Friday, May 30, 2014

X-men Supreme Reflections: Lorna Dane is LIVE!

I'm sure X-men fans everywhere are still excited with the box office success of X-men: Days of Futures Past and I hope that excitement extends into the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. It's a great time to be an X-men fan. They have a successful movie and the comics are still going strong. I hope to add to it this summer with some significant developments in X-men Supreme. I am still hard at work on X-men Supreme Volume 5, but I have two more vital entries into X-men Supreme Reflections before that story can begin. Both these reflections will involve characters that promise to play an important role in the future events of this fanfiction series. And Polaris has been playing just such a role since the earliest days of X-men Supreme.

Few characters have faced the kind of upheaval as Lorna Dane. When she first entered the picture, she was just Iceman's love interest. Then she became Magneto's estranged daughter. Then her mother fell ill and she became desperate to save her. Then she became the only one who could get through to Magneto when he was at his most powerful. Polaris' influence in X-men Supreme has been great, but her future remains unclear. She has never truly favored a side in the conflict between the X-men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. At times, she has fought alongside the X-men. In other instances, she has fought alongside the Brotherhood. But she has always been caught up in the heat of the conflict in some form or another. How does she deal with all this conflict? That's something I haven't had a chance to really explore in X-men Supreme, but that's what I intend to do here.

Polaris has been a reluctant participant in many of the conflicts throughout this fanfiction series. Unlike her half-siblings, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, she did not grow up with Magneto influencing her. She was raised by a single mother who struggled with severe health problems. Her mother saw in Magneto some good that was worth saving. Polaris had to see it as well during conflicts such as Overlord, but that good wasn't enough to save him during later conflicts, such as the Cambrian Explosion. Now her future is uncertain and for the events she'll be facing in X-men Supreme Volume 5, it's important to know how she got to this point and what is still driving her.

X-men Supreme Reflections: Lorna Dane

Polaris is one of those characters that has taken on many different roles since the X-men Supreme fanfiction series began. Every character undergoes a certain level of evolution. Some evolve more drastically than others. And Polaris is just one of the characters that will undergo some significant evolution in X-men Supreme Volume 5. That evolution is a big part of their appeal as characters. That's why it's so important that I get feedback from readers regarding the development of these characters. These are characters that inspire a lot of passion among fans. The X-men movies have proven that and I want to excite those passions in X-men Supreme. So please take the time to post feedback of this and any other issue in the official comments section or contact me directly. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine #7

Fights between Wolverine and Sabretooth are equivalent to masturbation in the X-men comics in that it never gets old and is always satisfying in some capacity. I freely admit that I indulge in this guilty pleasure the same way I indulge in a bong hit on a Friday night. The conflict between Wolverine and Sabretooth is so extensive in its breath, yet so visceral in its nature that short of the Yankees and the Red Sox, there are no rivalries that can evoke such angry passions. Since Wolverine's latest solo series began, he has been on a collision course with Sabretooth to get back at him for the ass-kicking he received during the Killable arc. It has led him to ditch the X-men, hook up with some new team, and work for a walking masturbation joke, the Offer. While it began with a confusing, disjointed narrative, it has finally become more streamlined now that Wolverine has finally caught up with Sabretooth and Madripoor. While his pending death is still a few months away, I made sure I had plenty of lube ready when I read Wolverine #7. I would say it came in handy, but that would be one masturbation joke too many.

The stage is set for the big fight. Sabretooth has found what he has been looking for along with the Hand, the Offer, and probably the Montana Militia. It doesn't look like much, but it's really fucking shiny and for stoners or psychopaths, that's usually enough. There's no telling what it can do, but it's a given that Sabretooth will find a way to make it something he can torture Wolverine and/or bang Mystique with. Wolverine can only watch because he's still without his healing factor and horribly unequipped to take on his nemesis. But he doesn't have to because a monkey unexpectedly comes in and steals the shiny orb. I'm not on LSD, believe it or not. That actually happens. Maybe it's some sort of colorful metaphor for the IRS, but it feels like someone is just exploiting my inherent love of monkeys.

With monkeys working in his favor, Wolverine launches his attack. This could bit it. This could be the first round of the Wolverine vs. Sabretooth: Round 29,821. And without his healing factor, it promises to be especially painful and epic for Wolverine. This is what was teased with the previous few issues. Sadly, this isn't what we end up getting.

Instead, we just get Sabretooth calling in the Hand like a little girl calling for her mommy when she sees a bee. They swoop in, shoot Wolverine with poison arrows, and allow Sabretooth to escape. He still doesn't have that fancy glowing orb, but he doesn't have Wolverine's dead rotting corpse to bury either. It's incredibly anti-climactic. It couldn't be more anti-climactic without throwing in a clip of a Tasmanian Devil giving birth at the end of a porno.

It's also anti-climactic in how Wolverine deals with being shot by a dozen poison arrows. When he had his healing factor, this would barely count as a flesh wound. Now that he doesn't have his healing factor, this should be a big fucking deal. Again, it's anti-climactic, but in a somewhat different way. It's more like hearing a guy fart at the end of a porno. It's jarring, but doesn't kill the mood completely.

In the previous issue, it was already revealed that Wolverine was secretly getting help from MI-13. They were just as interested in finding the big shiny orb as the Offer. And one of them, Faiza Hussain, happened to be keeping an eye on Wolverine while he prepared to take on Sabretooth. She probably won herself at least 20 bucks betting that he would get himself mortally wounded, although anyone dumb enough to take that bet has no business gambling. She helps heal him and in yet another act that sort of goes against the whole being killable concept, Wolverine heals up without a scratch. It's as inane as it sounds so I wouldn't recommend reading it sober.

The rest of his team catches up with him. This includes Pinch, a woman who took a page from the Gwen Stacy playbook and decided to jump into bed with Wolverine. It's as foolish as it sounds. She already began questioning his loyalty in recent issues and she just happened to see some strange secret agent heal Wolverine from a mortal wound. If she didn't have her doubts before, she now has as many as Tiger Woods' ex-wife.

We get some inner monologue with her, but at no point does she say anything that would make anyone feel sorry for her. Seriously, did she really think sleeping with Wolverine was a good idea beyond just getting a few good orgasms? The relationship between Pinch and Wolverine has had less depth than an old episode of Pimp My Ride. When the series began, they were just...together. Nothing else has been done with them. And we don't know shit about Pinch other than she's sleeping with Wolverine and looks good in a skin-tight outfit. That might be a suitable criteria for a hooker, but not for a relationship that we're supposed to care about. So her feeling betrayed has no weight to it. She might as well be a waitress that Wolverine forgot to tip. At least she can say she got to see him naked.

