Friday, October 24, 2014
People tend to forget that crazy situations lead to crazy problems. It goes both ways to an extent that even Anna Paquin would find excessive. Those who decide to kill that huge spider with a shotgun still act surprised when they hit some wires, start a fire, and have to fight the urge to shoot their insurance agent. It’s no different in comics. Heroes often get desperate in their efforts to deal with a situation and because of that, the often create entirely new situations that require even more desperation. Superman saves the world from an asteroid by moving it out of the way. In doing so he triggers an earthquake that turns California into a chain of islands. It’s the circle of life. O5 Cyclops might not be Superman, but he’s dealing with space pirates on top of being a teenager. Even being Superman wouldn’t help him with that. He’s learning how to be a space pirate from his father and already those lessons left them marooned on an alien planet. So there’s room for improvement to say the least. Now in Cyclops #6, he gets show how he’s learned from that experience. But if he fucks up again, they can’t act surprised. He’s a teenager. He’s not ready to perform brain surgery after one class.
Corsair must not have gotten that message. He must have unreasonably high standards for teenagers because now he finds himself in a situation where he has to punch his son in ways that would get him suspended from the NFL. It’s a complete departure from the friendly, understanding approach that Corsair has taken with his son since he decided to join him and learn how to become a space pirate at an age when most teenagers are learning how to drive. What could’ve changed? What did O5 Cyclops do to fuck things up this much that it warranted the kind of discipline only seen in Catholic Schools? Well, there is a story behind it and it’s worth staying sober for.
It actually started off a lot more innocently. Well, as innocent as is possible whenever alcohol is involved. O5 Cyclops and Corsair finally made it back to the Starjammer and reunited with the rest of the crew. They were all happy to see them return and prior to Corsair and Hepzibah’s reunion sex, they all shared a good celebratory drink. But since they don’t have whiskey in space, they drink something called Bach’terrian Vesperjuice. It sounds like the kind of liquor that’s fermented between a snake den and Ann Coulter’s vagina. As disgusting as it sounds, I desperately want to try it.
Beyond the booze, there’s also some nice insight from O5 Cyclops into the family-like dynamics of the Starjammers. Sure, they’re renegade space pirates that steal shit and raid Baddoon bandits, but they’re also very close-knit. They’re a bunch of ragtag aliens that find a way to get along. And O5 Cyclops’ exploits on the alien planet officially earn him some street cred. For a teenager, that’s like seeing an exposed tit. It goes a long way.
They can’t celebrate too long though. One of the reasons why they needed to get off that alien world so quickly was that Corsair admitted that he was kind of dying. It’s one of the side-effects of being brought back from the dead and not being Jean Grey. He’s relying on illegal alien drugs to stay alive, much like Larry King at this point. But now that he’s back with his crew, he can have his hot sexy alien cat lady girlfriend administer the treatment. It couldn’t be more of a relief without her putting on a sexy nurse costume, which I’m sure Corsair would’ve preferred.
The treatment finally gets Corsair out of the danger zone and in a condition to get into Hepzibah’s panties. As it just so happens, those same panties contain Corsair’s second round of treatment. After being stuck on a planet and left to die, I’d say Corsair has more than earned that. He’s in a good place now. The same can’t be said for O5 Cyclops though. While they’re off for a little inter-stellar humping, they find him already getting a head start on his first hangover. They don’t let it kill the mood, but they do acknowledge that O5 Cyclops really needs to work on his alcohol tolerance.
After he sobers up, O5 Cyclops decides to make himself useful while his father is enjoying the wonders of being alive and having a hot alien girlfriend. So he tries to hang out with Korvus, who also happens to be his future AU daughter’s one-time lover. But for some reason, that never comes up. He just starts helping out with random alien tech that he’s in no position to understand. That’s like giving a drunk a remote controlled cruise missile. Nothing good can ome of it.
