Friday, August 28, 2015

X-men Supreme Reflections: Emma Frost PREVIEW!

There are certain characters that inspire a special level of passion. And of the many characters in the X-men mythos, few inspire the kind of passion generated by Emma Frost. She’s a character that has undergone many changes and transformations throughout the history of X-men. I’ve had her go through more than a few here in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Just like the X-men comics, I introduced Emma Frost during the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga. She played a critical role in luring Jean Grey into the clutches of the Inner Circle. While it was later revealed that Emma Frost did not do this of her own volition, it highlights some of the core themes about her character.

Emma Frost, in her many incarnations, has often been at the mercy of moral ambiguity. She comes from a world of wealth and privilege. She trained herself to navigate these morally ambiguous areas to get ahead. There have been times when this has made her an enemy of the X-men. As the White Queen, she was once the X-men’s most daunting psychic foe. But Emma Frost is not someone who lets herself get lost in these morally gray areas. She never lets herself become like Sebastian Shaw, Selene, or Sinister. She’s never let herself become a girl scout either. And that’s one of the major appeals of her character.

When it comes to fighting the kinds of battles that the X-men fight, it’s not always possible to be completely moral and completely ethical. There are many in the X-men, especially Professor Xavier, who aren’t willing to compromise those ethics to get the job done. Emma Frost, however, is willing. She’s shown this time and again throughout her history in the comics. Over time, she has distanced herself from the devious traditions of the Inner Circle. However, she still maintains a distinctly harsh, yet charming personality that many have come to love.

I’ve done my best to capture that personality in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. That doesn’t just mean giving her the necessary ties to the Inner Circle. Emma Frost has a number of circumstances in X-men Supreme that set her apart from the comics. As I revealed in the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga, she was an early member of the X-men. Later on in X-men Supreme Issue 99: Escaping Destiny, I revealed that Emma Frost left the Inner Circle when she found out they used her eggs to make clones that Sebastian Shaw called the Stepford Cuckoos. This path has taken her in many directions throughout X-men Supreme, but there’s a lot more to learn about who Emma Frost is.

I’ve been waiting quite a while to do an entry of X-men Supreme Reflections for Emma, as I’m sure her passionate fans have as well. I had to wait because I wanted to make sure the story surrounding the Stepford Cuckoos and her betrayal of the X-men in the Phoenix Saga was explained. These events firmly entrench Emma Frost in that morally gray world that she’s so comfortable in. And even though she’s now the headmaster of the Academy of Tomorrow, she’s still going to have to navigate that world. As always, I’ve prepared a brief glimpse into the kind of life Emma Frost has lived in the world of X-men Supreme.

The aftermath of my father’s death can only be described as a fiasco wrapped in a disaster encased in a catastrophe. I was never the same. My siblings were never the same, albeit in a different capacity. Losing a lousy father was a secondary concern. Not having any money is what really spooked them. Adrienne and Cordelia tried to acquire what money they could to keep the family going. Christian took whatever he needed to continue his drug habit and skipped town. For me, the shock was almost as bad as my uncontrolled telepathy.

In the weeks that followed I struggled to process my father’s death and hearing the thoughts of others. All around me I was surrounded by crude, dishonest brutes whose thoughts revealed their true nature. I sensed liars, thieves, and people who were just plain crude. They would act one way and think another. It was a troubling sensation and one that dented my respect for humanity.

I remember at my father’s funeral sensing the thoughts of the priest. While he was talking about death and the heavens, I heard him thinking about how he was so sick of doing burials for rich pricks like the Frosts. I wouldn’t have thought less of him for just that. Then he had to project how he wanted to get back to snuggling with his boyfriend. By boyfriend I meant a 19-year-old meth dealing male prostitute. It seemed as though nobody had any humanity. Any good a person showed was just a fa├žade.

It got to the point where I started fighting back. With my telepathy I found out about all the sordid (and illegal) activities my sisters were doing. I found out about everyone Adrienne was sleeping with, which in and of itself is enough to fill several minds. I also found out the lengths Cordelia was going to in order to get our fortune back. I was so sick of their deception that I threatened to expose them. Their response was to call the nearest mental hospital and have me committed. That was the last time I ever saw my sisters and I hope I never see them again.