Pinch continues her bitching and moaning about his betrayal as they search for the orb. She still doesn't say anything that would make her any less important than someone Wilt Chamberlin slept with. At this point, I'm just begging her to shut up. I was glad that we got some insight into who she was earlier. Now she's just nagging and distracting from Wolverine's mission to take the orb back from a bunch of crazed monkeys. It's not as awesome as it sounds because too much of it is taken up by Pinch. But he does eventually manage to wrestle the orb away from the monkeys, but in a way that will disappoint many Planet of the Apes fans.

When he touches the orb, it activates some sort of crazy security system. But instead of an annoying car alarm that wakes people up at three in the morning, it creates an entire army of variant Wolverines to defend it from unauthorized users. While I would love to see more crazed monkeys, I will admit that this is a pretty effective security measure. Hell, I wish my laptop and cell phone had this kind of security. I would be much less worried about someone stealing my comics and porn.

The battle that follows isn't quite as epic as the Wolverine vs. Sabretooth battle we were promised, but it's still pretty entertaining. Wolverine takes on a bunch of variant Wolverines that include samurai Wolverines, army Wolverines, and I'm pretty sure there's a cross-dressing Wolverine somewhere in there. It's Wolverine battling himself, which would be a pretty fitting struggle if Pinch's bitching still didn't distract from the action. But it does have a purpose in the end.

At one point, the orb seeks to find the exact opposite kind of Wolverine with which to fight him. While I would guess such a version would be a scrawny, hairless, weakling who spent years as Sabretooth's prison bitch, it ends up being a Wolverine wearing the same costume he dawned when he wore the Offer. This effectively reveals to his team that he's been lying to them. Again, it has no emotional weight. Hell, at this point it's a relief to finally get this shit out of the way. It's still pretty visceral, but nothing that can't be found in a Wolfenstein game.

It continues to get more contrived from there. While Wolverine is battling his variant, Pinch and the rest of the team retrieve the orb and figure out the password to deactivate the security system. The way they figure it out is pretty inane. They use some sort of nanite translators, which might as well be cheat codes in a video game. It feels rushed, which I guess is a direct result of wasting so much time having Pinch bitch about Wolverine's betrayal. It ends the brawl between Wolverine and his variant before it can get all that epic. So that means the struggle against the crazed monkeys and a variant Wolverine were both cut short. And for what? Pinch being pissed off that Wolverine lied to him? That has to be the worst deal that wasn't made by Donald Trump.

It's because all this bitching and all this horribly unepic action that the eventual confrontation between Pinch and Wolverine falls flat. She's upset with him, obviously. She even punches him, which is to be expected. I've had ex-girlfriends do way more to me and I only ever lie about where I hide their panties. Wolverine tries to claim what they had was real, but that sounds about as genuine as a promise from Vladimir Putin. Considering he still has emotional ties with Storm that haven't been addressed, there's really no salvaging this moment or giving it any hint of emotion. It only got a little bit tense when Wolverine pulled a gun on Pinch, which has never happened with me and my ex-girlfriends. But she manages to taunt him enough for him to let her go. Again, it's flat and it makes no fucking sense. There's no reason to be upset in the slightest that Wolverine screwed over his new team. There's nothing that was done to make anyone give a damn in the first place and that's why it feels so unsatisfying.

But Wolverine is still not completely without allies. As his former team takes off, effectively kicking him out of their crew and Pinch's panties in the process, his friends from MI-13 catch up with him to help him battle the Hand. They're understandably disappointed that Wolverine lost the orb, but they didn't have to listen to Pinch's bitching so I consider them the lucky ones. There's not much else for them to do but fight or run from a squad of ninjas. It sounds like it should be epic, but at this point the lack of depth and emotion and logic, for that matter, just make it all but impossible. I want to feel sorry for Wolverine, but he planned this shit. I can't feel any sorry for him than I can the guy who invented edible panties.

While Wolverine watches his plan fail miserably, Pinch and the rest of the Offer's team tries to get away with the orb. But they end up clashing with Sabretooth again, who wants that orb just as badly. They try to make a deal because a guy like Offer can't call himself that unless he's willing to make deals. Unfortunately, Sabretooth is a shitty negotiator in that he doesn't follow the typical Ebay model for deals. He reveals that he has Pinch's daughter and he'll do all sorts of unspeakable things to her, like put her on a TV show with Tim Allen, if she doesn't fork over that orb. Now Pinch did mention a daughter earlier in the issue, but that doesn't earn her any sympathy. If anything, it just makes her more of a joke. She couldn't be more generic if she were mass produced in a Chinese factory. Pretty face, check. Hot body, check. Bangs Wolverine, check. Has family drama, check. She only has this in common with half the female supporting cast on 24. And at least they don't bitch and nag as much as she does.

This issue exposed a lot of secrets that have been put in place in the most convoluted way possible. While it should be refreshing, it only ends up becoming bland and confusing. The whole plot with Wolverine chasing this fancy glowing sphere that channels variant versions of its wielder was pretty interesting, but that was the only part of the story that was really interesting. Everything else from exposing Wolverine's secrets to his team to Pinch's reaction to his betrayal was just annoyingly flat. I want to feel bad for her and for the team that Wolverine went through the trouble of infiltrating. But his betrayal has no weight to it. When it finally came out, I was more like, "Finally! No more of this elaborate deception bullshit. Now where the fuck did I leave my keys?" The plot may be clear now, but it feels needlessly convoluted and trivial. So now Sabretooth is just going to try and kill Wolverine again after he had the opportunity to do the same thing in Killable? That's both horribly inefficient and downright stupid, even if he succeeds. This story was really gaining momentum, but instead it turned into yet another generic clash between Wolverine and Sabretooth that has none of the depth it needs to be awesome. I can only give Wolverine #7 a 4 out of 10. There were crazy monkeys and cool glowing shit in this comic. That might make it somewhat appealing while stoned, but in every other state of mind, it's just plain dull. Nuff said!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #20

I know this is supposed to be a time when we're celebrating the X-men's history of time travel and setting the future straight. With X-men: Days of Futures Past now in theaters, time travel is supposed to be somewhat less frustrating, if only for a few weeks. I'm sorry, but I just can't get into the spirit. Between Age of Ultron, All-New X-men, and the events of Uncanny Avengers, I can't bring myself to be this excited about time travel. I still believe that time travel stories lost a good chunk of their appeal after Hollywood stopped making Back to the Future movies. That said, Uncanny Avengers has been doing a great job of making a time travel story feel at least somewhat less cliched. To stop the Apocalypse Twins from destroying the planet, the surviving members of the Unity Squad along with some displaced AU versions of major Marvel heroes are going to try and send their consciousness back to the past to undo these events. Yes, it is a blatant Days of Future Past ripoff, but if a time travel story is going to rip off anything, it might as well be one of the best time travel stories ever. Uncanny Avengers #20 doesn't have Jennifer Lawrence running around as Mystique in it, but it still has a lot of momentum from recent issues fueling it. Still, I would much rather see Jennifer Lawrence running around as Mystique.

