Monday, December 31, 2012

Breaking News: Peter David Has Suffered a Stroke

I know recent news on this blog has made a big fucking deal of what has happened to Peter Parker in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. However, the shit that happens in real life is always a much bigger deal. Earlier today, it was reported that longtime comic writer and current X-Factor scribe, Peter David, has suffered a stroke. Both Bleeding Cool and Peter David's own blog has reported as such:

Bleeding Cool: Peter David Suffers a Stroke On Holiday

Peter David's Blog: I Have Had A Stroke

This guy has done damn near everything in the comic book industry short of shining Stan Lee's shoes. So I can't put a humorous twist on this at all. Please get well soon, Mr. David. The X-men comics and the comic book world as a whole is better when you contribute to it. Nuff said.

Friday, December 28, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue #70 - Kings and Tyrants Part 2 PREVIEW

I hope everybody had a very Merry Christmas! I certainly did. But in addition to the usual holiday cheer, I've continued work on the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope is nearing its end. It's already exceeded the length of X-men Supreme Volume 1: Mutant Revolution and X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers. It's had to in some ways because I've had so many different plots going on, including the landmark Phoenix Saga. But there still remains one major issue from X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope that needs to be resolved. That issue, of course, is the Presidential Election. It's the eve of election night in the latest arc, Kings and Tyrants. And after biding his time, Magneto has finally reared his head again. Once again, Senator Robert Kelly is the target. What is his plan and how is it going to effect the election? That all gets resolved in the final issue of the Kings and Tyrants arc! As always, I've prepared a preview of what to expect in this penultimate issue of X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope.

 “Ungh…where am I?” he groaned.

“Somewhere you need to be before you’re big day, Senator,” said Magneto.

The cold, stoic voice of Magneto quickly roused the aspiring politician. He would know that voice anywhere and hearing it so close to him was enough to send chills down his spine. Instinctively, he tried to get up, but he was dismayed to discover that he was bound by his wrists and ankles on a gurney. Fear was his first reaction, but fear quickly turned to outrage as he remembered what happened.

“Magneto!” he spat angrily, “I should have known you were behind this!”

“Yes, you should have,” said the master of magnetism casually, “Did you really expect me to just sit by while you and your mutant-hating cronies made a bid for power?”

“I expected you to do something stupid, but this is madness!” he exclaimed as he struggled with the shackles, “What do you think you’re going to accomplish by abducting me? If you think holding me hostage is going to stop my election, you’re dead wrong!”

“Oh I have no intent on holding you prisoner, Senator. I’ve long since accepted that you’ve swayed enough of the ignorant masses. In all likelihood, they will make you their president regardless of what I do.”

“Then I take it you’re going to kill me!” Senator Kelly surmised, “That would be even more foolish! You’ll make me a martyr! You and every freak like you will be monsters and nothing will stop humanity from rising up to oppose you!”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Senator. You’re hardly in a position to intimidate me.”

“I’m on the verge of becoming the leader of the free world! You damn well ought to be afraid!”

“And so should you,” said Magneto with an ominous grin, “Because when I’m done with you, you’ll have plenty of reasons to fear your new prestige.”

Senator Kelly looked at the master of magnetism strangely. Now this was getting weird. He could understand Magneto abducting him, but something about this was different.

“You see, I’m not going to kill you. I’m not going to torture you. I’m not even going to hold you here indefinitely,” he explained, “In fact, as soon as we’re done here you’ll be free to leave. I’ll even provide you with transport back to your hotel.”

“Now I know you’re crazy! All that time locked up in Guantanamo must have fried your brain!” spat Senator Kelly.

“Oh there’s nothing crazy about what I’m going to do,” said Magneto, “I’ve since learned that waging war on a global scale is messy and chaotic. If humans and mutants are to continue down their respective path, it makes much more sense to merely level the playing field. That’s exactly what you and I are going to do.”

“You’re dreaming! I’ll never help you!”

“I never said you had a choice in the matter.”

Magneto casually waved his hand, summoning his powers and levitating Senator Kelly up with his gurney. With another gesture, he opened a metal slot on the floor just off to the side and raised three more gurneys up from below. Like the senator’s, they all had an unlucky victim strapped to them.

“My family!” he exclaimed as he struggled with the restraints again, “What did you do to them?!”

“Settle down, Senator Kelly,” said the Scarlet Witch as she and Lorna made their way over to the three other gurney’s, “Your family is fine. They’re just unconscious.”

“We’re not going to hurt them either. Just as we’re not going to hurt you,” said Polaris.

“You’re lying! If you monsters so much as breathe on my wife or my children, I’ll spend every waking hour of my life making sure you suffer!”

“Boy, this guy is more stubborn than I thought,” commented Avalanche.

“He’s officially lost my vote,” said Pyro.

“You’re Australian, John. You can’t vote to begin with,” Havok pointed out.

“I swear after this I’m done with politics forever,” said Toad.

“You and me both!” said Blob in agreement.

Despite the senator’s outburst, Magneto placed his gurney next to his wife’s. Polaris and the Scarlet Witch then used their respective powers to retrieve some equipment from across the complex. When the senator saw what was coming his way, his face paled.

It looked like something right out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. It was a sleek, metallic array of high tech components shaped like an oversized stereo system that stood about fifteen feet in height and seven feet in width. It had four cylindrical-shaped pods arranged symmetrically around an egg shaped core. From the tips of each pod a series of tubes ran into the core, drawing what appeared to be a strange kind of energy as well as a mysterious greenish liquid. Senator Kelly was no expert in exotic technology, but even he sensed a bad omen from this device.

“What in God’s name is that?!” exclaimed the senator.

“Something that will grant you some much needed perspective,” said the master of magnetism stoically, “If it looks out of this world, then congratulations. You have a working brain. What it is and where it came from isn’t important. It’s what it does that truly matters.”

“And what does it do? Cripple people? Torture them? Turn them into a mindless meat puppet for you to control?” scolded the senator.

“My dear senator, you make it sound like I’ve no sense of subtlety,” scoffed Magneto, “No, this device will not harm you or your family. Quite the opposite, in fact. You’ll all look and feel better than ever.”

This is to be the final update of 2012 and I think most will agree it has been a very eventful year for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and for X-men fans in general. Marvel has really shaken up the world of X-men with events like Avengers vs. X-men and new series like All New X-men. For X-men Supreme, it has also been pretty eventful. I've had the X-men undergo some major changes, the biggest of which happened in the Phoenix Saga. I've already laid the groundwork for a very eventful year in 2013. The world of X-men Supreme will continue to change. New characters will be introduced. New threats will emerge. New relationships will be forged while old relationships change. Some will grow stronger. Some will be deeply strained. I'm very excited about the future of this fanfiction series and I hope to continue telling stories in this remarkable fanfiction series.

As always, I continue to seek feedback and reviews from all my readers. There haven't been a lot of comments on the new issues lately. I really hope that changes for 2013. Please remember, I'm always open to chat X-men so please contact me if you wish or post your comments in each issue. It has been an amazing year for X-men Supreme and I want it to continue improving in 2013. So for everyone who has followed along for the past year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Until next year, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Xtreme X-men #8 - Twisted Fantasies of Awesome

I often imagine that trips through multiple universes is like a cross-country road trip to every crack house in the country. Both over the course of the journey and as you reach your destinations, you're bound to find some pretty fucked up things that'll either give you a boner or haunt your dreams forever. Throughout the course of Xtreme X-men, Greg Pak has sent Allison Blair through a number of alternate universes. I don't know how many nightmares or pussy boners she's gotten along the way, but I'm pretty sure they're more than she cares to admit. And that's part of what has made this series so much fun. It isn't just about hopping universes. It's about Dazzler's personal journey along the way.

Before Xtreme X-men, she's was largely a C-list character. She's basically another cute blond with a nice rack, which is about as common in comics as personality disorders on bad reality TV shows (by that I mean ALL reality TV shows). She's probably one of the last characters you would expect to assume a leadership role in a title. Hell, she would be ranked somewhere between Pixie and Doop. Personally, I would like to see Doop lead a comic, but I assume Jason Aaron is saving that for the next big event. But the past few issues of Xtreme X-men have shown that Dazzler can lead her own team and do so while still looking hot as hell. And she doesn't even have to dress like Emma Frost. I think that counts as a blow for feminism.

