Thursday, September 29, 2011
X-men Legacy #255 - Reunion for Awesome
When I'm hammered, I often see myself in deep space fighting intergalactic battles and banging hot alien chicks. Thanks to Mother Nature and basic human biology being such a bitch, I don't have the luxury of being hammered all the time so I have to rely on comic books to fulfill those fantasies. There are a great many stories that involve alien empires, blood feuds, and chicks with big tits. The X-men have had their share of stories like this. They've all been awesome in their own right. However, it wasn't until recently that the X-men finally returned to space so they could kick some alien ass. It also wasn't until recently that characters like Havok, Polaris, and Rachel Grey were more forgotten then Gary Busey's medications. But unlike Gary Busey, Marvel is capable of making sane choices when the time is right.
X-men Legacy has mimicked many of my drug-induced fantasies lately (except for an alien three-way with blue-skinned space hookers). First, there was the reality warping AU known as Age of X. Then there was Legion literally losing his already deranged mind into multiple personas, which the X-men had to corral and capture. Somehow Mike Carey found a way to use that story to segway into a story that involves traveling into deep space, getting involved in yet another Shi'ar civil war, and rescuing Rachel, Havok, and Polaris before readers completely forget they're still breathing. I don't know he comes up with this shit, but if it were a drug I'd be injecting it into my neck by the gallon!
The search for Rachel, Havok, and Polaris has been about as smooth as a relationship with Rick James minus the crack pipes. Rogue teleported herself, Magneto, Gambit, and Frenzy right into the domain of the Shi'ar where one of their space stations was plummeting into a star. It's exactly the kind of shit storm that Rachel, Havok, and Polaris would stumble ass backwards into despite the universe being cock-smashingly huge. Somewhere along the way, Rogue was separated from the rest of her team. She ended up with a team of Shi'ar bandits that were holding Rachel hostage while Magneto, Frenzy, and Gambit got front row seats to a Shi'ar slaughterhouse (I assume that's the Shi'ar equivalent to the NFL). It ended with the revelation that Havok and Polaris are alive and unlike Rachel, they're still conscious. But they're a long ways from home and well on their way to losing their fucking minds.
X-men Legacy #255 is still riding First Class in the crazy train. Rogue has to find a way to escape her captors in order to meet up with the others and save her friends. This involves challenging the Shi'ar to the equivalent of a dick-measuring contest. Since the Shi'ar can't seem to resist a challenge that questions the size of their balls (or whatever they have), they must accept. The deal is simple. Rogue just has to kick the ass of the four-armed pet monster they've been hauling around like a pit-bull that's on it's way to being neutered. It's not a fair fight. Rogue's the kind of woman that isn't afraid to bone Magneto. If that's not tough, then what is?
It's not too hard to figure out who will be screwed over more in that fight. Meanwhile, Magneto and the others rely more on diplomacy to get the Shi'ar to cooperate. Having witnessed the mini-scuffle in the last issue that had the Shi'ar royally fucked, he offers them his assistance in exchange for tracking a few non-Shi'ar signals that may or may not be Havok and Polaris. Since being Shi'ar means being somewhat of a dick by default, they're reluctant to accept such help from puny humans. Then Magneto shows off some of his powers and after they're done shitting themselves, they accept.
Back to the fight with Rogue and the Goro knock-off from Mortal Kombat. It's not the most epic fight in the world and why should it be? So what if the creature is bigger, stronger, uglier, and has more arms than Rogue! Keep in mind Rogue still has that jolt of power from Legion. All this creepy monster has is a future as a coat rack. It's not even close to the Wolverine vs. Cyclops bash in Schism #4 that spanned several pages. Rogue barely breaks a sweat against this beast and the Shi'ar still don't take her seriously. Less we forget the Shi'ar have a genetic predisposition to being dicks so it makes what happens next all the more satisfying.
There are any number of ways Rogue could have downed that creature. She could have ripped off half it's arms and beaten him to death with it. She could use some of Legion's power to rip out his skeleton through his pinkie finger. Or if she's feeling creative, she could turn into that creepy girl Frenzy tormented and simply confuse the creature to death. If only X-men Legacy were a MAX comic. Then we could actually see all the intricate details that Rogue would put into ripping out someone's intestines and strangling them with it. But the fucking censors are a bunch of humorless pussies so she does the next best thing. She wakes up Rachel Grey, who to this point has been comatose much like Michelle Bachmann's electability. She then uses that beautiful mind that she inherited from her mother to knock the creature out. It's a great way for Rachel to finally strut her stuff. She hasn't done squat in the X-books for years so it's refreshing to see that she's still a badass.
While Rachel didn't lose her edge, Havok and Polaris seemed to sharpen theirs. Being stuck in space and isolated from the X-men has made them a bit less sympathetic than before. By that I mean they've modified their stances on torture or as Dick Cheney would describe them, "A damn good way to spend a Sunday afternoon." Remember those Shi'ar prisoners from the previous issue? Well they're brought before Havok and Polaris, who led the attack with those strange cockroach-like creatures that look an untreated STD on Flavor Flav's dick. They don't like the Shi'ar and neither do Havok or Polaris. So why not team up and fuck with them? That's teamwork, boys and girls! A great message for today's misguided youth.