Whatever sisterly affection I had for those two was completely lost in that mental ward. That was a new level of torment that I don’t care to experience again. I later found out that Adrienne slept with the head of that hospital and made sure that I would cause them no further trouble. I was kept in a secluded cell, given no means of contacting the outside world, and constantly drugged. Being a fifteen-year-old pretty blond didn’t help either. Some of the orderlies got a little too ‘friendly’ to say the least. I was rendered completely powerless. It was in that state where I decided that I started to fight back.

First, I had to gain control over my powers. This was an arduous process. Every day during my brief moments of mental clarity, I worked on focusing my telepathy. There was no one there to help me. I had to help myself. Driven by so much anger and bitterness, I was plenty motivated.

Eventually, I refined my mental powers to the point where I could start influencing the thoughts of others. I started small, tweaking the perceptions of the doctors so they wouldn’t give me as many drugs. Before long, I made it so they would walk into my room and only think they administered a dose. Once I was fully coherent, I planned my escape. I read the minds of every nurse and doctor to find a way out. Adrienne made sure I was kept in a very secure wing so I had to use drastic measures.

One night an armed security guard walked by my door. I pushed my telepathy to the limits and took control of his mind. I had him let me out and then I had him escort me out of the building. Along the way other guards and doctors came running at me. I had the guard shoot them or lock them out. I’m pretty sure at least one person died as a result. I don’t care to know if he did. When I was finally out, I had the guard give me his car keys and then I erased his memories of the whole evening. I may have erased more since I was so inexperienced at the time, but I didn’t care.

It set a new and dangerous precedent. Now I was free and had a new skill to help me fight back against a corrupt world. Adrienne had her sexuality, Cordelia had her brains, and Christian had his fearless decadence. I had my telepathy. I planned on using it to fight my way to the top, no matter what the cost. It was that foolish mentality that led me to making the biggest mistake of my life.

Characters like Emma Frost are important for the future of X-men Supreme because she’s one of those characters that fans care deeply about. I want to respect that passion as much as possible. With recent news that Emma Frost will be among the X-men who are MIA after Secret Wars, I want to give her fans something they can enjoy until she returns. That’s why it’s very important for her fans and X-men fans in general to continue to provide feedback on my handling of this fanfiction series. Either contact me directly or post your comments in the issues. I’m always open to feedback. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Old Man Logan #4

When you find a winning formula, the smart and sensible thing to do is stick with it until it stops working. But for some people, finding shit that works and is sufficiently awesome just isn't enough. They have to take it ten or so steps ahead of where people are currently giving a fuck. Naturally, this tends to be confusing and infuriating. It makes me wonder if some people are just trying too hard to out-think themselves or they just have a shitty weed dealer.

Wolverine is one of those characters who didn't need to be reinvented. But at some point, someone decided that being the gruff, badass, lovable brute that Chris Claremont and Frank Miller helped perfect just wasn't enough. They (and by they I also mean Chris Claremont) had to make him this guy who could be everything to everybody. He could be a badass, a teacher, a mentor, a father-figure, a lover, and pretty much everything else James Franco pretends to be. The problem is, this doesn't make him more awesome. This just makes him more of a douche.

That's why Old Man Logan is so refreshing. This is a Wolverine without all the failed attempts to make him everything to everyone in the X-men and the entire Marvel universe for that matter. This is a jaded, old, don't-give-a-fuck version of Wolverine who dares to give the finger to a god-powered Dr. Doom. That makes him, by far, the most likable character in Secret Wars to date. He's been defying Doom, picking fights with Thors, and hopping across various AUs. And it's been an awesome ride every step of the way. Old Man Logan #4 continues that ride and I'm just clenching my asshole hoping that nobody tries to fuck with this winning formula this time.

Thankfully for Wolverine and my asshole, Brian Michael Bendis doesn't just stick to that winning formula. He adds a little napalm and tobasco sauce. Old Man Logan managed to piss off both Apocalypse and the Thor Corps in the previous issue? Why? Because fuck you, that's why. That has become Old Man Logan's default excuse and it works. However, it also landed him in the closest thing Dr. Doom has to a Hell in Battleworld. It's a world populated by zombies, symbiotes, and Fox lawyers. And it's where Old Man Logan ends up.

