Sunday, October 30, 2011
X-men Legacy #257 - Cosmic Highway of Awesome
Pop quiz, what do you get when you mix vodka with red bull? Answer, insomnia, a DUI, and a toilet bowl stained with reddish-green chunks that well never come off. Second pop quiz, what do you get when you mix the best sci-fi elements with X-men comics? Answer, you get X-men Legacy's current arc. Now some may have been tempted to cite that brief X-men/Star Trek crossover from back in the day when William Shatner was still relevant and when Jean Grey was still alive. But that was a fucking gimmick. X-men Legacy has been a consistent wave of awesome under Mike Carey whose run by tragedy or by losing a bar bet to Chrisoph Gage (who is taking over after Carey) is ending soon. That's why it's so important that X-men fans enjoy the last major arc of Carey's run because he's been pulling out all the stops and throwing in as many kick-ass elements as he can squeeze in. You would think it would get more clogged than Rush Limbaugh's septic tank, but as always Mike Carey makes it work.
X-men Legacy #256 finally cleared up some of the issues that had been lingering worse than Irish relatives. We found out that a butt-ugly creature named Friendless was mighty pissed at the Insectoid Gran Nan Holt because they treated him like North Korean prisoner of war. For some reason, Friendless had a problem with that and used his psychic powers to make them wage war on the Shi'ar. That way he would get payback against his own race while screwing over another race that had a history of oppressing others. It's two birds with one stone, but since this involves the Shi'ar that's probably not a politically correct analogy. He also found a way to control Havok and Polaris in the process. Well thanks to Rachel, Friendless was kicked into the cold vacuum of space and that seemed to free everyone from their mind control. There was just one small problem. The space station they were on (which is as big as a fucking planet mind you) was falling into a star. Wait, did I say that was a small problem? I meant small by X-men's standards. Falling into a star is akin to crashing your car into a parked police cruiser. You're in trouble, but if you're not a pussy you can deal with it appropriately. X-men Legacy #257 shows the X-men dealing with this small problem and much to the delight of stoners everywhere, it involves really shiny pictures.
To fix this whole gravity-is-a-bitch problem, Rogue has to travel up a big ass energy highway called the K'ythri (don't even want to know how to pronounce that shit) that controls the gravity on the space station. It's basically the only way to get to the necessary controls so they can avoid becoming cosmic smores. In order do that she absorbed some of Frenzy's power and tagged along with her as they rode this cosmic roller coaster up through the space station. It looks like it's way better than any of the shitty thrill rides at Six Flags. Along the way Rogue has to drain more of Frenzy's power. I'm tempted to note some lesbian innuendo here, but seeing as how Frenzy underwent such a transformation as a result of Cyclops's penis I'm somewhat dubious.
While Frenzy and Rogue are off to fix the alien gravity gizmo, the rest of the X-men are left behind playing the waiting game. Since no one seems to have an iphone with which to pass the time, they're left to finally address certain questions that have been burning worse than an infection from a crack whore in Bangkok. Keep in mind that Havok, Rachel, and Polaris have been MIA for a long time. They weren't around when the X-men moved to San Francisco, let alone when Magneto joined the team. So Havok finally makes it a point to remind everyone that Magneto has a nasty habit of trying to kill them. It could have made for a much more elaborate discussion, but it was somewhat glossed over. Granted, Rachel couldn't get the details because he was wearing that helmet of his. But at least it was addressed.
Now I'd rather not make a big deal of this, but it sort of is. Havok, Polaris, and Rachel have snapped out of it. They're coherent and they're currently waiting on Rogue to fix the space station. Yet no one takes time to address Magneto, Frenzy, or all the shit they clearly missed back on Earth. Now I'm assuming it's going to get fleshed out in future issues, but you would think that's something that the X-men don't set aside. Then again I guess being stuck on an alien space station will sort of fuck up your priorities.
Instead of asking all these important questions, the X-men follow their Shi'ar buddies to a dockyard where they hope to salvage a ship. I don't know what the point is given that Rogue is supposed to save them, but I guess they don't want to place their faith completely in someone who once swapped spit with Magneto. It sounds pointless until we catch up with Friendless. Remember him? The bug-like alien psychic psychopath that survived being blown out into the vacuum of space? Well he crashed the main deck with the Shi'ar and with a little psychic probing, got them to break out some of their superweapons. Seeing as how the Shi'ar treat their weapons with the same affection that men treat their penises, you know something is going to go boom at some point.
So Rachel, Havok, Polaris, and the rest of the X-men remain blissfully unaware as they make it to the dockyard. As is often the case with the Shi'ar, all that war and bloodshed left quite a mess and a fleet of busted ships. So they have to channel their inner Trekky and start salvaging working parts. Along the way there's a creepy sense that one of the Shi'ar pirates that was so eager to capture Rogue earlier (not that I blame him of course) is starting to grow fond of his alien visitors. I don't know if xenophilia is a recognized disorder with the Shi'ar, but with guys like this it damn well should be.
Fixing alien star ships is fun and all, but not very exciting if you can believe that. You know what's more exciting? Two hot X-women emerging from the K'ythri highway after a long ride of flesh-melting energy beams and slightly implied lesbian innuendo. Like anyone after a road trip where they were stuck riding shotgun in a minivan packed with drunk friends while driving a narrow stretch of highway at three in the morning, Rogue and Frenzy are visibly exhausted. They end up exactly where they need to be, but they're too pooped to do anything. It's basically a setup, which makes the scene feel somewhat unnecessary. But at least we know they made it. Just seems like getting off an alien energy highway would be more eventful. Go figure.
