Friday, April 18, 2014

X-men Supreme Reflections Volume 4: Elizabeth Braddock is LIVE!


Today is a great day to be a Psylocke fans. The X-men’s resident ninja/psychic is ready for her turn in X-men Supreme Reflections. She will be the first in a five-issue mini-series that will dig deeper into the characters that had some of the greatest influence on X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. Of all the famous X-men characters I’ve introduced in this fanfiction series, Psylocke holds a special place in my heart. And I hope to show that in this thorough examination of what makes Elizabeth Braddock who she is in the world of X-men Supreme.

I’ve always felt that Psylocke’s origin was a bit too rushed. She was a British woman with blond hair and powerful telepathy who ended up in the body of a female Japanese ninja. That’s a pretty severe transition for anybody to endure. And I don’t think the nature of that transition was sufficiently explored in the comics. But it’s that transition that came to define Psylocke as a character and as a major player with the X-men. However, at times that transition is forgotten. Reading the comics today, who would guess that Psylocke ever switched bodies? That’s why I made her body swap such a big part of The Lotus and the Warrior. I wanted it to have an impact. And in this entry of X-men Supreme Reflections, I’ll be thoroughly exploring that impact.

A core theme of the X-men has to do with identity. Most of the time, the struggles with identity revolve around being a mutant. But for Psylocke, that struggle is a lot more complicated, especially given the circumstances in X-men Supreme. How does someone deal with having their mind transferred into a new body? What does that do to her identity? That’s something that I made sure she struggled with in X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. It was a major driving force in the drama that developed between her and Gambit. I have big plans for her character in X-men Supreme Volume 5 and beyond if this fanfiction series continues. That’s why this is a very important issue to read for Psylocke fans because it’ll set the tone for her struggles as she moves forward in X-men Supreme.

X-men Supreme Reflections: Elizabeth Braddock

I have a feeling that Psylocke fans are going to enjoy this. I consider myself among those fans. That’ll give me all the more incentive to make her story awesome in future issues of X-men Supreme. But I can never have enough incentive to make this fanfiction series and all the characters it contains more awesome. So please take the time to leave a review for this issue, especially if you’re a die-hard Psylocke fan. Either post it directly in the issue or contact me directly with your feedback. I’ll be more than happy to respond to any questions or concerns. I hope Psylocke fans and X-men fans as a whole continue to enjoy this fanfiction series. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!

Jack

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Amazing X-men #6


I once wrote a letter to the White House suggesting that all peace negotiations take place in a bar with free beer, cheap whiskey, and unlimited buffalo wings. Granted, I was drunk when I wrote this letter. But I still believe it's perfectly logical. Take a few bitter enemies, put them in a bar, get some liquor in them, and they'll either become best friends or try to kill each other. My thinking is if they try to kill each other when drunk, then peace was never possible to begin with. I never heard back from the White House. In fact, I'm pretty sure the Secret Service put a tracer on my car. But I still think the concept is valid. And I think it could certainly help the X-men bridge the schism that has been in place for years now. Wolverine already showed that he can get along with Cyclops when beer is present. Now that Nightcrawler has returned, they have even more reason to drink in celebration. If only they could set aside this whole schism bullshit, they could focus on more important issues like finding new ways to piss off Maria Hill. That's probably on their to-do list, but it's not going to be addressed in Amazing X-men #6. Nightcrawler has officially returned. We already got a taste of the impact in Nightcrawler #1. But no beer was involved in that issue so I consider this to be more official.

Well now it’s official. The X-men are no longer fighting for their lives against the forces of Heaven and Hell. They’ve beaten Azazel and Nightcrawler has returned to the world of the living. That’s a damn good reason to rent a bar for the night and drink until everyone starts pissing from a pool table. It’s a beautiful thing and something the X-men should celebrate more often, given how many times someone dies and comes back to life. I don’t remember Jean Grey, Cyclops, or Charles Xavier getting a party at a bar for when they came back to life. I’m just going to assume it got way too crazy to show on panel for now and hope Nightcrawler’s party is a success. So long as there’s beer, it would take the power of Galactus to keep it from being successful.