That said, watching two versions of Psylocke fight to the death is a close second. The future X-men and Kang's dimensionally displaced heroes clash in a battle to save the remaining members of the Unity Squad so they can effectively exploit Chris Clarmeont's second most brilliant story after the Phoenix Saga. It's as epic as it sounds. A tough version of Psylocke goes up against an even tougher version that looks like the wife of my old gym teacher, who I'm convinced was a dominatrix by trade. Stryfe isn't so terrifying, at least to Cable. But what makes this epic is that even though there are assholes on both sides, they're both fighting for a similar goal. They want to stop their futures from being nullified. I'm sure they feel that if anyone is going to erase their existence, it'll be by editorial mandate and not because of Alex fucking Summers.

Now I know I give Havok a hard time on this blog and I still stand by my ball-busting criticisms. He's done plenty to deserve it. However, the guy is still fully capable of being a total badass. He's a fucking Summers. Badass runs through his veins, along with the ability to bang hot telepaths. He makes this abundantly clear when Magneto has him at his mercy while Blob stands over his unconscious wife, ready to treat her the same way he treats a bucket of fried chicken. Magneto has even more incentive than usual to be exceedingly cruel. He doesn't just have a world free of those pesky, genocidal humans. This is a world his daughter sacrificed his life to create. He's more than happy to snap the neck of anyone willing to undo it all and burn the corpse.

On the surface, it may be a classic Magneto-caliber dick move. But what makes it awesome is the emotional depth of his struggle and Havok's. They both have such a high emotional stake in the outcome of this battle. Havok seeks to both save his daughter and undo the deception that the Apocalypse Twins inflicted to destroy the Earth. Magneto seeks to save the entire mutant race and preserve his daughter's sacrifice. It's not a matter of Captain America shooting a Nazi in the brain stem. These are two individuals with actual, emotional weight to their battle. What a concept, right? Take note, Brett Ratner's of the world.

Another reason I regularly bust Havok's balls is because of how he treats Cyclops. He'll gladly throw him under the bus and conveniently forget about everything he ever did for the mutant race the moment the opportunity comes along. I get that brothers are supposed to rough house and I'm not saying that Cyclops hasn't given Havok a reason to hate him, but the way made a complete judgement on his brother after Avengers vs. X-men is so egregious that even Judge Judy would say it's bullshit. It has been a big problem for him in that it's hard to take him seriously or respect him when he can't capture a fraction of his brother's leadership and comes off as a major douche in the process.

That's why it's so satisfying when Cyclops decides to side with his brother and not Magneto. Even though he has plenty of reasons as well to save his world, he trusts that his brother knows what he's doing in undoing this future. It leads to a moment that should have happened way sooner. It took the destruction of an entire planet and some convoluted time travel plot, but the two brothers finally come together. It's an emotionally satisfying moment that's right up there with getting a kiss from Scarlet Johannsen. Even if it is overdue, it's very fitting and it makes me hate Havok just a little bit less, although I'm sure he'll find other reasons in the future/past.

Not all the emotions are so heartfelt. Some are only heartfelt in the same way a bar fight is heartfelt. That's not an entirely inaccurate metaphor either. The destruction of the Earth actually began with a bar fight between Apocalypse and Thor. That's what led to the use of Jarnbjorn, a powerful weapon that's impossible to pronounce while high, which is what Apocalypse used to kill a Celestial. Obviously, Thor is not happy that someone exploited his drunkenness. It's not quite as bad as date rape, but it's right up there. It would have been so nice to see Thor tear into Emin like Mel Gibson when he's off his meds. But then Kang cockblocks him, urging him to not make the same petty mistakes he made as a drunk. It's not bad advice. Besides, they didn't come there to re-enact bar fights. They came to free the rest of the Unity Squad. That doesn't mean Thor should follow that advice because that would mean denying us another epic battle.

So instead of an epic brawl between Thor and Emin, we get a not-so-epic moment between Kang and Emin. At this point in the story, it's almost easy to forget that this all began when Kang went back in time to take the Apocalypse Twins as infants. He planned to raise them and did a very shitty job because they didn't just turn on him. They destroyed the planet he was trying to conquer and utterly nullified his future. There are the kinds of shitty parents that let their kids play in a meth lab and then there's this. So we should expect Kang to give Emin the kind of spanking that would make masochists jizz in their pants, right?

Fuck no, that would make too much sense. Instead, Kang just scolds his adopted daughter. That's right, he just fucking scolds her the same way someone might scold their dog for taking a shit on their new carpet. He claims that he knew what she was doing the second she and her brother started doing it. And somehow, it served his purpose. I admit I get easily confused when I've had a few too many bong hits on a Wednesday morning, but how the fuck does destroying Earth and murdering a Celestial serve Kang's goals? Did he just need something new to jerk off to? That's never explained or even hinted at. So much of what has driven the Apocalypse Twins comes from their hatred of Kang. So why the fuck would their actions serve him? He's either trolling or just trying to mind-fuck her and everyone around her. I guess in that respect, he succeeded in part.

At least, there's still plenty of epic brawling to go around. Thor frees Wolverine and Sunfire, who have been imprisoned and tortured for decades. That makes Wolverine all too eager to murder Daken again and this time, there's no emotional strain behind it. At some point, a father has to understand that his kid has just become too much of an asshole. Even the most ardent pro-lifer would support Wolverine's effort at an extra-late term abortion. Sunfire does the same to Banshee, who is somewhat less an asshole. He's a horsemen so he's not exactly in the right frame of mind. But after decades of torture, Sunfire is pretty light on sympathy and it's hard to feel sorry for him or for the rest of Emin's forces. Not saying revenge is always justified, but sometimes it is appropriate and it will give me an erection. This is one of those times.

For whatever reason, Emin is still too shell shocked by Kang's trolling to do anything. She's still just off to the side, twiddling her thumbs while Kang prepares to undo everything she and her brother did. And she doesn't even have the support of the X-men anymore. When Kang's team of dimensionally displaced heroes gets outmatched by Magneto, Cyclops rallies the rest of the future X-men to oppose them. Even after decades of trusting Emin and being part of a world where he didn't have to lead mutants against armies of killer robots, he's still willing to take the X-men into battle against Magneto. That should bring tears of joy to the eyes of every X-men fan and everyone who hated X3. It makes for another emotional moment with him and Havok, showing that these two brothers are still capable of not annoying each other. For anyone who has ever dealt with an annoying sibling, this should strike all the right chords and even some of the wrong ones. But that's what makes it satisfying.