Back in the dockyard, not much is going on. The X-men and their Shi'ar buddies are playing Junkyard Wars putting together a new ship. Like the scene with Rogue and Frenzy, not much happens. There's more implied alien's wanting to bone humans subtext. Well it's not really subtext. One of them compares engineering to foreplay and one of the Shi'ar women is intent on boning Havok. It's fun and all, but again not much happens until the only legitimate alien/human fuck buddies actually do something. Rachel has picked up on Friendless's shenanigans. Seeing as how he knocked her out for days a few issues ago, she's more than entitled to a little payback. So trusting her Shi'ar boy toy not feel her up, she does a little astral projection to check it out.
It doesn't take long for Rachel to find Friendless and a big ass Shi'ar super weapon. It looks like a giant laser placed on a tank. The laser also looks like a penis, but I guess all powerful weapons have to look that way no matter where you go in the universe. Friendless quickly senses her and lashes out with a little astral action of his own. Now keep in mind that these are two powerful psychics that have many reasons to beat the psychic shit out of each other. Friendless knocked Rachel out for two days. Rachel knocked Friendless into the vacuum of space. By all accounts they should be more fired up than Ray Lewis on crystal meth. But again, it's basically glossed over. In just one page they swat each other a few and Rachel goes limp again.
It's becoming a distressing trend for this issue. The stage is set for these great battles, but they don't happen. Rachel vs. Friendless Round 2 was built to be much better, but it wasn't. Granted, it didn't end and chances are Rachel isn't going to get bitch slapped into a coma again. But still, a little extra action would have been nice. Who doesn't want to see a cute redhead beat up an ugly alien? Don't the people at Marvel watch anime porn?
Rachel's inability to stop Friendless has another unpleasant side-effect. It allows the Shi'ar to fire their little superweapon. By little I mean it blows a big fucking hole right in the hull and now the X-men get to know what it feels like to be sucked into space. And no that's not a metaphor for a blow job. It happens just when it looks as though they're ready to take off in their hastily assembled ship. It's the first time something actually starts blowing up in this comic, but it's a hell of a bang and one that threatens to completely annihilate the dockyard. So yeah, that's how fucked the X-men are.
But that's not the most fucked up part if you can believe that. Mike Carey threw a few twists into the story with the last issue. Well he's done it again with this issue. It's getting to the point where this series could be in fucking pornos with all the twisting. Remember that Shi'ar that wanted to bone some of the X-women? Well his name is Sovel and like the IRS, he never misses a chance to screw someone over. Just as the X-men are about to be blasted from the dockyard, he teleports up to the gravity control where Rogue and Frenzy are trying to stop them from falling into a star. He then proceeds to shoot them because falling into a star just doesn't worry him. You know what worries him? Running out of money. He actually plans to take this massive gravity array, lug it across the universe, and sell it for a filthy profit. Now I'm not championing criminals here, but you gotta hand it to a guy who takes advantage of any opportunity. He's essentially screwing over the X-men and setting them up to get vaporized in the next issue, but for him that's just business. He's like Dick Cheny, just not as evil.
There are a lot of ways to rate a comic. On it's own, this issue is mediocre at best. In the scope of the arc it's a part of, it's definitely above average. Unlike the previous issue, there wasn't a lot of meaningful action. There was plenty of setup that may actually lead to meaningful action, but that in and of itself isn't that meaningful. Confused? Well simply put, the pace was just a bit too slow. On some levels I'm glad that Mike Carey took the time to finally address the whole Magneto-is-an-X-man revelation that I'm sure Havok, Polaris, and Rachel would be curious about. However, it was overly glossed over and there really wasn't much else going on aside from the thrill ride that Rogue and Frenzy were on. I won't call this issue filler because the story still moved forward. It just wasn't at a very exciting pace.
Aside from the pace or lack thereof, everything else fit perfectly into the greater story. That's what this issue does best. It effectively builds on what happened in the previous issue and took a little time to show some personal moments between the characters. Not every issue needs to have someone blow up a fucking star ship or beat the shit out of some insect-like alien to be awesome. It helps, but it helps even more to have some substance behind it. There was definitely plenty to go around with Friendless showing up again and the X-men facing the business end of a Shi'ar superweapon. It helped set the next issue up for some thrilling moments that hopefully involve more implied innuendo between Rogue and Frenzy. I'm hoping that when they're done they could get together and fantasize more about the power of Cyclops's penis, but that may be asking a bit too much for Mike Carey's last arc of X-men Legacy.
Overall, this comic plays a significant role in this arc and plays it well. Mike Carey is taking his time here. Since this is his swan song for X-men Legacy, I'm glad he's doing so because he's included so many amazing elements with this arc. The cosmic scale along with the long overdue reunion with Havok, Polaris, and Rachel have made it more entertaining than a piece of string and a block of LSD. This issue isn't quite as engaging as the previous few, but it definitely deserves to be praised, smothered in butter, and poured over a hot stack of pancakes. I give X-men Legacy #257 a 4 out of 5. Like Herman Cain's presidential campaign, we should enjoy X-men Legacy while it last. It's bound to end soon and it will be hard to find something else that's so entertaining. Nuff said!