Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Storm #1


It’s an exciting time to be a minority in America and a shitty time to be a Fox News pundit. Against the wishes of uptight religious zealots and incontinent old white people, minorities are making progress. Some of it has shown in comics recently. Marvel celebrated its first gay wedding a few years ago. It has a black/hispanic Spider-Man and soon, there will be a black Captain America to go along with a female Muslim Ms. Marvel. I can already hear Glenn Beck bitching and moaning about it and it’s a beautiful thing. But with all these new developments, it’s easy to miss that Storm has been pissing off these uptight, racist, misogynistic assholes for decades. She is one of the most prominent characters in all of X-men. She’s a leader, a lover, a friend, and a badass weather goddess that nobody dares piss off. Yet she has rarely had her own solo series to call her own. Meanwhile, Wolverine has had a fuckton of solos where his biggest contributions to minority relations is boning foreign women. Now as Marvel finding out that there is a market for badass women, it has decided to give Storm another shot at a solo series. I want to applaud this move, but then I realize it’s fucking 2014 and this is one of those things that should’ve happened a couple decades ago. But since I was high as fuck for most of the 90s, I’ll look past it and embrace Storm #1 as yet another sign that the Fox News crowd are losing.

It seems everything Storm does is an affront to everything Rush Limbaugh stands for. She casually flies into a poor foreign country wearing clothes that show off her beauty. She does so with a grace and power that would make every man’s balls shrink in shame. And she arrives with the intent to stop a natural disaster that would irreparably harm dozens of innocent people utilizing a special power that only she wields. She couldn’t possibly be more opposed to right-wing assholes without including free birth control. What makes it all the more awesome is that there’s a nice string of inner monologue offering insight into how she wields this power over the elements and how she perceives herself. She acknowledges that she has been a goddess in the eyes of many, but that doesn’t stop her from maintaining her humility. I think that’s her subtle way of saying, “Kiss my ass, Zeus!”


She then proves that she’s capable of utilizing her god-like powers to do more than just seduce mortals and churn out illegitimate demigods. In a display that would probably make Greenpeace cry tears of joy, she single-handedly diverts an incoming tsunami. She doesn’t do it with creative engineering or rapid evacuations either. She does it with fucking tornados. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. And the villagers share my sentiment. As they watch her save their village and their lives, one of them even smiles and greets her.

It makes for a beautiful moment with the girl. After the tsunami is diverted and the village is saved, the little girl runs up to Storm and hugs her. But unlike every other god or goddess in the history of the world, she actually responds. She doesn’t even demand that she sacrifice a chicken. She just does this because she has the power and it’s the right thing to do. What a fucking concept, right? The whole village cheers her. I doubt any of the other gods they had ever worshipped ever did something like this and took the time to pose for pictures as well. It shows just how inadequate our gods truly are, but I don’t mind in the slightest because Storm makes it look so damn awesome.


This could have been the most awesome religious moment that Mel Gibson didn’t profit from, but like the Richard Dawkins of the world, a cold dose of reality ruins the moment. This time it comes in the form of some asshole in a uniform with a big gun claiming this place, which is apparently called Santo Marco, has a strict no-mutant policy in the same way that Uganda has a strict no-gays policy. It’s a real dick move to someone who just saved hundreds of lives. It would be like telling a doctor who just performed life-saving surgery on a thousand orphans to piss off, but that’s exactly what he does. Storm could have easily gotten Old Testament on his ass, but she chose not to because she’s not that kind of goddess. For her, fire and brimstone is so 18th century.


Storm returns to the Jean Grey Institute with her head held high and why not? She saved so many innocent lives and did a great thing for the world. It would take a monumental douche to not let her take the time to appreciate that. Unfortunately, the Jean Grey Institute still employs Hank McCoy. He just has to prematurely end her good mood, but not because she was rude to the asshole with the big fucking guns. One of their students is acting up. Considering how many teenagers attend the Jean Grey Institute, that’s like telling her that a skunk’s rotting corpse smells terrible. However, one student in particular is causing trouble and for once it isn’t Kid Omega. And since Wolverine isn’t around to solve the problems with his claws, he needs Storm’s help. I guess if anyone is going to deal with the shit storm of a teenager, it might as well be a goddess like Storm.


