Thursday, May 10, 2012
Wolverine and the X-men #10 - Chatting Up Awesome
I'm of the opinion that the world would have a lot less war, poverty, and televangelism if more people just knew when to shut the fuck up. Rarely outside of a CIA interrogation at a prison in Yemen has anyone ever incurred a murderous wrath by just shutting the fuck up and minding their own damned business. It is simply not in our nature to speak with only as many words as we need to and not try to talk our fellow man to death. I don't know if it's some kind of innate drive like eating or masturbating to old Brittney Spears music videos, but I'm pretty sure crack is healthier.
Comics rely on shit that's flashy and visually striking. That's why every female character at Marvel and DC has no less than a C-cup bra size and no man looks like he spends less than six hours in a gym every day. Yet there's always a place for dialog. It's rarely a fucking Shakespeare play, but I can't remember too many comics where I complained that the characters did too much talking and not enough ass-kicking. What separates good comics from awesome comics is striking the right balance. For the most part, Jason Aaron hits that balance with the force of a million kicks to the balls. His Wolverine and the X-men series has been flashy, yet refined. There are so many stories worth following and so many memorable moments that involve everything from alien casinos to tormenting a couple of New York bureaucrats. So when Jason Aaron has to apply this balance to an Avengers vs. X-men tie-in, I'm usually more optimistic than most.
Wolverine and the X-men #10 is another tie-in issue. If you haven't stopped bitching and moaning about event books taking over ongoing series, go do it in another time zone because that shit isn't going to stop anytime soon. The bitchers and moaners should take some comfort in the knowledge that the last tie-in with Wolverine and the X-men #9 was pretty damn awesome in the way it fit the events of Avengers vs. X-men with this series. It set a high bar for this issue to meet and as someone who fell flat on his face in gym class on more than one occasion, I try not to be too optimistic.
Wolverine and the X-men #10 takes place after the events of Avengers vs. X-men #3. If you read that issue or just relied on my kick-ass reviews for your info (bless your heart and asshole if you trust me with such responsibility), you know that Wolverine kind of pissed off his fellow X-men by fighting against them and pissed off his buddies in the Avengers when they made it painfully clear they didn't know what the fuck they were doing to take on the Phoenix. By kind of I mean he got his ass thrown off a fucking plane. This issue picks up after he managed to drag his ass back to the Jean Grey Institute (how he did this is not explained, but I assume it involved sucking the dicks of a lot of truckers). He tells Kitty they're fucked and the Phoenix Force is going to burn their asses to a crisp. Then he gets a nice stiff drink, which I admit I would do if I knew the world was about to end. I'd also have six Russian hookers and a barrel of industrial strength lube with me, but that's another story.
Wolverine is given yet another reason to drink when he looks out the window and sees that he has an unwelcome visitor. It's Cyclops, Emma, and Magik, fresh off their escape from Avengers vs. X-men #3. He may need more than a few shots because the whole reason Wolverine formed the Jean Grey Institute was to both get away from Cyclops's methods and give him the finger by naming the school after his wife. Him being there partially defeats that purpose so when Wolverine approaches him, he's about as welcoming as Iran is to Lady Gaga or UN weapons inspectors. When Cyclops insists on talking, he sicks Karoka on him so that he can be partially digested. That would be pretty badass if Kieron Gillen hadn't done that shit already in Uncanny X-men during the Tabula Rasa arc. I get that some readers like to see Cyclops tormented, but those same readers like a little variety as well.
In addition to Cyclops's arrival, there's also an interesting side-conversation going on with Rachel and Iceman. A few issues ago, Iceman learned that his old buddy, Angel, has his brain essentially rebooted after the events of the Dark Angel Saga. Now he's nuttier than my shit after I eat a box of snickers bars, thinking he's a real angel and not a rich guy with a hot Asian girlfriend. Rachel tells him she's been trying to find any trace of Warren Worthington III in his mind, but has come up more empty than the Buffalo Bills in the Superbowl. Thank you Scott Norwood!
This conversation is both relevant and important because the ongoing story with Angel has been unfolding for a few issues now, before even Avengers vs. X-men. In addition, the other mind-fucked relic from the Dark Angel Saga, Genesis, has his own shit to deal with. He doesn't know he's Apocalypse, but he's smart enough to do a fucking Google search to know there's a resemblance. Both he and Angel are essentially linked. It shows in how Angel demonstrates how fucked up he is by trying to fly so high that he reaches heaven and how Genesis muses about who he is while looking up old info on Apocalypse. Maybe someone should tell Genesis that Hope Summers is perfectly fine being a Jean Grey rip-off and someone should tell Angel that heaven isn't in the sky. It's a topless bar near the airport in Newark.
While this ongoing plot with Genesis and Angel is interesting, this issue is still an Avengers vs. X-men tie-in. So that shit should be front and center, right? Well if by front and center you just mean Cyclops and Wolverine doing a lot of talking, then you're in luck. That's pretty much what we got for a good chunk of the comic. What they talk about isn't all that ground-breaking. They aren't going to kiss and make up after the shit that went down with Schism. And Wolverine sure as hell isn't going to fight alongside Cyclops against the Avengers, despite Captain America throwing his ass out of a plane in mid-flight. The core of their debate is simply that Wolverine thinks Cyclops is fucking crazy for thinking he can use the Phoenix Force to kick start the mutant race. Cyclops is just trying to convince Wolverine that it's a chance worth taking. It's a point that's made with way too many words and not in a very compelling manner. During Schism, Jason Aaron made every angry word these two said to one another count. Here, it just feels like a waste.