Everyone already has their glasses raised and an open tab. They’re ready to start getting drunk, shooting pool, and fucking bitches. It might not be in that order, but that’s the plan. However, the party is missing the second most important component after the beer. And that’s the reborn man of the hour himself, Nightcrawler. But he’s not late out of shyness and since he can teleport, he can’t use traffic as a reason either. He’s just making a pit-stop to check on his father, who is supposed to be in custody and on his way to a prison cell that will make him wish he were still in Hell.

And just like the first five issues, there’s some nice inner monologue from Nightcrawler to give a little extra context to the circumstances. I know my inner monologue would consist mostly of “Where’s the beer and when can I start drinking it?” But Nightcrawler is a bit more poetic, lamenting about how he can’t choose his family. He’s the son of Azazel and Mystique. That basically makes him the son of the devil and one of the devil’s favorite groupies. Even for a man of faith, that’s pretty hard to work around. But Nightcrawler has found a way to deal with it, which puts him right up there with the Pope in terms of his piety, minus the scandals. Once he’s satisfied that Azazel is on his way to a life of solitary confinement and sodomy, he goes off to celebrate.


Nightcrawler joins his fellow X-men and they’re all ready to start drinking. There’s some more nice inner monologue that shows how Nightcrawler really does treasure his friends. In many ways, they’re the ones most responsible for keeping him from being the same asshole as his parents are. And that’s really a good message for everyone who isn’t an asshole parent. Good friends can trump shitty parenting. However, some of those friends aren’t exactly on good terms. That’s when Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magik come in.

This has all the makings of an epic mutant bar fight. By now, everyone has probably told Nightcrawler how Cyclops became a wanted fugitive that tried to destroy the world, murdered Charles Xavier, and probably ate a few live puppies in the process. I like to think he’s smart enough to see through that bullshit. It allows him to stop himself from triggering the epic bar fight, which is disappointing in some ways. But it would sort of undermine the whole celebration aspect of this party.

Nightcrawler does confront Cyclops. He even reveals he met Charles Xavier after he died, saying outright that Cyclops killed him. He doesn’t add any context. He doesn’t mention that Xavier was attacking Cyclops and that he was overwhelmed by the Phoenix Force. By that logic, he should say the same to Wolverine, X-23, and Jean Grey for all the people they’ve killed while in a fucked up state of mind. That’s disappointing because it gives the impression that Nightcrawler has bought into the same bullshit that Wolverine and Beast keep pushing. And he’s way better than that. But unlike Wolverine and Beast, Nightcrawler embraces Cyclops and welcomes him to join the party. Even Wolverine and Beast’s bullshit can’t keep him from being such an awesome guy.


The party unfolds and there are no bar fights. Again, it’s somewhat disappointing. But the purpose here is to celebrate and not inflict wounds that can’t be healed with more alcohol. It’s one of those exceedingly rare happy moments for the X-men. They happen about as often as a new reality show that doesn’t suck. But it happens here. It has already been shown in previous comics that Wolverine and Cyclops can get along in the presence of alcohol. Perhaps that’s how the schism in X-men has to end. They just haven’t applied enough alcohol to the problem.


For a while, it’s a nice party and nobody gets too drunk at first. It almost gives the impression that they’re doing it wrong. But then they get an unexpected visitor in Mystique. Actually, scratch that. Everyone and their mother should have expected Mystique to show up. Her son came back to life. Even though she has devolved into a total sociopathic bitch with the character depth of a pet poodle, she does still care that her son is alive again. It’s way fucking overdue for her to show that.

However, that doesn’t mean the reunion is full of joy and tears. There’s no way the bar has enough alcohol to make that happen. Nightcrawler finds out that Mystique came disguised as a waitress. She fooled everyone, even Wolverine. But she didn’t fool Nightcrawler. There’s not much that comes of this meeting though. Nightcrawler teleports her outside and just urges her to get the fuck away from her party before everyone has an opportunity to get drunk. Mystique rightly points out that he has changed and seems genuinely impacted by her son’s return. It felt like a lot more could have come from it, but it doesn’t. That’s just asking for too much at this point. It seems Mystique can’t be awesome without Jennifer Lawrence.