The emotions continue even as they escape Magneto and prepare to send themselves back to the past. They're not quite as heartfelt. Wasp still decks Kang and the asshole more than deserves it after taking her daughter. He still refuses, saying that they'll just have to trust him not to screw them over. For some reason, others like Sunfire have a problem with that. This same guy who unleashed the Apocalypse Twins in the first place is now their only hope to save their world. That alone should make them feel sicker than a vegetarian in Ted Nugent's trophy room. But they don't have a choice so they had better hope that Planet X has legal weed.

This is the biggest strength of this issue and this series. There are so many intense emotions involved. Let's face it, we can only see the Avengers beat up Kang so many times or see the X-men rough up Magneto so many times and still feel anything. I'm not saying it's impossible to jerk off to the same porno all the time, but a little variety is necessary to keep things interesting and adding these emotions to the mix really helps give the story weight, even though some of the details are lacking. We may live in a culture where being emotional means being labeled a pussy, but this is also a culture that made shows like the Jersey Shore and Duck Dynasty a success, so I'm not going to give it that much credit.

Beyond the threat of constant nausea, the plan is somewhat overly specific. They're supposed to transport their consciousness back to the time just before Rogue died and before the Scarlet Witch cast her spell. That makes sense. That was the moment where they crossed the point of no return in diving head first into the world ending shit storm. However, it's a pretty inefficient moment. I'm not sure if there are limitations to how far their minds can go back, but wouldn't it be a tad more efficient to just go back even further to when the Apocalypse Twins were still babies? How about when the Unity Squad first formed so they could all have a better reason to not hate each other? It's like going to a brothel and picking the girl most likely to be a transvestite serial killer. It's a bullshit risk that isn't sufficiently explained.

Once they're gone, the impact is pretty quick in a way that would have made Back to the Future a much less dramatic story. Everything around them starts to fade, returning to that vast oblivion that is the Marvel multiverse catalog of dystopian futures. Now I imagine not a lot of people who aren't Magneto will be really upset about the destruction of Planet X, but at least there was plenty of emotion thrown into the mix that makes it more than just another forgettable AU. This is a world where mutants are free and prosperous in a way that doesn't involve Magneto being a king or Apocalypse being an overlord. Sure, it was built on a lie that murdered every human, but it was still a prosperous world for mutants. Given how mutants must always be on the brink of extinction, I can't help but be a little sad to see it go. Oh well, I'm sure Marvel will create plenty more dystopian futures for mutants.

So once again, another semi-dystopian future is being erased utilizing the same method that Chris Claremont pioneered when Ronald Regan was still a fresh face. I can't say it's very creative, especially when a major movie just came out that did the same fucking thing. But unlike X-men: Days of Futures Past, Uncanny Avengers doesn't have the stench of X3, Wolverine Origins, Barakapool, and Brett Ratner holding it back. What does hold it back, however, is the lack of details.  And given how Days of Futures Past can't explain how the fuck Moira MacTaggart showed up at the end of X3, that's saying something. The battle between the future X-men and the future Brotherhood was undeniably epic and fitting. The emotions fueling the battle were incredibly potent as well. What's lacking is a better explanation as to what Kang was hoping to accomplish by royally fucking up the Apocalypse Twins or why the Uncanny Avengers don't go back even earlier to deal with this issue. I guess that would just make way too much sense. I know I always get suspicious when I wake up hung over with my pants on and my wallet and keys on my dresser. Even if there is an explanation, it's probably not satisfying enough to justify sending them back to a less emotional point in the story. That's the strength of Uncanny Avengers, building on the emotions and playing on them like Robert Pattinson at a Twilight convention. The strength of those emotions earn Uncanny Avengers #20 a 7 out of 10. The only way to make them stronger at this point would be for a Yankees fan to walking to Fenway Park and punch Ted Williams in the jaw. I don't think this story will go quite that far, but it feels like it's getting dangerously close to doing so. Nuff said!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: X-men #14

The best of intentions have a way of pissing off some unexpected people. I’m sure that Barack Obama thought he would be making a positive mark on history when he decided he was going to run for President. I doubt he had any idea how many crazy racists religious nuts would come out from the shadows and attack him like he just took a shit on George Washington’s grave. And those are just the people who listen to Glenn Beck. Who could possibly be pissed off by a young woman choosing to adopt an infant child after her parents were presumed dead? Hell, this is the kind of shit that makes pro-lifer’s horny. That’s exactly what Jubilee did with Shogo, yet in being so responsible and loving she pissed off someone really nasty, namely Shogo’s biological father. Apparently, this is a guy who probably wasn’t going to pay child support or alimony. He’s the kind of guy who goes on a murder spree to break out of prison just to get to a kid he didn’t seem to give a damn about until after Jubilee adopted him. But this guy is no Jerry Springer reject. He’s powerful enough to attack the Jean Grey Institute and wound two students. I can see some fathers doing that if they think their daughter or son is alone in a room with Chris Brown, but this guy has no excuses. That’s what makes him so dangerous and that’s why X-men #14 should be a lesson to anyone who thinks their good intentions won’t piss someone off. Even adopting an orphan baby is going to make a few nasty enemies. That’s just how fucked up the world is sometimes.

One of those nasty new enemies was brazen enough to shoot Teon from afar in the previous issue. Naturally, the staff at the Jean Grey Institute takes that shit pretty seriously. Rachel and Monet get on the case, searching New York City during fucking rush hour no less for the shooter. How they managed to find him in a city of millions and track him to a specific subway without triggering shit storm parade down Time Square is not explained. But Rachel Grey is the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey. She is a capable telepath. She’s able to navigate the crowds while probably making everyone think they’re a couple of teenage girls chasing after a boy they sent nude pictures of themselves to by mistake. It shows her skill, but doesn’t make for a very exciting chase.

They eventually do catch up with him in a subway. Again, it’s not nearly as tense as it could be and not just because Rachel is making sure the rush hour traffic doesn’t start shitting themselves. The shooter himself doesn’t look all that devious. He looks like Liam Neesan fucked Miley Cyrus. He threatens to kill the innocent people Rachel is psychically deceiving. Then he threatens to blow his own brains out before they can get any information out of him. He keeps talking about how the future is unstoppable. Someone should tell him that only taxes and bad hangovers are unstoppable. Monet is able to stop him before he pulls the trigger, but I’m still confused about this guy and not just because he looks like this priest I knew who got caught streaking through Sorority House. If this was meant to be tense, it failed and now I have that disturbing image of that old priest in my head.

There’s still plenty of legitimate tension back at the Jean Grey Institute. Two students are still wounded and some of the other students, many of whom don’t have X-men training that help them deal with the constant threat of being shot, are worried. Psylocke, while monitoring the holding cell for their new guest, has to reassure a young mutant that they’re not going to let anyone hurt him. I remember my mother telling me the same thing every time I went to the dentist. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was bullshit.

