Thursday, April 19, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men #2 - D-Day Style Awesome
Pop quiz. What kind of comic book review do you get from an admitted drunk recovering from surgery still hoped up on pain killers? Answer, we're about to find out! I know my doctor probably wouldn't like this. I'm supposed to be bed-ridden while my nose heals. But if given the choice between reviewing awesome comics and risking my health, I'll have to go with the comics. Call me a reckless drunk with more fucked up health care views than Ron Paul, but this is one week where nothing short of the Ebola virus can keep me from going on my drunken rants.
Why am I defying doctors orders here? Well it's all Marvel's fault. They're the ones that decided to put together this uber galactic mega event, Avengers vs. X-men, at the same time I decided to go under the knife. Avengers vs. X-men #1 came out a mere two weeks ago and hit the comics world harder than the IRS hit Wesley Snipes. The Phoenix Force is on its way and torched a planet in the process just for shits and giggles. The Avengers found out about it courtesy of Nova, who saw fit to crash land in the middle of a post-9/11 New York City just to warn them. Well the Avengers got the message and decided to pay the X-men a visit on Utopia and by visit I mean they brought their whole fucking helicarrier with them with the sole intention of taking Hope Summers, the mutant messiah in which the X-men have placed all their faith. That's like strolling into the Vatican and asking the Pope if you can arrest Jesus. Cyclops and the X-men didn't respond kindly to such a request. Therefore, this big epic battle that Don King probably wishes he could put on pay-per-view has officially begun! Avengers vs. X-men #1 did an excellent job of setting everything up. Now it's time to see some bones break, some blood spill, and some friendships utterly destroyed. It's like a party at Charlie Sheen's house, but with less hookers.
Avengers vs. X-men #2 doesn't offer any preludes or flashback or any of that shit that only distracts from the carnage we all paid four bucks to see. The issue begins without any last ditch effort for a peaceful solution. Everyone is officially taking the George W. Bush approach to diplomacy with the X-men playing the part of Dick Cheney. While the Avengers may have Hulks, the X-men have Magneto and a metal-skinned Colossus armed with Juggernaut powers. Is it overkill? Possibly. Do we care? Fuck no! If you're going to strike the first blow in an epic crossover battle, you might as well lead with your top guns that aren't related to Emma Frost's boobs.
After Colossus makes himself at home on the Helicarrier, the Avengers are forced to get some fresh air and take a quick dip in the San Francisco Bay. It may have just been easier to put every Jets fan on board and have them fart at the same time, but I guess this works just as well. The Avengers have only a nanosecond or so to be shell-shocked. For those like Thing and Luke Cage who are unlucky enough to land in the water, they have to go up against Namor. The man isn't just fighting to defend Utopia. He's fighting to defend his chances at boning Emma Frost. Granted, the looming danger of the Phoenix Force is pretty pressing, but I'd still argue that pussy from Emma Frost is a much better incentive.
For those lucky enough to escape Namor's libido, the Avengers land on the beaches of Utopia. Cyclops attempts to rally his X-men for what is probably going to be the biggest battle Utopia has faced since Wolverine's last drinking binge before Schism. He looks like he's ready to flex those epic nuts of his that are probably stained with Emma Frost's lipstick. However, Captain America makes it a point to knock him down a peg by hitting him upside the head with his shield. Since the case can be made that Cyclops was quite an asshole in the last issue, I'd say it is more than deserving. Now the anti-Cyclops crowd will probably jerk off to this, but beyond Cyclops getting hit in the head it effectively establishes the battle lines between the Avengers and the X-men. Now instead of destroying floating aircraft carriers, they can get to beating the shit out of each other. Ladies and gentleman, this is exactly why we were so excited about this event!
As the battle unfolds, the reason behind this hero spat goes on the move. The whole purpose behind the Avengers bringing their entire army to Utopia was so they could take Hope Summers, the presumed vessel of the Phoenix and blatant Jean Grey ripoff. Despite her having more than enough power in her pinkie toe to fuck the Avengers and the X-men several times over, Emma Frost drags her into hiding with the Lights and the New X-men. She tells her to stay away while they work things out with the Avengers and by work out she probably means beat up until they decide the world is worth getting burnt to a cosmic crisp. I don't think anyone who has ever known a teenage girl in any capacity should expect her to listen and to Emma Frost of all people, the same woman that slapped her across the face in Generation Hope.
