of their enemies, are trying to buy time. I guess in some respects, it’s like me claiming that I came down with a bad case of explosive diarrhea before my court date. But I wouldn’t recommend anyone try that without having a gallon of hot sauce handy. The Avengers are attempting something a bit more basic and less disgusting. They’re trying to put up a shield around the entire planet so Exitar, the Executioner, can’t step on it like a wounded cockroach. They’ve even enlisted Dr. Doom to help. Hell, for all I know they could have gotten Goldman Sachs to finance it. Then again, I would imagine they’ll still charge a fuckton of fees and interest because unlike Dr. Doom, they know how to go the extra mile.

With the Earth remaining intact for a bit longer, Thor and Eimin remain locked in the battle of the magic axe and the magic hammer. It every bit as awesome as it sounds. Hell, it could be the cover of a heavy metal album from the 80s. Thor showed in the previous issue just how pissed he was and how little holy fucks he gave. And why shouldn’t he? Some of this shit is his responsibility. He was the one that used Jarnbjorn and he let it get stolen by Kang and the Apocalypse Twins. So he has to do the same thing that rich assholes with tiny dicks do with their cars and overcompensate. But in this instance, it’s pretty fucking awesome. Nobody should be questioning the size of Thor’s penis in seeing the way he beats up Eimin. But she’s still an apocalyptic bitch every step of the way. Like an woman bragging about how she banged all her ex-boyfriend’s brothers, she knows she has already won on some levels. And even a big penis can’t protect him.

Conversely, the battle against Wasp and Reaper isn’t quite as epic. In the previous issue, Reaper stopped Wasp just as she was about to break the temporal dam that was keeping Kang and his fellow future death squad from joining the battle. This asshole already killed Rogue. Now he goads Wasp into killing him, knowing she’s going to have a problem with that. This reminds me somewhat of the story about these two drunks who got into a fight and one of them was dump enough to throw a loaded gun at the other like it was a rock. It’s weapons grade stupidity at its finest, but Reaper was already dead for a while. I don’t think it bothers him in the slightest that fucking with Wasp.

Reaper may be an asshole, but his battle with Wasp does add a little variety to the epic clash going on with Thor and Eimin. Just having superheroes fight is no longer enough these days. This is an era where cat videos generate as much attention as a battle between Superman and Hulk. There needs to be a little something extra and Reaper’s fight with Wasp adds that. It’s a little bland and unrefined, but it does at some sense of balance. If it were part of a sobriety test, I might even be able to pass it. But that would depend on how many shots of tequila I’ve had.

With these battles not going particularly well, the Avengers attempt to step up their efforts. That involves using the fucking Hulk to hold the force field generator together. I don’t care what those stupid Duracell commercials say. Hulk beats any fucking battery. How many other batteries can smash shit and save the world? And unlike my Wii controllers after only a few weeks, this shit actually works. The force field goes up and it keeps Exitar from crushing Earth, but only in the sense that an umbrella protects a baby from a tornado. It may provide some temporary relief from the rain, but it isn’t going to last long unless that umbrella is made out of adamantium. Even Iron Man knows that and basically concedes that the fate of their asses now lay in Thor’s ability to beat up Eimin and kill a Celestial. At this point, I wouldn’t blame him if he started drinking again.

This window to save the world isn’t very wide and might as well be on an old warehouse in downtown Detroit. Thor does manage to gain the upper hand on Eimin and take Jarnbjorn. He even boasts that he will take down the Celestial if he has to. Never mind the fact that killing a Celestial is what got Earth on their shit list to begin with. But as he showed during his bar fight with Apocalypse earlier in the series, Thor isn’t too big about thinking that far into the future. And this time, he doesn’t have alcohol as an excuse. And as a drunk who has needed plenty of excuses, I can say this is not a good sign.

Thor may need more than just a drink because that global force field that the Avengers put up fails faster than the last two Ghost Rider movies. And this is all the Avengers had to offer. They didn’t exactly have time to come up with a backup plan on how to stop a fucking Celestial. It’s getting pretty bad and not just in the way most people experience on a Monday morning with a hangover. This means the Avengers on Earth are effectively useless at this point. And when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are useless, it’s a pretty fucking bad day.

However, Wasp’s day still gets better somehow. She finally gets a little help against Reaper’s bullshit. Captain America, who really fucked up his all-American good looks in killing Emiel, shows up to aid her. I imagine he’s extra pissed off about his face so he unloads on Reaper, freeing Wasp to destroy the temporal dam. It’s a more basic, less dramatic fight than before. But with the whole planet about to get crushed, I’m okay with setting some of the drama aside and letting them just fight it out. It’s like that point in a bar fight where everyone is so drunk that there’s no more strategy involved. The only goal is to hit anything that moves, be it someone’s ass or poster on the wall that gets knocked off. It’s chaotic, but it’s a natural progression.

The battle between Captain America and Reaper is still pretty flashy. And Reaper is still annoying as hell. This actually becomes a bit of a distraction. Reaper’s dialog doesn’t really come off as menacing or powerful or anything that awesome. He’s like that guy in a crack house who has had so much crack at this point that the only thing he can do is just keep talking. He’s not saying anything coherent or useful. He’s just talking to hear himself talk. I guess he’s also like Rick Santorum in that respect. At least most people expect Rick Santorum to say meaningless shit. Reaper just talks and I’m too drunk to give a shit about what he says.

But this doesn’t make what he does any less impactful. He ends up killing Captain America. Let me say that again. This guy fucking kills Captain America in a way that Rush Limbaugh would probably claim Obama is responsible for in some twisted way. It’s a bloody, messy, and somewhat inglorious end. But it still has a powerful impact. It may not have the same impact as it did in Civil War and I doubt this shit will make the front page of USA Today. One death is all Marvel gets with USA Today. But it’s another crushing defeat and Wasp still can’t destroy the dam. In fact, it’s not even clear if she ever succeeds because this is where the flow of the story gets a little choppy. But when the world is about to end and Captain America is dead, that’s to be expected.

And with Captain America dead, why the fuck does the Earth even need to exist anymore. With Cap dead and Wasp somehow unable to destroy the dam, it’s left to Thor to reason with Exitar. He fails in the same way I failed to get out of my last three parking tickets. But failure in this instance doesn’t mean I have less money to spend on booze and weed. Failure this time means the entire fucking planet is destroyed. That’s not a metaphor or an exaggeration. That’s what happens. The entire fucking planet Earth is destroyed. Even the Watcher himself sees it and looks like a five-year old girl that just saw her father shoot her pet dog in the head with a shotgun.

Now the world has been destroyed before. In fact, there aren’t many times in the history of Avengers where the world hasn’t been on the brink of destruction. Pretty much everyone who follows comics for more than a few months has come to expect this. That’s why its destruction doesn’t come as too great a shock. In fact, some might just shrug and say, “Oh, they succeeded. Law of averages I guess. Now where did I leave my keys?” But because this story spent so much time building up this battle and developing this plot, it has just the right impact. It’s not definitive because this isn’t the final issue of the series. But it has some sort of resonance. It’s not like watered down beer. It still has an effect and that’s what makes it awesome.