With the prospect of some crazy douche shooting students still hanging over everyone’s head, Storm hopes to get a little proactive and asks her time-displaced daughter, Kymera, for information. Now this is actually the first time Storm and Kymera have gotten a chance to talk. They’ve never brought up the fucked up circumstances under which she came from the future who her father is, information I’m sure both Storm and Wolverine would want to know. But Storm is only focused on what she knows about the shooter, not exactly a good way of breaking the ice with a future daughter. Given how many time-displaced X-men there are, I would think there’s at least an online support group. Maybe Storm should have gotten advice from Rachel, but she would probably have told her the same thing. Trying to get a little foresight from the future is a dick move and Kymera doesn’t provide it. That’s also a dick move so I guess this is a good case of like mother/like daughter.

Having not gotten any advice from Kymera, the rest of the X-women opt to go directly to the source. That means a very hostile intimidation that involves Psylocke, Monet, and Rachel Grey. That’s like being locked in a cage with the Rock, Mike Tyson, and John Cena after they’ve been fed a bucket of crystal meth. They’re both debating whether or not they should treat this in a way consistent with the provisions of the Geneva Convention or adopt the North Korean approach. Since two of their students were shot, they make it pretty clear that they’re ready to channel their inner Kim Jong Un. Then Storm shows up and stops them from doing anything that might get them on Amnesty International’s shit list. She tells them they’re going to have a meeting. But I think that’s code for, “Get the fuck out of this room before your rip the guy’s liver out through his scrotum.” And while the X-women get the message, the prisoner continues to show that he gives far fewer fucks than anyone in his position should.

When the X-women meet in the Danger Room, Storm does something unexpected of anyone who was once worshipped as a goddess. She humbles herself. She acknowledges that she has basically been leading a team without actually asking anyone whether or not they want to be part of a team. It is part of why Rachel has been criticizing her at every turn. Granted, I find some of that criticism more contrived than a speech by Glenn Beck. But it wasn’t completely without merit and Storm makes it clear that they are now going to operate as a team. She even says they’ll vote on a leader, but I think she also implied that one of the voters can reign an unholy hell of lightning down on their asses whenever she feels like it.

Now for the past few issues, a lot of this conflict felt really contrived. This is the first time it actually feels legitimate. It’s still very shaky and underdeveloped. I get the sense that this is just a way for Rachel Grey to stay relevant since nobody seems to want her to interact with the O5, the Uncanny roster, or any other team that might be in need of a powerful psychic from an apocalyptic future. I may be wrong or doing too much blow, but the whole internal struggles with the all-female team feel more manufactured than lousy boob job. And having spent my share of time in Las Vegas, I know lousy boob jobs.

There are still plenty of issues to discuss before they vote. They haven’t even had a chance to pander to lobbyists or anything. They don’t get that chance because their prisoner finds a way to fuck their day up even more by causing some random explosion within his cell. It’s at this point I realize how fucking stupid it is to take a guy who already shot two students and try to imprison him in the same school he already showed he could outwit. That’s like putting Charlie Sheen in charge of a Mexican pharmacy. It’s a dumb move of George W. Bush proportions.

The action that follows isn’t very detailed. There’s just a lot of fire and shit with the X-women trying to navigate it. For all they know, their students are being cooked like baby back ribs. We have no way of knowing because it unfolds so chaotically. That’s probably the point. That doesn’t make it any less confusing. The shooter keeps taunting them while still having the personality of an old iPod that turned evil. It’s not as interesting as it sounds.

This time the X-women get an assist. Kymera actually decides to make herself useful in the past and attacks the shooter while saving Shogo. In the process, however, the shooter reveals that he’s not just an awesome shot with a shitty vocabulary. He’s also a walking bomb with a timer built right into his forehead. That sounds fucked up when I say it out loud, but when I think about it for more than five seconds it’s actually pretty brilliant. It explains why the guy didn’t put up much of a fight when the X-women captured him. He wanted to be in their domain when he exploded. That sounded incredibly dirty, but it gets the job done. It’s not entirely clear that they came out unscathed. It’s only clear that the Jean Grey Institute is going to need yet another round of heavy repairs. Other than proving that insurance companies must hate them, he also proves that whoever is after Shogo is pretty fucking cunning and pretty fucking devious.

Their fate is left uncertain. It’s a pretty safe bet they’ll be shell shocked and feeling like a couple of Twinkies that just got deep fried at a County Fair. Some might even be wounded. Or they might just walk away unscathed since X-men seem to survive explosions every other day. We don’t know because we don’t get a fucking clue. We just get a quick glimpse of the mastermind who is probably jerking off as to how well he’s outwitting the X-women. We still don’t know much about him other than he’s more obsessed with the future than Doc Brown and way more competent. The lack of details here makes it pretty hard to get too worked up, but it shows that they’re going to have to fight hard if they want to keep Shogo.

The story could have ended there on just a confusing and mediocre note. But once again, we get this side-story that takes away from the story that’s actually somewhat interesting to see some of the young X-men partake in a Danger Room scenario that probably takes place at least twice a week. Young D-listers like Hellion, Anole, and Rockslide meet up with Psylocke to basically reenact every Dynasty Warriors game ever made. At least Dynasty Warriors allowed users to press buttons. Nothing much happens here. They just screw around, showing their inexperience and making guys like me wonder what the fuck this has to do with Shogo’s father. I don’t mind comics that try to tell extra side-stories. I would just rather they have a fucking point.

This issue may have had the most tense moments in an all-female story that didn’t turn into a lesbian porn or a Julia Roberts movie. They’re all very overmatched by this enemy, but the nature of that enemy is confusing. He’s packing more heat than Rambo on crystal meth. We get that. But as he frustrates the X-women in this issue, it’s not as clear what he’s after. Is he still after Shogo? Or is pissing off X-women the only thing that gives him a boner? Confusing it may be, his impact is not obscured in the slightest. He’s forcing the X-women to either stop their bitching and become a team or let this asshole continue to make them look like headless chickens in a staring contest. They’ve clearly done something to piss this guy off and he’s very good at being pissed off, but we just don’t get a reason to be pissed off with him. Instead, we get Kymera finally doing something, which isn’t much, but it’s still an upgrade. And we get another meaningless story tacked on at the end that’s more forgettable than Adam Sandler’s last three movies. This series still has a lot going for it, but it needs more to be awesome. Even beautiful women can only do so much to compensate for its shortcomings. I give X-men #14 a 5 out of 10. Let’s have less shitty Danger Room sub-plots and more ovary-busting mash-ups with Storm and Rachel. That’s the kind of shit that will fascinate and titillate, a winning combination if ever there was one. Nuff said!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

X-men: Days of Future (Undoing the) Past - A Painfully Detailed Review

When it comes to providing quality awesome to the fine folks to who follow this mess of drunken ramblings some call a blog, I am fully willing to put myself through plenty of punishment. I will endure hangovers, brain damage, and strange burn marks on my ass that I don't remember getting after blacking out at a rave in Miami. That's how dedicated I am. Now it's easier for me in some respects because sometimes pain gives me a boner. But what I just did is nowhere near as enjoyable as paying a couple of strippers to bite my nipple and choke me while I touch myself. Since I know some fans would be clamoring for it, I sucked it up and did it. I saw X-men: Days of Futures Past.

