Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CBR X-POSITION: Rick Remender - Wolverine and Kill Squads

Well it's been a long week of venting my frustrations at Marvel over Jean Grey and rip-off Jean Grey (also known as Hope Summers). I'm still fuming about the whole deception/fraud/teasing bullshit and I expect it to impact how I review the new slate of X-men comics that are coming out this week. I have so many dick and poop jokes planned that I may end up getting a hand-written thank-you note from the entire population of South Park. But fuming aside, I'm still trying to enjoy the comics. One book that is devoid of the rip-off Jean controversy is Uncanny X-Force. And as it just so happens, this book was the topic of Comic Book Resource's weekly X-POSITION discussion.

CBR: X-POSITION - Rick Remender

Uncanny X-Force has been a consistent supply of awesome for quite a while. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost started the concept. They went out with a bang (and some tits) in Second Coming. Rick Remender took over after Second Coming, throwing Uncanny into the mix and somehow that made it awesome. Well that and a kick-ass four-part arc involving Apocalypse that ended with Fantomex shooting a kid Apocalypse in the head. It was quality awesome without having to tease readers with a Jean Grey look-alike. I gave the arc a 5 out of 5, but I still had questions. So I asked them and one of them got posted.

MarvelMaster616 starts things off with an inquiry about the aforementioned scenario:

While Wolverine has established himself as X-Force's leader, his ideals don't seem to be in line with the others. In "Uncanny X-Force" #5, he was quick to brush off what Fantomex did to the kid Apocalypse. That didn't sit well with Angel, Psylocke and even Deadpool. How can Wolverine keep the team together if his teammates question the lines he's willing to cross?

Let’s not overstate what happened. The team went to assassinate one of the worst monsters in the Marvel Universe, and ended up face to face with a young boy. If you don’t have a problem with that particular scenario, you’re no longer hero -- you’re a villain. The ethical questions that it brings are obviously something that I wanted these characters to be haunted by. How these characters deal with what Fantomex did -- how Apocalypse was dealt with -- is how you get into the gooey core of the characters. So, while you saw Wolverine in the room agreeing that they should not kill the boy, it is up to the reader to decide why he has suddenly changed his song now that they’re done, back at base, having done it anyway. Isn’t it nice to not have me spell every single thing out? The answer is there, but I try not to cram it down your throat (Axel taught me that).

Perhaps it is simply that the milk is spilt and Wolverine is mired in a rationalization. Based on the conversation, what do you think? 

For the record, the team sees eye to eye. Nobody on the team has any question about whether or not they will kill a scumbag super-villain or somebody who’s going to put innocent lives in harm’s way. When killing said villain is the only way to stop them, that’s what this team is for. We don’t take killing lightly, we don’t treat it as if it’s trivial, we don’t relish in it as a thing that makes us "edgy," and we will very definitely be dealing with the ramifications of what happens to the people who do it and the hits will always have a twist they didn’t see coming. 

Can't make too many poop jokes about Remenders response. I will say that you have to be hung like a cross breed of Ron Jeremy and thoroghbred horse to craft a plot that involves killing a kid. I assume Rick Remender's wife has been walking funny ever since the final issue because he makes a valid point. If you don't stop and consider the merits of killing a kid, you're on the same level as Ted Bundy, OJ Simpson, and whoever created American Idol. It's a difficult position to put X-Force in and it made for a hell of a story.

He says it's up to the readers. Well when I read it, I see Wolverine trying desperately to brush it aside while his teammates keep reminding him of how utterly fucked it is to kill a kid. Wolverine never was one to dwell on screwing up. He's always been quick to shrug his shoulders and move on. That's part of what makes him a lovable jerk. He's not a douche-bag. A douche-bag would only be bothered by killing a kid if it meant messing up their hair. He just moves on quicker than any normal person would.