For Thor, this doesn’t just mean he failed. It means that bar fight he started with Apocalypse basically fucked the entire planet and its future. And even from a drunk’s perspective, no amount of beer or bar fights is worth that. He immediately flees to Asgard in defeat while Eimin pilots the massive mutant ark away from the exploding planet. So every human is now dead, but all the mutants have been spared. It’s the worst possible failure for the Uncanny Avengers that doesn’t involve Captain America kissing a Nazi. On the flip side, it does solve a pretty significant problem for mutants. A lot of the bullshit they dealt with came from the human race. Now they’re gone. I guess that means their lives are that much simpler.

We don’t get to see them celebrating about how they never have to deal with the likes of Congress, bankers, and Glenn Beck again. But we do get to see Thor lamenting at how he failed and at how a simple bar fight turned so ugly. Usually, the worst a bar fight gets involves the police asking questions about why there’s so much blood on the hood of so many cars and why there’s now a goat missing from the petting zoo across the street. But this one destroyed the entire fucking planet. And while Thor laments, Odin attempts to comfort his son. And by comfort, I mean he takes a big steaming piss on Thor’s pain. He basically said that humanity did this shit to themselves. They kept fighting and bickering with one another, never coming together in the way they needed. And he’s right on some levels. Like a judge armed with high definition security video of me taking a piss in the middle of a busy intersection, he’s right in his assessment of the situation. And that only gives the destruction and conflict of this issue more impact.

So the world has been destroyed. The Avengers failed. The Unity Team failed. Thor failed. And Captain America got fucking impaled. Hell, that sounds like a song that Charles Manson would write. Now with the exception of anybody who lived on Mars under a rock with their ears cut off and their eyes gouged out, pretty much everyone understands that this isn’t the end. The world isn’t going to stay destroyed. Captain America isn’t going to stay dead. That would just fuck way too much shit up in the other comics. Plus, this is a story that already involves a fuckton of time travel so betting that it’s going to be rectconned is the safest bet since the failure of Stephen Baldwin’s acting career. Yet despite this expectation, the destruction and death still has an impact. There is actually time and effort put into the emotions surrounding all this destruction. Even if it does get retconned, it resonated with the story because it’s something that has taken over half a dozen issues to build. And like two hours of masturbation, the payoff is awesome and not nearly as messy. Uncanny Avengers #17 may not help me with my driving record, but it did provide a climactic battle worthy of an extra shot of whiskey. I give Uncanny Avengers #17 a 9 out of 10. The world may be destroyed, all life may be gone, and hope may be lost. But I always try to look on the bright side. At least in this world, I never had to pay that massive pile of credit card debt and those unpaid parking tickets. And I consider that a win. Nuff said!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Guardians of the Galaxy #12

When I saw the Guardians of the Galaxy movie trailer, I had a lot of mixed thoughts. Most of them centered around, “Damn, I hope I can have sex with a green-skinned woman before I die.” But some of those thoughts involved questioning how five degenerate outlaws with itchy trigger fingers and a bad attitude can be guardians. That would be like hiring only alcoholics to run a rehab clinic. Yet they somehow manage to do the job of protecting the galaxy and they do it with an entertaining fuck-off attitude. And the more I thought about it, the more I see the logic in having them help the O5 X-men in the Trial of Jean Grey. It makes intuitive sense on some levels for the Shi’ar to put on trial someone guilty of a pretty fucked up crime, especially if there’s a potential to undo that crime. Only the outlaw degenerates would skip the part where they consult with a lawyer and say, “Fuck yes, we’re going to save a pretty girl from a bullshit trial!” And I fully support that. So with this trailer still fresh in my mind, I’m going to try and adopt that mentality as I review Guardians of the Galaxy #12. I just may require some extra whiskey.

And I might end up having to share that whiskey with O5 Cyclops because this issue begins with a quick refresher as to why seeing his father again is so overwhelming. It’s a scene that has played out in the comics many times before and in many issues, but never through the awesome artwork of Sara Pachelli. It shows a young Scott and Alex in a damaged plane with only one parachute. And their parents are doing what any loving parent would do by trying to save them at the cost of their own lives. Even though it’s a scene older than the Simpsons, it still strikes an emotional chord. Like the best scene in my favorite porno, it leaves me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. The boner is just a bonus.

O5 Cyclops emerges from this painful memory to see his father, who he assumed was dead as most logical people would after seeing him in an exploding plane, standing right in front of him. It leads to a nice emotional moment that is full of yet more hugs. I’m starting to think that the reason Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t go to comic book conventions anymore is because he got into trouble hugging too many people. Whatever the case, it makes for a nice reunion. Even though Cyclops and Corsair already had a reunion of sorts with his older self, this one still strikes a chord.

And it would strike that chord even better if the situation wasn’t somewhat fucked up. Now usually when I see an inconsistency in the flow of the story, I first assume I must have gotten blackout drunk or took too many bong hits. So I sober up and try to read over the story again. But this time, it didn’t matter whether I was sober or drunk. The flow of the plot was still fucked up. The previous issue ends with O5 Cyclops just hearing over the ship’s com links that Corsair is alive. Then this issue begins with him waking up and seeing Corsair actually on the ship. What the fuck happened? When the fuck did Corsair and the Starjammers come aboard? What about that Shi’ar vessel that was attacking them? What the fuck happened there?

That’s a lot of details to just gloss over. I’m pretty good at filling in the blanks, but not when I’m drunk. As far as I know, Corsair just waved his dick at the Shi’ar cruiser and it fled in terror. And O5 Cyclops happened to catch a glimpse of it, which caused him to pass out. I don’t want to say that’s the most likely scenario, but the lack of details here makes it equally likely. And that disrupts the flow of the story worse than a bad case of constipation and sleeping pills.

This doesn’t mean that other parts of the story don’t flow as well. Before the Shi’ar even abducted O5 Jean, they met with the King of Spartax and a few other alien representatives that have had experience dealing with Earth in a way that didn’t just involve anal probes. Gladiator himself told the king of their plans. And he was content to treat it the same way Congress treats the national debt and ignore it. But when he finds out that they actually went through with it, traveling to Earth and abducting O5 Jean after they all agreed that fucking with Earth was a bad idea, he gets pissed. Then he finds out his son, Starlord, is now involved. And that pisses him off even more because now he can’t be lazy like a good ruler. He has to get involved. If only he were George W. Bush, he might actually take pleasure in getting entangled with the complex affairs of others. I guess even asshole kings have their limits.

Speaking of asshole rulers, Gladiator is preparing for the trial the same way I imagine Ron Jeremy prepares for an orgy. He’s sparring with his fellow Imperial Guard, which I guess is the Shi’ar equivalent to foreplay or a warm-up. But Oracle, who had a chance to meet with the confused and traumatized teenage Jean Grey in the previous issue, confronts him. Prior her abduction, it was pointed out by more than one person that this version of Jean Grey didn’t commit the crimes that Dark Phoenix committed. He knows damn well that she was plucked from the past and shoved into this shitty future where she’s dead, her teenage crush killed Xavier, and a creepy Canadian keeps fantasizing about her naked. But he wants to put her on trial anyways, knowing damn well there could be consequences.

It’s nice to see that this little detail isn’t glossed over. Oracle seems to understands that whatever judgment and/or punishment they exact on O5 Jean, it’s going to fuck up the timeline. And after Age of Ultron, the timeline is more worn out than a Tijuana whore after a soccer match. He doesn’t know what kind of damage he’ll do and Oracle flatly points out that he knows this. But he’s doing it anyways. That’s like someone with lung cancer taking up smoking. It can only make everything worse. And like a second plate of bacon, that only makes the trial even juicer.