Even if Emma is being overly trusting, she ends up having to content with Iron Man as soon as she re-enters the battle. Why is this a big deal? Well she and Iron Man kind of bumped uglies back int he day. I know that probably shouldn't be too startling. It would actually be more striking if Emma Frost was attacked by a man she hadn't fucked six ways till next Tuesday, but it makes for a more interesting dynamic as she and Iron Man clash. Because as anyone who has ever been thrown out of an apartment in his underwear knows, fights between two people who have fucked are so much more interesting.
As the battle unfolds, the spectacle grows. And in this day and age where a cat playing the piano gets a billion hits on youtube, news of this clash is sure to spread. As the Avengers and the X-men battle, news cameras start picking up the action. We can all probably assume that Fox News will use it as a means to blame Obama for some sort of conspiracy to destroy rich, white people, but for those who aren't card carrying members of the Rush Limbaugh fan-club it's more personal. Among those watching this footage are Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. They haven't shown up since Avengers vs. X-men #0, but now that shit is hitting the fan they've decided to take a whiff. Quicksilver makes the first move, running 300 miles to Utopia just to punch his old man in the face. For everyone who has ever had daddy issues, this scene should make you cry tears of joy. It should also make you curious because Wanda Maximoff seems to know that the Phoenix is coming and while she doesn't join her brother, it's clear that she's not going to sit back on the couch and let Sean Hannity report this shit to her.
While the battle between the Avengers and the X-men is quickly escalating to scales not seen since Rosie O'Donnell quit weight watchers, the key aspect of the conflict is articulated by Cyclops and Captain America. Now you would think that a comic based on the Avengers and X-men beating each other to a pulp wouldn't care much for dialog, but like the Vatican on birth control issues you would be dead wrong. Even as Cyclops and Cap duke it out, they keep talking smack. Cap tells Cyclops that his scrotum is getting too weak to contain his balls in that he's willing to risk the entire planet to protect Hope when he's just trying to take her into custody. He even goes so far as to mention Jean Grey, which marks the second issue in a row for Jean Grey getting a mention. That has to be a record of sorts, but all it does is piss Cyclops off even more. Because if you expect a guy to be reasonable by bringing up his dead wife, you might just be better off by saying you fucked his mother.
Like the last issue, the anti-Cyclops crowd will probably use this scene to say that Cyclops has gone batshit crazy. And yes, he has acted like quite a douche in this issue as well as this entire series. But once again, it helps to know the context. If you read X-Sanction, you know why Cyclops is so adamant about keeping the Avengers from Hope. I know I've brought this up many times before, but the anti-Cyclops people are like creationists in that facts aren't enough. I have to belabor this point in that Cyclops isn't just trying to protect Hope. He's trying to stop the future that his son told him would happen if he failed. Cap doesn't know this, but like being arrested for getting a blow-job on the highway ignorance of the law won't make you any less guilty.
As Cyclops and Captain America duke it out, the issue takes time to highlight all the ongoing battles. It's a nice way of showing just how big this conflict has become. There's some nice narration as well as more pertinent dialog. Battles between Dr. Strange and Magik break out, adding a more mystical element to the battle. Even characters that are supposed to be supporting one another, like a husband and a wife for instance, turn against one another. Storm is siding with the X-men, but Black Panther is with the Avengers. Now I usually don't like it when Marvel insists on fucking up marriages just for the sake of it, but since the Storm/Black Panther marriage was more forced than a confession in a Russian gulag I'm all for these two fighting. Just as I'm all for each side beating the shit out of each other with increasing ferocity. It's not just a mindless brawl. There are serious emotions involved here and that's part of what makes it awesome.
