Thursday, June 7, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men #5 - Risen Ashes of Awesome
We live in a world where promises are constantly broken by both ourselves and others. We've all experienced them in some way or another. A politician says they'll cut taxes, create jobs, and fix health care. A parent says they'll buy you anything you want in a toy store without mentioning that doesn't extend to the giant cardboard displays of Lara Croft. A boyfriend tells you he'll pull out, but doesn't and claims he was just lost in the moment. Whenever promises are broken, it's not a pleasant feeling. They can leave you broke, depressed, or strung out on a really shit batch of cocaine that has you humping the wall in frustration (or maybe that's just me). Comics make more than their share of promises. Marvel, DC, and everyone in between claims their next big arc will be like Shakespeare and Hemingway going down on each other and extracting liquid awesome. Sometimes they actually deliver. Rarely is there a time when it actually measures up. For Avengers vs. X-men, however, the early numbers are in and a good chunk of those promises have been fulfilled.
Avengers vs. X-men was billed by Marvel as an event nearly a decade in the making. It would take the shit that began with House of M and the Messiah Trilogy and bring it together in an orgy of awesome that even Jenna Jameson couldn't handle while strung out on ludes. So far, that billing has been pretty accurate. With only four issues and a number of tie-ins, Avengers vs. X-men has done a damn good job of taking many of these elements that have been building over the past decade and bringing them together in a reaction so chaotic that it would a perfect end shot for an episode of Mythbusters. Some elements haven't been addressed, but they have been touched on. The main element, however, remains a red-haired green eyed mutant NOT named Jean Grey.
Hope Summers, aka Jean rip-off, has been the catalyst between the X-men and the Avengers. She's the reason they're beating the shit out of each other, throwing friends off planes, and putting more women in a position to fuck Namor. It was revealed from even before the first issue that the Phoenix Force was on it's way. For the last 4 issues, it's been a race/bar fight against time for the Avengers and the X-men to catch up with Hope. Well in Avengers vs. X-men #4, they finally did thanks to a major twist that doubled as another act of douche-baggery by Wolverine that put both the Avengers and the X-men on the moon. However, the buzzer has already sounded. The whistle has been blown. The motherfucking Phoenix Force has arrived and it's got an appetite for Jean Grey look-alikes!
Avengers vs. X-men #5 was promised to be a game changer. It was promised to blow our minds, fix our toilets, and make love to us like an army of porn stars. If that's the promise, then Marvel made sure they were in perfect position to deliver with Avengers vs. X-men #4. This issue brought the X-men and the Avengers to the dark side of the moon without a Pink Floyd record or a hit of LSD. The Phoenix was almost there. Thor and the Secret Avengers failed worse than Paris Hilton at a spelling bee. Hope's bullshit has led the Avengers and the X-men to fight over her once again. Avengers vs. X-men #5 begins by showing the X-men trying to get to Hope while the Avengers get in their way. All the while, Hope reflects on how much it sucks being a ticking time bomb that's finally about to blow. She's almost like Mel Gibson in that sense, but not quite as volatile.
It's at this point where Hope, after spending four issues boasting about how she was ready to handle the Phoenix Force in a way Jean Grey never could, determines that she was wrong. She can't handle it in the same way Jennifer Aniston couldn't handle playing football for the Oakland Raiders. Once again, Hope's bratty arrogance that makes her the shitty rip-off character with shittier judgment even for a teenage girl makes you just want to choke her until she stops looking so much like Jean Grey. Just one hit of Phoenix and she's like, "Fuck this shit! I'm done!" I've seen teenage girls give more effort to their first attempt at anal sex for crying out loud. And like asking her well-hung boyfriend to pull out, she begs Wolverine to kill her like he promised. Despite looking like a scab burned off of Courtney Love's pussy lips, he's able to get into position despite being shown in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men #12 that stabbing Hope works about as well farting on her. Cyclops doesn't know that so he blasts Wolverine's overcharred ass and saves him from being the one-legged man that tries out for a soccer team.
With each passing second, Hope is regretting her bullshit arrogance more and more. The X-men and the Avengers are still at each other's throats, but believe it or not there is actually a plan to deal with the looming flaming parrot that's bearing down on them. In the previous issue, it was revealed that Tony Stark was putting that brilliant mind of his to work and setting that overactive dick on his to standby so he could work on a machine that would do a way with this whole Phoenix-y threat. As always, he creates a new Iron Man-like contraption that makes you believe that his penis is either really big or so small you need the fucking Hubble to see it. I don't know which it is, but Captain America and the Avengers are banking on this gizmo not failing like Microsoft's beta version of Windows Vista.