The teenager in question is a girl named Creep and she’s as much of a bitch as her name implies. Her powers involve turning everywhere she goes into a swamp, which sounds about as useful as body odor on date. And for some reason, she’s not fitting in at the Jean Grey Institute. I guess making everyone feel like they’re in a fucking swamp isn’t a good way to make friends. Storm tries to go from goddess to counselor, as she often has to do, but this is where it gets a little more personal and not in the ways that would make a good article in Hustler.

Creep goes off on this rant that puts into question the entire premise of the Jean Grey Institute. She claims they just take in mutants and indoctrinate them into this whole X-men ideology the way Rick Santorum wishes schools would do for his fucked up ideology. She calls out Storm for basically just being part of the X-men’s mission and not practicing what Xavier preached with respect to using their powers. She’s not entirely wrong either, although she does sound like she’s just bitching and pissed off. Normally, having a heated argument with Storm is a good way to get a few dozen lightning bolts up the ass, but when that argument has some merit, she will listen. It’s yet another quality that makes her better than any other god or goddess ever worshipped.


She actually takes Creep’s criticisms seriously and in an act that no god or politician ever dreams of doing, she actually decides to change it. So despite running the risk of pissing off some warlord who uses captured prisoners for target practice, Storm returns to Santo Marco and helps them clean up the damage done by the tsunami. Naturally, they’re all overjoyed to see her. And this time, she doesn’t just rely on her powers to make people want to worship her. She actually gets her hands dirty, picking up garbage and helping to rebuild homes. The idea of any god or goddess getting their hands dirty when they can be off starting wars or inspiring suicide bombers sounds so outrageous, but it shouldn’t be. And that’s the biggest impact of this story.

At times, Storm has been a stern leader who will inspire anyone to spit in the devil’s face and oppose any asshole who gets in her way. At times, she has been a loving caretaker that everyone turns to when they need a good hug and a pep talk, assuming Wolverine’s method of applying whisky and profanity to every problem doesn’t work for everyone. For a time, she was even a queen, even though it required a bullshit marriage that couldn’t end fast enough. But this story shows that at her heart, Storm is a just an overall loving, caring person that seeks to do the right thing for the right reasons. Again, that shouldn’t sound so outrageous, but in this age of fallen heroes and pissed off anti-heroes, it might as well be as revolutionary as it is awesome.


As expected, someone eventually comes along to put a stop to all this compassion and charity. For once, it isn’t Hank McCoy. The same asshole from earlier who kicked Storm out of the country because she happened to be a mutant wants her to leave again. And just because he has a death wish, he demands that everyone in the village leave to in order to make room for some fancy resort for rich people. For some reason, Storm has a big problem with that. And instead of respecting shady business deals and bullshit politics, she decides to kick their asses. An army of thugs versus a fucking weather goddess? That sounds about as fair as it needs to be. She already stopped a natural disaster and saved hundreds of lives. She might as well save more lives by beating the shit out of armed thugs in the process, as if she hasn’t proven herself to be awesome enough.


Her deeds should be celebrated. Of course, Beast finds a way to be annoyed by it because he has to deal with the authority figures bitching and moaning about how anyone could have the audacity to protect innocent people. He’s got his work cut out for him, but the rest of the X-men approve of her badass approach to helping the poor and needy. Even Creep, the girl who whined at her earlier is impressed. It’s probably not going to go over well with the Ugandas of the world. They’ll probably use this as an excuse to make even harsher anti-mutant laws and they’ll probably have the full support of the Pat Robertsons of the world, but that won’t stop Storm from being badass on a divine level. And if Beast doesn’t like it, he can kiss her ass.