Lost in this epic struggle is the inherent need to get to Hope. While the Avengers and the X-men are roughing each other up, Wolverine and Spider-Man slip away from the chaos to sneak into Utopia. It makes sense given that Wolverine used to live on this rock and Spider-Man has a way of fucking with redheads. So they attempt to go for Hope while she's being held back. But like I said earlier about rebellious teenagers, she's already in the process of defying both sides like the bratty little bitch she is. They arrive to find her already flashing fiery flares like Madonna when she's PMSing. Wolverine attempts to end this conflict by stabbing it (his solution to everything that can't be solved with beer) seem logical until Hope stops him cold in his tracks and lays his ass out. Seeing as how this is a guy who either kills or fucks redheads in all the wrong ways, I think Hope just struck a blow for redheads everywhere.
Now that the Phoenix is getting closer, Hope's powers are more volatile. That means she can use them to knock everyone in the room out and ditch this battle like a pregnant teenager at their senior prom. She's definitely showing more Jean Greyish type flare. By the time the Avengers and X-men catch up to her, she's already gone. It's probably going to make for a really awkward moment since she's the one they're both fighting over. That or it just means this battle just became a race to find the fiery redhead that looks and dresses like Jean Grey. If this means there's a chance at a car chase battle that doesn't involve transforming robots, I'm all for it!
The battle against the Avengers and the X-men is evolving, but Utopia isn't the only site of the conflict. In the previous issue, Captain America announced that a group of Avengers flew off into space to confront the Phoenix Force before it reached Earth. They probably figured if they couldn't handle a volatile teenage girl, they would have better luck with a cosmic planet-eating firebird. Personally, I think the battle in space is much less dangerous. But with Beast leading the charge and Thor wielding his walking penis-joke of a hammer, they're poised to confront this cosmic menace with the full knowledge that their buddies on Earth probably won't convince Hope to help them out. Go figure.
The first battle has been fought and I think it's safe to say that nobody can say they won. If anything, I think both sides have only exchanged a few kicks to the balls to help piss each other off and I say that's a good thing! If you're going to have an event where the X-men fight the Avengers, it's important that they have a damn good reason to hate each other. This issue did more than just show the Avengers and the X-men engaging in a heated dick-measuring contest. It provided reasons for both sides to really want to beat each other to a pulp. It took the already touchy issues surrounding Hope and the Phoenix Force and piled on top of it like a broken toilet at a spastic colon clinic. The marriage between Storm and Black Panther was hit. Tony Stark's desire to bone Emma Frost was hit. Magneto's already tenuous relationship with his children took a literal blow to the jaw. And Hope once again gave her own Lights reasons to despise her by breaking noses. It's not just a heavyweight battle between two sides with massive amounts of balls swinging between their legs. This shit is personal and like a Sorority house with PMS, it makes for a very hostile environment.
Now for years now, fans and writers have been bitching about event fatigue. A lot of people like to bitch and moan about how companies like Marvel and DC just like to throw all these events at fans like a monkey that was force fed laxatives. Well beyond the bitching, there's another important element to events. They can be pretty fucking awesome when done right. There's a reason why this shit sells like free samples a titty bar. It's big, it's action packed, and it's just plain fun. Now Marvel could have channeled too much of their inner Michael Bay here and just relied too much on their top characters beating the shit out of each other. I think they showed some restraint. They were able to fill the issue with the kind of mindless action that a brain dead squirrel could enjoy while still including the more dramatic elements surrounding characters, relationships, and the looming presence of the Phoenix Force. This issue was heavy on action, but threw in plenty of extra dialog as well. Maybe I'm still doped up on my meds, but I could find no flaws with this potent mix.
Avengers vs. X-men still has a long ass way to go. Two issues in and the Phoenix Force still looks like it's ready to punish the Earth for harboring bullshit Jean Grey replacements. Hope Summers once again showed that she's an immature brat by taking shit into her own hands and essentially running for her life. Last I check, running isn't very messianic. But other elements such as the looming space battle with the Phoenix Force and the inclusion of the Scarlet Witch were put in place, offering more than enough reasons to want to steal Dr. Who's time machine and travel two weeks into the future to see what happens. Since I'm in no condition to fight, I'll have to rely on my meds to help me pass the time. Until then, I'm content to give Avengers vs. X-men #2 a perfect 5 out of 5. So for all you fans who love to bitch and moan about how comic companies are plugging too many events, I say give it a rest. If shameless gimmicks mean more comics like Avengers vs. X-men #2, then gimmick away Marvel! Nuff said!