Xtreme X-men #7.1 marked a new high point for the series. After so many crazy trips through multiple universes with Xavier-in-a-Jar, Dazzler and her team took a pit stop back in her home universe where she caught up on all the shit she missed with Avengers vs. X-men. I get the sense she's probably glad she missed all that shit. This way she has an excuse. It's not her fault she wasn't around to stop the Avengers and X-men from getting into a slap fight while the Phoenix fucked with five X-men. She was stuck in another universe. In terms of excuses, that's one of the few that are actually valid in the comics. But the big moment was at the end when Cyclops gives Dazzler his seal of approval as a leader as she continues her universe-hopping quest to hunt down more evil Charles Xaviers. It's still debatable just how much weight Cyclops's blessing carries when he's a fugitive and not boning Emma Frost anymore, but if nothing else it was a good confidence builder for Dazzler.

The universe-hopping journey continues in Xtreme X-men #8, but first we get a brief flashback to yet another alternate universe. But it’s not as random as you think. At the end of Xtreme X-men #7, we found out that Xavier-in-a-Jar got tired of waiting for Dazzler and her team to come back for him so he recruited a new one. That team included another Dazzler, an alternate Hercules, and a Black Cyclops. Throw in goth version of Jean Grey and you’ve got yourself the next Fox sitcom! But the main point here is to demonstrate how this version of Dazzler is different from her Lady Gaga wannabe other self. She’s no aspiring pop star in her world. She’s a hard-nosed, gun-toting member of X-Force that shoot zombies to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon. Hence, she’s perfect for Xavier’s team and just as hot.

Back with the non-badass Dazzler, she’s getting shit squared away with her team in the 616 universe after the events of Xtreme X-men #7.1. Sage is understandably hesitant to take on any mission that involves helping a disembodied head of Charles Xavier hunt down other Charles Xaviers. But Dazzler, flexing her new leadership, gets Sage to go along for the ride. Because let’s face it, she’s not going to get much more excitement that doesn’t involve interfacing her brain with porn sites. They arrive right back in the crazy jungle-like world they left in Xtreme X-men #7 where they’re greeted with the kind of hostility that X-men should be used to by now. They’re probably the only ones that know how Kristen Stewart feels while walking through a support group of men who are dating hardcore Twilight fans.

Now anyone who has followed Xtreme X-men to this point knows the kind of hostility that Dazzler and her team has faced never ranks less than a 9.5 on the fucked-up-o-meter. They've faced an old west style Charles Xavier, an Xavier-in-a-Jar, and a whale Xavier. How could anything possibly get more fucked up than that? How about a unicorn Xavier? No, that's not a metaphor. That's actually the Xavier that Dazzler and her team encounter. It's a unicorn with pink hair named Charles Xavier. That ranks a good 9.8 on the fucked-up-o-meter. Sorry, but it still doesn't come close to some of the fucked up shit I see in slash fiction.

In addition to being a fucking unicorn, this Xavier doesn't appear to be a sociopath. Because a sociopath unicorn would just be off the scale of the fucked-up-o-meter. But this Xavier is still a psychic and the reason he reacted like a bull that was about to get castrated was because he sensed another team coming to kill him. Dazzler, being too trusting and too cute a hot blond chick, is inclined to believe the unicorn. I can't say I would. If I saw a fucking unicorn, that just means I've taken way too much acid and should not trust my senses at this point.

But that other team does show up and surprise, surprise it includes the badass Dazzler that Xavier-in-a-Jar recruited earlier. She's not as inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to a fucking unicorn and tries to kill it. Dazzler naturally tries to fight back and protect the unicorn Xavier just as a 4-year-old girl would protect her dollhouse from her older brother armed with firecrackers. She also comes along with teammates including a Black Cyclops and Hercules. But unlike the others, Hercules isn't inclined to fight Wolverine. Earlier in the series, Pak dropped a rainbow colored bombshell that the Wolverine in Xtreme X-men was gay and had the hots for Hercules. Well, this is apparently the Hercules he was desperate to bone. It's a nice moment in the midst of the fighting. I know that slash fanfiction writers are already hard at work crafting a very lurid story about what these two men do in the jungle with only unicorns and rainbows at their disposal so I won't go into detail.

However, the gay undertones that One Million Moms will probably be bitching about in the coming weeks also temporarily hides the ongoing mission that Xavier-in-a-Jar has been pursuing since the series began. Dazzler still refuses to believe that a unicorn Xavier could ever be evil. Well, it turns out all those doll houses she used to play with as a girl corrupted her mind. Because it's revealed by the X-Force Dazzler and Xavier-in-a-Jar that this Xavier was just an illusion. The real Xavier looks like something Predator shat out after one too many burritos a Mexican restaurant. So yeah, it is possible for a unicorn to be evil. As of this very moment, the fantasies of a million little girls has been ruined. Thanks Marvel! You're truly doing the Lord's work!

So Dazzler's team has just been hilariously upstaged by Xavier-in-a-Jar's new team. She now knows how Tim Tebow felt after the Broncos signed Peyton Manning and traded his ass to the Jets. It's not completely one-sided though. In killing the fake unicorn Xavier, they found out that this whole fanciful realm was just a figment of his mind. Now that he's vulture chow, that world is falling apart. Dazzler tries to turn to Sage for help, but for some reason she says "Fuck this shit, I'm outta here!" It seems a little random, but I have to believe that a woman with a computer for a brain isn't that irrational. Unless it's that time of the month for her, I'm going to surmise she has a reason for leaving Dazzler and her team behind.

With the world falling apart, Dazzler tries to take charge as Cyclops said she could in the previous issue. However, X-Force Dazzler isn't having that shit. She's a badass zombie hunter whereas this Dazzler is a Lady Gaga wannabe from the disco era. It's like Chuck Norris versus Justin Timberlake. It's not a fair fight. This X-Force Dazzler is willing to ignore the current threat of a world falling apart and attack Dazzler to prove she's the leader. And for her, attacking means fucking stabbing through the chest. I would say it's extreme, but I've had ex-girlfriends do worse. It ends the comic on an ominous yet very exciting note. Dazzler just found out she's got what it takes to be a hero and then she gets stabbed. That may not rank high on the fucked-up-o-meter, but it still is pretty awesome.

So after a brief pit-stop in the main Marvel universe to keep fans from getting too confused, things are back on track in Xtreme X-men so to speak. This issue has Dazzler hopping universes again, hunting down evil Xavier’s and encountering a whole lot of fucked up things along the way. I honestly didn’t think that Greg Pak could top giant Whale Xavier in Xtreme X-men #7.1. I officially now owe a guy at a bar fifty bucks and my sister’s phone number after seeing a unicorn version of Charles Xavier. It sounds so stupid and outrageous, yet it works. That’s what continues to astound me about Xtreme X-men. Greg Pak just keeps finding ways to make this shit work.

Moreover, this comic took the series in a new direction by having it involve more than just Dazzler leading a team against universes of evil Xaviers. Now she has competition to deal with in the form of another Dazzler and another round of alternate universe heroes that are looking to not just test her leadership, but kill her disco-loving ass. It adds a new layer of complication on top of many other fucked up layers that involve Xaviers-in-a-Jar, space whales, and unicorns. I keep comparing shit like this to an awesome acid trip, but I don’t think even the best hallucinogens can conjure the kind of shit Xtreme X-men is using.

Yet as much fun as all these crazy elements are, they don’t fit together as well as they could. I know that sounds like trying to make shit shine, but it’s a fair criticism of the book. The suddenness of this new team feels a bit choppy, mainly in the reunion between Wolverine and Hercules and the Black Cyclops. While I don’t doubt those characters will get more attention in the next issue, it still feels like a few too many issues were left unaddressed. In that sense it made the issue feel a bit rushed, but I guess when you’re dealing with floating heads and unicorns you can only go so slow.

Xtreme X-men continues to be a delightfully fun and entertainingly fucked up saga. The story is now back on track and with plenty of twisted new elements for Greg Pak’s twisted mind to work with. It might be too twisted for some comic fans, but that’s their problem. I’m giving Xtreme X-men #8 a 4.5 out of 5 and there’s nothing they can do about it! We’ve seen Xavier as a whale. We’ve seen Xavier as a unicorn. As of this moment, I’m taking bets! What will Greg Pak have Xavier show up as next? A squirrel? A stunt man? Snookie’s baby daddy? Anything is possible! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some arrangements to make with my bookie. Nuff said!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #700 Update, Spoilers, and Drunken Advice

Well, I hope everybody had a great Christmas, complete with presents, family, and eggnog mixed with 80 proof whiskey. But like the hangover that often follows when you challenge your uncle to a drinking game while watching "A Christmas Story," Marvel finds ways to make the end of the holidays suck donkey dick just a little bit more.