While I’m sure this is vital for an aspiring space pirate to learn, his ineptitude is pretty startling. He’s less a leader of the X-men and more a walking Three Stooges parody. It again shows his inexperience, which I really don’t think anybody needs to be reminded of at this point. It also reminds everyone that Korvus is not dead and nobody seems interested in using him in a meaningful way. He’s in the same room as his ex-girlfriend’s time-displaced father. How could anyone pass up this opportunity?
Corsair, now invigorated with medicine and Hepzibah’s sweet loving, decides to take his son out for activities that don’t involve blowing up the ship’s vital components. This involves doing a little space walking and raiding an abandoned alien ship for parts. Sure, it’s the plot to no fewer than 25 alien horror movies, but a pirate has to make a living. At least with this, O5 Cyclops will only blow up a ship that’s already abandoned.
For a moment, O5 Cyclops laments how shitty a space pirate he is thus far. Sure, he’s been at it for less time than most college dropouts, but he’s already made an ass of himself on more than most teenagers do on a daily basis, which is saying something. It’s a nice reminder that O5 Cyclops is really out of his element here. He may be awesome when it comes to leading the X-men, but he’s not much of a space pirate. He’s like a lion in Antarctica. In the jungle, he’s the king. But in the tundra, he’s a penguin’s bitch.
His father tries to encourage him, but only ends up finding out that his son fucked something else up. It didn’t lead to anything blowing up, but it did lead to them being detected by another alien ship. This ship has far more competent space pirates because they proceed to disable the Starjammer and force the crew to surrender. He even captures O5 Cyclops and Corsair with a bunch of mechanical rejects from Japanese tentacle rape porn. I imagine at this point, Corsair is going to think twice about encouraging his son again.
That’s strike three for O5 Cyclops today. At this point, his ineptitude is getting pretty pathetic. That might be okay for some characters, but it’s starting to get excessive here and I normally never say that about a 16-year-old. I know O5 Cyclops isn’t as known for handling high tech gear, but that should make him this fucking hopeless. I know teenagers fuck up, but these fuck-ups just feel forced at this point. At the very least, the anti-Cyclops crowd will have something to jerk off to.
The name of the competent space pirate looking to take advantage of O5 Cyclops’ screw-ups is named Captain Malafect. It sounds like a symptom of liver disease, but it doesn’t make the Starjammer’s any less screwed. Now Corsair and his entire crew are abducted and taken prisoner. This finally brings us back to that brief flash-forward from earlier when Corsair was giving his son the Adrian Peterson treatment. Well, it’s at this point we finally realize that it might not warrant a suspension from the NFL after all.
Corsair yells at and berates his son, but he never lets it slip that O5 Cyclops is his son. He talks down to him like he’s just some dipshit skipper who stumbled ass-backwards onto the Starjammer and found a way to fuck it up. It goes back to the first lesson O5 Cyclops learned when this series began, which is to think like a pirate. That means sometimes being a little deceptive, even if it means being a dick. A quick wink from Corsair reminds him of this lesson. It also warns him that he’s probably going to need see a dentist after this.
It unfolds as we saw earlier. Corsair slugs his son in a perfectly convincing manner, almost too convincingly in some respects. I guess O5 Cyclops kind of earned it for his screw-ups, but I’m not a fan of corporal punishment that doesn’t come from a dominatrix so I’m not going to condone it. O5 Cyclops understands what his father is doing and goes along with it, even if it means getting yelled at. He’s a teenager and a mutant. He should be used to that. It still means he has to stand by and watch as Malafect forces the Starjammers to pile into some pod and get shot out into space, which sucks. That means O5 Cyclops even more incentive not to fuck up this time.
He certainly does his part, finally showing that he can be a competent pirate, so long as it doesn’t involve equipment that requires a PHD in astrophysics to work. Malafect, who still isn’t aware that O5 Cyclops is Corsair’s son, is curious about him and tries to figure out how Corsair could let someone so inept on his grew. O5 Cyclops decides to get back at his dad for the punch to the jaw and shows off his optic blasts, which I’m sure would intrigue any deviant space pirate. I’m not sure if it’s ironic or fitting that in order to finally be competent, O5 Cyclops has to be a bit of an ass. I’m too high to figure it out, but it does do the trick.