But that drama is still only building. The drama with O5 Cyclops and his father is already unfolding. Despite a welcoming hug, it’s still more awkward and overwhelming than showing up at the prom half naked wearing a Batman mask. Corsair tries to help O5 Cyclops catch up. He explains that he survived the plane crash, but his wife didn’t. Now he’s an ass-kicking space pirate on a team called the Starjammers. He has met up with the adult version of Cyclops and Havok. And for once, they don’t hate or resent each other. Then again, Corsair has been dead a while. He might not have gotten the memo about Cyclops killing Professor Xavier.

But as calm and collected as he is, O5 Cyclops just can’t deal with it. He’s a teenager that already saw the girl he loves get abducted by aliens. Now he’s seeing his father again, who is supposed to be dead. Most teenagers have problems dealing with gym class in high school. They don’t know how to deal with this shit.

O5 Cyclops decides he needs space and Corsair decides to give it to him. Everybody else, including O5 Iceman remarkably enough, decides not to make it worse by saying something stupid. The only one that does decide to follow him is X-23. She meets up with him in a secluded area. Usually when two teenagers meet in a secluded area, that means they’re about to engage in activity that makes Jesus cry. But this time, O5 Cyclops is just trying to pull his ass together from the many pieces it has been shattered. He hasn’t forgotten the mission. That’s one part of him that didn’t change with age. But X-23 offers him comfort in the form of yet another hug. I could make another joke about hugs here, but this is one that was extra sweet. So I’ll just take another shot of vodka and enjoy it.

This seems to continue the drama that began in the previous arc between O5 Cyclops and X-23. They both exchanged their some pretty passionate and awkward hugs. It set up some fresh teenage melodrama in a series that has already had plenty. But this time, it feels a bit more sincere. It both previous instances, X-23 was the one in an emotionally vulnerable state. Now it’s O5 Cyclops who is in that same state. It could be argued that X-23 is returning the favor. But her willingness to comfort him may be yet another sign that no matter how old he is, Cyclops’s penis is pretty damn powerful.

However, no penis that isn’t attached to lawyers employed by Bank of America is strong enough to get O5 Jean out of her current predicament. She’s still imprisoned, but it looks like she is going to get a public defender of sorts in Oracle. She read O5 Jean’s mind in the previous issue. She knows damn well that she hasn’t yet committed these crimes they’re going to try her for. So either out of guilt or compassion, two traits that are usually absent from lawyers, she gives her some legal advice. It’s not very good advice, but it isn’t bad advice either. She essentially tells O5 Jean that she’s going to hear and see some pretty awful shit. It’s going to disturb her, anger her, and make her want to jam a pencil in her eye. And if she truly is innocent, she’ll act innocent despite this. That’s like telling someone to act happy when someone else is shooting them in the leg and pissing into the wound.

O5 Jean’s case is not very strong. So that means the X-men, the Starjammers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy need to find a way to balance the odds. Because if they don’t, the Shi’ar will continue to cheat the system like tobacco lobbyists still wished they could. But when they arrive at the Shi’ar homeworld, they find that they’re chances of getting a good seat for this trial are about as good as getting reasonably priced tickets to next year’s Superbowl. The whole Shi’ar seems to understand that this trial is a big fucking deal and they’ve put enough ships around their homeworld to make even Thanos’s nuts hurt. So they’re going to need a plan. We don’t know what that plan will be, but Starlord does imply that he has something crazy in mind. When dealing with an unfair and fucked up justice system, crazy is sometimes the only sane solution.

As they’re preparing to exercise their inner crazy, the trial officially begins. Gladiator makes sure he skips the C-Span bullshit as well. He’s as harsh in his rhetoric as an asshole gym teacher who hasn’t had his morning coffee yet. He reveals to O5 Jean the extent of her crimes, which includes a nice little video of the star she blew up as Dark Phoenix. He also makes it a point to note how many millions of Shi’ar died as a result of her cosmic hissy fit. Yet she has the balls to bitch at Cyclops for killing one person? But I digress.

This doesn’t just set the tone for the trial. It shoves the crimes Dark Phoenix committed right in O5 Jean’s face. Even though she knew about what happened from the memories she gleaned earlier in the series, she has never had to confront them, let alone be held accountable for them. She reacts in a way that shows she didn’t take Oracles advice as well as she probably should have. But she’s a teenager. Following the whims of the authorities just isn’t in her nature. It’s a powerful moment and one that adds to the growing list of ways that O5 Jean is fucked. And while I may have a bad experience with the justice system, I’m finding a lot of reasons to enjoy this.

The galactic version of the O. J. Simpson trial has officially begun and the Guardians and X-men only got to see the part involving the Ford Bronco. This issue may have lacked transitions in a few areas, but it more than made up for it with rich drama and building tension. There wasn’t much action. But after the Star Wars style battle in the previous issue, that’s okay. Like most trials involving celebrities, the nature of the case is complicated. It’s not as simple as determining whether Lindsey Lohan violated her probation again. This is the Shi’ar trying to exact justice on a time-displaced teenager. That’s pretty fucked up for anyone outside of North Korea. And the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have a big fucking obstacle in their way if they want to save her. Some parts of the plot still stalled, but overall it was a satisfying issue. I give Guardians of the Galaxy #12 a 7 out of 10. So with no lawyers or bloggers present, this trial is sure to be as unfair and unbalanced as a typical segment of Fox News. Someone will have to exact a little justice at some point. I just hope Rocket Raccoon’s guns and Gamora’s rack are part of that justice. Nuff said!

Objectifying The Mission: X-Force #1

The following is my review of X-Force #1, which was posted on

Very few professions outside of the circus involve having fun at work. Anyone else that tries to make light of their job is either fired or reflected in a Dilbert comic strip. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Work isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be a serious, boring, and tedious array of tasks that reward competence with a means to enjoy tasks that are exactly the opposite. However, there are a select few that dare to enjoy their work and even fewer dare to have fun with it. But an occupation that involves being part of a secret team of superheroes that skip the part where the heroes dutifully hand the bad guys over to the authorities doesn’t sound like a place where any sane human being would dare to have fun. Yet that’s exactly the sentiment that X-Force #1 conveys.

This issue is part of a second wave of re-launched titles that makes up Marvel’s All New Marvel NOW! initiative. While this has opened up many new creative avenues for other series, X-Force has been one of those avenues that has been meandering aimlessly since the end of Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force. There used to be two X-Force teams operating with a different set of characters, a different set of missions, and a different set of circumstances. But in the same way shining two flashlights together doesn’t make a room brighter, having two teams didn’t make the concept of X-Force more engaging. It just made everything more chaotic.

From the beginning, X-Force #1 streamlines the concept of X-Force and it does it in a way that not as brooding as it could have been. It’s still a much darker tone than the other X-men titles. At its core, X-Force is a team that takes on missions that can’t be accomplished through heroic means. They’re like the sewer system of a clean city. Nobody sees it or appreciates it, but it has to be there or things get very messy in the worst possible way. It has Cable returning to his role as a battle-hardened soldier who has a very low tolerance for incompetence and an immense bravado that allows him to dip his hands into the dirtiest missions. However, what really sells this new breed of X-Force is the perspective of its newest member, Marrow.