And she’s still not done being awesome. After returning to the Jean Grey Institute again, she confronts Creep and admits something no god or goddess has ever admitted before: she has a valid point. Creep clearly isn’t fitting in. She doesn’t belong at the Jean Grey Institute. She wants to go back home to her family and Storm gladly escorts her. If at this point the gods anyone else worship don’t seem like assholes by comparison, I don’t know what more Storm can do without ending world hunger or erasing every season of the Jersey Shore from public memory. She’s not just a goddess. She’s a compassionate, badass X-man capable of being awesome on a truly divine level.


There aren’t a lot of people or things in this world I think are worthy of worship that don’t involve efficient means of delivering alcohol and weed into my blood stream, but I would put Storm right up there with Jack Daniels in terms of figures worthy of worship. This whole issue is a testament to why she’s not just one of the greatest X-men of all time, she’s a damn fine human being capable of the kind of compassion that would make Ayan Rand shit herself. She has the power and grace of a goddess, but wields the humility and heart of a thousand Mother Theresas. What other god, fictional or otherwise, warrants that kind of worship? And like some gods that demand a goat sacrifice just to stave off plagues, Storm doesn’t demand worship. She just sees suffering in the world and uses her powers to heal it. On top of it all, she has a great ass. That makes her a true goddess in every sense of the word. Storm #1 gets a divine 10 out of 10. Now I know I’m going to offend a lot of religious people by saying this, but it needs to be said. Compared to Storm, the gods of every other major religion suck. Not because of their power or how many adherents they have, but because Storm actually earns the right to be called a goddess and she does it while looking sexy as hell. Nuff said!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #6


Anyone who has ever been in a bar fight knows that at some point, everybody forgets what they’re fighting about and who deserves to have their ass kicked the most. This usually happens after the first three punches or after someone runs out of blow, whichever comes first. That doesn’t keep the bar fight from being epic. It just makes it more chaotic. In Wolverine and the X-men, it’s not quite as chaotic, but it is somewhat unclear on who we should be rooting for. Wolverine and Storm are trying to protect Genesis, who may or may not be destined to become Apocalypse, and the Phoenix Corporation is trying to prepare Kid Omega to take him down, which may or may not be a bad thing because death by Phoenix Force is just as shitty as death by Apocalypse. Some of this uncertainty stems from throwing yet more time travel into the story, which at this point is like asking for more explosions in a Michael Bay movie. It has long passed the point of absurdity, but that hasn’t kept the story from being engaging and compelling. There promises to be more time travel to help clear up who we should be rooting for. Even though I feel like punching Marty McFly in the balls, I’ll suck it up and try to enjoy the prospect of an Apocalypse/Phoenix battle in Wolverine and the X-men #6. In the same way some drinks are worth the hangover, some stories are worth the frustration.

I take some comfort in the knowledge that Idie probably shares my frustration. She boldly followed Kid Omega into the future only to find out that his adult self is just as much an asshole as his teenage self. There are reasons most people find it frustrating to deal with teenagers, which gives them plenty of incentive to grow out of it. That didn’t happen with Kid Omega. And the reason it didn’t happen had nothing to do with him being an inherent douche-bag. It was because of fucking time travel. Doc Brown and Doctor Who are probably banging their heads against the wall now because when Kid Omega saw his future self in X-men: Battle of the Atom, he decided he wanted to change himself because wielding the power of the Phoenix Force just wasn’t enough for him. Sadly, he succeeded and in this case, success means he loses his shit and decides to go Dark Phoenix. If it makes no sense, even after a few bong hits, then don’t freak out and go running to the DEA. This is a teenage douche-bag trying to tweak with things he doesn’t understand. He might as well be an Amish toddler trying to wire a supercomputer. It’s bound to get fucked up, albeit in a confusing way.



Not surprisingly, things are much less confusing back in the present. Faithful John, who became the most likable guy to attack the Jean Grey Institute in years, was finally subdued in the previous issue when he made the stupid mistake of pissing off Storm too much. He managed to get his ass shocked by enough lightning to give Larry King an erection, leaving him more burned out than Lindsey Lohan after a weekend in Las Vegas. But he’s not dead and his mind is still going strong.