But Mystique has more concerns than just seeing her son alive again. There’s also the matter of her baby daddy, Azazel. She must really be aching for back child support because she found out that he’s back on Earth again. And she’s not at all convinced that there’s a cell in this world that can hold him. For the man who knocked her up and ditched her, she needs to make sure he’s put in a more secure kind of hell. It leads to less heartfelt reunion and more tension. Mystique goes so far as to pull a gun on Nightcrawler after he lets it slip where Azazel is being taken. But for her, pulling a gun on a loved one might as well be a kiss goodnight. That’s what she has been reduced to in the comics.


The party is now officially on hold for Nightcrawler. After Mystique slips away, he goes after Azazel. And nobody in Heaven or Hell or anywhere in between should be surprised that he found a way to bust out of his convoy. He gets a little help from his evil bamfs, who create a Fast and Furious style pile up that is perfectly executed. Nightcrawler is nice enough to rescue the drivers and guards. Then he attacks his father. He probably understands that even the devil himself doesn’t deserve Mystique’s wrath. That or he just doesn’t want to risk having Mystique send Azazel back to Hell where he almost conquered Haven. That would basically do Azazel a favor and Nightcrawler just can’t have that.


Azazel manages to overpower Nightcrawler. Then Mystique shows up on a motorcycle in a way that was blatantly ripped off from Terminator 2 and Resident Evil 2, but I’m not complaining. The battle becomes street brawl and there isn’t even any alcohol involved. That means it’s pretty fucking serious. The action here is very nicely organized and the family dynamics here only make it more awesome. This is actually the first time since CDs were still popular that Nightcrawler, Mystique, and Azazel have all been in the same scene together. It may be more overdue than Ghostbusters 3, but fuck it’s satisfying.

It makes for a very tense moment where Mystique has guns pointed at both of them. It has the potential to be one of those moments that define all three of their characters for years to come. Sadly, it ends more prematurely than a Mormon prom night. Nightcrawler tries to attack, if only to make this a less messy family reunion. But then he just passes out somehow and wakes up with his parents gone and his friends catching up with him. It’s incredibly abrupt. There’s no hint that someone hit him over the head with a bowling ball, hit him with an extra-large shot of sedatives, or told him about the night he was conceived until he passed out. Nightcrawler is still in one piece, but now both his parents are on the loose. Now he has even more reason to get drunk.


What happens to Nightcrawler isn’t clear. But what happens with Mystique and Azazel is a bit less subtle. Azazel teleports her away from their son’s wrath, if only to make Mystique horny again without it getting too awkward. And he apparently succeeds. Mystique claims she wants to kill him. But Azazel senses she has another reason. He even gives her a chance to shoot him. But she doesn’t. Instead, she offers him a job. She doesn’t even demand back child support or alimony. It’s still somewhat abrupt, but Mystique clearly looks conflicted here. And maybe even a little turned on. While most kids would be elated with the idea of their parents getting back together, this is one instance where even Christian conservatives would be okay with divorce.

Now I don’t want to get my hopes up here. I learned the hard way after my first encounter with a transvestite hooker that expectations can easily be dashed. But I really do want this to be the beginning of something different for Mystique. She used to be a more complicated character. She was even a member of the X-men for a while. But now she’s just a total fucking psychopath who exists only to piss off Wolverine, as if that’s all that hard. Maybe Azazel being back will give her another purpose and Nightcrawler being alive will give her more emotional range than pissed off tiger. That’s still a pretty big maybe.


For Nightcrawler, it’s a tough night for something that was supposed to be a celebration. But he deals with it the same way I deal with my problems. He tries to drink them all away. And it seems it works to some extent. That’s the power of alcohol. More inner monologue has him lamenting about how he can’t choose his family. But I imagine his thoughts get sufficiently slurred at some point so he stops giving a shit. He and Wolverine drink together until the sun comes up. Nightcrawler even admits he loves him. That’s the success of any kind of alcohol intake. When it gets two buddies to admit they love each other, they’re doing it right.


