Thursday, March 15, 2012
Wolverine and the X-men #7 - A Scientific Method for Awesome
Whenever I read stories about the human body it often reminds me that my internal organs are probably more fucked than a Bangkok whore on coupon day. I'm often amazed at the sheer majesty of the human body, especially when beautiful women allow me to observe it up close after a few shots of tequila. Stories about people shrinking themselves and exploring god's handiwork are as old as Betty White's last used tampon. So how do you add a novel twist on this plot? Three words: aliens, alien spores, and alien conspiracies. Okay, so maybe just aliens will suffice.
Wolverine and the X-men has already proven to be a wildly entertaining book without aliens. In it's inaugural arc it brought homicidal kids, an army of Frankensteins, and a living island. And yes, that was just one arc. Apparently, Jason Aaron treats his stories the same way he treats his beard. He just doesn't know when to cut it off. If anything, a plot involving aliens feels almost normal in a comic that has prided itself on being awesome in a more light-hearted way that still involves the threat of gruesome death. It may sound as awkward as an Amish hacker, but Jason Aaron has made it work in a way that would make the late Steve Jobs proud. May he rest triumphantly in Valhalla!
Mr. Aaron has taken Marvel's favorite race of hostile aliens who treat blood the same way my ex-girlfriend treats chocolate when she's PMSing (only with slightly less hostility). They have been unleashed both on the Jean Grey Institute and on Kitty Pryde's innards. In the last issue it was revealed that the mastermind behind this rather misogynistic plot that would give Rush Limbaugh a boner was orchestrated by another alien that seems to enjoy keeping the Brood as pets. Perhaps he killed one too many goldfish as a kid, but who am I to judge? This nameless alien showed up at the institute and attacked Broo and Kitty Pryde while Beast led an expedition into Kitty's body in an effort to destroy the army of mini-Brood that had been unleashed inside her. All the while, the institute is still dealing with financial issues after Angel lost his fucking mind and the Hellfire kids took control of his company. So Wolverine decided to take the most ridiculous approach towards solving this problem and dragged Kid Omega to an alien casino where he hoped to cheat his way into enough funding. I think someone needs to pull him aside and explain the merits of a fundraiser, but then again he's Wolverine. If he's not laying his dick on the edge of an axe, it's just not worth doing for him.
At the end of the previous issue, both sides were chin deep in shit. This issue begins in a way that doesn't make it smell any nicer. Kid Gladiator, the institute's resident egotistical douche from every bad 80s teen movie, thought he could handle an army of invading Brood by himself. So it's almost satisfying to see him get turned into a Brood. It sucks for Iceman, Warbird, Beast, and everyone else who are having a hard enough time trying to make sure these mini-Brood don't ravage Kitty's womb in a way almost as bad as what Tommy Lee did to Pamela Anderson. Despite Kid Gladiator acting like more of a douche than usual, Beast manages to locate the main egg sack where all the mini-Brood are coming from. It's not entirely clear if this sac is located in Kitty's stomach or lady parts. I'm guessing Marvel wants to leave explaining female anatomy to parents and internet porn.
Outside the bounds of female anatomy, a conflict is still brewing from the source of this Limbaugh-esque assault on female biology. The big, tough, imposing alien that killed a legion of SWORD agents just a few issues ago went through a lot of trouble to get to Broo in the last issue. Well he finally reached his target and he could easily grab the little critter by the neck and snap it like my 8th grade Algebra teacher snapped any fondness I may have had for numbers. But that would be too basic and bland for someone with as twisted a mind as Jason Aaron's. Instead, Broo and the mysterious alien sit down and have a little chat. They don't light a joint or anything, but they do talk seriously and it's not as fucked up as it sounds. Okay, anything involving aliens is fucked up on some levels, but you get what I mean.
The alien's name is Professor Xanto Starblood. Aside from having the most awesome name for a professor ever since Professor Ironcock Hellbone, he's an extreme zoologist of sorts. He and Broo discuss the intricate order of evolutionary biology. To him, it's fragile in a way that would make a fundamentalist Christian's head explode. So when he finds a tiny little Brood that acts very un-Brood like, he sees that in the same way as we would see Pat Robertson digging up Charles Darwin's body and butt-fucking his corpse. He sees Broo as a massive flaw in the evolutionary web of life and like a neurotic roommate, he just has to clean it up. Unfortunately, that means wiping the floor with Broo's blood. As for Kitty Pryde? She was just bait and a diversion. Because what's more distracting than a woman for whom the integrity of her snatch is in danger?