A while back, I posted detailed spoilers about Amazing Spider-Man #700, which was finally released today despite everyone with an internet connection and poor impulse control having access to the details for nearly two weeks. It was a post that generated a level of outraged and pissed off that I haven't seen since I last went to a Philadelphia Eagles game. I'm not going to give any spoiler warnings this time. I have no sympathy for people who get pissed off after clicking on a link where the word "spoilers" is in the fucking title. Either don't click or relax. Hell, there are pills out there that'll help your lazy ass if you think it's too hard. But relaxing may not be possible here because the events of Amazing Spider-Man have many Spider-Fans both scratching their heads and hitting it with a sledge hammer.

You don't need to know a whole lot about the details of the story. Doctor Octopus switched minds with Peter Parker. Now he's in Peter's body and in Amazing Spider-Man #700, the final confrontation had Peter die in Doc Ock's body, leaving Doc Ock in Peter's body. A more detailed assessment was posted today, courtesy of the fine folks at Newsarama. I can only imagine the staff that wrote this is going to be out with a concussion for the rest of 2012 after banging their head against the wall, but for that reason I respect their work a great deal.

Newsarama: Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man Ends, Revealing Superior Spoilers

There's some crazy bullshit about Peter's memories and experiences flashing before Doc Ock and somehow that is enough to turn him from a homicidal douche-bag into a guy who wants to be a hero just as much as he wants to bang Mary Jane. Because that's such a logical path for a story to follow. After all, don't we turn hardened criminals into upstanding members of society by merely having them experience recordings of great men and women doing the right thing? Oh wait, we don't? Then how the fuck does this shit make a lick of sense?

Above is a completely inaccurate portrayal of going from douche-bag to hero.
I'm not going to be completely cynical, despite whatever drunken inclinations I may have. There are some people that can turn their lives around. It happens all the time. I'm sure that before Michal Vick's cognitive functions were completely undermined by concussions, he did make a solid change in his thought process after losing $100 million and going to jail and becoming the most reviled athlete who doesn't play for the New York Yankees. But that kind of self-reform takes time, commitment, and work even in comics. Characters like Hawkeye and Magneto were able to reform themselves into semi-heroic characters, but that shit took years and a fuck-ton of compelling stories. For Doc Ock, all it took was a quick powerpoint presentation of Peter Parker's memories. And some how that shit is enough?

I don't want to belabor this point, but I bring it up to highlight what I'm sure has pissed a fuckton of fans off. Now Peter Parker isn't just dead in Amazing Spider-Man. He's effectively been reduced to nothing more than a collection of memories and experiences. He's not even a fucking character anymore. He's just a concept for Doc Ock to exploit. I may be a drunk, but even I find that to be a bullshit way to treat a character, fictional or otherwise. Now the hero that preached with great power comes great responsibility is a mind-swaped supervillain parading around as Peter Parker. And we're supposed to find it compelling that the asshole who did so many dick moves in the history of the comics is now just shrugging his shoulders and is content to be the guy he hated more than anyone? I did as many bong hits as I could to wrap my mind around this and all I got was no answers and an insatiable appetite for Doritos.

And as the comments on my first post indicated, there are plenty of fans out there who are pretty pissed about this. There are some screaming at the top of their lungs, "FUCK YOU, MARVEL! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER COMIC BOOK AGAIN! MAY MEPHISTO SODOMIZE YOU WITH A FLAMING SPIKED DICK FOR ALL ETERNITY!" Granted, that may be a little excessive, but there's a problem with that's exactly what Marvel wants.

And this brings me to why I'm writing this post after a holiday hangover. Marvel is not stupid. They're a successful business that has been around for decades and makes a fuckton of money with their movies, comics, cartoons, and what not. And like every single publisher since the beginning of writing has noticed, shock and outrage get you attention. And in this society of zombie-like consumerism, attention is all you need to get sales. That's what Marvel is after...sales. And as much as it may sicken some fans, shit like Amazing Spider-Man #700 sells. Some may think, "Yeah, it sells well, but..." But nothing! After that purchase is made and the money has changed hands, Marvel and the business that serves them officially stops giving a shit. You bought their shit. Now you have to eat it. At the end of the day, you're the one with the shitty breath. Not Marvel. They only do what they believe will sell. They're a fucking business. For them to NOT do that would not only be fucking retarded, it would be financially irresponsible to them and their investors.

So with this in mind, I have a message for the many upset Spider-Man fans out there. This may be the most unhealthy advice I could give you without hooking people up with the guy I buy pot from, but don't vent your outrage. Don't yell, scream, and protest Marvel's decisions by writing letters, posting angry remarks on message boards, and harassing writers. That shit only encourages them because it indicates that a lot of people actually give a shit about their product. And they're smart enough to know that the assholes that yell at them probably still bought their shit. If they could respond, they would probably say, "I'm sorry, but I run out of fucks to give every time that purchase becomes final. So shut the fuck up and let me go back to wiping my ass with your money!" It may be counter-intuitive. Fuck, it's probably the most counter-intuitive thing a human being could do. When you feel like someone has kicked you in the balls, you want to kick back. But that doesn't actually solve anything. It only empowers the asshole doing the kicking. So please, if you're really that upset, do NOT respond. Do NOT voice your outrage. And above all, do NOT give Marvel your fucking money. Otherwise, you'll just get shit like this.

A douche-bag criminal gets to bone a hot woman. This is why the world sucks.
I'll make one final point before I lay this issue to rest. Marvel, Disney, DC, and every company like them feed on outrage. There really is no such thing as bad publicity for them. They're not politicians or celebrities. When people hate their guts, it actually helps them. They don't fear outrage. They don't fear fan hatred. The one thing they fear and do everything possible to avoid is apathy. Let me say that word again and bold it for you: APATHY. Do you know what that word means? It means not caring and having no visible emotional response. You may be fuming on the inside, but if you don't indicate to Marvel or anyone that you give a shit then what else are they supposed to conclude? This is the key. This is what cancels books, undoes big events, and gets people fired in publishing. It's apathy. When people are apathetic, Marvel and everyone like them stops doing what they're doing because naturally they say, "Fuck, this isn't working! Let's do something else!" It's like dealing with a child off his meds. They crave attention and the only effective way to stop reinforcing their shitty behavior is to ignore them. Kids go fucking crazy when they're ignored. Marvel and every business like them will do the same.

So to all the Spider-Man fans out there and comic book fans in general, I give to you this final holiday gift. It is the ultimate A-bomb for comics...apathy. This is how you send the message that this shit doesn't work. This is how you bring about change. Not by bitching and moaning about it, but by not responding at all. The response isn't immediate, but in the long run it works. It's a very hard thing to do and that's exactly why it's so effective. We fans have the power. And in the spirit of the now dead Peter Parker, we have the responsibility to use it. Nuff said!

Cable and X-Force #2 - Head-Pounding Awesome

I try not to get too politically correct on this blog, but occasionally comics will walk that fine line between being just another story and being a talking point on Bill O'Reilly's next show. Few topics are more sensitive than terrorism. I know I make a lot of dick, fart, poop, and titty jokes on this blog. But even I'm not drunk enough to make light of the real world horrors of terrorism. There isn't enough weed in the entire state of California to make anyone laugh at that. That said, I still try to find ways to keep the mood on this blog light-hearted and fun. And since Marvel's new series, Cable and X-Force, dips its toes in the choppy waters of terrorism I'll have to steady my alcohol intake to ensure I don't piss off more people than I entertain.

The very first issue of Cable and X-Force by Dennis Hopeless established a gritty new world that was perfectly suited for X-Force. It was a horribly flawed issue that was seriously dragged down by Hope Summers continuing to be an annoying pissant little brat, but it was the first X-book since X-Sanction to get Cable back in action. He's recovered from the techno-organic virus, but his body is still more fucked up than Keith Richards and not holding up even half as well. For that reason, he's recruited Forge to make him a new arm that shoots missiles. Because what's X-Force without a guy who can fire missiles? But more than anything, the first issue established X-Force not just as a secret X-men kill squad that shoots first, pisses on the corpse, and goes home to bone Domino. Their shenanigans in the post-Avengers vs. X-men Marvel universe has branded them a real terrorist organization and in this day and age, you can be sure that Dennis Hopeless has the ACLU on speed dial.

But part of what made the first issue sub-par was that we really didn't see how Cable's new X-Force team took on the terrorist role. The first scene showed them confronting the Uncanny Avengers after a rather bloody confrontation that left a few too many bystanders dead. It was tense, resulting in Havok getting shot in the face. But as awesome as that sounds, it didn't really explain how the fuck they got to that point. I mean I understand Cable's inclination to shoot Havok in the face. I just don't understand how the fuck they could have ended up in that position without a frat party going horribly wrong.