But does this means he stops being badass and starts whining for a deal from Mephisto? Fuck no. He's Wolverine, not Peter Parker. He decides to fight. And thanks to more beautiful art from Andrea Sorrentino, it's the kind raw, violent, visceral fighting that brings out the best in Wolverine. It's the kind of violence that Dick Cheney probably finds sexually arousing. On top of that, we get some insanely badass inner monologues that show just how driven and tough this version of Wolverine is. He's old, he's grumpy, and he doesn't give a fuck. That's Wolverine at his most pure.

He fights and he fights through this insanely visceral shit that would make Freddy Kruger himself sick to his stomach. He continues musing about how far he's come and how fucked his is in his world. It's worth remembering that the Wolverine in the Old Man Logan universe is more pissed off than most and not just because he never got to touch Jean Grey's tits. He killed all his friends and loved ones in that world. He's a broken, pissed off, beat up motherfucker. So zombies and symbiotes aren't going to slow him down.

But it's not all brutality and torture porn, much to the chagrin of the Charles Manson crowd. There are also a few flashbacks of the family Wolverine had in Old Man Logan. It's the family he had to leave behind in order to give a sufficient middle finger to Dr. Doom. It's an important detail because it shows that as badass as Old Man Logan is, he's still a man who had a family. He's not completely broken. That means he still has a chance to fuck up Dr. Doom's plans for all the right reasons.

However, is Old Man Logan is going to succeed in pissing off a god-powered Dr. Doom, he's going to need help. He's already gotten his share of help from various X-men in various worlds. Sure, they didn't stop him from getting his ass shot into Battleworld's darkest buttholes, but they still helped him from being nothing more than target practice for the Thor Corps. But who can help him in a shit hole like this? Who besides him could even survive and not go Deadpool-level insane?

How about She-Hulk? She's the only one who can survive like Wolverine and still look good in a thong. Old Man Logan manages to find her in a pretty demoralized state. Apparently, she tried to make a logical, concise legal argument against Dr. Doom. He rewarded her the same way Fox News rewards such arguments and banished her to this hell. She reveals just how fucked this place is. Even she can't smash her way out of it. But she's one of the few who aren't Wolverine or clones of Wolverine or rip-offs of Wolverine who can survive. In terms of allies, this is probably as good as he could've hoped for. The fact she has nice tits is a bonus for any old man.

Old Man Logan and She-Hulk have a nice, meaningful chat that gives some context to just how fucked they are. This barren landscape is apparently so big that even the Hulk can't just jump out of it using shitty effects from an Ang Lee movie. There's no sense of direction. It's just zombies and symbiotes as far as the eye can see. Dr. Doom wanted to make this the kind of place that would make a North Korean prison camp seem like a luxurious resort. I think it's safe to say he exceeded and overachieved.

Beyond the grim circumstances, it's an appropriate exchange that reveals how crushing this place is. Even She-Hulk, who is a fucking Hulk mind you, is close to her breaking point. But Old Man Logan isn't ready to stop giving the middle finger to Dr. Doom. He's still willing to push his already insanely over-powered durability to the limit. But he needs She-Hulk's help. It's a nice moment that shows that in addition to being insanely badass, Wolverine knows how to inspire people and not just bartenders and Asian hookers.

The fighting gets more brutal. At this point, that's like saying Jennifer Lopez's ass is getting sexier. It seems impossible, but it just keeps happening. Andrea Sorrentino's beautiful artwork continues to shine, showing every visceral detail that can be shown. It effectively brings out the most feral components of Wolverine's persona. He's less a grumpy old man here and more a deranged, razor-clawed death machine. He's like Wolverine with a hangover and on a Monday morning. The circumstances bring out the best in him and it's truly a sight to behold.

Wolverine fans, at this point I'm going to give you a moment to wipe the tears of joy from your eyes. I know you'll need it. I think I speak for all of us when I say it has been way too long since we've seen something this awesome.

However, all the brutality and badassery in the world only goes so far in a domain where zombies and symbiotes run wild and have too much free time on their hands. At some point, Old Man Logan needs to get the fuck out of this place and find a more appropriate part of Battleworld where he can fuck up Dr. Doom's unholy vision. He can't get there just be clawing everything in front of him, although that has been pretty effective to this point.