Speaking of integrity, remember how Wolverine dragged Kid Omega across the galaxy to an alien casino in hopes of cheating his way into easy money to help fund the institute? I guess when you put it like that it sounds like a dick move. Naturally, the alien heads of the casino think so as well and show once again that no matter how alien a race may be, if you try to cheat them out of cash they will fuck you up. Armed with untold billions of alien loot, Kid Omega and Wolverine try to fight their way out of the casino and towards Warren Buffet's tax bracket. Kid Omega even shows off some kick-ass new psychic skills, namely forming a shotgun out of telekinesis and taking on the aliens in the tradition of Evil Dead 2. While Kid Omega may be a way bigger douche than Bruce Campbell, it's hard to deny that he looks pretty damn badass.
Broo could use such badassery in fighting for his life. It's not your typical alien vs. alien brawl because Broo is trying to maintain his whole hippie Brood persona. It's not just my drunken labeling of his persona. It's a vital aspect of his character. Professor Starblood doesn't seem to give three tenths of a damn about his pacifism. Broo, to his credit, still tries to reason with him. He brings up a prophecy of a peaceful Broo being born and tries to paint himself as sort of a Broo Jesus. Starblood doesn't buy it. Apparently, he doesn't care much for the prophecy angle. He's sort of the alien Richard Dawkins and as such, playing the magic card won't fly with him.
While Broo is clearly outmatched and a shitty fighter for a Brood, Kitty Pryde still tries to contribute in her faux-pregnant condition. She sicks an army of bamfs on Starblood, which are basically mini-Nightcrawlers minus the charming personality. It certainly succeeds in disorienting Starblood. It probably gives him a killer headache when they drop him at high altitudes and have Karoka slam his ass into the ground. It's the first time the bamfs have contributed to doing more than just reminding readers how much they miss Nightcrawler or stealing Wolverine's liquor. It's also the first time Karoka contributes in a way that doesn't involve driving seismologists and geologists crazy.
The battle against Professor Starblood and the battle against casino security quickly begin to decline. Karoka's body slam did little to stop Professor Starblood, much in the same way every croc in the world failed at subduing Steve Irwin. At the same time, all the telekinetic shotguns in the universe aren't enough to protect Wolverine and Kid Omega from casino security. After stabbing and fighting his way through glitz and glamor of an interstellar casino, Wolverine gets his legs shot out from under him in a way that would make Robert DeNiro proud. Starblood also fights his way back to Broo and roughs Kitty Pryde up for throwing him into the teeth of a living island. And this is what sends Broo over the edge. It's one thing to try to kill him, but when you smack up a lady that you also infected with with killer aliens that crosses a seriously fucked up line. So Broo finally ditches the hippie mentality and channels his inner Brood to attack Professor Starblood and all his bullshit credentials.
It gets pretty messy, but believe or not this isn't the messiest part of the story. Inside Kitty's innards, Beast has prepared a little biological smart bomb for the alien hive that set up shop in her lady parts. So even as they're restraining Kid Gladiator, he manages to set it off. This succeeds in destroying the spores, but it also succeeds in causing Kitty Pryde to puke up more crap than all sluts that ever got wasted at Charlie Sheen's house. If you aren't used to puking in trash cans at three in the morning, you might want to look away because it's as graphic as it is awesome.
So Kitty has officially turned off every bulimic in the history of the world and purged herself of the alien threat to her womb. She also seemed to barf up Beast and the rest of the X-men, who quickly return to normal size just in time to see Broo bloodying Professor Starblood like Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV. It's remarkable that a creature so undersized can rough up someone as imposing as Starblood, but the man is a professor. Not a cage fighter. So Beast ends up having to restrain Broo before he makes the cleanup any more expensive than it needs to be. Since shit with Wolverine and Kid Omega clearly didn't go that well in the alien casino, they need to think about cutting costs.