She’s a C-list character that has been MIA from the X-men comics for many years. She’s also one of those characters that has never been sufficiently developed, but she does have a certain edge to her. She’s tough, she’s brave, and she’s immature to a fault. That makes her the perfect guide in a sense for introducing this new era of X-Force. And she does it in a way wholly unfit for a shadowy team of X-men with questionable ethics in that she sees it as a fun new job. At times, she sounds like a kid that just got a job as a taster in an ice cream factory. Marrow sees the violence surrounding X-Force and likens it to music. That’s akin to calling rotting meat appetizing.

This tone offers an interesting perspective to X-Force, but it also detracts from the very serious mission that the team has taken on. It’s not a very novel threat. Someone has turned a mutant into a bomb and that bomb has already been used to secretly kill thousands of people. It’s a threat that seems to emerge every other month in the Marvel universe, but it’s a threat that X-Force is best equipped to deal with because those involved make it clear that they respond to violence and not diplomacy. And the way X-Force deals with this threat is appropriately violent and effective. Marrow’s playful and at times childish assessment of this mission is entertaining, although at some point it does become a distraction.

That point takes place when Marrow gets to act as the proverbial hammer that delivers the most violence against this mysterious foe. The way she talks to Cable, Psylocke, and her teammates sounds more befitting of a co-op mission in Call of Duty. It’s childish to the point where it detracts from the underlying mission for X-Force. While nobody can claim she isn’t having fun with her new role, it makes for an uneven tone throughout the book.

And it isn’t just Marrow’s immature perspective that creates this tone either. Fantomex joins the team as well and is quick to exploit his history with Psylocke in Uncanny X-Force. But unlike previous interactions, there’s little melodrama or romantic tension. Fantomex is about as charming as a drunken frat boy and Psylocke is as hostile to his remarks as Nickelback haters. While their romantic sub-plot has already played out, they have no excuse for lacking maturity. It removes any possibility of drama from the story.

This may be the biggest shortcoming of X-Force #1. In an effort to keep the tone of the book from getting too grim and gritty, it tries to inject a little infantile banter in between the mission. In the process it prevents the story from having a dramatic impact. In addition, the circumstances surrounding the mission lack details. There’s little explanation about what happened to the members of the other X-Force teams. There’s also little explanation as to why Hope Summers is now in a coma for some reason. While the concept itself works on paper, the transition to it and the execution are lacking. It’s like building a train set with half the pieces missing. Some parts of it come together while others don’t.

None-the-less, X-Force #1 succeeds in presenting a more classic incarnation of X-Force. This is a team that has a clear mission that won’t be mistaken for any other X-men team. Cable provides the classic, hardnosed leadership to set the tone for a team of this nature. And its newest member Marrow provides an entertaining, albeit immature perspective. That perspective may not resonate with everybody, but it’s a concept that still works. It also proves that no matter how dirty a job may be, there will always be someone who finds a way to have fun with it.

Final Score: 5 out of 10

Monday, February 24, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: X-men #11

There’s a great schism among comic book fans that sometimes turns into an all-out gang war. It happens whenever characters are killed and/or brought back to life. Some bitch and moan that it demeans a character’s death to just bring them back after a few years. Some bitch and moan that it demeans a character’s potential to keep them dead. Like the gay marriage debate, nobody is ever going to change anybody’s mind on these issues. But no matter how pissed off or outraged one side gets, these books just keep selling. And between the sales of Blackest Night and Civil War, major comic book publishers have no reason to stop. Now I don’t expect quite the same outrage in wake of the revelation in Brian Wood’s X-men that he’s bringing Madelyne Pryor and Selene back from the dead. But I’m sure there will be some people out there who will find a reason or a way to bitch and moan about it. So before I begin my review of X-men #11, let me just say fuck these people with an adamantium dildo.

The first lady to get the Jesus Christ treatment is Selene, the Black Queen. This probably isn’t going to surprise anyone. Her “death” wasn’t as final as Nightcrawler’s or Cable’s and neither one of those two stayed dead. She was last seen in the Necrosha event, which was built around reanimating the corpses of dead mutants. Her fate was somewhat ambiguous. And to bring her back, Emora and Lady Deathstrike break into a special vault hidden in a New York City bank that contains whatever invisible bits of the Black Queen that are still alive.

Now Necrosha is mentioned, which is a nice touch. But there’s no explanation whatsoever as to how she ended up in this vault, disembodied or otherwise. That may be too much to ask given the constraints of the story, but it’s telling that this vault is in fucking New York City and all it takes is a little black magic to bring her back. And I refuse to believe there isn’t some crazy psychopath in Marvel’s version of New York City that has too much free time and practices black magic.

I won’t say this method of brining the Black Queen back is entirely contrived. The mention of Necrosha and the mystical elements is basically par for the course with her. And since Emora the Enchantress is a fucking Asgardian goddess, she’s more than qualified to do something as simple as bring back the dead. I’m sure that’s something she did for shits and giggles as a teenager in Asgard. And it fucking works. The Black Queen re-appears to them in the flesh. She’s even naked, which is always a nice bonus. She doesn’t look all that trilled about being alive again. She’s the fucking Black Queen. I imagine being brought back from the dead is like that feeling drunks get after they recover from a hangover, which usually involves a desire to go out and get drunk all over again.

The resurrection of the Black Queen is a clear sign that the Sisterhood is several steps ahead of the all-female X-men. In the previous issue, they tried to chase them down in Dubai before they could do any more damage with Arkea. They didn’t necessarily fail, although Monet nearly got herself killed. However, they did get tricked into going in the wrong direction. Storm, Rachel, Psylocke, Monet, and Omega Sentinel end up storming some fancy yacht, which leads to somewhere between dick and jack shit. They don’t deny that they’ve been pwned, which is more than I can say for 85 percent of anyone on a message board. But they know they’re in trouble.

And it’s here where their mission gets a little more refined. It’s not as basic as a Power Rangers re-run where they just call upon zords and find the giant monster to destroy. It’s more like an episode of 24 or a Mission Impossible movie where the enemy is actually smarter than a bucket of horse piss. Monet, who happens to be an ex-cop, points this out and reasons that the Sisterhood isn’t just attacking them outright. They have a plan that is smarter than something that a Bond villain would come up with. That includes finding new recruits and ensuring they have enough firepower to take on the X-men. It’s mostly talk, but it’s meaningful talk that shows a level of refinement that is under-appreciated in comics. It’s no Downtown Abby, but it does make the plot a bit more engaging.

What isn’t as engaging is how the Black Queen adjusts to the world of the living again. And that’s to be expected to some extent. She’s the fucking Black Queen. She’s not the kind of person to be writing poems about roses and dancing in the fields naked celebrating the joys of life, although I wouldn’t mind seeing that. She just puts on her usual exceedingly sexy uniform, touches up her makeup, and catches up with what’s going on. She’s not all that impressed at first, but then Arkea shows up and lets her read her mind. And in an instant, she goes from superior alpha bitch to prison bitch. It may seem out of character for the Black Queen, but it’s not wholly unreasonable. Arkea already got a fucking Asgardian on her side. Getting the Black Queen to obey her really isn’t that much of a stretch. Plus, she’s tasked with killing the X-men. I don’t think she needs to be manipulated that much to help with that.