Now I had planned to see this movie at some point, preferably when it came out on cable so I could go to the bathroom during commercial breaks and throw up when I needed. But I decided to just bite the bullet, sneak some whiskey into a movie theater, and saw the movie so that I can at least give the impression that I know what the fuck I'm talking about when I discuss it. Sure, I left drunk, but I also left with a full assessment of this movie that was supposed to give the X-men movies a fresh start.

Let's start by getting one thing out of the way. X-men: Days of Futures Past is NOT as awful as X3 or Wolverine Origins or The Wolverine. But again, that's like saying punch in the jaw feels better than a kick in the balls. The bar for quality in the X-men movies has been set so fucking low that Homer Simpson has the athletic ability to jump it. So making a movie that didn't make fans want to violently shit out their intestines through their eye sockets wasn't very hard. However, that doesn't mean it was worth massaging Bryan Singer's ego.

Because that's really the impression I got when I saw this movie. X-men: Days of Futures Past was all about ego. There's a very salient scene that was blatantly spoiled in a trailer where Xavier and Magneto have this little exchange:

Xavier: You took the things that meant most to me.

Magneto: Well maybe you should have fought harder for them.

Then Magneto fucks up the plane to make his point, which is a pretty effective way to win an argument. But when I saw this, I got the sense that this same conversation happened at some point behind the scene.

Bryan Singer: You destroyed something that meant so much to me.

Brett Ratner: Well maybe you should have fought harder for it.

That really is what this is about. Singer himself stated outright that this movie was meant to fix the steaming mountain of shit that Brett Ratner created when he spewed out X3 through his colon. But let us not forget the context of that epic tragedy. Singer is the one that ditched the X-men movies. Ratner was just the dipshit Fox hired to try and replace him. Singer put Ratner in a position to desecrate his own mountains of shit and for what? So he could make a movie that turned Superman into a fucking deadbeat dad? I'm sorry, Mr. Singer, but you have nobody to blame but yourself for this shit.

And that is very much the same situation that Charles Xavier finds himself in. He just fucking up and quit, turning into a burned out Saturday Night Fever wannabe after he lost his team and his students. And it wasn't like Magneto took them from him. They all got drafted into the Vietnam War because back in the 60s and 70s, public lynchings of minorities were less tolerated so the the government did the next best thing and sent their asses to war. Yes, it's a dick move. But it's an even bigger dick move to not do dick about it.

It's only when Xavier and the rest of the surviving X-men in the dystopian world of 2023 concoct the plan to send Wolverine back to the past to give his younger self a good kick in the ass. This in and of itself reeks of the same bullshit that made X3 such an infuriating subject for drunken X-men fans. In the same way Wolverine was forced into the main role that Cyclops should have had in X3, Wolverine is forced into the main role that Kitty Pryde should have had in X-men Days of Futures Past. At the very least, this time Kitty Pryde still plays a significant role. Unfortunately, she plays the role Rachel Grey should've played, but that's to be expected since Rachel Grey's parents were fucking killed. So from the beginning, this movie walks the same shit-stained path of X3.

However, it doesn't stay on that path. X-men Days of Futures Past actually relies less on shitty action and more on actual plot. There is a greater emphasis on making character moments that actually bring out a little emotion. The problem is those emotions still ring hollow. At no point in this movie does it make anyone forget just how badly the previous X-men movies were fucked. These emotions feel like nothing more than teases, like a stripper only pretending to take her top off. They never feel totally sincere.

That's not to say there isn't a concerted effort, but they leave me more confused than touched. Like why the fuck would Mystique get all weepy and teary-eyed over the deaths of Emma Frost, Azazel, or Banshee? There was absolutely no material in this movie or in X-men First Class to establish that she gave more than a partial fuck about them. I understand that they're all mutants and they're all supposed to be one big happy mutant brotherhood, but it's hard to take those emotions seriously when we have to just assume that Mystique, a character who has given fewer fucks than anyone in the X-men comics for the past decade, was actually really close to her teammates.

That's another thing that made me wish I snuck in another bottle of whiskey into the theater. A lot of the characters from X-men First Class were dead before this movie even began. Apparently, they had all been captured and subject to Nazi style torture by Bolivar Trask. No flashbacks. No teaser scene. They're all just dead and that's supposed to be what sets Mystique on the path to killing Trask, which somehow ushers in the dark and dangerous future that needs to be undone.

And that's yet another thing. Mystique is supposed to have killed Trask in 1973. And somehow THIS was supposed to be the trigger point. Yet in that time, the events of X1, X2, and X3 were able to transpire. Xavier said it himself. Trask's death is what kickstarted the Sentinel program. Yet his X-men, with all their power, did absolutely jack shit about it in all that time. The X-men are many things, but they're not nearly as inept as the fucking government. It lacks so many details, the least of which involves Bolivar Trask being alive and black in X2. Those are details that can be ignored in some circumstances, but this movie is trying to squeeze itself into the same universe as every other X-men movie. And therein lies the biggest flaw of X-men Days of Futures Past.

In Singer's effort to save his baby and his ego, he forgets that there are a fuckton of inconsistencies that should've made X-men First Class a reboot from the get go. 

First off, why the fuck is Bolivar Trask in X2, black, and not dead?

Second, how the fuck did Xavier and Magneto team up in X3 to recruit a young Jean Grey when they were clearly mortal enemies?

Third, how was Xavier able to walk when he met a young Jean Grey in X3 and still wield his telepathic powers when this movie established that so long as he took this drug to treat his legs, he couldn't use his telepathy?

Fourth, how is it that Xavier and Beast developed a serum that effectively suppressed their powers back in fucking 1973, yet they claimed they couldn't help mutants like Rogue or Cyclops, who couldn't control their powers?

Fifth, if a cure for mutant powers was developed that long ago, why the fuck was it such a big deal in X3?

Sixth, if Emma Frost is dead, then who the fuck was that same diamond-skinned woman in Wolverine Origins?

Seventh, if the Sentinels had working models as far back as 1973, why the fuck didn't they ever show up sooner? William Stryker knew about them. Yet he didn't bother using them when he attacked the X-men in X2?

Eighth, after Magneto demonstrates his power by taking an entire fucking football stadium and plop it down around the White House, how is it that Richard fucking Nixon, of all Presidents, basically shrugs his shoulders when Mystique decides to stop him? This is Richard Nixon, the man who began the drug war and spied on anyone who he couldn't make his bitch. Yet he's not paranoid enough to come up with some insane weapon to stop mutants like Magneto?