Cable and X-Force #2 offers yet another insight into the near-future and wouldn’t you know it? Colossus is still pissed off. Just like the previous issue, we saw that something has gone horribly wrong in one of Cable’s missions and it left a few too many people dead. While that may be an average Tuesday for X-Force, the Uncanny Avengers sure didn’t appreciate it. But unlike Havok, shooting Colossus in the head isn’t really an option here. He makes his discontent known to Cable and Cable looks like he left the last fuck he ever gave a few centuries in the future. It’s still a tense moment, but it’s hard to really feel the impact of such a moment when we still don’t know what the hell even happened to led to those dead bodies in the first place.

And just like the previous issue, we don’t get much of an explanation. Instead, we see more of what happened in the near past. After seeing Cable’s vision of some techno-organic creature attacking South Beach, Hope grabs her trusty jet pack while Domino gets a special bomb from Forge with which to deal with this pesky incident. They know that there can’t be a future without some beach for hot models and the rich snooty fucks that try to bone them. They arrive to find a lot of techno-organic goo and no topless sunbathers. It truly is a vision of the apocalypse. I may hate Hope Summers with the fire of a billion suns, but even I can’t help but root for her and Domino.

While Hope and Domino are having their girl time, Dr. Nemesis and Forge perform a little impromptu brain surgery on Cable. It's part of an ongoing mystery that began in the previous issue with Cable's ominous migraines. Now on the surface, it really doesn't seem like much. Who wouldn't have a migraine after having to deal with Hope fucking Summers for over a decade? But these migraines come with some ominous visions of the future. It may be an explanation as to why Cable left before he could make a difference during the events of Avengers vs. X-men. Or it could just be more proof that Hope Summers poisons everything she comes across. Hopeless keeps it overly mysterious here, but at least he's creating the possibility of an explanation about Cable's recent behavior.

Back in South Beach, there's more carnage than thongs for once. But while Domino is doing her part by attempting to blow up that giant techno-organic blob, Hope is helping the civilians. Now this is a perfectly noble, heroic effort. And it's made all the more heroic by being captured by a news crew. It's South Beach. It's home to plenty of news crews and voyeurs looking to snap photos of topless sunbathers. Hope is made to look all heroic here, rescuing kids and a family. I won't say it's not admirable, but there's a huge fucking problem here that the news crews miss.

I get what Hopeless is doing here. He's making Hope Summers seem somewhat more likable and showing that she still knows how to use Cable's training. But this shit doesn't exist in a vacuum. Just because you see Donald Trump drop a penny in charity bucket doesn't make him a fucking humanitarian. Hope Summers is this willing to help an innocent family yet she's completely unwilling to lend even the slightest hand to the people she fucking screwed over? Hell, she never even fucking apologized to Cyclops or the X-men for ditching them in Avengers vs. X-men after they sacrificed life, limb, and a beloved friend in Nightcrawler to save her miserable ass from Bastion. I'm sorry, but saving a few kids doesn't make up for that. She's still a pissant little brat that deserves to be shoved up Galactus's anus.

At least Domino shows that she's still both likable and incredibly boneable. She's able to luck out like she always does and detonates the bomb that Forge gave her to destroy the techno-organic goo. It's a bit flashy and doesn't have a whole lot of bloodshed, which is somewhat out of place for an X-Force book. But Hopeless makes it clear that this shit isn't just some random attack and since we already know Cable ends up shooting Havok in the face, the good publicity isn't going to last. Domino takes a sample of the material and leaves with Hope, allowing South Beach to return to the half-naked supermodels and rich European douche-bags it belongs to.

Later on after Cable wakes up from having his brain tweaked, he and Domino have a little conversation. Now since some readers may have lapsed or don't have much of an attention span without the aid of Adderal, I should probably point out that Cable and Domino used to be fuck buddies. It was quite a while ago, but it did happen and the tension here is still apparent. However, Domino makes it clear that seeing him again isn't soaking her panties as much as he probably wants. She's actually concerned that he's still pushing his aging ass to figure out these visions he's been having. He just got done raising an annoying Jean Grey ripoff. He can't keep doing this shit and expect to survive for very long. It's a nice, well-thought out conversation. I think it's probably the highlight of the issue, which isn't saying much.

In addition, this scene helps add a bit of a personal touch to Cable. The problem is it doesn't really feel that personal. Even though these two have a history, Hopeless doesn't really play up that angle. In a book where Hope Summers is being the arrogant bitch she always is, that's more than a missed opportunity. Part of what made Uncanny X-Force so awesome was that Rick Remender took every opportunity to add in some character drama whether it was with Psylocke and Angle, Psylocke and Fantomex, or Wolverine and beer. It seems like Hopeless isn't taking advantage of that here and that just limits the impact of the book.

Domino's advice does resonate in some ways though. Cable agrees that he doesn't have the strength to do this shit on his own. So he decides to go out and get some help. And if the ominous scene at the beginning of the book wasn't telling enough, he gets that help from Colossus. Now it's here where Hopeless actually does something awesome and recognize the events in other X-books, namely All New X-men. In that book the mutant powers of the Phoenix Five and a few others were fucked up. Since Colossus was a member, it makes sense that his powers would be fucked up too. And when Cable comes to him, we find out that it's true. He can't seem to stay completely metaled up anymore. That didn't stop him from getting a job as a security guard. Because that's what a guy does after he wields the power of a cosmic force and gets screwed over by his sister. He gets a job as a fucking security guard. I don't get it either, but it's not the first instance in this issue where it seems Hopeless hasn't thought this shit through. It probably won't be the last either, but at least it'll get Colossus back into the action and hopefully in a position to kick his sister's ass at some point and/or shoot Havok in the face again.

Perhaps I’ve been spoiled somewhat by the quality of X-Force comics in recent years. Rick Remender, Craig Kyle, and Chris Yost set a very high bar for the gritty world of X-Force and expecting every book to reach that bar would be like expecting every beer you drink to be freshly imported from a German brewery. It’s just unreasonable, unrealistic, and a bit of a dick move. But when it comes to having standards, I’m not going to apologize for the same reason I don’t apologize for demanding that ugly hookers with more stretch marks than teeth charge less than the young porn stars with fresh breast implants. I won’t say Cable and X-Force #2 fell flat on its face. It was an improvement, but it still left a lot to be desired.

I’ll try hard not to dwell on the blatant pro-Hope Summers bias that’s constantly displayed by the Marvel media. I think everyone who has followed this blog in recent times know where I stand on bratty puissant rip-off characters. But even though this issue makes an effort to try and explain what was shown in the first issue, it still left a few questions unanswered. Even if they are answered in the very next issue, this series is already starting to drag. And in this day and age when peoples’ attention spans are only as long as the most recent Kardashian headline, that’s just not going to work.

I will give Dennis Hopeless credit for mixing in the events of other recent X-books, namely All New X-men, when dealing with Colossus’s powers. Even though Cable and X-Force is clearly meant to be its own gritty little world for Cable to blow shit up in, it’s nice that it still fits into the larger Marvel framework. In addition, Hopeless does an admirable job of throwing in a little character development for Cable and Domino. That way Hope doesn’t completely ruin the scene. There’s a clear conflict here and one in which someone has fucked up in a pretty spectacular way. I’m still curious, but at the rate this story is going and the rate my bong is drying up I can’t get as excited about it as I want.

This was a fairly decent issue, albeit one where not much happened. There was some decent action and some tense moments, but it still lacks the excitement and tension you would hope to find in an X-Force book. Because of this, I can only give Cable and X-Force #2 a 2.5 out of 5. Maybe it is a little harsh, but as I said before X-Force books are held to a certain standard. And at the moment this series isn’t meeting that standard. Now that could change very quickly. Comics aren’t like boob jobs in that they can be rushed and not leave too many noticeable scars. But like boob jobs, when they’re done right it really doesn’t matter what came before it. It’s still an awesome sight to behold. Nuff said!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wolverine and the X-men #22 - Freakshow of Awesome

Mind control is a very common plot in comics. Some might say it's more worn out than a German crack whore, but it's used and reused for a reason. There's just so much fun you can have with a hero or a villain that's having their mind fucked up. It can make for a pretty lousy story, like Avengers vs. X-men. But it can make for a pretty awesome story, like the Phoenix Saga. Admit it, if you could control the mind of a superhero you would have all sorts of fun with it. You could rob a bank, overthrow a government, or make really hot superhero porn. And no, that last one isn't just an idea from my own perverse mind. DC comics actually did that shit with Superman and Big Barda. I shit you not!