So he figures if he can’t snap Genesis’ neck, he might as well make him want to snap his own neck. That’s the power of telepathy. And since Genesis is now hiding in Fantomex’s miniature version of Abu Grab, he’s got plenty to work with. It promises to be a pretty epic battle and Genesis stands ready to fight, even throwing in some Richard Sherman style trash talk. Faithful John has gone to all this trouble to kill him. It would be a shame if he didn’t make an epic effort to get the job done. He’s like the antithesis of Congress.


Sadly, we don’t get to see that struggle. Instead, the story goes back to the future to give me even more reasons to punch Marty McFly in the balls. That story just involves Idie and Kid Omega confronting Kid Omega Phoenix, who has decided to finally take a cosmic shit on the Jean Grey Institute and even rough up a horribly aged Wolverine. Hell, this sounds like the kind of shit he would do without the aid of time travel, but he has to make it more inane by trying to justify why he’s being such a dick.

This involves a horribly underdeveloped explanation as to how Genesis eventually became Apocalypse. Apparently, treating him like shit when he’s a teenager gives him plenty of incentive to become apocalyptic. He became powerful, only Kid Omega could stop him, and he managed to contain him, but not before he turned Idie into a horsemen. It should have been a heroic triumph that turned Kid Omega from a typical teenage douche-bag with a shitty haircut into a hero. But that just wasn’t enough for him. Even as an adult and armed with the power of the Phoenix Force, he still finds a way to fuck it up.


This is where my frustration with time travel stories turns into a full-blown migraine. Apparently, what fucked up Kid Omega and his future was going back in the past and seeing his past self in X-men: Battle of the Atom. Now I admit I would be pretty disappointed in seeing my teenage self again, but Kid Omega takes it a step further and does it in a way that makes about as much sense as the first half-hour of Inception. His past self was pissed off by his future self and his future self was pissed off by his past self, which meant his future self had to fuck with the past and manipulate the Phoenix Corporation into revealing more about the future. And at this point, I just grab an empty bottle of whiskey and throw it across the room.

I get that Kid Omega is a dick who isn’t known for doing shit that makes sense, but it doesn’t help when the extent of his dick moves are unrefined. This might just be a product of being way too burned out on time travel stories, but I couldn’t make sense of where the dick moves of the past and future began or how they related to one another. I get the sense the whole point of this inane conversation was to just piss off the Phoenix Force so that we could get another Phoenix battle because apparently, the shitty outcome of Avengers vs. X-men wasn’t enough for some people.


So instead of Genesis battling Faithful John in the World, we get a lot of bitching and moaning between the past and future versions of Kid Omega. That’s like getting a light beer instead of Jack Daniels. That battle, as epic as it might have been, ends before it can even be shown in all its glory. Faithful John ends up being manipulated by Fantomex’s deception powers, leading him to wear himself out while Fantomex and Genesis watch on, trying not to laugh their asses off at him. It’s not a very satisfying battle, but it does make for a nice moment between Fantomex and Genesis about not becoming the monsters they’re destined to be. That’s easy to say when they’re not the ones jumping into the future to see the assholes they become, but I find it hard to hold that against them at this point.


I can’t really say the same for the big battle against Kid Omega Phoenix. Given how poorly the battle against the Phoenix turned out in Avengers vs. X-men, I had a hard time getting too excited about this. It’s the same bullshit as before. Everyone struggles to attack whoever is tripping balls on cosmic power. There are a few emotional moments in between, mostly with Idie and Kid Omega. And someone has to end up making a sacrifice to stop the Phoenix Force. Since Kid Omega is such a dick and does little to make anyone give a shit about him, seeing him prepare to sacrifice himself has no impact. Thankfully, the future avoids getting fucked up even more because adult Kid Omega stops him. But still, at this point it really is hard to give too many fucks.