This book began with a joyful celebration and ended in a drunken stupor. Not going to lie. I did tear up a little. I’m man enough to admit that. The whole family reunion angle with Nightcrawler and his parents was pretty nice too and very well-done. But seriously, a drunken celebration of Nightcrawler’s return to the living couldn’t have turned out better. Sure, Azazel got away and ran off with Mystique. And sure, they’re probably boning in ways that would make every head at the Vatican explode. But I doubt even Nightcrawler had enough faith that Azazel would stay locked up. And while it wasn’t all terribly emotional between him and Mystique, she finally did come off as slightly more than an unapologetic sociopath. She may have gotten away, but at least everyone got drunk and hugged. That’s an epic win in my book. Amazing X-men #6 gets an 8 out of 10. Any party where two grown men get drunk and profess their love for each other as the sun rises is a damn good party. Definitely worth all the slash fiction shit that will probably come of this. Nuff said!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #20


In my experience, personal vendettas can be more intoxicating than any drug. Even the most hopelessly addicted crackhead has nothing on some pissed off ex-cop father who makes it his life mission to torment the guy who slept with his daughter and convinced her to get a tattoo of Eminem on her ass. It’s an addiction for which there is no overdose or hangover. Succeeding in exacting the desired revenge brings a high that all the blow in Colombia can’t match. And that’s exactly the high that Maria Hill has been seeking in Uncanny X-men. She has convinced herself that arresting Cyclops and throwing him back in jail will somehow give her unlimited orgasms and she has spent much of the relaunched Uncanny X-men chasing his ass, ignoring other global threats and a looming Sentinel conspiracy. I would say she’s obsessed, but I’m a drunk. I’m in no position to judge. But I won’t shy away from criticism as I review Uncanny X-men #20. She has already been wiping her ass with the constitution. The Ron Paul in me just can’t let that go.

And I think it’s safe to say that Ron Paul would be pretty pissed off at the way Maria Hill is flat out ignoring Hijack’s constitutional rights. To be fair, Hijack deserves to have his balls busted to some extent. This is a guy who clearly didn’t listen to Edward Snowden when he flat out told the world that the government listened to every fucking phone call that everyone made, from telemarketers to phone sex. So when he made a call to Cyclops begging to come back, he might as well have invited Maria Hill to storm his room and interrogate his ass. At least this time she didn’t detain him like she did Goldballs. She just barks orders and bitches at him in an effort to extract Cyclops’s location, which he clearly doesn’t know. It doesn’t work, but lucky for him that Sentinel attack from the previous issue gets SHIELD’s attention. So they leave Hijack in peace, alone in his room. It’s not much of an improvement from what they did to Goldballs, but for a government operation I’ll take it. If only Congress were this efficient at improvement.


Maria Hill returns to the Hellicarrier, practically foaming at the mouth over the possibility of arresting Cyclops. She’s probably even hoping that the Sentinel attack softened them up. If she’s expecting that, then clearly she’s being overly optimistic. Cyclops is capable of being destroyed by many things. A killer robot isn’t one of them. A pissed off psychic ex-girlfriend? Maybe. But certainly not a killer robot. She talks about how Cyclops is a brilliant strategist who thinks 10 steps ahead of everyone else. And she’s right. Cyclops is that good. He led the entire mutant race for a while, beat Norman Osborn, and found time to satisfy Emma Frost in between. He’s pretty damn formidable and Maria Hill knows it. She thinks she can get the jump on him this time. I also once thought I could get out of a speeding ticket by doing a striptease to a female cop. It sounds like a good idea on paper, but not so much in practice.