That doesn't work for everybody. Even Deadpool in all his insanity doesn't brush aside child-killing as if it were ketchup stain. It puts X-Force in a negative light, as if being on a kill squad can be made into a Disney movie in the first place. If they start killing kids then they can't really call themselves heroes. They can't call themselves X-men either. Assholes would be more appropriate. Wolverine gets so many free passes for the shit he does. He lusts after married women, belittles the people who actually formulate plans and rationalize a situation, drinks like a Russian garage band on tour with Charlie Sheen, and has a temper that's more unstable than a North Korean nuclear reactor. If this guy were a real person, he would have been publicly hung years ago. His balls need to be busted. The fact that he can heal only necessitates that such testicular harm be inflicted on a regular basis. Because Wolverine isn't going to change. Someone has to keep him in line and since Fantomex is too snooty to give one quarter of a damn, the onus falls on Arcangel, Psylocke, and Deadpool.

More than anything, this first arc of Uncanny X-Force shows that Wolverine is not as good a leader as Cyclops. He has a vision, but he's light on specifics. He thinks things through about as much as a drunk teenage girl who crosses paths a video camera that streams directly to the Girls Gone Wild website. And when he screws up, he brushes it aside without stopping to learn any lessons from it. He's like a monkey that keeps scratching it's asshole and smelling it, not knowing that the stench is coming from the ass and not the finger. It's a much more volatile state than was in play during the Kyle and Yost X-Force when Cyclops was running the show. This shows an inherent difference between Cyclops and Wolverine that's ripe with conflict, which brings me to this teaser.

I meant to do a whole post about this, but I figured I would work it into this one. One of the many topics surrounding Year of the X-men (aside from bullshit teasing about Jean Grey) is an upcoming schism within the X-men's leadership. Ever since Utopia, mutants have been united. They sort of have to be because of the whole extinction thingy that resulted from M-Day. Well that's not the case anymore. Thanks to rip-off Jean, the mutant population is on the rise again. The war for survival is over. While Cyclops is pretty good at waging a war, peace was never his specialty. That was Professor Xavier's domain. And despite the incessant man-crush on Cyclops by writers like Matt Fraction, he can't stay on top forever. He's due for some humility. This teaser is a compelling clue (provided it's not another Jean rip-off red herring).

Notice that the visor is cut in three places and Wolverine happens to have three claws. That's a strong indication that Cyclops and Wolverine are ready to clash and for once it's not over a hot redheaded woman. It's important to remember that Wolverine's new X-Force team is going against Cyclops's will. He disbanded the team in Second Coming. Wolverine kept it going. Cyclops being the dick that he is probably won't take too kindly to that. Wolverine being the ass that he is won't apologize for it. Someone is going to get their ass kicked here and the whole mutant unity pretty much goes out the window.

So like a hostess with Parkinsons, Marvel is looking to shake the world of the X-men up. They have to do something to make up for all the lying and bullshit they did with rip-off Jean. Humbling Cyclops and making Wolverine more an ass than he already is seems like a good way to go. I personally want to see more sides than just mutants vs the world. Cyclops and Wolverine have never seen eye to eye. It's only a matter of time before they become enemies. Nuff said!


  1. One thing I have always had the impression of is that Logan can only take criticism if it comes from himself. The moment his actions get criticized by "Not-Wolverine" they automatically become right no matter the circumstances.


  2. You're very right. Logan does NOT take criticism well. He comes off as an immature man-child. He'll scorn himself, but he'll never humble himself in front of others. Not even his friends. It's a core part of his character. He is a jerk at heart. Yeah, he does have a sense of right and wrong, but he's still a jerk. It's why he's the perfect foil for Cyclops and why he's fit/ill-fit to lead X-Force.

  3. Cyclops is a prick. They should have killed him when he was a kid.

  4. Yes, that seems to be a popular sentiment, Cyclops being a prick. In a ways he is, but there are bigger pricks in the X-books. Wolverine has done far worse and so is Fantomex (who shot a kid if you remember). Even if he is a prick, he does have his share of redeeming properties and I'm of the opinion that they outweigh his prickishness.