This is where She-Hulk comes in. As demoralized as she is, I get the sense Old Man Logan's don't-give-a-fuck attitude has inspired her. It may have even made her a little horny. She finally gets in on the action, mixing in a little Hulk-style smashing with Wolverine's adamantium-laced stabbing. It's like chocolate and peanut butter. It's as delicious as it sounds. But to get him the fuck out of this hell, they need to do something both badass and smart.

So what could possibly meet that criteria? How about the ultimate fastball special? Take the strength of the Hulk and the durable, don't-give-a-fuck attitude of Old Man Logan and maximize it's potential. It's one of those ideas that doesn't sound possible without a few shots of tequila and a whole lot of blow. But fuck if it isn't appropriate for a situation like this. And fuck if it doesn't work. Sure, it means Old Man Logan gets thrown across Battleworld like a feather shot out of a rail gun, but it gets him out of zombie/symbiote land and send shim crashing into another domain of Battleworld. And no matter where he ends up, it can't possibly be anywhere nearly as fucked as the one he just came from. Right? Right?!

Wrong, motherfucker! He just exchanged one Battleworld hell hole for another. Because now Old Man Logan finds himself in Ultimate Marvel, also known as the infected rectal wart of Marvel Comics. This really isn't much of an upgrade over a barren wasteland full of zombies and symbiotes. At least in that domain, there's plenty to stab and get pissed at. In this world, no amount of stabbing and fastball specials will unfuck the series of clusterfucks that is Ultimate Marvel. It's like Old Man Logan just can't catch a break, but why would we want him to at this point? If any world needs more stabbing from Wolverine, it's this one.

Well, I can now stop clenching my asshole for one reason, but I'll have to clench it again for another. Old Man Logan and his don't-give-a-fuck attitude in a world with a god-powered Dr. Doom has put him in yet another hell. First, it was Age of Apocalypse. Then, it was the barren wasteland populated by zombies, symbiotes, and probably meth-addicted Raiders fans. In each world, Old Man Logan has found a way to be the same, insanely badass self he hasn't been allowed to be for years. Now, he has to be that self in the rotting butthole that is Ultimate Marvel. I didn't think I could love a crazy old man not named Stan Lee any more, but Old Man Logan keeps proving it with every issue.

If you're a Wolverine fan, you should already be jerking off to this issue. If you're Hugh Jackman, you should be sleeping with this comic under your pillow and memorize every single panel in preparation for the last Wolverine movie. If Wolverine were a precious stone, this series would be the fucking Hope Diamond. It is the most polished, pristine, and visually stunning work of Wolverine since the Claremont/Miller days. I don't have to sober up to know that's a big statement. But Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino have worked some omega level awesome with this series and I can no longer deny the extent of its awesome. I give Old Man Logan #4 a perfect 10 out of 10. If you love Wolverine, this comic should be enshrined in an adamantium case. If you hate Wolverine and can't find a way to enjoy this series, then chances are we should never meet in a bar. Nuff said!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Meddling Progress: Wonder Woman #43

The following is my review of Wonder Woman #43, which was posted on

If there’s one thing that the success of HGTV has taught us, it’s that society has a weakness for reclamation projects. In the same way certain women can’t help but fall for the bad boys in hope of saving them, there’s a kind of broken character that draws us in. Like Pamela Anderson at a hair band reunion tour, we can’t help but embrace these characters. As it stands, Donna Troy is the comic book equivalent of a burned out 80s rock star that just got out of rehab.

Her introduction to the post-Flashpoint era might as well have come with a bad handicap and adamantium shackles. She entered the world as a pawn, which is somehow worse than being another illegitimate offspring of Zeus. Her first act was the textbook definition of a war crime. Even the ancient Mongols would’ve raised an eyebrow at slaughtering an entire population of men that happened to be brothers of the Amazons. While she wasn’t completely control of her faculties at the time, she still has to live with that burden the same way Hallie Berry has to live with her role in the Catwoman movie.

