Monday, August 16, 2010
X-Force Sex and Violence #2 - Mature and Sexy Awesome
Ever since the end of Second Coming, there's been a hole in my heart. That hole was formed by the end of X-Force, the darker and more violent version of the X-men written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, who are akin to the Simon and Garfunkle of X-men comics. This series provided a book that was two parts awesome and ten parts violence. Limbs were lost, blood was spilled, redheaded Scottish girls got laid, and Mike Choi's art brought tears of joy to the eyes. Yet after the Second Coming crossover, Kyle and Yost ended the series. Apparently comics weren't good enough for them anymore. They had to join the Hollywood douche-bag crowd and make movies like Thor and cartoons like Avengers. I guess you can't blame them for passing up a chance to do crank off titty dancers along the sunset strip. But being the nice guys that they are, they provide one last shot of greatness for the X-Force fans. That title is simply named X-Force: Sex and Violence. It's a title akin to "Snakes on a Plane" in that if you ask what it's about, you're a fucking moron.
This title is only three parts long and involves only Wolverine and Domino. It seems limited and has no real connection to the other X-Force books, but does that mean it can't measure up? Well if it can it has a big ass mountain to climb. I wanted to review the first issue, but it got buried in my pull list. This time I vowed to review the second issue and it's a good thing too because the first issue was essentially a setup issue that wasn't all that awe-inspiring. It was basically the first few season of Family Guy, good without too much acclaim and in need of rabid fans to keep it going. Kyle and Yost still have to deliver and to do so they set up a story that is so violent and sexy the title needs an "Explicit Content" warning, which of course every comic fan knows is code for "we don't skimp on the good stuff."
The first issue was more violence than sex. The basic premise is that the Assassins Guild, led by Gambit's old squeeze Belladonna, hires Domino to steal a cargo shipment from the Hand (you know, the stereotypical ninja assassins from every Kung Fu movie ever). Seems simple enough. Domino's leather suits and eye-linger don't pay for themselves. But she finds out that the contain is full of young girls set to be trafficked. So she betrayed the Guild and they understandably turned on her. She ends up enlisting the help of Wolverine, who has about as much love for the Hand and the Assassins Guild as Jets fans have for Bill Bellacheck. They try to make a move on these guys, but they call in Razorfist (who is like the Guild's version of Tom Brady) to come in and fight back. The battle that unfolds is understandably violent, hence the title.
The fight follows is understandably violent. Domino and Wolverine burst out and take on the Assassins Guild in a shameless ripoff of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Except Butch has boobs and Cassidy isn't such a pussy. Shots are fired, claws are drawn, and assassins die. Wolverine looks like a fucking zombie in the process and Domino looks like every Resident Evil chick ever made. It's not an outright heroes-slaying-the-badguys type battle either. Since this is "Explicit Content" there's room for grotesque violence like Wolverine being fucking impaled through the gut.
Of course that doesn't kill Wolverine. All it does is piss him off. Stab wound and all, Wolverine heat buts Razorfist and takes his ass down in a way that involves amputation and what looks like an involuntary form of circumcision. He basically tells the guy to send a message to Belladonna to back the fuck off or he starts sending pieces of him back to her in tiny envelopes. It's a pretty clear message. The man gets the point across and a panel later he looks like a five-year-old kid that just got hit in the nuts with a baseball.
Once Razorfist goes down, the Hand is next. They're kind enough to take on the rest of the Assassins while she and Wolverine slip by, guided by Domino's uncanny luck powers, and get to the goods. The find the girls who are set to be trafficked and even find a whole truck load of money that was supposed to be the payment. It's girls and money, essentially the driving force behind all douche-baggery and very befitting of a book with Sex and Violence in the title.
So Wolverine and Domino just found a metric fuck-ton of money, 237 million to be precise, that was going to be used for human trafficking. So what do they do with it? The heroic thing would be to turn it over to the police to help pay off the crippling debts our states face in these tough economic times. Or they could anonymously donate it to a charity to save the children, fight world hunger, or cure diseases. The Gates foundation would probably love to have it and there are probably some Earthquake victims in Haiti who could use it too. But do they do something that noble? Fuck no! This is X-Force! Instead, Wolverine and Domino do what most anybody with a little bit of selfishness would. They get a hotel room and have sex in ways that is probably illegal in no fewer than twenty-nine states.
That's right. Sex in a comic book. It's usually the kind of thing that's only implied because the censors are too pussy to offend American sensibilities. As if skin-tight outfits and superhuman cleavage isn't sensible enough, this time they actually go the distance. They don't show real tits, ass, or private parts. Compared to titles like Punisher Max, it's pretty tame. But it's still freakin' hot as hell.