The effect puts O5 Cyclops in a position to save both his dad and the Starjammers. While Corsair rots in the brig, Malafect gives him a provisional status on his crew. He just can’t pass up a crewmate that has built in firepower like that. He also makes clear that if he so much as spills his coffee, he’ll throw him out of the nearest air lock. He’s not one of those Jack Sparrow type pirates. He’s one of those pirates that really isn’t afraid to be a dick. It puts O5 Cyclops in a very difficult position, but one he can’t afford to fuck up. So after all his ineptitude, O5 Cyclops is now the only one who can save the Starjammers. Again, I’m not sure if that’s ironic or fitting. I’ll just smoke an extra joint and just say it’s awesome.
If I’ve said once while sober, I’ve said it ten more times with more cursing while drunk. A fuck-up by a teenager is way more destructive by a fuck-up from an adult, minus those that involve tainted prescription drugs. O5 Cyclops is continuing to learn just how much he sucks at being 16. While he was able to be awesome enough to get him and his father off that deserted planet, he wasn’t able to avoid another one of those little mistakes that turns into a cosmic shit storm. Now he has to do what he did before and find a way to pull his ass and his father’s out of the fire. That involves doing exactly what his father is teaching him to do. He’s thinking like a pirate. He has to be deceptive, cunning, and a bit if a dick at times. He basically has to not act like a boy scout while still trying to accomplish what a boy scout would do. For a guy destined to lead the X-men, that’s not a bad skill to have and it continues the development of this lovable teenage boy who grows up to be a controversial adult that fans on message boards can’t stop bitching about. Cyclops #6 gets a 9 out of 10. Teenagers can all say they’ve had minor fuck-ups turn into utter disasters, but O5 Cyclops can say that he knows how to deal with it. Now if only he could learn how to handle his alcohol. Nuff said!
With every major arc in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I try to make sure it leaves a lasting mark. The world of X-men Supreme is a constantly changing, ever evolving mythos. Like the comics, certain events lead to long-term ramifications for certain characters, places, and themes. There have been more than a few here in X-men Supreme. Some have led to massive upheavals in the leadership of entire nations. Some have led to new members and new romantic relationships. Some have even exposed terrible secrets that some have gone to great lengths to conceal. In every arc, the world of X-men Supreme changes dramatically and that's exactly what I intend to do with this new arc, Civilization No Longer Lost.
This arc won't just pit the X-men against the likes of Sinister and Selene again. It'll provide some overdue details about the lives of the Seftons. Since I introduced them in the Family and Fiends arc back in X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers, I've kept details about them hidden. Amanda Sefton and her mother are among those who have a significantly different background in X-men Supreme. Their lives, their powers, and the conflicts they face are unique to this fanfiction series. Amanda's close emotional connection with Nightcrawler ensures their conflicts have a great deal of drama. But I've kept the nature of that conflict hidden for a good reason. That reason starts to unraval in this arc.
In X-men Supreme Issue 105: Bleeding Hearts, I revealed that the Seftons don't just have close ties to Nightcrawler. They also have ties to Selene, the Black Queen. The extent of those ties are key to the conflict that's set to unfold. It's been brewing since the end of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. To say it's ambitious would be an understatement, even by the lofty standards Sinister and Selene have set in the past. What they do and the upheaval it will bring is going to have significant, far-reaching impacts that will play out later on in X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. And it begins here in this arc.