But regardless of how much porno a story may involve, mind control can still be made to work. Aside from those with very severe clown fetishes, I doubt that most people would think of using mind-controlled superheroes to start circus. Well Jason Aaron has shown repeatedly that he is not most people and his kind of thinking essentially gives the concept of normal a big middle finger. In Wolverine and the X-men #21 he had the entire staff of the Jean Grey Institute take the plunge into the circus business. It came courtesy of Dr. Frankenstein, who happens to be related to one of the Hellfire brats. Apparently, his first inclination when he got his hands on a bunch of mind controlled X-men was to put on a show. It's not quite as perverse as a Superman/Big Barda porno, but I admit I'd sure as hell pay to see that shit. So I can't call it a lousy idea by any stretch.

But as is the case with all mind control stories, at some point that control is going to hit a snag. In the previous issue it was the Jean Grey Institute students who stumbled into Frankenstein's circus. While Kid Omega was shitting himself with excitement, the others thought that this was just too cruel so they tried to free them. That led to a teacher on student battle. Almost makes me wish we could just go back to the days when all we had to worry about was hot female teachers boning teenage boys.

Wolverine and the X-men #22 keeps the show going by taking the time to fill in some of the glaring plot holes from the previous issue, namely how the hell a circus this fucked up can be organized without Rob Zombie getting excessively drunk. In the previous issue we found out that there was a connection between Maximillian, who happened to be one of the Hellfire Brats, and Frankenstein, who happened to have enough free time on his hands to join a circus. In this issue we find out the soul-stealing bitch from the previous issue is Calcabrina, who Frankenstein helped with an old-town lynching back in the day and probably bumped uglies with at one point. And somehow helping him hunt down the last of the Frankenstein bloodline helps make them even. I guess a date and a blowjob just doesn’t cut it these days.

As for the rest of the Jean Grey Institute students who were understandably confused in the last issue to see their teachers joining a psycho circus, they at least try to be the heroes they were trained to be. However, they fail miserably and laughably. It’s best epitomized by Kid Omega actually being silenced by Wolverine in a clown suit while some of the other students show why pussies make lousy superheroes. Granted, these are students and they haven’t learned to sufficiently flexed their balls yet. That doesn’t make it any less pathetic (or entertaining) to see them fail.

As much as young Maximilian doesn't deserve any help from a homicidal Frankenstein monster, he gets it anyways courtesy of Idie. Having been called a monster from her part of the world, she's not all that reluctant to give Frankenstein the Epic Mealtime treatment. Now this is a moment of pathetic yet entertaining irony because Idie doesn't know about the Hellfire Brats. She's never really encountered them and even if she did, how would she, teenage girl, determine that a Frankenstein monster isn't the threat and the kid that's being tormented is part of the same group that shot Broo in the head? Short answer is, she can't. Long answer is teenagers are just fucking gullible.

But some teenagers are a lot more resourceful than others. While most of the Jean Grey Institute students get their asses handed to them deep fried on a stick like most circus foods, students like Genesis are much better equipped to take on the whole X-men. He manages to channel his inner Apocalypse, minus the genocidal inclinations, and take on the likes of Iceman and Storm. While beating Iceman ranks right up there with beating Andy Dick in an arm wrestling match while on steroids, he doesn't fare as well against Storm. At the very least, Genesis shows he can be a pretty good hero when he needs to. For anyone who saw the end of Uncanny X-men #35 (and the shame of a thousand drunk photos depicting your shaved eyebrows if you don't), this is a good development and some solid action to help balance out the insanity. I suppose even Jason Aaron can't make a story that's too fucked up.

For Idie, the irony continues as she helps Maximilian take on Frankenstein. She still has no idea that this kid is a Hellfire Brat who would not lose an ounce of sleep if he hid a sentinel inside a box of tampons. The action here is still solid, but Jason Aaron also mixes in a few inner musings with Maximilian. It continues what he began in the first issue, namely giving one of the Hellfire Brats a bit more backstory. It would be nice if the whole concept of the Hellfire Brats wasn't so fucked up to begin with. Never-the-less, it still indicates that this kid came from some fucked up circumstances, as if we would expect anything less from Jason Aaron. He even gives hints that he might have some sympathy for Idie. That or his teenage hormones are just urging him to save something he could possibly bone.

Now I'm all for giving an undeveloped character some development in the same way I'm all for adding more bacon to a bacon cheeseburger. But more development really doesn't help when there's no bacon or the concept is fucked up to begin with. I can tell Jason Aaron has been trying to make the Hellfire Brats more palpable with recent issues. He did it with Kade Kildare a few issues ago. But it still doesn't make the Hellfire Brats any less a fucked up concept. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that Aaron has yet to find a way and this sure as hell didn't work.

Another thing that doesn't usually work is mind-controlling the X-men. Sooner or later, someone is going to remember that they don't like being a meat puppet. The first one to remember this little tidbit is Storm and she's the kind of woman you don't want to piss off. It's like dating the daughter of an ex Navy SEAL. No good can come from it and you're not usually going to come out intact. After her bout with Genesis, she looks into a house of mirrors and sees how ridiculous she looks. And that's enough to break the witch's hold on her. And once she's free, she unleashes the kind of holy hell that soaks the panties of Mother Nature herself.

Soon after, Wolverine breaks free as well. While watching a few other clowns beat up on one of the Jean Grey Institute students that probably slept through combat training, he remembers how much it sucked to be a meat puppet as well. He also remembers that he has claws in his hands and these clowns don't. So it's pretty clear at this point that the witch's control is failing miserably and the X-men are going to be looking for someone to take their anger out on. Hell, if someone dressed me up in ridiculous circus clothes, I would be pretty pissed too. Although to be fair, it's not the most embarrassing thing I've woken up wearing in my life. But that's a story for another blog post.

While the X-men are emerging from Calcabrina's control, the battle between Frankenstein, Idie, and Maximilian is still going on and not going as well. Frankenstein, seeing as how he's already dead, doesn't burn as easily as Idie probably thought he would. He's able to fight through the fires and attack her. All the while, Maximilian is hiding like the cowardly douche he is. But at the end of the comic he appears to be in a position to help Idie. Again, Idie doesn't know that this kid played a part in shooting Broo in the head and didn't seem to give three tenths of a fuck when he unleashed a sentinel on Utopia. Yet he's still in a position to save her ass and fuck with an angry relative. It's not exactly a win-win situation, but it's one of those take-the-good-with-the-bad moments. If certain annoying relatives get pwned while a casual enemy is saved, I say that's as fair a compromise as you can hope for in this day and age.

I don’t expect Shakespearean-level brilliance from slasher movies. For the same reason, I don’t expect Alan Moore-level dramatics from a book that involves homicidal circus freaks and mind-controlling witches. Yet that doesn’t mean my expectations can’t be exceeded. This particular issue of Wolverine and the X-men and the arc as a whole had me scratching my head in ways I usually reserve for my ass after a night in a German whorehouse. However, it was still as wildly entertaining as I expect an issue of Wolverine and the X-men to be. And honestly, I really can’t ask for much more than that from a comic like this.

Jason Aaron has developed this series with a unique theme and this arc has epitomized that theme in many ways. It’s fucked up, incoherent at times, goofy, yet a fuckton of fun. This issue did help fill in some of the blanks left by the previous issue. However, it was a bit sloppy in some areas and even a little confusing. I get what Aaron was trying to do with Idie and Kid Frankenstein. But given how eye-rollingly stupid the Hellfire Brats have been since they were introduced I found it hard to really feel anything for this moment. I won’t say Aaron was wrong to try and throw in a few dramatics, but it just didn’t mix well in a story that dressed Wolverine up like a clown and got a Wicked Witch of the West knock-off involved.

It was still an entertaining issue in an entertaining arc that will make you laugh even if your only partially stoned. Seeing the X-men fight as circus freaks while the students of the Jean Grey Institute show how laughably inexperienced they are at playing hero makes for a good way to pass the time while you’re on the toilet. It’s a little insane at times, but if you expect something less from Jason Aaron in this series then you’ve either been recently lobotomized or need to up your Adderall dosage. I give Wolverine and the X-men #22 a 3 out of 5. I’m still too traumatized to ever contemplate going back to a circus again thanks to a seeing a drunk clown do things with a balloon animal I can never unsee. But at the very least, this issue shows that even a fucked up evil circus can still be fun. Nuff said!

Friday, December 21, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue #69: Kings and Tyrants is LIVE!

The holidays are upon us and the X-men Supreme fanfiction series has many gifts to offer! The Phoenix Saga is complete. X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope is winding down. Overall, there's plenty of reasons to celebrate the holidays this year! The end of the X-men Supreme Phoenix Saga was a significant shift for the X-men. The effects of that story will begin to show in this final arc, Kings and Tyrants, but the greater implications will only manifest later on as this fanfiction series unfolds.