The aftermath of this atrocity has served as the foundation of a new era for Wonder Woman. She’s now the acting God of War, Queen of the Amazons, and an active member of the Justice League. Even Hillary Clinton would call her an overachiever at this point. But while she’s trying to shoulder the burden of all these responsibilities, she still hasn’t come up with a way to deal with Donna Troy. It’s a story that has been set up and teased. Now, in Wonder Woman #43, that story finally starts to unfold.

It’s a story that follows many of the same themes that Wonder Woman has been exploring since the New 52 reboot. It has mischievous gods whose idea of entertainment is tormenting mortals and frustrating Wonder Woman. It has colorful characters with god-like powers who are essentially parodies of classic mythology, but not in the Weird Al tradition. And Wonder Woman is expected to manage this chaos while fighting the injustices of a patriarchal world. The demands on her couldn’t be more unreasonable without asking her to coach the Oakland Raiders.

Yet for all her power and responsibilities, Wonder Woman is largely powerless to help Donna Troy in this story. While Wonder Woman spends most of her time just looking for her, Donna’s story is an ongoing tragedy. However, that’s still an upgrade over being the catalyst for an outright war crime. What makes that tragedy compelling is that she understands the scope and scale of her crimes. She doesn’t try to hide from it. She doesn’t try to justify it. She actually tries to deal with it, which is more than most war criminals ever try to do. And none of these criminals can claim they were being controlled by black magic, except for maybe Kim Jong Ill.

It’s here where we’re also reminded that in addition to being guilty of an atrocity, Donna Troy is still a child. She’s basically an infant in a teenage girl’s body. She has no life experiences, let alone emotional maturity. A teenage mind is barely equipped to cope with calculus exams. This girl has to cope with being guilty of a war crime. It might be the first time a teenage girl’s melodramatic lamentation is completely warranted.

And being so emotionally immature, Donna’s first inclination is to seek an immature solution. She tries to end her life. Being an Amazon, she can’t exactly use Kurt Cobain’s approach. So she seeks out the mythological Sisters of Fate. However, they claim they can’t give her what she wants and not because suicidal teenagers have a tendency to not think things through. Despite being god-like beings, they can’t end her life because her fate isn’t set.

In some respects, it’s an appropriate metaphor for any teenager not guilty of war crimes. They may think that their life will always be defined by one bad day at high school, one day at work, or one bad relationship. That’s not how life works. The universe’s attention span isn’t as big as we make it out to be, especially for those whose experiences are so limited. And for Donna, her experiences couldn’t possibly be more limited without having been born in the lower decks of the Titanic.

Her frustration and self-hatred is the greatest strength of this story. It helps make her character endearing, notwithstanding the war crimes she’s still quite guilty of. The problem is her story is somewhat truncated. Another critical part of this story involves Wonder Woman searching for Donna. This leads to a few ambiguous twists involving someone attacking the Sisters of Fate and a surprise attack by Aegeus. It’s presented as a mystery, but ambiguity makes it come off as bland movie trailer.

Beyond the conflict, Wonder Woman doesn’t give the impression she has a plan for Donna. She doesn’t even indicate she can help her in any way other than bringing her back to Olympus, a place where gods torment mortals whenever they get bored. She still talks about helping Donna forgive herself and accept the weight of her crimes. That’s all well and good from a Dr. Phil perspective, but it’s insufficient for a character whose only life experiences involve being a pawn to war atrocities.

There is still some intrigue to this mystery, but its lacking in substance. It makes the overall narrative in Wonder Woman #43 uneven. It’s worth following to see the story of Donna Troy evolve beyond the grim circumstances of her creation. Beyond that, it’s mostly a generic conflict among gods with too much power, too much free time, and no Netflix.

There is still hope for Donna Troy as a character. Her journey is one that has the potential to be something unique and intriguing. She just has to find out how to circumvent self-hatred and meddling gods. If she can do that, she can be an inspiration for melodramatic teenagers everywhere. And in this day and age, there can never be too many of those.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

Friday, August 21, 2015

X-men Supreme Reflections Volume 5: James Proudstar is LIVE!