All this is happening while the all-female X-men are trying to catch up. Right now, they’re more behind the curve than Forest Gump in a nuclear physics class. But they’re not stumbling around in the dark like a drunk looking for their cell phone. They continue to show real detective skills that prove once again that having a penis or being Batman isn’t necessary to solve crimes. They find out through their sources that someone with a fuckton of money bought some remaining genetic material from Madelyne Pryor and it happens to be the same person that bought access to the Black Queen’s vault. Since they already figured out that Lady Deathstrike is now inhabiting the body of an exceedingly rich woman whose family has strong criminal ties. It doesn’t take any real detective skills to figure out just how fucked they are.

And if it sounds strange that somebody would actually buy the remains of dead mutants, that’s actually addressed. Apparently, there’s actually a market in the Marvel universe for mutant memorability. But they don’t just stop at napkins, clothes, or used tampons. They go so far as to sell genetic material to collectors, fanboys, and people who just like to hoard weird shit. It sounds fucked up. But after watching just one episode of Pawn Stars, I find it painfully believable. And because of this fucked up human tendency to hoard weird shit, it’s going to bring the Goblin Queen back to life. It makes me wonder how the fuck the human race isn’t extinct yet.

It’s a very exciting prospect. The all-female X-men now know what the Sisterhood is up to and it’s a race against time to stop them. This is an enemy that’s smart, resourceful, and cunning. It should be an epic struggle. That’s exactly why the story goes downhill way too fucking fast when that plot is just flat out abandoned. And instead, we catch up with fucking John Sublime. He’s still at the Jean Grey Institute and under constant watch. He has a little chat with Kid Omega that really contributes absolutely nothing to the story other than reminding readers that he was once a villain. I’ve killed a lot of fucking brain cells in my life and even I still remember that. And if I don’t need a reminder, then this scene is a fucking waste.

Things get slightly back on track with the Sisterhood, but only for the length of a single bong hit. As Typhoid Mary is sparring with Lady Deathstrike and pondering the kind of shit she has gotten herself into, the body that Lady Deathstrike inhabited suddenly takes over. The woman, Ana Cortes, suddenly breaks free and is able to overcome Lady Deathstrike’s control. And the first thing she does is ask Typhoid Mary to kill her. She’s even more overwhelmed by this shit than Typhoid Mary and would rather just die than deal with someone like Akrea and the Black Queen.

While I can’t say I blame her, this sudden shift only fucks up the flow of the plot even more. There is some decent action when Ana attacks Typhoid Mary, but it’s all very underwhelming. And when Arkea shows up, her first response is to gut herself. Again, it’s underwhelming because it’s so sudden and has had no build-up whatsoever. For all the promise of a clash between the Sisterhood and the X-men, it’s like a bad LSD trip. It goes from riding a unicorn with naked bikini models to chasing giant raccoons while wearing a speedo. It makes no sense and kills the momentum of the story.

It’s a disappointing turn of events and it isn’t helped by attempting to squeeze even more sub-plots into the mix. A few issues ago, Arkea resurrected a bunch of rusted Sentinels from the ocean floor and had them attack a beach. For the X-men, fighting a bunch of rusted Sentinels is like playing Resident Evil with cheat codes. It kills any sense of thrill. There is some action. Jubilee leads a team that includes Mercury, Hellion, Roxy, Pixie, and Cipher against these rusting pieces of junk. It’s colorful and flashy. But like seeing the same horror movie in broad daylight, it really doesn’t have much impact.

The only major twist it can manage is Jubilee disappearing in the end. The explanation for it is pretty piss poor. They manage to rough up the Sentinels, Bling saves Mercury, and everything else is basically a typical Tuesday for the X-men. But Jubilee just disappears and there’s not much hint as to why. Now it could end up tying into other parts of the story. But as it stands, it’s more disconnected and disjointed than the beta version of Windows Vista. It offers none of the impact shown by the Sisterhood arc and generally feels as though it takes away completely from the actual story. Anyone reading this comic while drunk or high will probably have already lost interest by now.

I admit I was very excited for this issue. The prospect of seeing the Black Queen and the Goblin Queen share the same comic was just too awesome for my brain and my penis to process. And while this issue did deliver the Black Queen and set up the Goblin Queen’s return, it threw a lot of unnecessary crap in the mix that was more forgettable than Brittney Spears’ first marriage. Was it really necessary to see John Sublime taking a walk with Kid Omega? Was it really necessary to make a big deal about the young X-men fighting off a bunch of rusted old Sentinels? I say fuck no and even if it was warranted, it didn’t have to completely disrupt the momentum of the story. That’s what makes X-men #11 so disappointing. It had so many great elements going for it. But like a guy trying to do his taxes while giving his girlfriend oral sex, it’s just too much. While I’m still excited for the next issue, I can only give X-men #11 a 5 out of 10. The Black Queen was naked in this issue and that’s worth something. But there was way too much trivial shit that got in the way of the actual story. It essentially cock-blocked readers like me and I get enough of that shit at college frat parties. Nuff said!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 12 Preview - More Hugs

There are times when I really do need a hug. A bad hangover, a surprise prostate exam, and a DUI are good examples. Granted, hugs usually don’t solve jack shit. They won’t make the dry heaves more bearable, the doctor less gentle, or make the police more understanding. But it is comforting. I will say that. And while comics tends to favor jumping, punching, and humping to regular hugging, there’s still a place for it.

All New X-men has certainly had its share of hugs since it began. Guardians of the Galaxy, not so much. There’s only so much hugging anyone can do on a team of inter-stellar outlaws that include a machine-gun wielding raccoon and a talking tree. So as Guardians of the Galaxy crosses over with All New X-men for the Trial of Jean Grey, I think it brings with it some welcome sentimentality. That may sound strange coming from a drunk, but there has to be something to balance out the bar fights and hangovers. Hugging is a simple solution.

And so far in The Trial of Jean Grey, O5 Cyclops has needed just as many hugs as O5 Jean Grey and he’s not the one on trial. At the end of All New X-men #23, the big reveal was that Corsair, despite having had his own on-panel funeral, is alive and well again. And he just happened to be in the neighborhood when the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy made it into Shi’ar territory. That’s a pretty fucked up coincidence, but it means Corsair is going to confront his time-displaced son and O5 Cyclops gets to find out that the father he thought had died years ago is alive and well and running around the galaxy Han Solo style. I guess there are worse ways a son could find out his father is alive. And this happens to be the highlight of the lettered preview that CBR released for Guardians of the Galaxy #12. Fair warning though, it may make some people feel all warm and fuzzy in ways that will make them want to go back to bashing Twilight.


• A surprise ally from one character's past comes to help, but is that enough against the most powerful army in the Universe?

I’ll give everybody a moment to wipe the tears from their eyes. It’s okay folks. Nobody becomes a pussy for having a sentimental side. In fact, those that don’t have that side are usually sociopaths so I say that’s a positive. But as sweet as it is, it only adds to O5 Cyclops’s turmoil. First, the girl he loves and ends up marrying in the future is abducted. Then the father he thought was dead comes back alive. Most teenagers can barely keep up with algebra class. Yet somehow O5 Cyclops is supposed to process all this shit? Even those who despise Cyclops should have some empathy for them. If not, I have nothing to say to those people because I don’t associate with sociopaths. I deal with them enough in traffic court. Nuff said!