In developing X-men Supreme, I've attempted to do more than just tell stories about the X-men. I wanted to create a unique Marvel-style universe for them in which to develop. I've done a number of things to set that world apart from the regular Marvel universe. And I'm not just talking about different background stories for the characters either. The more worldly issues in X-men Supreme have manifested in other more pragmatic ways, namely with Senator Robert Kelly's bid for President of the United States. A good deal of X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope have followed his campaign. Now as this volume is poised to end, the culmination of this campaign is upon us! And like the Phoenix Saga, it will have far-reaching implications for the world of X-men Supreme.

Issue 69: Kings and Tyrants Part 1

And since it's the holidays and all, I want to throw in another extra gift for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series and the wonderful readers who support it. In addition to being the biggest event to date for this fanfiction series, the Phoenix Saga introduced a few key characters to the world of X-men Supreme. Among those characters were Emma Frost and the Black Queen. These two women are among the X-men's most devious yet sexy women. As such, I've added them to the X-men Supreme pics section, specifically the sexy X-ladies area. It's not much, but it's a start and I promise these sections will grow along with the rest of the X-women!

Emma Frost Pics

Black Queen Pics 

As the holidays approach, the best gift I can hope for at this point is more generous feedback and support from my readers. A handful of readers have been very generous with their support. They know who they are and I can't thank them enough. But the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is poised to undergo some much greater shifts moving forward and feedback is all the more vital! Please take the time to post your comments in the comments section of each issue or contact me at any time. I'm always willing to chat X-men and Marvel! So from me to you, have a very happy holidays! Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #35 - Disturbingly Final Awesome

There are few comics these days that are worth sticking with from beginning to end. Some start strong, blowing your mind like three blow-jobs from three Playboy centerfolds in the span of 20 pages. Some are more forgettable than the last Adam Sandler movie, only really picking up towards the end when Marvel wants to cash in and/or piss off fans by doing some insane shit like swapping minds between characters. I wish I could think of a good example, but I'm a little hung over right now. My point is that series that are awesome from start to finish are rare and precious. They should be cherished in the same way a stoner cherishes his last joint.

 Uncanny X-Force has been a monumental achievement in awesome since its inception. When the series started out, I admit I didn't know where Remender was going to take it. It just seemed like a comic book version of the Expendables, minus Stallone's slurred speech. You take some of the X-men's best known killers, stick them on a team, and give the Christian Right another reason to bitch and moan about violence in popular culture. But Remender has done something far more awesome than just piss off moral crusaders. He has created of a vast, compelling, concise, and comprehensive series of awesome. It didn't just focus on violence that involved killer cyborgs from the future, shooting Apocalypse in the head, or having a shark eat a man from the inside out. That shit was all pretty awesome, mind you, but Remender always found ways to balance it out with just the right amount of melodrama. Whether it was Psylocke's desire to save Angel, Fantomex's desire to bone Psylocke, Wolverine's desire to bone Age of Apocalypse Jean Grey, or Mystique's desire to bone everyone he's taken these characters on an incredible journey. It couldn't be more thrilling without every issue coming with a free hit of LSD.

But like all great rides or acid trips, they have to come to an end at some point. Rick Remender's run on Uncanny X-Force may not have had the longevity of Chris Claremont, but fuck if he hasn't made every issue count. Moreover, he's made sure that every story ties in with the others in some way or another. Going back to the first story with Kid Apocalypse, he's weaved X-Force through many difficult conflicts. The characters have been changed, scarred, traumatized, or in Fantomex's case shot dead by an underwear-clad Mystique. Hey, there are worse ways to go. But after the last arc, X-Force confronted another difficult dose of violence and melodrama. Nightcrawler betrayed them, Wolverine had to kill his own son, and Genesis got a little taste of his apocalyptic potential. Now that the adrenaline buzz has worn off, the final hangover can set in and we as readers are left to savor every last page of this epic run.

Uncanny X-Force #35, Remender's last issue on this series, has Wolverine and Psylocke dealing with the immediate repercussions of the previous arc, namely Wolverine killing his son and Psylocke dealing with Fantomex getting murdered by Mystique. Granted, it’s not her fault that Mystique is cunning enough to take her form, bone Fantomex, and then kill him. But Fantomex is still the reason why she ended up screwing over her own brother. If anyone deserves to feel the most screwed, it’s Wolverine. He’s the one that had to kill his pan-sexual son rather than wait for him to die of rectal trauma. His inner musings over his grave are a nice touch as well. Hell, I almost teared up knowing I may never read Remender write Wolverine’s inner lament like this again.

But unlike Wolverine, Psylocke does have a chance to go back and try to unfuck the situation she created with her brother. After blood stops spilling and Daken’s boner finally goes soft, she pays a visit to her brother. There’s not as much hostility as I expected between two bitter siblings. Maybe I’ve just seen way too much Jerry Springer, but there is some sense of resolution between them. Psylocke explains that Fantomex was a douche, but she doesn’t regret what she did. There’s really not much that Captain Britain can do when his emotionally damaged sister gives him that puppy-dog look. It’s like a spoiled rich girl asking her father for a pony. Psylocke doesn’t get the proverbial pony, but she does get closure.

Another character that gets an important dose of closure is Genesis. In the previous arc, he came dangerously close to living up to his Apocalyptic potential. He managed to avoid vindicating Daken and every other creepy undertone that he's ever demonstrated. He was even able to give up his Apocalypse armor to Captain Britain. But there's still the whole his life being a complete Smallville rip-off thing. So Deadpool pays him a visit at the Jean Grey Institute and basically tells him that regardless of whether your upbringing is a fraud, you shouldn't use that as an excuse to be the evil douche-bag everybody thinks you're going to be. And coming from a guy whose crazier than Lindsey Lohan's last urine sample, that actually carries some weight. And to prove once again that Deadpool is more awesome insane than he ever was sane, he leaves Genesis with some nudie magazines. Because if you want to prevent an kid with evil tendencies from crossing that line, you want to have him appreciate a world where beautiful naked women are possible. Excuse me, I just teared up a little.

Rick Remender continues to tie up loose ends, showing an attentive to detail that makes most other Marvel writers look like their either blind or drunk (or in the case of anyone who read Avengers vs. X-men, both). As he's done with numerous other arcs, he takes some time to revisit previous stories with unanswered questions, namely that little trip to yet another dystopian future where X-Force encountered a very strict yet still strangely sexy Psylocke. While there, Wolverine got an ominous message from his future self and it didn't involve avoiding a woman that claimed she was on the pill. He basically told Wolverine that he was going to have to kill Daken to prevent this future because Daken, had he lived, would have butchered the Jean Grey Institute. It put Wolverine in a very bad position, but in the end that's the job of X-Force. They kill those crazy homicidal motherfuckers so that others don't have to.

It's yet another instance of Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force tying together in a cohesive way that you don't see in too many other books. It's clear from this scene that he didn't just take his run on an arc-by-arc basis. He actually thought this shit through. You like to think that's standard practice in comics, but as we saw with Avengers vs. X-men that shit's either optional or discouraged. For that reason, I'll miss Uncanny X-Force even more because I don't know how many other writers will be this attentive to detail. Excuse me, I teared up again. Fuck, I need more tissues.

And it isn't just loose ends that Remender addresses. One of the biggest moments of the previous arc was the death of an underwear clad Mystique. Now this is one instance where I'm really okay with just letting a character die. Not just because I think Fantomex is a douche, but because that's probably the most dignified death any character can ask for these days. However, for some reason Marvel just isn't content to let him die with dignity. They'll keep characters like Jean Grey and Nightcrawler dead for years, but Fantomex? Who isn't half as pretty and or a tenth as lovable? Fuck no. He gets cloned into three different parts.

It was one of EVA's last protocols. Once they found Fantomex's body, she cloned him. However, she had more tits than computing capacity so she ended up cloning three bodies, one for each of Fantomex's brain. One is mean. Once is nice. One has boobs. Okay, so adding boobs is always a bit of a bonus. But it's still a somewhat cheap way to undo a death that would have had some impact. That's not to say it wasn't expected. Marvel already announced that Fantomex would be involved in the relaunched Uncanny X-Force under Stan Humphries. But it still involves clones. Clones in comics is like seeing your sister naked. It just doesn't feel right, even if you get a boner.

With Fantomex in a fresh new body, Psylocke decides to get him the fuck away from X-Force and back home to the Alps. There, they meet his mother, who has shown up in Uncanny X-Force before (and ended up dead). That seems to indicate that there's some mind-fucking going on. It leaves things a little open to interpretation just what the fuck is going on and that's probably for the best in a series that has fucked so many minds. Even so, Psylocke kissing Fantomex again is not a good way to end any series, no matter how awesome it is. Even if it isn't real, it's still pretty disgusting considering the circumstances. But at the very least, it creates a somewhat happy ending for which the background can fade, the credits can roll, and the Green Day song can start playing.