While Wolverine and Domino are getting their freak on, the Assassins are understandably pissed. Not only did they lose the girls they wanted to traffic, they lost a shit tone of money. When you still from master criminals, they usually don't take it very well. Forgiveness is not a virtue. If anything, it's a mortal sin. Belladonna demonstrates this by reaching out to as many super-powered thugs she can get in touch with such as Boomerange, Bushwacker, Black Mamba, and a few others who generally get boners by horribly maiming people.
So Domino and Wolverine finish off their last round of rampant sexual deviance and are just enjoying the afterglow. There's no romance or passion whatsoever. It's greed, it's pleasure, and it's just an all around good time with them. Throw a pile of money into the mix and that's a pretty good Saturday night by any measure. Then it all goes to shit when bullets start flying. That kills the mood faster than grandparents barging in asking if you've seen their rectal ointment.
The buzz-kill in question is Bushwacker, who busts in looking half-enraged and half turned-on. It's hard to tell with the fuzzy art, but he looks pretty bad-ass and doesn't even bother asking questions. Since the guy has a cannon built right into his arm, he packs some serious heat and does some damage to the hotel room that even Led Zeppelin would find excessive. Wolverine and Domino have the misfortune of fighting back in their underwear. It's not terribly intimidating, but it still looks pretty hot. Domino doesn't exactly shop at Victoria's Secret, but she still looks pretty damn hot when she's shooting off her guns (not a boob joke). Wolverine also fights back as well, showing once again that he can fight just as well when he's naked as when he's wearing skin-tight spandex (not a gay joke).
They do eventually take Bushwacker down. Sending one thug after two people who just took down an entire legion of Assassins and Ninjas really doesn't seem like a fair fight. Bushwacker never really stood a chance and all he really did was get a chance to see Domino in her underwear. In that sense, it's not a total loss. Although he did have his arm chopped off so that kind of leaves it a mixed bag.
Once Bushwacker goes down, Wolverine and Domino make their escape. This isn't lost on Belladonna, who probably should have known better than to send just one super-powered nut job after these two. This time she decides to play it just a wee bit smarter and send all of her super-powered thugs after them. She tells them to kill Wolverine and bring Domino to her. Granted, that's like asking someone to drown Aquaman and bring Linsey Lohan somewhere sober. Perhaps next time Belladonna will hire magicians instead of thugs.
It all starts coming together at the airport. Wolverine and Domino are set to make their escape. Belladonna and her thugs are waiting for them, only this time they're not stupid enough to ambush them at airport security. They understand that may reflect poorly on the fine people working at Homeland Security. So they set up shop in a hanger and prepare to take them out from a distance. It leaves Wolverine and Domino in the cross-hairs and this time they're fully clothed. It's not the most elaborate plan a bunch of villains can hatch. To say they're no Oceans Eleven would be an understatement. But it's not as dumb as Bushwackers tactic of just barging into a bedroom. It sets the stage for the final issue of what should most likely be another very bloody and very sexy battle if somehow Domino ends up in her underwear again.
So X-Force Sex and Violence is two-thirds of the way through and what have we learned so far? Well first, we learn a valuable lesson in business negotiations. When all else fails, pull a gun. We also learn that when confronted with a shit ton of money, the most natural inclination is to have kinky sex on top of it. And if you're a crazy mercenary looking for a quick paycheck, do not try to attack the targets after they've had a nice round of sex to jazz them up.
As for the comic itself, it definitely delivers what the title implies. It's like the movie, The Expendables, in that you don't go in expecting some grand piece of literature. You pick up a book like X-Force: Sex and Violence because you like reading about sex and violence. And since this comic delivers just that, it certainly qualifies as awesome. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost carry on the legacy of X-Force being overly violent and full of raunchy imagery. Domino looks pretty darn hot in just a pair of bra and panties and Wolverine is in top shape so the ladies have something to admire as well.
The chief shortcomings in a book like this do stem from the simple premise. Yes, there is a lot of sex and violence. No, there isn't a whole lot of depth behind it. By that I mean there's not much wit or subtlety. It's all just blunt and out there. That may be the point, but it does limit the readability aspect. The art is also not on par with Mike Choi (very few artists are). While the dark and gritty style do match the tone, it's too wavy and scribbled at times. The blood and the sex that are supposed to make this book awesome are blurred, as if you're reading it through a foggy mirror. You can still make out plenty of details, but not enough to make it really eye-catching.
For everything it promises and everything it delivers, X-Force: Sex and Violence # 2 gets a 4 out of 5. For X-Force fans and Kyle and Yost fans, this book delivers. If Kyle and Yost are going to leave the X-men on a high note, this is certainly the way to go.