Eventually, the Phoenix is defeated to the surprise of absolutely no one. And unlike Avengers vs. X-men, there’s no emotional weight to it. Idie just stabs future Kid Omega and that’s pretty much the end of it. Future Wolverine manages to get in a few stabs, but he might as well be an extra on an episode of Star Trek because he really doesn’t do jack shit. I guess when the Phoenix isn’t a pretty redhead, he just can’t get that involved. I want to say that seeing Kid Omega’s future self get his ass kicked is satisfying, but I’m still too damn confused to enjoy it. He had to have known on some levels that he was only going to fuck himself up even more by messing with the past. Surely, as an X-man, he has experienced enough time travel to understand that. But no, he just has to go about it in a way that’s so devoid of depth that the only thing worth focusing on is how shitty his hair looks in the future.


As a result of this vapid plot, the battle against Faithful John ends without much refinement. Thankfully, this breakout character who did so much to endear himself in a way few villains not played by Tom Hiddleston can survives the final battle. He is now a prisoner in The World, which means it’s only a matter of time before he busts out and kicks Fantomex’s ass. That time can’t come soon enough, but for now he’s in the capable hands of Doop. So in that sense, this struggle isn’t a total loss because it isn’t definitively over. Faithful John is still alive and he’s still got a hard-on for killing Genesis. That gives me hope that we’ll see him again and he’ll find new ways to be awesome.


Things finally get back on track in terms of the timeline. Everyone is back where they should be in the space-time continuum. Faithful John may have upset plenty of students, but they seem pretty eager to shrug it off and get back to fooling around in the Danger Room. It’s another case of lacking details, but that’s not to say the events of the story don’t have a major impact. As the Jean Grey Institute staff tries to make sense of this shit, failing miserably in the process, they find out that the Phoenix Corporation had a bit of a power shift. Eden Younge just wasn’t working out and was more forgettable than Ryan Leaf’s football career. So they end up hiring Kid Omega as their new CEO. That’s right. They put Kid Omega in charge of a billion-dollar company. What could possibly go wrong there? Fuck, now I’ve got another migraine, but at least this one doesn’t involve time travel.


Reading the end of this story acted as a reminder/kick in the balls as to why I’m so sick of time travel stories. As if the increasingly convoluted and plotholed Terminator movies hadn’t proved it enough, this story showed just how fucked up time travel stories can become. At the very least, this story helped expand on the future that was first revealed in X-men: Battle of the Atom. The question for me is, did it really need to? Sure, it helped provide insight into why Kid Omega became the Phoenix and how it fucked him up, but we already know from Avengers vs. X-men how the Phoenix Force fucks people up. The story surrounding Genesis, Fantomex, and Faithful John was much more relevant, but took a back seat for most of the story and that felt like a mistake. In the end, this was a time travel story that showed just how fucked up a time travel story can be in wake of events of a previous time travel story. At least Back to the Future had the good sense to include an awesome soundtrack. This issue did a good job of creating new characters and expanding on previous stories, but in the end it felt too damn confusing and incomplete. And for those who don’t read comics sober, that really takes away from the enjoyment. I give Wolverine and the X-men #6 a 6 out of 10. This isn’t a bad story with a bad premise. It just tries to do too damn much and doesn’t do so in a coherent way. It’s like a teenage boy trying to fuck like a porn star on his prom night. He’s only going to make a mess and feel mortified in the end. Nuff said!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Uncharted and Off-Track: X-men #16

The following is my review of X-men #16, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


Even in the era of GPS and Google Maps, it’s easy to get lost. Even if the destination is clear and there have been successful trips before, there’s always a chance of getting off-track and those chances are worse than anyone cares to admit. It usually isn’t the first wrong turn that gets things going in the wrong direction. It’s the fifth, sixth, and tenth turns that changes the situation from merely being off-course to being in another time zone. For the situation surrounding the all-female X-men, it’s hard to know what time zone they’re in, but their watches are clearly not synchronized.