Actions tend to speak louder than words. That's why when your roommate steals your weed you don't just calmly explain why that shit's not cool. You whip out a can of lighter fluid, set his room on fire, and sing Disco Inferno. It gets the message across and so does Genesis catching Angel when it's clear he did way too good a job at proving he's not a real angel. It makes for a pretty compelling moment because it shows Genesis's insecurities about being associated with Apocalypse. He confides in Angel, who for a time was Apocalypse and was regularly screwed over by his tyrannical ass. Yet these two share a bromantic moment of sorts with Angel convincing him he can be his own tyrant so to speak and he can be there to save his ass when one too many brain cells short out.
A lot more is said with Angel and Genesis than with Wolverine and Cyclops. They talk and accomplish pretty much nothing as a result. Wolverine makes it clear that he's not going to fight alongside Cyclops or go crawling back to Captain America either, which I guess is just his way of saying he's going to get drunk and wait to see if the world ends (which is how I plan on spending Christmas this year for the Maya Doomsday prophecy). But as he prepares to kick Cyclops out of the school for which he named after his wife, some of his staff choose to go with him.
It was revealed in Avengers vs. X-men #3 that already has Rachel working undercover. Now she and Iceman are going to tag along with Cyclops to see if and when he fucks the world up. That and fight against something that killed their friend/mother from another dimension. Even Angel joins in, having accepted that he's no angel and he needs to find less dangerous ways to be holy. I guess taking on a cosmic firebird works just as well. So Cyclops's visit isn't a total loss. Plus, it is sort of a fitting fuck you to Wolverine, taking some of his staff while he goes off to battle the Avengers. It ensures that the scars from Schism will continue to fester like rectal warts.
But just as Cyclops leaves with his new crew, another threat emerges that ensures Wolverine won't be able to spend Avengers vs. X-men getting drunk and watching his collection of Asian porn. His school still enrolls the arrogant, narcissistic son of Gladiator from the Shi'ar Empire. And since the Shi'ar tend to shit themselves whenever the Phoenix shows up, they do what any responsible advanced alien civilization would do and send a kill squad to go deal with it. This wouldn't be the first time either. These are the same alien goons that thought it was necessary to butcher Jean Grey's entire family during the End of Greys arc. It would have been easier to just take a shit on her grave, but that's not enough for the Shi'ar. Now they're on Earth and they gotta butcher the girl who looks like Jean that may or may not be the new vessel of the Phoenix Force. So even though this issue was mostly talk, it still sets up for some pretty fucked up action.
A lot was said in this issue and not a whole lot was done. While it's always fun to see Wolverine and Cyclops bicker about everything from hot redheads to who has the smelliest shit, it's not nearly as fun when nothing really comes from such bickering. Last time they bickered in Schism, it was a heated philosophical debate that ended with them bloodying each other in ways that would have Rocky Balboa tapping out. This time it was essentially a reminder that Wolverine hates Cyclops and he hates him enough to not support his ass even when the world is about to end. It didn't need to be nearly as big a talk as it was, taking up a good chunk of the issue. But it did and it left you feeling like you paid for a lap dance, but only got to see a single boob. While boobs are always nice, it's not what you paid for.
The situation with Wolverine and Cyclops was definitely the most pressing because it involves shit that may end the fucking world as we know it. Yet the side-plots Jason Aaron developed with Genesis and Angel were actually more compelling in some ways. That's a story that's been unfolding since the events of the Dark Angel Saga and while it has no bearing whatsoever on AvX, it did offer promise of a very unusual friendship between two forces that used to try and kill each other every other Tuesday after American Idol. Again, a lot was said, but not much was done. Yet what was said had some weight, which really couldn't apply to the rest of the issue. In fact, the biggest moment of action was Cyclops being digested by Karoka. As much fun as it is to see Cyclops get digested, that shit was done before in Uncanny X-men on Tabula Rasa. It gets old after a while and I have only so much weed available to make old ideas interesting.
Wolverine and the X-men #10 isn't a terrible book, but it's one of those books you could probably skip and not miss a damn thing. All you really need to know with this book is that it has Cyclops and Wolverine talking, Genesis and Angel becoming BFFs, and a couple of Wolverine's staff members joining Cyclops's little vendetta against the Avengers. There's not much else beyond that. Jason Aaron's usual balance has pretty much fallen and broken a couple of bones in the process. It's nothing that can't heal, but it missed that high bar that was set by the previous issue by a laughably wide margin. Wolverine and the X-men #10 gets a 3 out of 5. If you like seeing comic characters yapping away like a deadbeat dad on Dr. Phil, this comic should give you something to read the next time you're taking a shit. If you like seeing comic characters actually fight each other and follow a more thorough plot, there are no fewer than 183,029 other stories to follow. Nuff said!