Throughout the history of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I’ve tried to create opportunities for certain characters to shine. Major characters like Cyclops, Wolverine, and Storm will always have those opportunities. That’s why I’ve tried to go out of my way to give similar opportunities to characters like Thunderbird, Sage, and Polaris. Now, I’m giving that opportunity to James “Warpath” Proudstar. He’s not going to get that opportunity in the current X-men comics. He will get this opportunity in X-men Supreme.

Warpath has been a part of X-men Supreme for quite some time now. I introduced him as the muscle behind Emma Frost’s road to redemption after the events of the Phoenix Saga. I have hinted at his history on some occasions. The only time I’ve really touched on it is X-men Supreme Issue 104: School Daze where I reveal he has a less than stellar record with the X-men and mutants as a whole. He’s someone who has made his share of mistakes in life. For a time, he was an adversary of the X-men and some haven’t forgotten about that. But like Wolverine and Emma Frost, he’s getting an opportunity for redemption, albeit due to tragedy.

The events of the Dark Legacy arc have shaken Warpath’s world in a way few things can. In this battle, for which he played a pivotal role, his brother, Thunderbird, died. In the aftermath, he freely admits that Thunderbird was the better warrior. He did the right thing when he had the opportunity. He joined the X-men, trained them to become the heroes they became, and gave his life to save a world that was at Sinister’s mercy. This leaves Warpath in a vulnerable and uncertain position.

I have major plans for Warpath in X-men Supreme Volume 6. But before any of those plans can unfold, it’s important to dig a little deeper into who Warpath is in the context of X-men Supreme. His journey to this pivotal point in his life where he’s coping with Thunderbird’s death was not an easy one. By knowing that journey, I believe everyone will appreciate the story that unfolds in the next phase of X-men Supreme. That’s exactly what I hope to accomplish with the latest entry of X-men Supreme Reflections.

X-men Supreme Reflections: James Proudstar

There are still plenty of opportunities for plenty of characters in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Given the breadth of the X-men mythos, it’s impossible to cover every one of them. However, I’ll still make the effort. That I can promise. With every character that plays a part in X-men Supreme, I’m determined to do them justice. I know there’s a lot of love and passion for the X-men. I want to make sure that every character I explore, including Warpath, respects those feelings. To do that, it’s very important that I get feedback for this and the rest of the X-men Supreme mythos. Either contact me directly or post your feedback directly in the issue. Either way is fine. I’m always happy to chat and listen to constructive criticism. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Inferno #4

There was once a time when demons and the women who fucked them were an actual, legitimate concern. These were not fun times to say the least. Without internet porn or TV, people would deal with these concerns by burning people at the stake and conducting exorcisms that would make any reasonable person prefer the company of demons. Since then, demons have become cartoon characters, except for the Duck Dynasty crowd. And stories like Inferno have shown that, despite all the horror and carnage they bring, they can still be pretty damn awesome.

Inferno has nicely established itself as one of the better tie-ins for Secret Wars. How can it not when it involves a kid version of Cable, a crazy demon psycho bitch in Magik, and Madelyne Pryor in a thong? It adds to that awesome by crafting a genuinely compelling story about Colossus trying to save his sister from Limbo. There's been plenty of drama to go along with epic demon battles. He's even found time to hook up with Domino on the side. Swap the vodka out for whiskey and he'd be on Wolverine's level. But in Inferno #4, he's gotten to a point where all the vodka and whiskey in the world won't convince him that he can save Magik. She's dry-humped one too many demons. It's time he get medieval on this demon shit.

That's exactly what Colossus reflects on, albeit in a more brotherly sort of way. He and Domino are still working with Madelyne fucking Pryor of all people in their effort to find her. It's not as unreasonable as it sounds because by the time they reach Limbo, Magik has effectively unleashed a demonic version of PMS on everyone and everything. With a new demon Nightcrawler pet by her side, she's casually strolling the streets while her demon hordes torment and horrify everyone in their sight. There's being a sadistic brat and then there's being a crazy demon psycho bitch. And at this point, I think it's safe to say that Magik has embraced and gangbanged both. Evil demons are bad enough. Evil demons who are also sadistic teenage girls? Even my penis shudders at that thought.