The Shi'ar prisoners are left to sweat it out. They attempt to plead their case, but Havok and Polaris aren't hearing it. Neither are the creatures. They're like the Salem Witch Trials where all you have to do is randomly accuse someone and they're guilty by default. That's Shi'ar justice for you! Guilty until they fucking say otherwise! Before they can call the ACLU, Korvus delivers their sentence. Now who is Korvus? Well if you'll recall, he's the one who Rachel was inclined to bone before she, Polaris, and Havok went MIA. He wields something called the Phoenix Sword, which looks like it was ripped off from Final Fantasy VII. It's horrendously impractical, but it gets the job done. It still leaves a bloody mess, but what are you gonna do?
Now these actions don't seem very X-men-like of Havok and Polaris. Wolverine and Cyclops may hate each other's guts now, but even they would cry foul like the New York Giants faking injuries if they saw them passing out the kind of sentences that only Vlad the Impaler would find fair. But this is where that long absence from the books actually fits into the story. These two have been gone for quite a while so you wouldn't expect them to behave the same. I would be making a lot of poop jokes right now if Mike Carey made it so they hadn't changed after all this time. Thankfully, I don't have to. I want to save those for another Ultimate comics discussion.
During this whole show-trial, Magneto was watching from above with Gambit and Frenzy. I have to imagine he had to wipe away a few tears when he saw his daughter utilize some of the same ruthless tactics that made him such a badass. At the same time, I'm sure he's equally disturbed that his daughter is still shacking up with Havok. That and her playing a part in some alien war, but as with most father's they're probably more concerned about who has access to his daughter's pussy. The reunion is somewhat underwhelming given how long this has been built up. Both Havok and Polaris are pretty surprised, but they aren't ready to head back to Earth just yet. Keep in mind they're still in the middle of an alien civil war. It's almost as bad as a traffic jam in LA.
Gambit and Frenzy soon join Magneto, adding to the tension. If that weren't enough, the aliens aren't done torturing the Shi'ar. Korvus managed to leave one alive, probably because his arm got tired from swinging that oversized sword. For him, the aliens try something that even Magneto finds cruel. They use a psychic, presumably the same one that made Rachel take a long nap, to force the unfortunate Shi'ar into torturing himself. Even by Shi'ar standards, that's some pretty sick shit. You only see that sort of thing in Saw movies now a days. And for some reason, Magneto has a problem with this. He wants to take his children home and he doesn't want to be part of this war. Since Havok and Polaris have had so much time to get comfortable, they're not going to be reasonable about it. Against a guy like Magneto, that's like waving your dick at a shark.
Sooner or later, someone has to fuck things up even more. This time it comes from the very Shi'ar that Magneto, Frenzy, and Gambit helped out in the previous issue. They see once again that negotiations are for pussies and decide to fire one of their space toys right into the crowded torture arena. This goes over about as well as you would expect. Both the aliens along with Havok and Polaris interpret this as a threat. Who wouldn't? So having had plenty of time to work out her daddy issues, Polaris decides to attack her father and Havok joins in. And he didn't even have to forbid her from going on a date with Havok while wearing a mini-skirt.
So both the distance and time spent away from their friends has had quite an effect on Havok and Polaris. They've made some new friends against the Shi'ar and since Magneto helped the Shi'ar, that's all they need to attack them. It sets the stage for the kind of family clash that you can only see on Jerry Springer. It feels dramatic without being melodramatic. It's a tough balance to have in a story that's two years overdue, but Mike Carey pulled it off yet again! It almost makes me forget that he's leaving this series soon. I'll definitely miss stories like this so excuse me while I get a fresh bottle of whiskey to prepare for that sad day.
It's been a while since Magneto had to deal with all the numerous way she fucked up as a parent. The situation in Children's Crusade (a book you should all totally get) is bad enough. Now here in X-men Legacy, he has to contend with Polaris wanting to kill him. It supports a theory that I formulated years ago in my comic-reading career. Put Magneto's kids in a confined area with him for long enough and eventually they'll try to kill him. It's the kind of reunion you would expect between Polaris and Magneto. We don't know how long in the skewed physics that is comic time that Polaris has been away from Earth. If she's resorted to killing Magneto already, then I would say that's an appropriate way to end the book. In a ways it's a metaphor for the overall theme of this book. The X-men are just starting to reunite with Havok, Rachel, and Polaris. However, some crazy shit has happened in between and it's something they'll have to get around.
It's a great issue. As good as any you'll see from Mike Carey, which is saying plenty. Rachel finally woke up and Rogue got to kick some ass. That alone makes this comic worth buying and framing next to your autographed copies of Playboy. If there's a flaw anywhere, it's that the reunion was largely a setup. There moment where Rachel, Polaris, and Havok finally met up with their friends was a bit underwhelming. It was like "Hey! You're back. Cool. Now let's go beat up some aliens!" That's not to say it isn't an awesome presence, but it just wasn't enough. I don't mean to sound greedy, but given how long Rachel, Polaris, and Havok have been gone it's not something that should be glossed over. Just saying.
Other than that, the dialog and the action is as solid as always. There are times when Magneto comes off as a bit too diplomatic. Rogue's badassery helps to compensate in more than enough ways. The sci-fi visuals are like a line of blow for the eyes and the story moves forward at a fairly steady pace. It won't leave your head spinning like one too many shots of tequila, but it won't leave you yawning like a lecture from Ben Stein. For a final score, I give X-men Legacy #255 a 4.5 out of 5. This story begins the reunion, but doesn't completely flesh it out. For that, Marvel is making us buy the next issue like the greedy bastards they are. But even if it means a kick in the balls from my accountant, I've already reserved my copy! Nuff said.