In the end there really isn’t much else to say about Uncanny X-Force that I haven’t said before in a drunken stupor. It’s been one of the few comics I’ve been able to enjoy drunk, sober, and everything in between. This final issue touches on many of the qualities that make Uncanny X-Force such a compelling source of Marvel-based awesome. Remender takes the time to tie up the loose ends from the end of a bloody, action-packed story that involved women in underwear, men being eaten by sharks, and fathers going a bit overboard with disciplining their sons. Yet at the same time he manages to make this issue feel like a fitting end to the series. After reading this issue, you really do get a sense that there doesn’t need to be another. The story is finished and the end is complete.

But as complete as it is, Remender still left a few details up in the air. The biggest omission was Mystique and AOA Nightcrawler. After the shit they pulled in the last arc, they barely got the slightest mention. Granted, Marvel has already announced that their story will continue in other yet-to-be-launched books, but a little teaser would have been nice. As every hooker in Germany will tell you, I like being teased and I think many other fanboys share my tastes, albeit in a different capacity. And, of course, seeing Psylocke kiss Fantomex again was a shitty way to cut to the credits. It wasn’t as disgusting as it was when they boned earlier in the series, but it did somewhat take away from drama of him being killed by an underwear-clad Mystique. If ever there was an epic death that need not be undone, it’s that.

Overall, those details are minor and rather trivial in the grand scheme of things. This epilogue to both the final arc and the series as a whole was fitting, satisfying, and a bit disturbing. But then again Uncanny X-Force has been disturbing in a great many ways since it began. Anytime a book can make a reader sick in a wonderful way, it’s a winner. No doubt about it. So with a bittersweet buzz from a few shots of Jack Daniels, I give Uncanny X-Force #35 a 4 out of 5.

Now excuse me as I tear up once more while raising what’s left of my drink to Rick Remender and this amazing series. It’s shot creepy Apocalypse kids in the head, given us the Dark Angel Saga, explored bizarre worlds, created villains who rip off faces for kicks, and had Mystique running around in her underwear on more than one occasion. I don’t know if we’ll ever get a series that utilizes that much disturbing awesome, but even if it never happens I’ll always have fond memories of Uncanny X-Force. Here’s to you, Rick Remender! May all your future endeavors be full of success, brilliance, and more hot underwear-clad Mystiques! Nuff said!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All New X-men #4 - Raw Emotions of Awesome

I've poked fun at the anti-Cyclops crowd on many occasions in my reviews. I look at them the same way I look at the fat kids in high school who constantly bitched about the athletes getting all the praise and adulation, conveniently ignoring all the work those athletes put in and all the shitty circumstances they have to go through. I doubt any of those fat fucks have ever had to work their ass off at mastering a game that didn't involve rolling dice or digital characters on a computer screen, willingly subjecting themselves to coaches, critics, and competition whose sole intent is to make them losers. I'm not saying all Cyclops-haters are fat fucks, but they share a few things in common with them. That said, they do occasionally make some valid points.

Cyclops has become a bit of a douche over the past few years. Even before he got drunk on the Phoenix Force, he's become the kind of guy that's easy to hate. He's leader of the X-men, he always seems to have his shit together, and he got to regularly put his penis inside Emma Frost. He's basically like Vladimir Putin and whoever happens to be boning Pamela Anderson. And his arrogance has showed at times. It started when he began psychically fooling around behind Jean Grey's back during New X-men. After pulling the entire mutant race under his wing, he essentially pissed it away during Schism. Granted, it wasn't all his fault. The circumstances were pretty fucked up, even by Marvel standards. But he was still responsible and he damn well knows it. And until recently, he could always drown his sorrow in Emma Frost's boobs.

Avengers vs. X-men sent him over the edge. Now he doesn't have Emma Frost's boobs for consolation anymore. Hell, he doesn't even have the X-men anymore. They basically gave him the finger when he tried to turn the world into a global utopia with the Phoenix Force. I don't get it either. For some reason, the X-men had a problem with that and were willing to team up with the Avengers, who also just can't do the whole utopia thing. And for some reason they were shocked when constantly attacking and provoking a cosmic force made it really upset. Because apparently these so-called heroes don't know what happens when you poke a hungry grizzly bear with a stick one time too many. Cyclops went nuts, he killed Charles Xavier, and got thrown in jail for...I don't know anymore. I've given up trying to make sense of that shit.

Whatever the reason, he's now gone from leader of the X-men to mutant revolutionary. And what choice does he have? It's this or going back to being someone's prison bitch. He's put together what's left of the Extinction Team, freeing Emma Frost in the process, despite her refusal to ever let him see her naked again. He's traveling all over the world, looking for mutants that are in trouble and fucking with the people that end up fucking with them. It's not exactly a dick move, but for some reason the authorities don't like people fucking with them when they're trying to fuck with minorities. So he's a terrorists. Go figure. And he has to do all this while their powers are being fucked up. For some reason, Emma lost her telepathy, Beast is dying, and Cyclops's optic blasts are more volatile. There isn't an explanation yet, but Emma suspects it's the Phoenix basically giving them the finger.

This has led the X-men, who once again can't seem to wrap their head around Cyclops rubbing elbows with Magneto, to take drastic measures. Then again, drastic may not be an appropriate enough word for fucking with the time stream and bringing back the Original Five. Hell, even on my worst bender that ends with me lying face down in a barn with a dead goat lying next to me doesn't get that fucked up. But it happened. The Original Five are in the present, they ditched the X-men, leaving Wolverine in a hilariously gay porno-like pose, and decided to confront future Cyclops and his revolutionary bullshit. All New X-men #3 finally finished setting the stage for this confrontation. Now All New X-men #4 is poised to shovel the shit into the fan.

It starts with Cyclops dealing with the biggest WTF moment since that guy in England found out that he accidentally married his sister. Now usually when an unexpected threat enters a scene when Cyclops is in full I’ve-boned-Emma-Frost bravado mode, shit gets pretty heavy pretty fast. But not this time. Instead, we get a very insightful and very appropriate scene where Cyclops contemplates what he’s seeing, whether or not it’s real, and what he feels when he sees a live Jean Grey again. And not just any Jean Grey either. This is teenage, pre-Phoenix, pre-multiple deaths, pre-Wolverine Jean Grey. That’s the Jean Grey he fell in love with. And since Jean just recently discovered her ability to read the thoughts of dirty old men, it overwhelms her. That or she also found out what happened on her and Cyclops’s honeymoon.

In being so overwhelmed (and maybe a little disgusted) Jean Grey shuts Cyclops up by a quick telekinetic blow that knocks both him and Magneto back. But keep in mind this is happening at a college keg party. This sort of shit isn’t even the fifth most destructive thing that can happen. If no couches have been set on fire, then it’s not much of a party. So it’s somewhat underwhelming when not much of a battle breaks out. I mean why would Cyclops fight against his younger self and a younger version of his wife? But still, all Magneto can do is throw a fucking bike at Iceman. That’s the extent of the action here. Now I’ve been to some pretty lame parties, but this one is right up there.

Even if the party and the battle sucked, this scene did a nice job of establishing of how different Cyclops and Magneto are in the present. It’s easy to forget that to this point, the Original Five only know Magneto for being the stubborn, racists, demigod who would gladly step a litter of kittens in the middle of a battle. Yet here he just retreats with Cyclops before the O5 even have a chance to question them, if that’s even what they want to do. I keep forgetting that the O5 are teenagers. Seeking to understand the context of the situation just isn’t in their nature anymore than not trying to get laid.

While the Original Five are left wondering how Magneto could have become such a pussy and the mutant that attracted this space time continuum fucking chaos (who was pretty much overlooked completely) stands just as confused, Cyclops's team arrives back at their Weapon X base in a state of shock. We also encounter Eva and Chris, the two mutants that Cyclops's team rescued in the first issue and who haven't done jack shit sense. Now I'm glad Bendis is at least acknowledging they're still part of the story and he even takes some time to have both characters reflect on how their previously boring lives are deader than Mike Huckabee's credibility. It's actually a nice moment for these two characters because Bendis gives them a moment to actually develop. However, it seems out of place because at this point most readers are still giddy about seeing Cyclops shit himself at the sight of a teenage version of his dead wife.

These two characters, Chris and Eva, quickly fall to the wayside as Magneto tells Emma about what happened. Naturally, she's not too thrilled. Given her history with Jean Grey and how much incentive she's given her to brutally maim her for kinky tastes in married men, even a teenage version of her is cause for concern. But the best reaction comes from Cyclops, who doesn't even attempt to take comfort in Emma's boobs like he used to. When a man forgoes Emma Frost's boobs in times of crisis, you know he's fucked up.