Maria Hill doesn’t even get a chance to get one step ahead of Cyclops. Hell, she doesn’t even get half a step. Cyclops hits her with a psychic attack, courtesy of the Stepford Cuckoos. They effectively cut her off from her rage boner and give them a chance to have a little chat where she’s not in a position to do some Dick Cheney style interrogations. Cyclops just wants to know if SHIELD is responsible for the Sentinel attacks. The Cuckoos reveal that Maria Hill isn’t the one pulling the trigger. But Cyclops still considers her responsible because this shit is happening on her watch. She has all of SHIELD’s resources at her disposal and she’s not doing jack shit to stop innocent mutants from being attacked. That makes her at least partially responsible in Cyclops’s book. Plus, there’s still that issue of all those Sentinels that SHIELD had been hiding during X-men Battle of the Atom. Kind of hard to give her the benefit of the doubt.

But that’s not the only thing that the Stepford Cuckoos revealed. It would have been enough to just confirm that Maria Hill wasn’t the one behind the Sentinel attacks and that she’s still not entirely sure what the fuck is going on in her bloated government organization. The Cuckoos also reveal that Maria Hill is actually attracted to Cyclops. I honestly thought I was too stoned when I read this. But it’s really there. Maria Hill actually gets all warm and tingly between her legs when she thinks of this outlaw fugitive revolutionary. I don’t know why, but something about that makes me smile and gives me a boner. I don’t think I should be too surprised though. Cyclops is a man who has successfully satisfied both Jean Grey and Emma Frost. The power of his penis is undeniable. Why shouldn’t Maria Hill be drawn to it? I’m not a woman so I can’t offer a valid reason. I can only hope that when she gets him alone in a room with handcuffs and no cameras, some wonderfully pornographic things happen.


Cyclops, to his credit, doesn’t immediately resort to the power of his penis to get what he wants. He’s not without manners I guess, which after dating Emma Frost is saying something. He remains only partially convinced that Maria Hill isn’t involved. He works under the assumption that SHIELD is sophisticated enough to equip sensitive minds with psychic shielding and false thoughts. It’s not as paranoid as it sounds. But he leaves Maria Hill another step or so behind them by having the Stepford Cuckoos make everyone on the deck take a quick psychic nap. It’s not a terrible dick move. There are way worse things he could have done. But it does work. And it’s probably for the better too. Her panties are probably soaked at this point.


As nice as it is seeing Cyclops pwn Maria Hill and make her horny at the same time, there are other forces involved in this conflict that have fallen to the wayside in recent issues. A while back, Magneto took a brief trip to Madripoor and learned that Mystique and Sabretooth had set up shop. They essentially turned this outpost of decadence and vice into an all-mutant community, even using MGH to turn the resident humans into mutants. Magneto didn’t buy into it. In fact, he nearly blew their asses up. But that incident, which helped launch Magneto’s solo series, also revealed what happened to Dazzler after Mystique took her place. It would have been effective enough to just put her in a coma and lock her in a cell. But unlike Cyclops, Mystique has to go the extra mile when it comes to dick moves.

Magneto may have bailed, but Madripoor is still thriving under Mystique’s “mutants only” rule. We also find out that Blob, who was one of the many mutants who lost his powers after House of M, only got his powers back through MGH. And when he goes to get more, he finds out that the source of MGH is coming directly from Dazzler. By Mystique’s logic, this bitch betrayed mutant kind by rubbing shoulders with SHIELD. Putting her in a coma and using her to make MGH is probably the most merciful thing she could do. But Blob doesn’t just seem interested in getting more MGH and his eyes look like Bob Marley’s after spending three days in Amsterdam. It’s hard to really make out what’s going on in this scene. Maybe it’s just because I’m not sober, but he doesn’t seem entirely okay with keeping a pretty blond in a coma. I’m pretty sure this is how some illegal German pornos begin. Not much is revealed or hinted at, which makes this scene even more confusing. It leaves perverse minds like mine to make some pretty fucked up conclusions. I want to say I know where this will lead. I’m just afraid my dick will hate me if I’m wrong.