post it in the issue or contact me directly. I make it a point to respond. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Some have argued with varying degrees of coherence that whenever the X-men go up against enemies that are either alien or based on magic, it undermines the core themes of their stories. It’s not entirely wrong. How exactly does battling an army of Wendigo further peace and understanding between humans and mutants? That’s like trying to solve global warming by creating a Taco Bell meal that doesn’t induce diarrhea. That’s not to say such endeavors aren’t worthwhile. They just seem out of place. I don’t believe that every X-men story needs to have the same theme. Every superhero needs to mix shit up a bit every now and then. I’m sure even Hugh Hefner feels the urge to bang an ugly fat chick every now and then. And the X-men have a rich history of battling magical foes like the Wendigo and Juggernaut while making it look pretty damn awesome. It’s for that reason that the Wendigo arc in Amazing X-men has had its share of moments. It has yet to have that moment that feels like the first hit on a crack pipe, but it has definitely built towards it. Amazing X-men #12 promises to finally deliver on that high. And with the price of crack skyrocketing these days, the price of a comic makes it much more cost-effective.
The battle against the Wendigo has been a case study in how shit just keeps getting worse and worse. First, they had to just contain the spread of the Wendigo plague. For a while, they did that by guarding the Canadian border in ways that some Republicans only wish we could do with the Mexican border. But like outdated immigration policies, this backfired when the curse began spreading. This means that innocent little girl that Northstar has being trying to protect needed to be saved again after being reunited with her father. It was a touching moment in a story full of monsters, which made this all the more disheartening, even if it doesn’t do a good job of playing up those emotions. On top of that, Northstar’s sister got attacked as well. So that means shit is getting worse and not for reasons the Family Research Council might think.
This shittier turn isn’t restricted to the border either. The battle against Tanaraq, the overly generic monster that’s behind the Wendigo attacks, is not going well either. How bad does it get? Guardian ends up getting eaten by Tanaraq. And that’s right up there with somebody getting an acid enema in terms of shit going bad. It’s a more detailed battle that has been going on since the previous issue. It’s not quite as refined as detailed as it could be, but it’s solid enough to get the point across. That point is basically that Tanaraq has kicked their asses and gotten a nice snack out of it. So it’s definitely turning into a productive day for him.
The stench of this shit storm just keeps on spreading because apparently, the X-men haven’t reached their daily quota of being screwed over. Colossus, Rachel, Sasquatch, and Nightcrawler were tasked with guarding the portal to the spirit realm before Tamaraq can come through. They fought valiantly before, but like an overworked cook at McDonald’s, it’s only a matter of time before they start slipping. But instead of an undercooked burger or semen in the ketchup, Nightcrawler ends up getting bitten and Colossus ends up getting stabbed. So now they’re about to become Wendigo, essentially rolling out the red carpet for Tamaraq. I still consider that more preferable to finding semen in my ketchup.
I imagine that innocent girl, Amber, would disagree and not just because she’s never been to a McDonald’s that made the mistake of hiring a chronic masturbator. She’s scared and alone after having been rushed into the woods to escape the Wendigo. But when Northstar went back to find his sister, he ended up getting bit as well. Now he and Aurora are set to turn into Wendigo and all that poor little girl can do is run. I imagine this is one of those things she’ll be telling her therapist one day.
The presence of the little girl hasn’t been vital to the story. There’s nothing she does that helps the X-men battle the Wendigo in any ways. However, her presence doesn’t at all hurt the story. It actually does more to help because she maintains that human connection to the conflict that is so often lost in these monsters vs. mutants stories. While she doesn’t get a lot of emotional development, her being this innocent victim that the X-men try desperately to help adds some humanity to their struggle. That way it doesn’t feel too much like a mutants vs. monsters story. If nothing else, this little girl will grow up to avoid the William Strykers of the world.
At this point, everything seems have fallen to the deepest part of the shit tank. It couldn’t possibly get any worse without Nazis showing up. When Storm, Firestar, Snowbird, and Rockslide wake up in the Spirit Realm, they’re greeted by the second worst sight before Nazis. They’re chained to a rock and facing down a horde of angry monsters that Tamaraq probably hasn’t fed since the Nixon Administration. It really is a situation where it feels like it can’t get any worse.