As she rampages with a smile like a kid on their first trip to Disney World, she still encounters some resistance. Although at this point, calling Longshot resistance is like calling Bobby Jindal a legitimate contender for President. It's not going to do anything but annoy Magik, albeit less than a speech by Bobby Jindal. And annoying crazy demon psychic bitches is a bad idea, no matter how much luck you have on your side. He should stick to playing Powerball.

But Longshot doesn't end up getting to do jack shit. Before he can do anything more than mildly amuse Magik, Dr. Strange and Doom's Thor Corp show up. This is somewhat jarring, but it's also a nice reminder that this story is taking place within Battleworld. That means when a big fucking demon army invades a part of it, a god-powered Dr. Doom is going to take notice. It may mildly annoy him just as much, but it's still the first instance where this story is injected into the larger context of Secret Wars.

While this is an intriguing twist, it still feels somewhat forced. I have to wonder how a god-powered Doom reasons that, "I'll give only half a shit about any particular realm in Battleworld. But when demon armies start invading, I'll take an interest." But whatever his reasons, it's still one of those moments that offer tantalizing possibilities. Like a stripper in the process of taking off her bra, there's a distinct promise that something awesome is about to be revealed.

For the rest of the X-men who spent years protecting this realm from demon attacks, it's not quite as awesome. The epic battle in the previous issue ended up being pretty lopsided. The X-men and all the mutant forces that Cyclops led, despite being confined to a wheelchair, got their asses kicked by a demon-loving teenager. That has to be right up there with getting farted on by Blob as a low point. Their pride, their spirit, and their collective balls are pretty damn wounded.

It leads to a vulnerable moment with Cyclops. Everyone around him, including Jean, keep telling him just how fucked they are. At this point, they would have better luck in the Zombieverse or Age of Ultron. But Cyclops, being stubborn/badass leader he's always been, tries to rally the X-men with a stirring Mel Gibson speech. And he does it without going into an anti-semetic rant. I admit even I felt the urge to go out and fight demons or my 5th grade teacher, which is basically the same thing. It's the kind of Cyclops that X-men fans have come to love and Wolverine fans have come to despise.

But before anyone can start cheering and mooning demons, Magik's forces and a demon Nightcrawler show up. So much for an inspiring speech. Still a better outcome than Mel Gibson's last speech though.

Everybody seems to be running on empty. Fighting a crazy demon psycho bitch who is on a hell of a winning streak is taking a toll. Colossus, Domino, and the Goblin Queen's forces/bitches are still trying to meet up with the X-men or kick Magik's ass, whichever comes first. Along the way, they keep losing more of their forces. They're basically trying to fight Ronda Rhousy while bleeding to death. Colossus seems to know this and continues to look pretty damn pessimistic about saving his sister and/or ending her demonic ass. The only one who doesn't seem all that broken up about it is the Goblin Queen. She still looks like she's enjoying this. That or she's horny. I honestly can't tell and neither can my penis.

They finally get a break, albeit a small one. A few issues ago, Nightcrawler and Boom Boom managed to dive head-first into the losing end of a demon battle. Nightcrawler got turned into one of Magik's pets. Boom Boom just ended up like most pretty blondes in a slasher movie. Or did she? Well, this isn't another shitty Friday the 13th sequel so remarkably, she survived. Her hair looks like shit, but she's in one piece.

This may also sound forced, but it's not. And that's not just because of the weed. However she survived, she offers Colossus, Domino, and the Goblin Queen a better way to get to the demon-fighting action. Sure, it involves going through a sewer, but they just went through fucking Limbo. By comparison, a sewer has to be a cruise to the Bahamas. Since they're so fucked right now, they follow Boom Boom willingly. It seriously can't be worse than just wandering around the wasteland that Magik's demonic hissy fit has created.

Thanks to Boom Boom and the overly elaborate sewers that might as well be shit-powered magic gateways, Colossus and his team are able to meet up with the others. The details are somewhat lacking, but it's not a big deal because it leads to another X-men vs. Demons battle. There are just some things you can't be petty about.

The fight that unfolds isn't quite as epic as previous battles, nor is it intended to be. It's basically a way for Colossus, Domino, and the Goblin Queen's forces to meet up with Cyclops, Jean, and the rest of the beleaguered X-men. Is it enough to tip the balance in their favor? Probably not. But it does lead to a scene where Madelyne Pryor and Jean Grey are within slapping distance of one another. That alone makes it worthwhile.