X-men Supreme Issue 95: Time Bomb Part 1 PREVIEW and New Commission

The end of another volume of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is near. X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear has been eventful to say the least. The world of X-men Supreme has endured many upheavals that have changed the nature of the X-men's struggle. It began with the inauguration of President Robert Kelly. Then two original characters were introduced in General Nathan Grimshaw and Captain Jack Freeman. They helped create some fragile yet important ties between the X-men and the government. It was quickly tested when Magneto unleashed the Cambrian on the entire world. And while strained, this link is still intact. But now it's about to be tested in another way that will end another era of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series.

Once again, the conflict comes from Magneto. He has been the center of many major conflicts for the X-men both in this fanfiction series and throughout the history of the X-men mythos. While many may question his sanity, few can question his intent. He sees the human race as a threat to mutants. He doesn't believe that peace is possible and while he has shown time and again that he's willing to wage war with humanity, he also goes to great lengths to protect innocent mutants, especially his children. It's a dynamic that I've been exploring since I began X-men Supreme. Quicksilver, Polaris, and the Scarlet Witch have influenced Magneto in many ways. Sometimes it has been for the better. Sometimes they end up aiding his instability. Well now their commitment to their father is about to reach a pivotal and dangerous crossroad.

The final arc of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear will do more than pit Magneto against the X-men and the human race. He will now have to oppose his own children. He has done so much to protect them, but with the scars of the Cambrian still festering in his mind, he is prepared to cross lines he once deemed unthinkable. It is part of Magneto's progression into greater instability. I have made this a theme throughout this fanfiction series because I feel Magneto can't help but become obsessed in his dedication to his own vision. In many instances throughout the history of the X-men, this has destroyed him and those he cares about. Now this obsession is about to reach a turning point as X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear comes to an end. And once again, I've prepared a preview that shows what the X-men will be up against.

“I still think we should have brought Quentin Quire along,” said Alex, “A telepath might be useful in dealing with that twisted mind of his.”

“One step at a time, Alex,” retorted Wanda, “We’re not ready to resort to psychic probing just yet.”

“And if we do get to that point, Quentin Quire is the last psychic I would trust to do it,” added Pietro as they reached the door, “I know you’ve welcomed him into the Brotherhood with open arms, but he still creeps me out.”

“He’s an impressionable and arrogant teenage boy. I thought you of all people would get along with him,” Alex pointed out.

“What’s that supposed to me?!” said Pietro defensively.

The speedster angrily glared at Alex Summers. He may be the leader of the Brotherhood, but he still garnered little respect from Pietro. Yet another argument threatened to break out. Then Lorna made a strange discovery.

“Uh…guys? You think you could cut the bickering for a second?” she said warily, “I think we have a problem.”

“What is it now?” groaned Pietro as he reluctantly turned away from Alex, “Father didn’t barricade the door again, did he? I thought he was past that stage.”

“I suspect this an entirely different stage,” said Wanda, who shared in Lorna’s dread.

Pietro and Alex took a closer look at the door. It didn’t take long for them to see it as well. Some strange residue was seeping from the cracks of the door. It didn’t look like anything they had ever seen before and that said a lot in and of itself. From every crevice, a strange blackish/gold metal flowed from within the room. As the black parts of the metal seeped over the door, a series of gold colored streaks followed. They made perfect right angles, as if to mimic the appearance of computer circuits. It was hard to tell if this was something living or if it was some kind of machine.

“Pietro…when you said you did Father a favor, what exactly did you do?” said Wanda angrily.

“Nothing like this! I swear!” said the speedster defensively, “He just asked me to get some strange box, that’s all!”

“A box?” she said curiously, “Do you even know what was inside it?”

“Uh…it had no openings.”

“It’s ridiculous how little this surprises me,” groaned Alex, sensing they had another fight on their hands, “I’ve heard enough! Somebody break the door down!”

“Already on it!” said Lorna as she summoned her powers, “We’re coming in, Father! We’re here to save you!”

With a hard magnetic tug, Lorna ripped the heavy metal door of its hinges. A deafening metal clang reverberated through the halls. As soon as it was out of the way, Lorna rushed into the room with Wanda, Alex, and Pietro close behind. They expected to find their father in more self-imposed danger. What they saw, however, left them even more confused.

“Welcome, my children. You’re just in time,” grinned an eerily content Magneto.

“Okay, it’s official. I’m reconsidering the psychic probing,” said a dazed Wanda.

Magneto wasn’t in any danger. In fact, it looked as though he had cleaned himself up nicely since the last time they saw him. He was back in his dark red suit and cape, looking as poised as ever. But what had Wanda, Alex, Lorna, and Pietro really worried was the mysterious box he was holding.

From the top of the metal box, there was a wave-like stream of pulsating purplish light. From this light, this strange black metal with gold wire-like entrails flowed out freely and had since engulfed the whole room. Everything from the bed to the walls had been overtaken by this strange substance. Every square inch of the room now radiated with an ominous pulsating light. It was as if the room itself was now alive.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” said Magneto as he gripped the box intently, “Warlock managed to stay functional despite centuries of inactivity.”

“Not this again!” groaned Alex as he looked around at the strange metal, “Didn’t you learn anything from the Cambrian?”

“Oh I learned plenty. I learned just how feeble our lives have become in this corrupt world,” said Magneto in a voice that indicated his mental instability had gotten worse, “You see, when I lost the Cambrian, I lost the insight that led me to a higher understanding of nature. Now that I’m stuck within the limits of my own flesh and blood, I have struggled to wrap my head around that insight...until now.”

“Father…let’s not do this again!” cried Lorna, “You’re sick! You need help!”

“I have everything I need right here,” he said as he remained fixated on the box, “In addition to using the alien technology to locate the Cambrian, I also compiled every working scrap of hardware I could gather. As it just so happens, the ship contained a backup of its data in the form of a special AI called Warlock.”

“I’m not waiting for an explanation! You’re going to quit while you’re ahead whether you want to or not!” barked Alex.

“Havok don’t!” exclaimed Wanda.

In addition, I also have a quick update to the X-men Supreme Official Panels section. I know it has been a while since I got a piece of artwork for this fanfiction series, but as luck would have it I just made a good friend in Jack Crowder. He generously agreed to a commission for X-men Supreme featuring my two original characters, Captain Jack Freeman and General Nathan Grimshaw. I can't thank him enough for taking the time to contribute to the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and I have posted his piece in the pics section.

X-men Supreme Official Panels

Only a few issues remain of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. But in those few issues, I will be introducing some new elements that will lay the groundwork for X-men Supreme Volume 5. New characters, new threats, and new complications will continue make this fanfiction series more distinct. I have some significant plans for X-men Supreme, but I can only pursue those plans if I have sufficient support. As I've noted before, there hasn't been a lot of feedback with X-men Supreme lately. I wish I knew why because it's hard to stay dedicated to a fanfiction series if nobody is following it. I want to keep making X-men Supreme better and I can't do that without support. So please take the time to post your comments in the comments section of each issue or contact me dirctly. Either way is fine and really goes a long ways towards helping me improve X-men Supreme. So until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wolverine and the X-men #2 Unlettered Preview - Underdeveloped Tension

Any self-respecting stoner will admit that sometimes shit slips their mind. I once got so stoned that I didn’t realize I had a dildo duct taped to the back of my head until someone at a Wal-Mart pointed it out. That only got me a dirty look from a Wal-Mart greeter. But when certain details and plots get overlooked in comics, a dirty look just doesn’t cut it. I don’t pay four bucks for a story that skips over important details. That’s like paying four bucks for an espresso at Starbucks that the barista spits in.