This might be a jinx in most instances, but in this case that doesn’t happen because things finally start improving. Unfortunately, it comes courtesy of Iceman. I know I’m being more than a little petty when I bash him on this blog the way I’ve been doing with Beast for years. But let’s face it, Iceman has earned it. But I’m not afraid to say he does contribute in a meaningful way when he shows up with a pack of those snow creatures he met earlier and frees them. He even brings that nature god that Tamaraq chained up in order to make himself so powerful. So that means they finally have a way take him on and ensure nobody gets eaten again. However, Storm makes it clear that the X-men tend to get shafted when they trust gods so they make one condition. They have to make the X-men gods in order to help with this fight.
Now if that sounds like a wholly unreasonable request, don’t put down the joint. It is. But when someone like Storm makes it, this hardly qualifies as unreasonable. It’s more a, “This is how it’s going to work and fuck anyone who says otherwise,” kind of request. And wisely, the nature god does as she asks. And I can say with as sober a mind as I can manage that the results are divinely awesome.
Just before Tamaraq is about to pass through the portal that Rachel and the others can no longer guard, Storm leads another attack with Firestar, Iceman, and Rockslide. But this time, they’re packing god-level power. It’s the kind of power that makes them look infinitely more badass, even Iceman. Yes, I admit Iceman looks badass in this battle. It makes me sick to my stomach just typing that out loud, but I’m okay with attributing that to the last three burritos I ate if nobody gives me crap about it.
This god-level power makes for an epic, detailed, satisfying attack against Tamaraq that a visual orgy of awesome. This menacing creature that has done so much to upset US/Canadian relations really had this coming. And after shit got so bad for a while, this changes the tone of the struggle in all the right ways. It put a smile on my face and a boner in my pants. It couldn’t have been better without also putting a cold beer in my hands.
It’s still not as lopsided a fight as the X-men would prefer. Tamaraq is still able to fight back, despite facing god-powered X-men. The Wendigo curse had spread so far that his power levels are Dragonball Z level immeasurable. So what could possibly stop him at this point? More god-powered X-men? The answer, in this case, is actually even more satisfying.
Remember that snack break Tamaraq took? The one where he decided Guardian would be a nice meal. Well, that turned out to be dumber than going on Morgan Surlock’s diet in Super-Size Me. Apparently, Tamaraq forgot to chew because Guardian was still in one peace, which meant he had enough strength to not just avoid being digested. He actually punched his way right out of Tamaraq’s stomach in ways that would make Ridley Scott try to sue him. Sure, it means Marvel will probably incur a lawsuit, but fuck if it isn’t satisfying.
Things get a little rushed from here on out. The Wendigo Curse is lifted. We see the afflicted X-men transform back into a picture of health, but we don’t see much from the other victims. However, we do get to see Amber again and that makes for a nice touch. We even get to see the X-men helping some of the other kids whose parents were afflicted because the X-men understand that some kids haven’t grown old enough to become bigots. They might as well do their part before parents, schools, and Fox News starts to indoctrinate them.
It also marks the last time Wolverine gets to share in the victory party with his fellow X-men. Since this issue takes place before Death of Wolverine, it’s somewhat bittersweet. Everybody gets to recover and Wolverine gets to have one last battle with his Alpha Flight buddies. He even takes time to thank his fellow X-men for pulling his ass out of the fire after yet another ill-fated trip to Canada. It’s kind of sad, but it’s nice to know that he got to enjoy a triumph like this before he died. I just hope he and Colossus shared an extra big bottle of vodka when all was said and done.