I could go on. There are so many inconsistencies in this movie that the idea that it takes place int he same universe as the other X-men movies makes no fucking sense, no matter how much LSD or weed anyone ingests. The only thing that can be said about this movie is that it did succeed in one important way. It completely undid the events of every other X-men movie, from X1 to The Wolverine. None of that shit happened. In the end, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Professor Xavier are alive. Rogue is still at the school and not swapping spit with Iceman, hinting that her powers aren't cured. The Xavier Institute is still intact and Wolverine didn't turn into a complete fucking pussy by ditching the team to run off and hump Mariko Yashida. I admit this did make the movie feel satisfying. All these other X-men movies that I hated with the passion of a billion lit farts have officially been nullified. However, the same problems still persist.

Characters like Rogue are still horribly underdeveloped and utterly different from their entire history in the comics. Cyclops is still just the pretty boy who acts as an obstacle to Wolverine humping whoever he wants to hump at the moment. Jean Grey is still this passionless, dead-eyed barbie doll that exists only to turn Wolverine into Edward Cullen. Storm still lacks the grace and charisma that she's supposed to have because it doesn't jive with Halle Barry's acting style. And since Singer is staying on board, there's no reason to believe this shit will change, even with the complete reboot that this movie created.

So what more can I say about X-men: Days of Futures Past that I can't say while sober? In terms of comic book movies, this one has to be graded on a reverse curve because every other X-men movie sucks so horribly that it's impossible to compare it to other movies like the Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But it did at least attempt to catch up to the new, refined style of comic book movies by undoing the shitty movies that came before it. 

However, it tried way too fucking hard to make X-men First Class fit into the same world. It would have been much easier and opened so many new doors to just say, "Fuck it, X-men First Class is a reboot." But Singer just had to undo the shit that fucked up his precious X2. I can't give this movie too high or too low a score in that respect. Right now, I'll give it a 5 out of 10 because while it still sucked when it came to details, it did succeed in what it was supposed to do. Now we can all just cheer that X3, Wolverine Origins, and The Wolverine officially didn't happen. Then we can look forward to Singer fucking up this new timeline. For that, I'm going to need way more whiskey when I go into the theaters to see X-men: Apocalypse. Nuff said!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #4

Being different for the sake of being different is the worst reason for being different, despite what Lady Gaga may preach. I get that whenever a new creative team comes on a book, they want to leave their mark and give it their own unique touch. But that shouldn’t involve throwing out the shit that worked and replacing it with the shit that doesn’t. Wolverine and the X-men was initially established as a fun, light-hearted, Fast Times at Ridgemont High type spirit, minus the stoners. It had the X-men acting as both heroes and staff, trying to keep their teenage mutant student body from blowing everything up. Sure, they failed miserably at times, but that didn’t make their escapades any less entertaining. Now in wake of this relaunch, Wolverine and the X-men has taken on a different tone. It lacks the humor, spirit, and tone of the previous volume, exchanging it instead for Kid Omega being an ass and Wolverine ditching most of the staff. That’s like trading a Porsche for a Kia. It still does the same job, but not with the same style. The lack of made Wolverine and the X-men much harder to get excited about, even with the aid of awesome weed. But it hasn’t gone completely in the shitter. It has created a conflict in the Phoenix Corporation that stems directly from the events of X-men Battle of the Atom and Avengers vs. X-men. It just hasn’t done so with style. It’s like Joan Rivers modeling lingerie. It’s the wrong kind of presentation. Wolverine and the X-men #4 is supposed to make that lingerie more appealing, but it can only be so hot if it lacks style. Unless it involves Seth Rogan, that approach can only work so well.

Now nobody can ever say Kid Omega looked good in lingerie, but he is very much a central figure to this arc. He’s the one the Phoenix Corporation targeted and if X-men: Battle of the Atom wasn’t some elaborate LSD-induced hallucination, he’ll also be the future bearer of the Phoenix Force. But he didn’t really care for what the Phoenix Corporation was offering. Even their sexy nuns didn’t do it for him. Usually sexy women will get a teenage boy to give himself a colonoscopy, but not for Kid Omega. He either has really unreasonable standards or the Phoenix Corporation just has the world’s shittiest salespeople.

But thanks to Wolverine and Storm, Kid Omega managed to escape. And somehow he found his way to the secret location to the New Xavier School. It’s not even hinted at how he found this location. I’m pretty sure if he really knew where it was, he would have told Wolverine just so he could jerk off while he and Cyclops beat the shit out of each other. Instead of an explanation, we get to see Kid Omega attacking the O5 X-men and some of the students at the New Xavier School. It’s makes much less sense, but it’s more entertaining. I’m just amazed Kid Omega didn’t make a dick joke when he encountered Goldballs.

Once he’s done roughing up the male population of the New Xavier School, he turns his attention to X-23 and O5 Jean Grey. Here, he reveals that he’s still a teenage boy. The sexy nuns offered by the Phoenix Corporation didn’t do it for him. But X-23 and O5 Jean Grey sure did. Rather than fight them, he does the next best thing and puts on the kind of charm that only a creepy omega level psychic could manage. While it may be creepy, it works. I guess it’s easy to attract women when a little omega level telepathy is applied. It’s tantamount to cheating, but there isn’t a straight teenage boy on the planet who wouldn’t use it. I still have no respect for Kid Omega as a person, but I will say the kid has standards.

Unfortunately for him, he’s not the only powerful psychic at the New Xavier School. He also grossly underestimates his ability to psychically charm pretty girls. The Stepford Cuckoos prove that when they reveal that the O5 Jean Grey he thinks he’s about to cop a feel with is actually just an illusion. X-23 and O5 Jean Grey have too much self-respect and too weak a stomach to give let Kid Omega do anything other than leer. It’s so creepy that one of the Cuckoos claims she’s now a lesbian. I’m sure Kid Omega will still consider that a win.

While Kid Omega is all style and fake substance, Faithful John is the exact opposite. He was by far the most interesting character of the previous issue. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s a powerful telepath, and he’s rocking an epic ZZ-Top style beard. What’s not to love? Well, he is attacking the students of the Jean Grey Institute with the intent of killing Genesis. I said he was interesting. I never said he was Mother Theresa. But he’s not just doing it for shits and giggles, although I suspect that is part of it. He has seen the future and he has shared those visions with others. In that future, Genesis becomes Apocalypse and really fucks things up. So he’s willing to take a page right out of Skynet’s playbook from Terminator and fix the problem before Apocalypse gets all Apocalyptic.

And to accomplish this, he fights smarter rather than harder. It’s a lesson he knows most teenagers have yet to wrap their head around, along with how to cook anything that doesn’t involve a microwave. Having just showed the students what happens with Genesis, some actually side with him. Hellion is one of them. He attacks Rockslide and Idie, allowing Faithful John to concentrate on more pressing matters. He’s like a sadistic gym teacher, turning teenagers on one another so he can just sit back and enjoy the show. It’s cruel, but I know from experience how well it works so I’m not going to knock him for it. I’m just going to redirect my resentment towards my old gym teacher.