Now this could and probably should've been a big moment. In the history of Inferno, the conflict between Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor is one of the most emotionally charged clashes in the story and not just because guys like me jerk off to the thought of two sexy redheads fighting. Madelyne Pryor is still Jean Grey's clone and I imagine she's still somewhat pissed that Jean had the audacity to come back to life and take Cyclops from her. But none of that shit comes up. Instead, Madelyne just finds it satisfying to pwn Jean by subduing the demon Nightcrawler and making her look like a total pussy. I admit it's not the kind of emotionally charged clash I had been hoping for, but I can't deny that Madelyne knows how to pwn her rivals.

We don't get much from the Jean/Madelyne conflict, which is somewhat disappointing. But we still get plenty of demon fighting, which is pretty damn awesome. It's not as epic as previous battles, but it's still plenty visceral. It's not a case of whiskey, but it's a couple bottles and that's enough to have a good time.

And while we were denied more Jean/Madelyne conflict, we get more than our share of Cyclops/Colossus conflict. Granted, it's not nearly as sexy, but it's every bit as emotionally charged. Once they get a breather from fighting demons, Cyclops goes out of his way to blast and yell at Colossus for basically doing the exact opposite of what he told him to do. If that weren't bad enough, Cyclops ended up being right in the end and this time it didn't get his ass thrown in jail. He rightly points out that Colossus' endless efforts to save his sister were doing more harm than good. Now, they're all pretty much fucked. He's harsh, way more than he ever was with Wolverine. But Colossus doesn't argue with him. He never denies that he fucked up. Even so, it doesn't do much of anything to unfuck their situation.

It's a powerful moment and one that could get a lot messier and a lot less sexy if it continues. But just like before, it's a moment that gets cock-blocked. But this time, it isn't from Dr. Doom's people. This time, it's from their old friend/asshole Sinister. He showed up at the end of the previous issue. Now, he's arriving just in time exploit the X-men's desperation and vulnerability. He's like a corrupt lawyer, but not quite as ugly.

His appearance definitely surprises everybody. It's the first time Madelyne looks genuinely shocked and definitively not horny. Then Boom Boom vouches for him. It's at this point we find out how she actually survived. It's Sinister who saved her. He claims he also tinkered with her genetics to make her more subservient, but that's pretty much the basic package for this guy. That's one question answered, but the X-men are still suspicious of him, as they probably should be given how many crazy clones this guy has unleashed.

However, he claims he's there to help them. He claims he has a way for them to beat Magik. And Dr. Oz claims I can run a marathon in under two hours just by buying my vitamins from him. It's not a very credible claim. Unfortunately, the X-men aren't in a position to turn down help, especially now that Magik has the attention of Dr. Doom and his unholy henchmen. At the very least, Sinister isn't asking for their credit card number or a copy of their passport. It's hard to imagine how he can help them turn the tide against Magik. But given his reputation for fucking shit up, often with clones, why not take a chance? If it's a choice between Sinister and a teenage demon-loving psycho bitch, I think the choice is obvious.

After reading this issue, I feel like I need an exorcism, but in a good way. Once again, this series finds a way to make demons and the psycho bitches who love them fun. It also finds a way to inject a premium level of X-men caliber drama along the way. Like Red Bull and Vodka, the idea that X-men and demons would come together to make an awesome mix sounds crazy. But even if it is crazy, it's the kind of mixture that gets you fucked up in all the right ways and doesn't turn your vomit green. On behalf of my toilet, I thank Dennis Hopeless for making this work.

The heavy drama with Colossus and the inclusion of Sinister helps raise the stakes of this story. And with Doom's unholy army showing up, this series now feels like it's more than just a random brain fart from Battleworld. It has the potential to affect the larger landscape of Secret Wars. Overall, this issue and this series does everything it needs to do. It does drag a bit in some places, but it never kills your boner. And those who jerk off to demons and X-men drama will definitely need new underwear after this. Inferno #4 gets an 8 out of 10. More than anything else, we now know how dangerous crazy psycho demon bitches are. They're so crazy that they make Sinister an ally of the X-men. Let that sink in for the next several weeks. Nuff said!