Later on while everyone is recovering and doing their best not to puke, we get some nice resolutions. Professor Starblood is hauled off by SWORD, but he leaves with a smile because he proved to Broo that on a basic level he's no different from his brethren. That means the biological order is safe. And all it took for him to prove was the death of a few SWORD agents and some irreparable damage to Kitty's insides. Seems like a fair trade for science. Speaking of Kitty, she's obviously a little fucked up after puking her guts up and thinking she was pregnant. But it actually becomes a more personal moment. She confides to Bobby that she was actually relieved when she found out it was aliens and not a baby in her lady parts. What's that say about her aside from shit that would make her best friends with Sandra Fluke? She sees it as a sign that she hasn't grown up. So what's she do? She kisses Bobby Drake in a show of clear maturity and/or hormonal imbalance. Is that supposed to be a sign of growing up? I don't know, but it means Iceman could be getting some long overdue play...after Kitty's pussy heals of course.
In addition, the whole funding issue with the institute is also resolved. However, it's not because of any winnings that Wolverine managed to wrestle away from an alien casino. Out of the blue, there's a panel that shows Rachel discovering that Karoka is capable of pooping out big ass diamonds that sell for a kings ransom. It has nothing to do with the plots in this arc. Absolutely nothing at all built up to it either. It just comes right out of the blue, ending the whole financial difficulties plot. Maybe I'm just bitter about people finding money-making schemes that work, but I have to call bullshit here. If fixing the money woes were that easy, then what was the fucking point of Wolverine heading off into space with Kid Omega?
Speaking of which, their little scam turned out to be a complete bust. Kid Omega manages to get Wolverine out of the casino, but not before they fuck him up even more and turn his legs into pretzels. It's a pretty fucked up sight, but compared to Kitty puking earlier it's not even as nauseating as the last Ghost Rider movie. So Kid Omega and Wolverine fly back to Earth empty handed and with their asses served to them in a doggie bag. I ask again, what was the point of this plot when Karoka pretty much solved all their money woes in one panel? Was it just a means of getting Wolverine and Kid Omega to play high roller in an alien casino? It's an admirable ambition, but without purpose it's just all style and no substance. And in this day and age, it's best to leave that shit to the Lady Gaga's of the world.
There's a lot to love with the Wolverine and the X-men series. Every time I get wasted and do a review, I find another reason to get all giddy about this series. A lot of new series tend to start strong, but like cigarette companies they really stop trying once they get you hooked with those first few hits. They try to assume that the addictive nature of their product will keep you locked in. Unfortunately, comic companies don't have the luxury of working with nicotine and carcinogens. They actually have to keep the series coherent, enjoyable, and throw in a few nice twists along the way. Jason Aaron does all that with this comic while bringing a slight tear to your eye. While this issue was mostly about rescuing Kitty and funding the institute, Broo really stole the show. The lovable hippie Brood showed his vulnerable side, which also happens to be his badass side. In many ways it was almost as emotional as Kitty swapping spit with Iceman, although that could just be the faux pregnancy hormones kicking in. Even for a book that's more light-hearted than other X-books, it's a great way to really tug on the heart strings and make you actually care about the lovable creature that's so cute yet capable of ripping the spine from your body with his teeth.
It all made for a very solid ending to a rather colorful arc that went from casinos in deep space to the depths of Kitty Pryde's lady parts, all while remaining coherent. However, the resolution on some levels fell a bit flat in some areas. Wolverine and Kid Omega's venture in the casino turned out to be a bust and that's okay. But finding out along the way that Karoka can create diamonds that will essentially end the institute's funding problems seems to render the whole struggle a complete crock. Now that's not to say that this little adventure into the high-stakes world of alien gaming wasn't enjoyable, but in the end it was essentially rendered unnecessary. And nothing nullifies a great story more than making it worth the same as a Zimbabwe penny.
Never-the-less, this was still a quality issue with plenty of shit to enjoy. If you can get over Kitty Pryde puking her guts and an alien nest or Wolverine's legs getting the Joe Pesci treatment, then you'll have little reasons to complain. Jason Aaron, through either brilliance or awesome drugs that I'll never have access to, has found a way to mix alien attacks, fake pregnancies, and teen angst all into one arc. Like having a thousand dollars in unmarked bills in downtown Tijuana, it'll get you shit you'll never get anywhere else. I give Wolverine and the X-men #7 a 4.5 out of 5. A lot of people complain about how nothing is really new anymore. I say unto those whining assholes that there's a comic that has women getting pregnant with alien babies, real life issues of insufficient funding, and alien casinos. So stop whining like a bitch and enjoy this comic! Nuff said.