I know Marvel comics has never shied away from subtle forms of blasphemy, but it helps that they find a way to make it satisfying. This battle that had all the right elements of a mutants vs. monsters battle, complete with the tried and true formulas of pre-Twilight werewolf movies. As a bonus, some of the X-men actually became gods for a while to kick the ass of the monster behind the Wendigo plague. Yet it wasn’t godly power that ended the fight. It was a guy who got eaten. Something about that is just so immensely satisfying that I feel like I just got a free lap dance. And I didn’t even ruin my pants. It’s a solid end to a story that has been choppy at times. It remained somewhat choppy here, but not to the point where it made the ending less satisfying. It has monsters. It has gods. It has mutants. It has cute little girls being rescued. It couldn’t have more without Storm and Rachel Grey wearing a G-string. Amazing X-men #12 gets a 9 out of 10. We all have a soft spot for monster movies that occasionally deal in gods. And whenever something comes along that massages that spot like an expensive Thai hooker at a spa in Las Vegas, then it’s something ot be treasured. Nuff said!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I, for one, welcome the coming age of our robot overlords. And here is a trailer to Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron to show way.
We all dream of living in a perfect world. We read comics and we want to live in a world where superheroes always stop the bad guys without any collateral damage or circumventing the law. It’s probably the same world where a guy like me can go on a three-week bender and never get hung over and where hookers never overcharge. Sadly, that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world where Superman gets shit for stopping an alien invasion because it caused too much collateral damage. Never mind that he wasn’t the one that caused it. He still gets blamed the same way McDonald’s gets blamed for obesity. It’s a sad fact that to get shit done, sometimes heroes aren’t enough. Sometimes people have to be assholes and not in the traditional Gordon Gecko sort of way. Sometimes it takes a raging asshole to defeat an even Nazi-level asshole.
That’s the situation in Avengers and X-men: AXIS right now. A coalition of Avengers and X-men went up against the Red Onslaught and lost. Thanks largely to another round of Iron Man’s dirty secrets, they ended up getting captured and trapped. Now their only hope of living in a world governed by Hitler’s wet dreams, Magneto and a team of villains have to be the ones to take down the Red Skull. It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. Villains, by definition, are narcissistic assholes. If someone else is trying to take over the world who isn’t them, they’re going to have problems with it. Avengers and X-men: AXIS #3 promises to show just how asshole villains can play the part of heroes. So long as Nazis are the only ones that get hurt, they can call themselves heroes, albeit temporarily.
That means they have to make good use of their temporary title and in this, they actually succeed. With Iron Man the only one left, a team of villains that includes Sabretooth, Hob Goblin, Carnage, Loki, Mystique, Dr. Doom, Absorbing Man, Enchantress, and Jack O’ Lantern are the only ones who can stop the Red Onslaught at this point. Some might be tempted to say we’re all fucked. But on paper, it’s worth noting that these guys are ruthless in ways that would make the Captain Americas of the world violently ill. So when they start busting up the Red Skull’s big adamantium Sentinels, it’s not surprising. But that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. Carnage said it best. There’s villainy and then there’s Nazi villainy. And some villains just hold themselves to a higher standard.
These villains bring all sorts of epic firepower to the battle and they use their villainous charisma to make it awesome. I can actually hear Tom Hiddleston’s voice when Loki boasts about his trickster ability. That or I just took one too many bong hits in the span of five minutes, but I’m not going to assume. Unlike the first two Thor movies, Loki doesn’t steal the show. Everyone gets in on the act. Magneto and Dr. Doom show off their skills as well and they are total assholes about it. That’s what makes it so satisfying.
This also helps set them apart from the heroes that fought the Red Onslaught early on. Sure, they’re fighting a uber-powerful Nazi. Sure, their actions are technically heroic. But they do it with an attitude that is anything but heroic. They take on the Red Onslaught the same way Donald Trump takes on charity. They don’t suddenly become these peace-loving, hippie type ex-villains. They’re still the same villains. They’re just sharing the action with the heroes because they understand a Nazi with this kind of power is shitty for everybody.
All this ego and dick-waving does somewhat mask how shitty the situation is for them and the heroes. The Red Onslaught is still armed with Charles Xavier caliber telepathy. The only thing that’s keeping these villains from being mind-fucked is Kid Omega, who is known more for having goofy hair and a bad attitude than he is for being a competent telepath. But he’s still able to hold the Red Onslaught off long enough to allow for a devious tactic that only a villain would attempt.