Beyond catching up with the Madripoor story that’s unfolding, Mystique rejoins SHIELD as Dazzler. It’s the first time in a while that this plot and the Sentinel plot are coming together. Those connections help make Uncanny X-men feel cohesive again, which is refreshing since recent issues gave the impression that it was like a drunk stumbling through a dark room covered in Legos while barefoot. I get that there are a lot of different themes to cover, but bringing the Madripoor story and the Sentinel story into the same narrative is more overdue than Wesley Snipes’ back taxes.

That new cohesion doesn’t mean that SHIELD is gaining any credibility. While Maria Hill might not be the ones orchestrating the Sentinel attacks, she is hoarding Sentinel hardware the same way Hugh Hefner hoards hot blondes. That doesn’t really lend much to her credibility. It also doesn’t help that she looks at these attacks the same way Oliver Stone looks at the JFK assassination. She thinks it’s a conspiracy by Magneto to start a mutant war. It’s only slightly more reasonable than the theory that lizard people conspired to kill JFK. But at least she’s trying.


For Cyclops, he hasn’t resorted to seducing Maria Hill just yet, although I’m sure it’s one of his backup plans. Once back at the New Xavier School, he breaks down the Sentinel attacks and comes to a very important conclusion. They’re not just attacks. They’re reconnaissance, attempting to break them down and uncover their weaknesses. Why else would they send killer robots that the X-men have spent years destroying? It’s way too smart and competent for a government organization like SHIELD. He also suspects that they’re using something akin to Cerebro to attract them. It’s the only way they could stay a step ahead of them.

It’s perfectly logical. It also has the benefit of narrowing down the assholes involved considerably. The amount of people who know how to build, let alone utilize, a device like Cerebro is shorter than the list of those who’ve seen Queen Elizabeth naked. Charles Xavier and Magneto worked together to build it. Guys like Tony Stark have the hardware to put it together. But since he’s easily distracted by naked alien women (and who can blame him?) they cross him off the list. That leaves the big furry douche himself, Hank McCoy. After reviewing All New X-men #25, I did so much Beast bashing that I don’t think I have the energy to restate all the reasons why he’s a total fucking asshole. I’ll only say that I can definitely see him unleashing Sentinels and putting innocent mutants at risk just to piss off Cyclops.


Cyclops has no problem envisioning this too so he takes Magik and teleports to the Jean Grey Institute for a little chat. Again, Cyclops is about as welcome as a bed bug infestation. He doesn’t attack them or anything. He just demands to speak with Beast. It’s understandably tense, but this is shit we’ve seen on multiple occasions now. Cyclops shows up, everyone at the Jean Grey Institute gets pissed, and Cyclops leaves with his balls a little bigger. It’s starting to get old, but there is more than just pwnage to address this time. Both schools have an interest in finding out who the hell is throwing Sentinels at them like spam emails for cheap Viagra. And since Beast has shown he’s more than capable of fucking up the timeline, Cyclops just needs to make sure he’s not fucking up more than that.


That’s when another plot that has been abandoned for the past few issues comes into play. This time it’s Cyclops’s broken powers. Unlike the Dazzler plot, it hasn’t been explained or been made interesting for that matter. Readers only have so many fucks to give about plots that began 20 issues ago and this is one of them that’s running dangerously low. But it does have quite an impact when Cyclops’s powers flare up and start going off in a way I’m sure the Jean Grey Institute is used to by now. In addition, it also alerts Maria Hill and SHIELD that he’s out in the open again. So once again, he’s basically fucked himself over. He’ll need to find a way to make his balls even bigger to get himself out of this shit.


Whatever hole Edward Snowden is hiding, I hope he manages to slip out long enough to read this comic. I think it would put a smile on his face. On the day after tax day when the government conducts its annual fiscal sodomy on its citizens, I can’t think of a more appropriate comic to enjoy. I know that SHIELD is not the IRS, but I suspect SHIELD is what the IRS wishes it could be in their dirtiest of dreams that don’t involve a Kardashian. So when Cyclops still finds a way to piss off Maria Hill while making her wet in the panties, I just can’t help but love it. I don’t mean to sound too anti-government. I know I’m probably pissing off everyone in the NSA. But after dutifully paying my taxes, I think I’ve earned right to tell them to fuck off, at least for one day and Uncanny X-men #20 just makes it more satisfying. That’s why I give it a 9 out of 10. If only Cyclops’s randomly volatile optic blasts were pointed at IRS or the Federal Reserve. It might not undo his crimes, but it’ll probably make Maria Hill want to bone him even more. Nuff said!