Wolverine and Storm could probably learn a thing or two from Faithful John’s tactics. They rely more on just plain fighting rather than fighting smart. It still works to some extent. They’re able to fight off the Phoenix Corporation’s Hydra-wannabes. But being able to defeat anything remotely akin to Hydra is like Derek Jeter winning a game of T-ball against 8-year-olds. It’s not a fair fight, but that’s not the point. While Storm favors returning to the Jean Grey School to protect their students, Wolverine opts to stay behind and confront Eden Younge, the CEO of the Phoenix Corporation and a guy who thinks having sexy nuns as henchmen is vital. Not saying I like the guy, but I do respect his style.

It makes for a nice moment between Storm and Wolverine when there have been painfully few lately. These two are still supposed to be sleeping together, yet they’ve come off about as close as reluctant lab partners for a high school chemistry assignment. It may feel somewhat out-of-place, but it adds some badly needed emotion for these two. Besides, after seeing Kid Omega’s bullshit fantasy about kissing O5 Jean Grey, we need something like this to stop the dry heaves. If I want to see something that sickening, I’ll picture Kathy Bates naked.

The endgame here is tied to two characters: Kid Omega and Genesis. While Kid Omega is looking for answers with Cyclops, Genesis looks for answers with Fantomex. He’s the one responsible for Genesis since he shot his predecessor in the fucking head. He’s been trying everything he can to keep Genesis from becoming Apocalypse, including but not limited to ripping off Superman’s origin story. Yet he’s still a target so Fantomex opts to hide him in The World. It’s another moment that adds a little emotion to the mix. Genesis knows what he is and is still trying to not be the asshole he’s supposed to become. Every teenager foolishly believes at some point that they’re in control of who they are. They don’t know that unless their name ends with Rockefeller, their options are pretty damn limited and downright fucked most of the time. In that sense, I feel somewhat sorry for Genesis, if only because I too was once a teenager who found out the hard way how the future fucks everyone at some point.

The World is still only a temporary refuge because Faithful John is still on a rampage. Thanks to Hellion, he’s able to get into the school. That’s where Armor tries to stop them while employing some of the psychic shielding tactics that she learned, which I imagine is right up there with Sex Ed in terms of vital curricula. But again, Faithful John works smart and not hard. He lets Armor attack him. He lets her believe she has stopped him. And the moment she starts feeling proud of herself, he sends one of the bamfs to take her out. That reminds me a lot about getting my mid-term grades back. The moment I think I do well, I see the grade and feel like I’ve just been assaulted by a demon.

Wolverine fares somewhat better against Eden Younge. He catches up with him just as he’s retrieving what looks like a steak knife that Donald Trump would own. Wolverine gives him a chance to end this without too many claw marks on his ass. He reminds him that he lost Kid Omega and if he fucks up the Jean Grey Institute, he’ll be even less inclined to help the Phoenix Corporation. Eden Younge seems to be on a cosmic level of not giving a shit. He then cuts himself with the blade, releases a Phoenix-level light show, and goes on this confusing rant about how he would do anything to cling to whatever frail hope he has left.

If that sounds confusing as fuck, join the club. I don’t know what kind of hope he’s talking about. If it’s hope that the IRS will stop screwing him over or that Brett Ratner will make a movie that doesn’t suck, he’s shit out of luck. Eden Younge comes off as the kind of guy who just likes to hear himself talk so that he sounds more ominous than he really is. He might as well be an infomercial pitch man. I really have no idea what he’s after or why I should give a fuck. My only hope is that it’s reason enough for Wolverine to stab him to death.

Younge can’t seem to explain who the fuck he is or why the fuck he’s doing any of this. However, Kid Omega has already read his mind and knows what they’re dealing with. He’s apparently a really old fuck from the Conquistador days. He found a miniature version of the Phoenix Blade and somehow that allowed him to be reborn in a way that helped him form his own cult. Since Jesus established that being reborn is the key starting a new religion, Younge had everything he needed. I still don’t know what the fuck he’s after, other than pissing off the X-men and toying with cosmic forces. Either he just got bored being a cult leader or he did it really fucking wrong

But Eden Younge takes a backseat to a much more meaningful conversation between Cyclops and Kid Omega. I know it’s a strange notion, having any kind of meaningful conversation with Kid Omega. But Cyclops is in a great position to help him because he has plenty of direct experience with the Phoenix Force. He didn’t just wield it, he married the girl that wielded it best. He doesn’t tell Kid Omega what he wants to hear, like most school counselors do with teenagers. He tells him that all that power really did go to his head, even though he tried to convince himself that it didn’t. It’s probably the most productive conversation a teacher has ever had with a teenage boy that didn’t involve condom usage. And despite what the Hank McCoys of the world would have us believe, Cyclops is still very good at reaching young and confused mutants.

Maybe he should’ve had a similar pep talk with Genesis sooner because his time is running out. Having effectively pwned the entire student body of the Jean Grey Institute with the same effort I put into making my Hot Pockets, Faithful John has nothing standing in his way from taking down Genesis. One of his mind-controlled bamfs locates The World where Genesis is hiding. However, Fantomex has finally decided to get off his ass and actually help. He stood by and let some creepy old guy beat up the a bunch of inexperienced students. He’s a douche, that much hasn’t changed. But he’s still ready to protect Genesis. Only one person should have to kill a kid. It’ll either be a creepy old psychic or a masked French douchebag. If I were in Genesis’s shoes, I would be very conflicted.

Going back to my lingerie analogy, I’m willing to say this issue made the overall concept of this series just a little more sexier. The Phoenix Corporation still has a business plan that’s more lacking than the last Keanu Reeves movie, but the battle against Faithful John and Kid Omega’s pep talk with Cyclops really added some badly needed dimensions to the story. For once, we got a big picture perspective of the Phoenix Force and other great powers like it. Cyclops, while lacking in credibility, gives Kid Omega some insight he won’t get from anyone else. And Faithful John continues to show that he has more personality than most of the students at the Jean Grey Institute. The battle that began way back in Uncanny X-Force continues and there’s a genuine struggle here with Genesis and the Phoenix. Storm and Wolverine aren’t able to accomplish much other than maybe sneak in a quickie before the next battle. But everything else in the story progressed in a way that makes the lingerie feel just a bit more appropriate. It’s still not a thong on Jennifer Lopez’s ass or a bra on Pamela Anderson’s tits, but it gets the job done. My penis and I agree. Wolverine and the X-men #4 gets a 7 out of 10. It’s not far off from being awesome and if it can continue this momentum, then my penis and I will have even more to agree on. Nuff said!