The spit in question has to do with the status of Wolverine and Storm. In the pages of Wolverine and the X-men, as well as Amazing X-men and Wolverine’s solo series, they have been shown to be in a pretty intimate relationship. They have bumped uglies and they already have rules about not skipping foreplay. And it’s not like this relationship is new. These two have a pretty long history, much longer than bullshit relationships like Storm and Black Panther or the short-lived relationship with Wolverine and Melita Garner. Both those relationships ended in a pretty ugly way, but at least they had some depth. The same can’t be said for Wolverine and Storm.

After Storm let Wolverine cut her hair into a Mohawk, which would make an awesome pubic hair joke if it weren’t accurate, they kissed. But after that, there hasn’t been much of anything said or shown. We haven’t seen them grow together. We haven’t seen them talk that much. It’s like Marvel is just throwing a bunch of blanks into the story and leaving the readers to fill in all the details. And for stoners who have fucked up imaginations about boobs and mohawks, that’s pretty dangerous.

Yet now Storm and Wolverine are supposed to take center stage as Wolverine and the X-men is re-launched. This time the focus is going to be less on the staff of the Jean Grey Institute and more on the students, which sounds great on paper. Then again, communism sounds great on paper and anyone who has been to a prison camp in North Korea can attest to how worthless that shit is. Not only that, they’ll have to content with Fantomex joining the cast. This guy already made himself more unlikable than a plate of bacon at a PETA convention. Hell, he shot a fucking kid in the head. Yet he’s allowed to join the Jean Grey Institute staff while everyone continues to condemn Cyclops? But I digress.

Now Newsarama has released a preview of Wolverine and the X-men #2 and as promised, Storm and Wolverine are a big part of it. But are hard-drinking professional stoners like myself still supposed to fill in the blanks about their relationship? If so, that’s going to be a big problem for the story and for anybody that has a fucked up imagination. These are some of the most iconic characters in X-men. Glossing over details might be okay with Toad and Marrow, but not Storm and Wolverine.

The teachers and students of the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning are prepping for their summer break, but tell that to their adversaries! On March 5, Marvel will release Wolverine & The X-Men #2 featuring more in the story of the premier school for mutants as it enters a new chapter where it's founder, Wolverine, has been ravaged without his healing factor to protect him. It's up to Storm, Fantomex and others to step up, but with students like Quentin Quire and the son of Apocalypse -- they've got their hands full.

Here are three pages from Wolverine & The X-Men #2 provided exclusively by Marvel, to give you a hint at what's in store.

Well Storm looks more pissed than a lion that just saw a zebra taking a shit on one of its cubs. She’s so pissed that she risked a perfectly good bottle of whiskey. This would be such a powerful moment if we didn’t have so many fucking blanks about her relationship with Wolverine. Are they really a serious couple? Or are they just fuck buddies? It’s impossible to tell and that pisses away any possible drama that might actually emerge from this preview.

I’m still intrigued though. First, there’s a distinctive outline of a certain cosmic bird that seems to piss everybody off whenever it shows up, especially if they have red hair and green eyes. Second, Kid Omega has pissed someone off to the point where he’s being choked to death. I’m not saying that’s surprising. I’m shocked more people don’t try to choke Kid Omega to death. But he usually does something special to deserve it. And if nothing else, I would like to see who he fucks with next.

It still would be better if we got at least some new development on the Wolverine/Storm front. At a time when fans have shown their sentimental side with romances like Superman/Wonder Woman, this is a golden opportunity to develop more chemistry between two iconic characters and piss off racists in the process. It’s win-win, but I guess some shit just makes too much sense. Nuff said!

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #17

I sometimes wonder whether the adults that run religion and government actively conspire to instill a prisoner mentality in teenagers. Actually, I’m pretty convinced they do to some extent because teenagers can be fucking crazy. They’re a walking hormonal time bomb that has yet to learn basic skills like staying calm, being reasonable, and using common sense. But sometimes I wonder if this is just because teenagers are innately fucked up or because they’re treated like they’re going to fuck up. If suddenly a bunch of teenagers were put in a big building and left unsupervised, would they find a way to function? Or would they just start randomly beating each other up and/or fucking each other? I’m sure some fucking would go on just because teenagers are innately horny, but I don’t doubt that they might be able to instill some order. The keyword there is might. The students of the New Xavier School in Uncanny X-men certainly haven’t shown they’re able to function independently. But it’s a skill they’re going to have to figure out at some point because sometimes Cyclops and his team will have to take a break from teaching to blow up giant robots or save the world. With that in mind, I’ll be grading these up and coming X-men on a curve as I review Uncanny X-men #17.

And that curve is going to have to be pretty fucking steep because this new lesson is a lot like a surprise mid-term, but only if the teachers proctoring the mid-term had access to angry wolves on steroids. I don’t want to give my old teachers any ideas so I’m just going to come out and say Magik drops the New Xavier School students in the middle of a very exotic, very hostile environment. She doesn’t give them any instructions. She just leaves them to their own devices. That’s like my old shop teacher handing out sticks of TNT and saying, “Use your imagination before fleeing to another time zone.” They’re understandably confused and probably pretty fucking scared. However, I still contend that it’s not as scary as a surprise mid-term.

At first, they don’t do much. They’re teenagers. Their initiative is still a work-in-progress-that’s-painfully-slow-at-progressing. They start speculating at where they could be. It could be the Savage Land. It could be another planet. It could be a Danger Room simulation. Or it could be Magik’s favorite vacation spot for all they know. They don’t know. All they know is this isn’t a place they’ve ever seen on Instagram or Facebook. So for them, it might as well not exist.

To get some answers, Hijack reveals that like most of the star athletes at my old school, he’s willing to cheat. He reveals that he snuck his cell phone into the New Xavier School despite Cyclops making it clear that no cell phones are allowed. Being a wanted fugitive and not having the same connections as Edward Snowden, he understands that SHIELD is basically the NSA with guns and hypersonic jets. So using a cell phone is a big no-no. But Hijack doesn’t care. He uses it anyway to figure out that they’re in Montana.

If that sounds a bit random and a bit insulting to anyone that actually lives in Montana, hold the outrage. Montana also happens to be the site of that over-evolved ecosystem that Arcangel created in the Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force. It would actually be the second time that Cyclops has used this area since he and his team visited it during Kieron Gillen’s Uncanny X-men run. It makes for a nice connection between other X-books. Just throwing them in some random hell-hole, of which there are plenty in the Marvel universe, would be boring. This maintains a connection to a place that could very well be the next Savage Land. If only it had a beautiful woman running around in a leopard skin bikini like Shanna. I’m sure Marvel is already working on that.

Finding out that they’re in Montana still doesn’t explain much other than Cyclops and the rest of the staff have a fucked up sense of geography. They only realize just how fucked they are when they get attacked by a giant rhino monster. It may sound extreme and downright negligent, but my teenage self would have still traded places with any one of them to get out of gym class. Plus, it would have meant being closer to the Stepford Cuckoos and I think that’s worth being chased by a giant rhino creature. However, that benefit is lost on these inexperienced teenagers. Rather than stand and fight like real X-men, they run and scream like a little girl in a cage of spiders. It’s not as pathetic as it sounds. These are inexperienced mutants. They’re not quite at that point where fighting monsters is something they do every other Tuesday.