First, it involves Mystique taking the form of Captain America. For a Nazi, that’s like waving Hitler’s severed head in their face. This pisses the Red Onslaught off just long enough for the Enchantress move in and work her magic. And by magic, I mean her tits. And by her tits, I mean her Asgardian level magic. She actually is able to use her power to make the Red Skull fall in love with her. She’s the fucking Enchantress. As powerful as the Red Skull might be, he still has a dick. It’s the kind of trick no hero would ever try. Who would even want to get a Nazi to fall in love with them who didn’t have the kind of perverse fetishes that can only be found in a Romanian brothel? That’s why being a villain has so much value in this fight.
So now the Red Onslaught is hopelessly smitten by the power of the Enchantress’ magic and her awesome rack. It’s the first time where it really feels like the battle has turned against him. It gives time for Carnage, Sabretooth, Jack O’ Lantern, and Absorbing man to take out the last remaining Sentinel. It’s not too epic a struggle at this point for them. It also frees the heroes that were trapped earlier. However, this is poorly depicted. It’s another instance where the struggle is lacking in detail, but this time there are other elements to enjoy and not just Enchantress’ rack, although that is a big part of it.
Enchantress actually taunts and demeans the Red Onslaught while he’s under her spell. It’s more than a little pathetic. Even Emma Frost is less domineering and that’s saying something. She doesn’t make any righteous speeches about how Nazis suck and Asgardians kick ass. She actually talks about using the Red Onslaught as another one of her pets who are hopelessly under the influence of her spell/vagina. So maybe it’s actually a good thing when the Red Onslaught actually breaks the spell because her and the Red Onslaught is a love that’s too perverse, even for the internet.
With the Sentinels down and the heroes now free, they can actually win this battle. They can use the inversion spell they never got to use in the previous issue and stop the Red Onslaught before he turns the world into a Nazi wet dream. So of course this has to be the moment when Kid Omega finally fails miserably and allows the Red Onslaught to start mind-fucking everybody. Even Genesis, who was wounded at the start of the battle, isn’t immune. So the battle is back in the favor of a Nazi. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but it helps that Deadpool is hanging around and trolling Iron Man. Only Deadpool could make a moment with a Nazi not feel quite as bad.
That still doesn’t make the Red Onslaught’s tactic any less effective. Villains might be effective in their own right, but they’re not always known for their ability to shield an Xavier-level Nazi telepath. So most of them become villains again and attack the Scarlet Witch and Dr. Strange before they can cast the spell. But some, like Deadpool, make this moment feel a little less dire by coming to the rescue and singing a few catchy songs from the 50s in the process. Why? He’s Deadpool. He doesn’t need a reason.
This helps give the Scarlet Witch enough time to cast the spell, but with Dr. Strange down for the count she needs help from someone else. And the only one nearby who can is Dr. Doom, the same asshole that used her to carry out M-Day. It’s like having to be a lab partner with a pyromaniac. It’s not ideal and has the potential to go horribly wrong. But since they both have plenty of incentive not live in a world ruled by a super-powerful Nazi, they get the job done.
The spell is cast. It’s not all that spectacular. It’s not even that flashy. There are Christian Rock concerts that are a bigger spectacle than this. But again, it works. Everybody wakes up and in another batch of missing details, the villains are gone. They came to help and they ditched them without even drawing dicks on their faces with permanent marker. So I guess they should consider themselves lucky.
They’re even luckier in the sense that the Red Onslaught is now back to being the Red Skull. He’s also out cold and no longer ranting about inferior races or other Nazi crap. But what gets everybody worked up is the possibility that Charles Xavier is still somewhere in his mind. He did show up in Rogue’s visions earlier. Since he’s supposed to be “inverted” now, that means he can finally tell everyone that it’s okay to stop bitching about Cyclops.