When this new, female-centric X-men series began, the destination for the story was fairly clear. And for the most part, it reached that destination safely on numerous occasions. This series wasn’t just about an all-female team of X-men. It created a unique team dynamic that gave the story a unique context. However, that dynamic has faltered in recent issues and X-men #16 is a culmination of one too many wrong turns and a few too many missed turns. If this story were on a road trip, it would be in the wrong state by now.

Initially, this story was built around one fairly simple conflict. The biological father of Shogo, Jubilee’s adopted son, has returned to claim him. It was a conflict that fit nicely into the overall narrative of the series because it began with Jubilee rescuing Shogo. That conflict might provide a simple foundation, but everything built on top of it lacks structure and refinement, like a gingerbread house that doesn’t have enough frosting. There’s a clear attempt to turn this conflict into something that explores other side-plots going on throughout the all-female team, such as the presence of Storm’s future daughter, Kymera, and the training of younger mutants like Hellion into a more capable team of X-men. While these are plots worth exploring, they end up detracting from the main conflict. At times, it feels like they’re in the wrong X-men comics.

Some of these plots, like Kymera, are appropriate to explore in some respect. There’s just only so much that can be explored while the main focus is supposed to be on rescuing Jubilee and protecting Shogo. Kymera’s foresight into the future should give her and Storm so many things to discuss. Who is her father? Who lives and who dies? Do Cyclops and Wolverine ever mend the Schism? Will Deadpool ever shut up? None of this comes up. Everything is centered around the conflict with Shogo and Jubilee. While this keeps the story focused, it essentially hijacks this unresolved story. It would be like someone having the power to see into the future, but the only thing they use it for is to check the weather for the next football game.

It also doesn’t help that Shogo’s father, who calls himself The Future, doesn’t come off as a character worth hijacking these other plots. He operates under the principle of shoot-random-people-and-wing-it-from-there. He’s supposed to be this extremely dangerous crime lord with access to weapons and personnel that would impress even the Kingpin, but he decides to go about retrieving his son in the most inefficient and messy way possible. There doesn’t appear to be any underlying motivation to his actions or his desire to get Shogo. He gives the impression that he just doesn’t like anyone taking things that belong to him, be it his Sunday newspaper or infant son that he did nothing to protect. He doesn’t even show the slightest affection for his son. He just wants him back because Shogo is his, not because he wants to know the joys of fatherhood.

This further limits the emotional impact of the conflict. The Future is painfully generic as a character and a threat. In addition, the all-female X-men don’t even go about attacking him in a very efficient way. They think they’ve done enough preparation, but when they encounter an exotic defense system that involves turning the vegetation against them. It’s nowhere near as epic as the walking trees in Lord of the Rings and only serves to slow the narrative down even further.


But it isn’t just the slow pace of the story that makes it feel lost and disorganized. Many conversations and actions are just too predictable. Jubilee’s argument with The Future could have been cut and pasted from an old Superfriends cartoon. The Future plays into every villainous stereotype, making no effort whatsoever to create any sense of depth. All Jubilee can do is give a typical Braveheart style speech, minus the painted face and mooning. It doesn’t create any strong emotions. It doesn’t create any tension either. It’s might as well be an excuse to get the X-men out of the Jean Grey Institute and fight something besides killer robots and resurrected enemies.

That’s not to say the conflict is without merit. While the plot might be slow and the dialog might be forgettable, the story never loses sight of the main theme of the story. The focus is still on the X-men fighting to retain custody of Shogo. It’s a conflict that offered plenty of reasons for excitement in the beginning. But as this story drags, the excitement wanes. That doesn’t make the conflict any less meaningful. Jubilee has undergone numerous conflicts in adopting Shogo as her son. Many of those conflicts have made for some of the most compelling stories in this series, but this one is just poorly developed and poorly organized.