Naturally, they don’t stick together and end up fragmenting. Inexperienced teenagers aren’t usually keen on teamwork unless it involves football, basketball, or beer pong. It makes for an inept yet comical display of this team’s inexperience. Given how serious and competent most of the X-men are, it’s somewhat refreshing. But that doesn’t mean that everyone falls flat on their ass like an old Monty Python skit. Goldballs, who has had his share of pathetic moments, actually gets to be somewhat badass for once. He and Tempus get attacked by something that looks like a parrot fucked an ostrich and pumped it with steroids. He still yells and cries like Brett Ratner being chased by angry X-men fans, but he’s able to use his hilariously labeled powers to fight back. He’s not quite as bold or as tactical as Cyclops, but he gets the job done.

As for the students that ran off in a different direction, they’re not quite as lucky even if they are somewhat inept. They end up in a den that looks like a giant spider fucked a giant slug and fed it whatever crazy shit Monsanto feeds its corn. And Triage must have a severe spider phobia because he freaks out so much that two of the Stepford Cuckoos have to use a little psychic nudging to stop it. This actually marks the second time that the Cuckoos have had to use psychic tricks to help these new students grow a set of balls. The first time they did it was in the Limbo arc. I was willing to give them a pass then, but now it’s starting to seem like a crutch. At some point these students won’t have pretty young psychics in school girl outfits to help tweak their minds, although I’m sure they wish they did.

One other tidbit that’s worth pointing out is that one of the Cuckoos has dyed her hair red. I’m not sure which one it is. I know it’s not Celeste since she already established herself as the alpha bitch of the Cuckoos. I know one of them joked about dying their hair red. Yet this issue begins and she does it? Without an explanation? I know this issue is supposed to be about these young X-men gaining experience. But when a pretty blond teenager that happens to be related to Emma Frost dyes he hair, I think that’s something that shouldn’t be glossed over and it’s not just because my penis agrees. These are the little details that separate good comics from awesome comics. When those details aren’t there, it just gives the impression that somebody didn’t give enough fucks. And with comics costing nearly five bucks, there’s just no excuse.

Speaking of Celeste, the alpha bitch Cuckoo, she ends up with Hijack and Ben Deeds after everyone started running wildly. And her title as alpha bitch must carry some pretty shitty karma because as they’re taking shelter under a giant mushroom that isn’t part of an LSD trip, she gets psychically attacked by some mysterious beings that look like naked mud people and not the sexy kind. They must not care for pretty blonds in school girl outfits because they put Celeste in a world of psychic pain. But Ben Deeds, who only recently learned to use his powers, is able to settle things down. I guess he convinces him that hot blonds are more likely to show them her panties by not psychically assaulting her. What a novel concept.

This scares the other Cuckoos because for a moment they think someone flat-lined her mind like an overcooked pizza. But Ben Deeds is able to get them to stop the attack, which allows Celeste to get up and humbly swallow her pride. That’s a joke by the way. Remember the part where I said she’s the alpha bitch of the Stepford Cuckoos? Well that’s means she’s not all that understanding when it comes to any creature that psychically attacks her. So despite Ben’s diplomatic efforts, she decides to lash out and strike back. This doesn’t go over well with the mud people, who Ben explains are highly evolved beings. For Celeste, they might as well be a 13-year-old kid she finds stealing her underwear.

Lucky for Celeste, the rest of the team catches up with her and Tempus freezes the highly evolved mud people in a time bubble. It may have taken a while and a few fuck-ups, the this team of inexperienced teenage mutants is finally getting their shit together. They aren’t exactly making an epic stand for their kind. Again, they’re still teenagers. They’re still learning to think beyond their next Facebook post. But it’s a fitting resolution of sorts and some handle it better than others. Tempus doesn’t handle it quite as well and is somewhat hostile. But this only helps create some nice moments between her and her teammates.

And that’s something else that these new mutants have been lacking since Uncanny X-men began. They really haven’t had a chance to bond or become a team. They have had a few moments, but not as a team. This is really the first time where they’ve been able to function as a team and while they would probably have a losing record if they were a football team, they still functioned to a point where they can say they’re not the 2008 Detroit Lions.

It would have been a semi-victory of sorts for the students of the New Xavier School if only one of them hadn’t decided to shit all over the rules. Remember that cell phone that Hijack snuck past Cyclops? Well I wasn’t joking when I said that SHIELD in the Marvel universe is like the NSA with lots of guns and hypersonic jets. Because just as they’re catching their breath from surviving this exotic death tarp, SHIELD shows up demanding they take them to Cyclops so they can haul him back to jail for crimes he may or may not have committed while under the influence of a cosmic power that got forced in him by accident. I guess this is one instance where being an ill-informed teenager is a good thing because there’s no way they’re going to make sense of this kind of bullshit from an authority figure.

And since he’s the asshole who led SHIELD to them, Hijack makes up for it by giving a nice middle finger to Nick Fury Jr. That involves using his powers to hot wire the high tech metal suits that Fury brought with him and turning it against him. He doesn’t exactly look threatened. He’s Nick Fury with a Samuel L. Jackson demeanor. I’m sure if this were a MAX comic, he would have said the word motherfucker several times by now. But he just looks annoyed and probably stays that way after Magik arrives to transport the students back to the school.

When Cyclops assess their performance, he gives most of the students a passing grade. I’m sure he graded them on a curve since they’re inexperienced teenagers who just became mutants, but they survived and managed to eventually come together as a team. However, he singles Hijack out for failing big time, even with the curve. He reminds him of the no cell phone policy and rather than confiscate it and delete all his porn, Cyclops goes one further and kicks him off the fucking team.

Now this may seem excessive, but it makes sense from his point of view. Cyclops has seen one too many instances where a member of the team disobeys and puts everyone else in danger. And over 90 percent of those instances involve Wolverine and the last thing he needs on his team is another Wolverine. So while I do feel somewhat sorry for Hijack, he has nobody to blame but himself. He put his cell phone above the team. I know a lot of people can’t live without their cell phones these days. But when a job involves fighting giant monsters and being on the same team as Magik and Emma Frost, there just isn’t an app sophisticated enough to take the place of real teamwork.

In terms of real tests, I still rate this below my calculus mid-term during my junior year of high school. This issue was a simple, self-contained story that shifted the focus to the students of the New Xavier School. And why not? This is what Cyclops’s revolution is supposed to be about and they have been somewhat neglected lately, albeit not in the classic Alec Baldwin sort of way. Here, we got to see them function as a team and I use the term function loosely because that’s a word that’s difficult to apply to a bunch of inexperienced teenagers, some of whom are horny for their teachers. But as dysfunctional as they were, it still made for an entertaining story that highlighted some of the unique traits among these new characters. It also highlighted how hard it is to get teenagers to listen to basic rules, especially those that apply to cell phones. Now Cyclops knows how every homeroom teacher feels in trying to stop their male students from looking at porn on their phones. The end result shows that these aspiring X-men have a lot to learn, but they’re well on their way. It still lacked detail and refinement, but Uncanny X-men #17 still warrants a 7 out of 10. I’m still curious as to why one of the Stepford Cuckoos dyed her hair red. When pretty blond teenage girls become pretty redheads, it’s a big deal. My penis needs to know these things. When these aspiring X-men gain more experience, I hope they understand that. Nuff said!