But Cyclops's Extinction team isn't the only one reeling. After ditching the keg party, the Original Five go somewhere nice and remote to wrap all the shit they just saw around their immature teenage minds. Jean Grey is especially fucked up and not just because she found out the guy she's in love with grows up to be a douche who runs around in a giant condom for a costume. In the second issue, she manifested her telepathy early. And an onslaught of thoughts in conjunction with the mind of a teenage girl is not a good combination to say the least. All the while, some of the others like Warren favor just forgetting this shit and repressing it like normal teenagers. Because when has that shit ever gone wrong?

This scene is probably the most important in the book, aside from seeing Cyclops freak out and seeing Iceman get a bike thrown at him of course. The Original Five clearly didn't come here expecting to say. They were just going to fuck with their future selves, fix it, and be done with it. But like every teenager at some point, the find out shit just isn't that easy. All these grim revelations that Beast told them about have been essentially confirmed. And Jean Grey knows it. It leads her to give Cyclops a scold that would castrate even the ballsiest man. It indicates that the epic love story that Marvel spent so many years developing is getting dangerously close to One More Day territory. However, at this point no one has pointed out to Jean that by not being with Cyclops, there's no Cable and with no Cable there's no Hope Summers and with no Hope Summers the events of Avengers vs. X-men go very badly (see Cable's vision of the future in X-Sanction). So it's not clear what Bendis's intentions are here, but it's clear Jean is now much more reluctant to give Cyclops her virginity.

This strikes future Cyclops in a way that goes beyond his penis now hating him. Emma Frost confronts him about what he saw. Together, they surmise that Beast was the one who brought the Original Five to the present and his reason for doing so involved pissing Cyclops off so he could see what an ass he's become. And since he's no longer letting him see her naked, she doesn't even try to console him. For once, Scott Summers does not have the love of a beautiful woman to comfort him. It's actually a pretty surreal moment and an important moment too because for his character it's a big fucking deal. He's already having to accept that he killed Xavier. So what is he going to do about it? Is he going to keep being a douche-bag or is he going to make an effort to make Jean Grey or Emma Frost at least contemplate letting him cop a feel? It's a great dramatic moment that Bendis captures perfectly. So even if you were disappointed by the action, you shouldn't be disappointed by this.

As Cyclops continues to fume, the Original Five return to the Jean Grey Institute where they still have that little unresolved issue of Beast dying to content with. It's an issue that stems from the ongoing mystery of how certain mutant powers were fucked up by the Phoenix. Emma just lost her telepathy. Beast is dying. How the fuck is that fair? Whatever the case, O5 Beast seems to have some theories and demands he be allowed to handle his own medical situation. Even Dr. House would have few problems with this because who has better motivation to save a dying patient than a guy's past self? That and it helps he's also a genius. But he arrives just in time to find his future self dying. This would be another great dramatic moment if Marvel hadn't already spoiled that Beast was going to be part of future Avengers books. I know in this day and age you can't avoid spoilers, but it would help it Marvel at least made an effort to conceal shit like that. Spoilers have other purposes aside from making Dan Slott's life is more miserable.

There’s a special kind of beauty in a story that takes multiple ongoing plots and brings them together in a harmonious way. It’s the kind of beauty I put somewhere between big tits and sunsets on a nude beach in Europe. And like any beauty, it’s rare for everything to really fall into place in a comic book. I’m not going to say that All New X-men #4 succeeded, but it came pretty damn close. Big tits still has a comfortable lead to say the least.

The confrontation that we all knew was building for three issues was heavy on drama, but light on action. The struggles between the Extinction Team and the Original Five X-men really played up the emotions, but when the most intense action involves Magneto throwing a bicycle at Iceman you can’t help but be underwhelmed. It was the complete opposite of the multi-page brawl between Cyclops and Wolverine in Schism. But what it lacked in graphic images of two grown men beating the shit out of each other, it more than made up for in emotion. The point of the battle and the issue as a whole was not to overplay the conflict. It was to intensify the drama, which Brian Michael Bendis has shown on numerous occasions that he can write that shit with the same skill as Samuel L. Jackson wields all phrases involving the word fuck.

What really makes this issue awesome is how Bendis had it affect the characters. It didn’t leave too many unanswered questions. It’s pretty damn clear that Cyclops will have to seriously re-evaluate the shit he’s doing after seeing Jean Grey alive and not in his wet dreams again. The same goes for O5 Cyclops and especially Jean Grey. It’s painfully clear that she simply can’t look at Cyclops the same way anymore. Granted, she doesn’t know the full story. Hell, none of them know the full story. Jean still hasn’t reacted to the revelation that she murdered 5 billion aliens, shacked up with Mastermind, swapped spit with Wolverine, and was cloned on more than one occasion. Angel hasn’t reacted to going from boning a hot Asian psychic to being an amnesiac hippie. But more than anything else, Bendis gave the O5 a reason to stick around in the present and continue the story.

While Bendis managed to clean up some of the plot holes, the beauty of this issue wasn’t flawless. If it were a hot chick, it would be one of those chicks with a great rack but an ugly birth mark on her ass. The two mutants, Eva and Chris, were somewhat random in their role. Hell, until this issue we didn’t know what the hell they were doing or why they didn’t see fit to help the Extinction Team. In addition, some of the reactions from the characters were a bit vague. While the emotions ran high, too much was left unsaid. That and the impact of the ending was largely underwhelming since we already know that Beast survives. It’s like seeing the Empire Strikes Back after the ending is spoiled. It loses its meaning.

Even so, this issue is a major improvement on the last issue and a perfect example of just how awesome this series can be. We’ve had plenty of X-books that involve exploding celestial shit and insane schoolyard conflicts that make you question what sort of drugs Jason Aaron is on. This is the kind of comic that really explores the emotions of the X-men and what it means to be X-men in a way that hasn’t been done in a long time. It has its flaws, but the beauty is undeniable. I give All New X-men #4 a 4 out of 5. Going back to all the anti-Cyclops fans out there, I’m pretty sure they’ll have plenty to jerk off to from this point forward. And for Jean Grey fans…well, I think they have enough to jerk off to already! Nuff said!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My First Published Book: Skin Deep is Available on Amazon!

Hey guys, I'm taking a break from the usual comic book news to make a big announcement. Today is a big day for me! My first self-published book is officially available on! I’ve been looking forward to this moment. Everyone writer has to start somewhere and today, this is my official beginning. For anyone out there who is interested in stories involving drama, romance, and sex then I strongly encourage you to check this book out! Here’s the full Amazon description:

What would you do if you could be as beautiful as you wanted to be? And what would you do when that beauty opened the doors to a new world of opportunity, pleasure, and indulgence? 

Benjamin Prescott never had that choice. He was a nobody, born into a frail body that was weak, sickly, and unattractive. Conversely, his childhood friend, Mary Williams, was blessed with a natural beauty that granted her a great many opportunities. Throughout high school, Ben watched Mary as she made friends with other attractive girls, drew attention from equally attractive boy, and indulge in the various pleasures that her body afforded her. Now as their graduation approaches, she seemed destined to drift away from him while he is doomed to a life of obscurity. But that all changes on a fateful school trip to Genetix Lab, an up-and-coming company that boasts great advances in biotechnology. In a horrific accident, Ben is seriously wounded and faces a grim prognosis. Neither his frail body nor jaded spirit is capable of healing. It leads him to cross paths with the mysterious Dr. Warren Irvine. He offers Ben a radical new treatment that promises to not only heal him, but make him as attractive and healthy as he wants to be. In the span of a few weeks, he goes from being an unattractive nobody to a very attractive somebody with a body worthy of an athlete or male model. It affords him new opportunities for indulgence that he never had before and promises to change his relationship with Mary forever. 

But in accepting Dr. Irvine’s offer, he unwittingly becomes involved in a series of lurid experiments that will test the human capacity for indulgence. It’s a story of beauty, lust, love, sex, and pleasure. How much can Mary, Ben, and all those who take advantage of their beauty handle before it consumes them? Is beauty truly skin deep? Or is the human drive for pleasure too powerful to overcome?

I'm very excited about this book. While I have every intention of continuing X-men Supreme, I still have a dream of making an actual living off my writing. This is my first step towards doing so. If you want to support X-men Supreme in another way, please buy my book or tell others about it! If you're a fan of X-men Supreme, teen drama, erotic fiction, or 50 Shades of Grey then I strongly recommend my book. Thank you and I hope you all enjoy it!