Wolverine: Days of Futures Past Trailer - Guest Starring The X-men

I can't make any jokes about certain issues. Genocide, racism, and rape are all touchy subjects and I'm no Danial Tosh. For me, the X-men movies are right up there. I've already made my sentiment clear in plenty of previous posts. I fucking hate every fucking X-men movie that Fox has shat out of their diseased twat. Bryan Singer took a big steaming piss on the concept with his first two movies. Brett Ratner took a massive shit that made it completely irredeemable. Brian K. Vaughn had a chance to reboot the whole thing and substantially unfuck it. But now Singer has come back and is intent on ensuring it remains fucked.

I could go on and on about why these movies are so fucked. I could talk about how James Marsden turned Cyclops into the same fucking character he plays in every movie where he's just the pretty boy who loses out to some other guy who steals his girl, his livelihood, and his life. I could talk about how Jean Grey was given the personality of a comatose chimp. I could talk about how Rogue became the exact opposite of everything that made her awesome in every other X-men medium. I could talk about how every movie turned Wolverine from the ultimate badass to a walking vagina that disgust even Edward Cullen. But I won't. I don't have the strength or the liver capacity to review the long list of reasons these X-men movies suck. It usually just comes down to Bryan Singer not giving enough fucks about characters not named Wolverine. And even when he does care, his only method seems to be making Wolverine into a fucking pussy. But I digress.

Fox and Singer still aren't done fucking the X-men up beyond all recognition. They've got this movie coming out called Wolverine: Days of Futures Past. Actually, they claim it's called "X-men" Days of Futures Past. But we all know that's bullshit on a stick. This is not an X-men movie. It's just Wolverine with the X-men playing a supporting role. Because Singer knows that all worked SO fucking well in X3 where they took the greatest X-men story of all time, the Phoenix Saga, and made it all about fucking Wolverine. Now they're going to take the second greatest X-men story of all time, Days of Futures Past, and make it about fucking Wolverine. That's like someone who just shot themselves in the foot choosing to shoot their other foot just because they want to finish the job. It's like snorting anthrax and then getting an small pox enema. There's no fucking excuse. And the latest trailer basically confirms that this piece of shit movie is going to be another X3. It's not an X-men movie. It's just another bullshit Wolverine movie.



I don't think I need to say anything else. I know this movie is going to make a metric fuckton of money that it doesn't deserve. Even if every fucking person who sees it hates it, Fox will turn a profit and that's all the excuse they need to make another one. They don't own these characters. They just own the rights. That is the extent of the amount of fucks they give. And short of a total fucking reboot, every X-men movie is destined to be completely and utterly fucked. Nuff said.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Super Anger Management: Action Comics #30

The following is my review of Action Comics #30, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


Good anger management skills are vital in certain fields. Regardless of whether someone has superpowers, the impact of poor anger management skills is the same. Nobody makes rational decisions when they're angry. In an angry mind, every mental resource is dedicated to putting the perceived source of that anger into horrible pain. Sometimes it's a telemarketer, sometimes it's a traffic jam, and sometimes it's just some random person who says the wrong thing at the wrong time. This is why people who work in fields like technical support, nursing, and sales have to have good anger management skills. It's also why people who play contact sports can get away with having only mediocre anger management skills. But for Superman, he has to have the best. Since he has the power to throw the Earth into the sun if he has a bad enough day, he has to know how to control his anger.