The details might be lacking, but nobody gets mischaracterized and nobody does anything that completely undermines their established personality. X-men #16 certainly feels like an X-men comic, albeit a very disorganized and underwhelming X-men comics, but it doesn’t feel like the same X-men comic that had been built around this powerful, all-female cast. Like hippie protesters, it tries to do too much and only ends up next to nothing.

Final Score: 4 out of 10

Friday, July 18, 2014

All-New X-men #30 Preview - Romance or Fling?

I know I don’t come off as much of a romantic. My ex-girlfriends, my therapists, and most of my former pets will say that the most romantic I’ll ever get occurs around a bottle of Jack Daniels and a plate of bacon. But I do consider myself a romantic at heart. I enjoy that warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I see a good love story develop, be it in comics, real life, or a porno. It’s true, porn can be romantic if done correctly (and with the proper application of lube). But a good, well-developed love story is like a perfectly tender steak. It’s delicious as hell, but difficult to cook.

There have been many relationships developed in comics that have been epic love stories, but there have been many more that are built solely on the shaky foundation of WTF. I’ve gone on many drunken rants on numerous relationships on this blog from Cyclops/Emma and Jean/Wolverine to Superman/Wonder Woman and Wolverine/Storm. I don’t doubt that my rants are about as romantic as a prostate exam at times, but I feel there is merit when I say that most comic book relationships are hit-or-miss with far more misses. If it were a baseball player, they would be selling insurance in Alaska by now.

That said, Brian Michael Bendis has a solid track record when it comes to developing relationships. He has shown a rare talent to take established relationships like Peter/Mary Jane and novel relationships like Peter/Kitty Pryde and make them feel epic. This skill has translated nicely into All-New X-men with the way he has handled relationships like O5 Cyclops/O5 Jean Grey. However, he has had his share of misses, as anyone who read All-New X-men #15 can attest. And for a time, it looked like he was going to take another shot with O5 Cyclops and X-23 in All-New X-men #20. That didn’t pan out because O5 Cyclops felt that spending more time with his badass space pirate father was more important than hooking up with some hot teenage girl. I’m not sure which should take priority so I’m going to call that a push. But now Bendis is looking to try again, this time with O5 Angel and X-23.

Now when it comes to comic book romances, I’m of the opinion that they can all be made to work if done right. Some are just way harder than others. There really aren’t many universes where a relationship between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike doesn’t end in a blood-soaked disaster. But O5 Angel and X-23 is one of those ideas that can either overdose on WTF or trigger a massive onslaught of boners. On the surface, it’s not that outrageous. It’s the circumstances that have the WTF. And in an unlettered preview released by CBR, we get our first glimpse of just how far Bendis plans to take this. From the looks of it, he’s going to piss off every abstinence advocate in the state of Texas.


• Past, present and future collide as the Future Brotherhood exacts their final judgment on the All-New X-Men.
 
• Plus, Angel takes control!


So in the span of 10 issues, X-23 goes from swapping spit with O5 Cyclops on the cover to swapping spit with O5 Angel. Granted, she never actually kissed O5 Cyclops. All they really did was hug. They never hit up a club, went on a date, or tried to cop a feel. They really didn’t get a chance because O5 Cyclops left before that could happen. But with O5 Angel, X-23 is jumping at the chance. They’re actually going out and doing the kinds of things that make televangelists cry. On the surface, this isn’t all that fucked up. They’re teenagers for crying out loud. It’s the characterization that will probably piss a lot of fans off.

Not long ago, X-23 was pretty fucked up and pretty traumatized. Now, after she recently got finished stabbing Xavier Jr. in the back, she’s hooking up with some guy she barely knows. For most teenage girls, that’s not too crazy. Hell, that’s the opposite of crazy. But X-23 isn’t normal. She does not have Taylor Swift’s history of going from guy to guy. Now she’s not just clubbing with a guy, acting way more normal than she really is. She’s getting cozy with someone who really has no fucking clue how to relate to her.