Unfortunately, that’s where a different kind of shit storm gets kicked up and this one is painfully familiar. Step back for a moment and remember Avenges vs. X-men, ignoring the violent nauseous feelings often associated with it. It began with the Avengers and X-men debating who should possess a dangerous force within a living body. But this time it’s not Hope fucking Summers. It’s the Red fucking Skull. The Avengers want to take him to Avengers Tower and imprison him. The X-men want to wake him up and see if they can reach Xavier. This is especially important to those like Cyclops, who probably would at least want to say he’s sorry for accidentally killing him. But this is not what happens.
It’s actually a much more dramatic moment and not just because it doesn’t use shitty rip-off characters like Hope fucking Summers. It creates yet another clear divide between the Avengers and X-men after they know all too well what that sort of shit leads to. Even Havok thinks it’s bullshit that the Avengers aren’t giving them a chance to reach Xavier. And when Havok is in agreement with his brother, it’s usually a sign that somebody is going to lose their shit.
While that doesn’t happen here, the divide is definitely there. Steve Rogers arrives to keep things from turning into Avengers vs. X-men 2: The Sequel Nobody Wanted. He’s able to defuse the situation, saying they’ll try to get Xavier’s mind out of the Red Skull’s. But this is the same Captain America that made a similar promise in Avengers vs. X-men and fucked it up. So nobody should really feel that confident.
On top of that, something fucked happened to Genesis in that he’s now more “Apocalyptic” in stature. There’s no explanation given. There’s just some funny quips from Deadpool, which is the next best thing I guess. It shows that maybe the inversion spell had a few side-effects, but it offers few other clues. It’s intriguing, but confusing. It’s like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey while high on Ecstasy, minus the profuse sweating. I’m not sure what to make of it and nobody really reacts from this either. It’s a confusing and contrived moment that felt forced, which is disappointing given how satisfying the rest of the battle was.
This all leads to a pretty bitter departure between the Avengers and X-men. It’s so bitter that Havok up and quits. He basically says, “This whole Unity Squad is bullshit. I’m going back to being the nicer Summers brother.” It leads him to telling Wasp that she’ll never enjoy the sweet feeling of Summers caliber masculinity again. It’s presented as a semi-dramatic moment, but really doesn’t have much impact. Again, this is a relationship that felt so rushed and forced that there’s no way it can be taken as seriously as it needs to be. Maybe it’s for the best because this relationship was never meant to be epic. It might work best as an extended one-night stand that’s somewhere between a bad romance novel and a rerun of Seinfeld.
I’ve always been somewhat confused by the term bittersweet. I used to associate it only with a bad martini, but I think it applies nicely to this issue. The Red Skull was defeated, but it poured a fresh bottle of sulfuric acid in the lingering wounds left by Avengers vs. X-men. This wasn’t a case of two superhero teams coming together and triumphing over evil. The villains stole the show here. The heroes just stood by after getting their asses handed to them and when it was all over, they found a reason to bitch and moan to one another about it. Now the Avengers and X-men hate each other again and suddenly I feel like it’s 2012 once more. While I would love to return to a time when I didn’t have to worry about Ebola, it now feels like one of those situations where everyone’s inner asshole is bound to come out at some point. But maybe that’s the point. That’s exactly what makes Avengers and X-men: AXIS #3 work.
The heroes don’t win here. The villains do. And when the heroes don’t win, they become assholes about it. It’s one of those stories that looks like a shitty idea on paper, but it somehow finds a way to be awesome. It’s still lacking in a number of details, but between Deadpool being an Avenger and Enchantress using her tits against a Nazi, this story is starting to give me a boner for all the right reasons. I give Avengers and X-men: AXIS #3 an 8 out of 10. It still needs some refinement and more of Enchantress showing her tits. It also needs to avoid the same trap as Avengers vs. X-men, but that shouldn’t be too hard. So long as everybody keeps Iron Man away from giant guns and shitty rip-off characters, this story just might not turn into a clusterfuck. Nuff said!