This ability for a powerful being to control his temper is the main challenge Superman faces in Action Comics #30. For the past few issues, someone has been attacking him on multiple fronts with ghost soldiers. It's not the strangest way someone has attacked Superman, but it is definitely more effective than most. What better way to attack a man who can kill pretty much anything in any number of ways than to attack him with soldiers that are already dead? These ghost soldiers have attacked Wonder Woman, slaughtered innocent creatures from Subterranea, and put Lana Lang in the crossfire. Just one of those acts would be enough to upset Superman. But doing them all at once is like annoying someone the day after their dog got run over. It's too much, even for the Man of Steel.

As frustrating as these attacks may be, they are consistent with the most daunting challenges that Superman faces. There are very few threats in the DC Universe that threaten Superman physically. Aside from Doomsday, General Zod, and Darkseid, he can usually punch his way through most major threats. The biggest danger he faces is losing control of his power or having someone else control him. This is what happened during the events of Trinity War. Superman let himself be controlled to a point where he took a life. But controlling Superman's mind is a task that few have the means to attempt and even fewer have the means to succeed. For most people, it would be like a caveman attempting to hack the NSA. That's why making Superman angry is a much easier way to make him lose control. And it requires no powerful psychic so anyone who is sufficiently annoying or foolish can do this.

The fool in this instance is Harrow. She commands The Tower, which has been coordinating the attacks on Superman. She also has the most effective non-robot army it's possible to have. She raises the dead and uses them to do their bidding. And since they're already dead, they provide a challenge that Superman can't solve with punching or heat vision. That and they're not subject to labor laws either.

By all accounts, she has the perfect army and she uses it to frustrate Superman in ways that would test anyone's anger management skills. Even with all his power and his ideals, Superman still has the capacity to get pissed off. And that's what gives his struggle in this story meaning. In the same way it's difficult to find credible threats for Superman, it's just as difficult to find threats that push him to crossing those lines that he cannot cross. These are lines that characters like Batman, Wolverine, Green Lantern, and Iron man probably cross while sleepwalking. But Superman can't cross those lines because he's supposed to be that ideal that everyone is supposed to strive for. And that ideal shouldn't have anger management issues.


Harrow pushes Superman's anger management skills to the edge. It's painfully obvious that Superman wants to just solve this problem with a few punches and some heat vision. That's probably how most people would solve such a frustrating problem if they had Superman's power. But he manages to keep himself from crossing that line. He constantly muses on the value of taking a deep breath and counting to ten. It's one of the most basic anger management skills anyone can learn. Most teenagers learn it when they find out that hormones are a potent fuel for irrational anger. Yet it ends up working for Superman so it must have some merit.

It should mark another victory for Superman. He is able to avoid crossing that line. He can continue to be that ideal that he's supposed to be. However, Harrow turns this around on him completely and she does so in a way that's far more reasonable than anything Lex Luthor has attempted. She essentially uses his victory over her dead army to prove that Superman is more a threat to the world than anything she or his enemies can ever conjure. It may sound like the desperate musings of a defeated villain, but it's not entirely wrong.

By being an ideal and not crossing certain lines, Superman prevents himself from making difficult decisions at times. And no decision is more difficult than one that involves taking a life to save others. It's a decision that police officers, doctors, and soldiers have to make on a daily basis and they don't have the luxury of being more powerful than a locomotive. It's easy for anyone to ask who has the right to determine whether someone lives or dies. But in Superman's case, he has the power to end a threat before it hurts others. Harrow points out that he could have ended her and her attacks by simply making those hard decisions and living with the consequences. He chose not to. His actions might be ideal on paper, but in practice he basically left a festering wound untreated. He might be able to handle those wounds, but others might not.

This powerful message gives the impression that Superman lost the battle in Action Comics #30. Harrow made her point and while The Tower was destroyed, she proved to Superman that he could have avoided all these infuriating frustrations easily. But he chose not to and only made it worse. It provides a sobering message for Superman and one he'll have to consider when facing threats like Zod and Doomsday. This issue is billed as a prelude to the upcoming Doom crossover event and in many respects, it provides the perfect context for the challenge that Superman faces. But that's part of what makes him Superman.

Final Score: 8 out of 10