This is my main issue. Unlike O5 Cyclops, O5 Angel really doesn’t have much in common with X-23. He’s rich as fuck, never lost anyone, and doesn’t know much about hardship. Not only that, he’s been a total fucking pussy at times in this series. He’s the one that tried to go back to the past when he was outvoted. X-23 is one of the most badass characters in Marvel who doesn’t pack a big ass gun. Now she’s hooking up with this guy? It would be like Axel Rose hooking up with Carrie Underwood.

That’s not to say it can’t work. I think it’s kind of cute how things pan out. X-23 isn’t completely OOC. She gets into a fight at a club and rips a guy’s nipple ring off. That sounds like the kind of shit she does every Thursday night. But how romantic does it really get here? This is one of those developments that could either become what Peter/Kitty Pryde was in Ultimate or it could just be a brief fling like Wolverine seems to have with Domino every once in a while. It could go any number of ways and I’m sure X-23 fans will find some reason to be really pissed about it, not that I blame them either. But I’m willing to just grab a joint and a bottle of whiskey, kick back, and take a wait-and-see approach before I deem this new romance worthy of jerking off to. Nuff said!

X-men Supreme Issue 99: Escaping Destiny is LIVE! and Pic Updates


When I began planning X-men Supreme, I did so with the understanding that certain characters inspire a certain level of passion amongst fans. X-men has many diverse characters that resonate with many diverse fans. Some of these characters are their own fandom in and of themselves and satisfying such fans in this fanfiction series is very challenging. That meant that I had to put a great deal of care into how I was going to develop these characters, especially if that meant retooling their history. For some characters, their history isn’t really that different from the comics. Professor Charles Xavier, Cyclops, and Beast are among those whom I’ve kept fairly consistent with the comics. But others such as Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Thunderbird have undergone significant changes, undergoing shifts that make them more unique to X-men Supreme. Well now I’m going to explore more changes with a character that inspires a special set of fans in Emma Frost.

I introduced Emma Frost to the X-men Supreme fanfiction series during The Phoenix Saga. I’ve already briefly explored her history. Like the comics, she comes from a wealthy family, she once worked at the Hellfire Club as a stripper, and she uses her business savvy skills to run her own company. But unlike the comics, she never became a full-fledged member of the Inner Circle. She also joined the X-men for a time, where she became Cyclops’s first lover. However, there are many questions left unanswered about Emma Frost in X-men Supreme because she didn’t stick around after the events of The Phoenix Saga. But there’s a good reason for that and that reason is about to become much clearer.

In this issue of X-men Supreme, we catch up with Emma Frost and find out what she has been up to since the events of The Phoenix Saga. I’ve already hinted in previous issues that she has been working on redeeming herself in the eyes of her former team. She also has her own plans that she has been pursuing while the X-men have been busy establishing a fragile peace with Genosha. Now those plans are entering a very sensitive, and very personal, phase. The Emma Frost of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series has her own unique story to tell and the heart of that story begins here.

X-men Supreme Issue 99: Escaping Destiny

And since this issue will be exploring Emma Frost so extensively in the context of X-men Supreme, it's only fitting that she be the subject of an overdue pic update. I'm always on the lookout for quality artwork of my favorite female X-men. Emma Frost has always been the most photogenic. So to commemorate this issue, I've updated the pics section for Emma Frost and Jean Grey/Phoenix. If anyone wishes to contribute something else, please contact me.

Emma Frost Pics

Jean Grey Pics

Phoenix Pics

I understand, as the writers and editors of Marvel Comics understand, that it’s impossible to please every fan. With X-men Supreme, I am making a concerted effort to give fans of every character something they’ll find satisfying. This issue and the arc it leads into will reveal the depths of Emma Frost’s character in this fanfiction series. Emma has a unique personality that is all her own and I want to do that personality justice. As always, I’m deeply interested in knowing what fans think of my efforts to do these characters justice. I’m really hoping to hear from Emma Frost fans for this issue. Please take the time to send me your feedback via email or post it directly in the issue. I’m always happy to chat about the merits of my work and all things X-men. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!

Jack