The battle between the X-men and Avenger rages on. The Extinction team takes on the the best the Avengers have to offer. Colossus takes on Red Hulk. Thing takes on Namor (again). Emma takes on Hawkeye and without flashing her boobs if you can believe that. Black Widow takes on Illyana because let's face it, Russian spies in skin tight outfits are sexier than teenage girls possessed by a demon. It leaves Cyclops to take on both Wolverine and Captain America. That may seem unfair, but keep in mind this is the same guy who gets to fuck Emma Frost on a regular basis. He can take them because he's Cyclops, damn it! Wolverine continues to yell at him for losing his fucking mind. Coming from a guy that got thrown out of a jet in mid-flight a few issues ago, that's not saying much. But given the lingering effects of Schism, it definitely has a stronger impact aside from the "You got to fuck Jean Grey and I didn't!" type hatred.
All the trash talk, complaining, and fighting only hide the fact that the Phoenix is still coming and it's just about ready to set up shop by deep frying the planet Earth. In the process there's a brief shot of various other characters sensing this shit. The battered Secret Avengers that attempted to confront the Phoenix directly return, looking like Rocky Balboa after his fight with Ivan Drago. Professor Xavier and Legion sense it from their cozy beach in Spain, where they have been presumably drinking martinis since they've been been MIA since before X-men Regenesis. The Scarlet Witch senses it and laments how fucked the world is and how she's not doing shit about it. Everybody seems to sense just how fucked they are. Then like release of a new Nintendo system, Iron Man finally enters the stage with the intent to thrill and not underwhelm his audience. That giant, dick-compensating robot meant to take down the Phoenix Force is ready and launched. If ever there was a time to not take advantage of new technology to download porn and do something positive, this would be it.
As one might expect from one of Iron Man's fancy gizmos, this big ass machine is flashy and would probably get most people laid at a club. That means it packs some serious firepower and with it, he goes full power against the approaching Phoenix Force. The man seems to genuinely believe that he can kill the Phoenix, a creature whose very nature involves dying and coming back to life. That's like trying to nail jello to a tree, stack water in your hand, or teach modesty to Lady Gaga. So you really have to wonder how anyone in the Avengers could possibly believe that shooting at something that regularly made Galactus shit his galactic pants would make anything better. I get that they're desperate, but isn't it more reasonable to just assume that shooting something that comes back to life by nature is only going to leave them more fucked up and more dead? And if it goes bad, then it's their fucking fault and not the X-men's. So what does that mean for them?
I'll tell you what it means. It means the Avengers are setting themselves up to be that freshman in high school that was brought forced up onto the lunch table on the first day of school, made to strip naked, and carve a giant dick on his face and chest for everyone to see. Or maybe that was just my high school. My point is, the Avengers pretty much fucked themselves in ways you can't do without a couple hundred dildoes. At first it looks like they actually killed the Phoenix, but anyone who knows anything about this cosmic parrot knows that's bullshit on a stick. It wasn't destroyed, but it was fragmented. And where did those fragments go? They went right for the X-men! That means they don't just have one host to deal with. They have 5 Phoenix powered hosts. Cyclops, Colossus, Emma Frost, Namor, and Magik are now supercharged by the Phoenix complete with kick-ass new uniforms. In the spoilers posted by Marvel in USA Today earlier, they call them the Phoenix Five. Okay, it may be the least original team name since the Osmonds, but it's still pretty badass.
Now you may expect me to go off on a drunken rant here about how Marvel is royally fucking up the history of the Phoenix Force in the same way they've royally fucked Jean Grey with a spiked dildo in their handling of Hope Summers. Well I may be a drunk, but I'm an informed drunk. What Marvel did here actually wasn't just pulled out of the ass of a constipated donkey. The Phoenix Force mythos does include stories about it possessing multiple host. It's not some obscure, outdated story either. Towards the end of Grant Morrison's New X-men run, he briefly touched on the Phoenix Corps. It was also used in Phoenix Warsong, albeit in a much shittier manner. It's something that has been utilized and now it's being implemented here, albeit with the help of the Avengers's piss poor planning. Now I know Marvel is usually content to take a shit on certain areas of the continuity, but this isn't one of them and it's a damn good thing too!
Armed with the Phoenix Force, the new Phoenix powered X-men easily bitch slap the Avengers into submission. They say they've evolved beyond human and mutant so that for some reason gives them an excuse to tell them to go fuck themselves a trillion times over. All the while, Hope is rendered unconscious and useless like the pathetic ripoff character she is. They talk about how they must heal her and prepare her for the next part of the Phoenix's plan, which I guess didn't involve taking a cosmic shit on Earth. With this power, they leave the Avengers behind. It's not clear what they plan to do. They could use the Earth as cosmic target practice or they could use their powers to end all conflict and create a peaceful, utopian where Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher are best friends and you can smoke indoors again. Who knows?
It really is a game changer. Hope getting the Phoenix at this point before the series is even halfway over made about as much sense as Kurt Cobain's lyrics. This puts the X-men in a completely different state compared to the Avengers. The Phoenix has come. But the world isn't ending. The X-men have just changed the stakes completely with the Phoenix. It's not quite a twist because Hope getting the Phoenix would just be too fucking predictable and Marvel loves to shove a little shock therapy up the collective asses of their readers. However, this definitely qualifies as unexpected and it promises to make for a very interesting and potentially fucked up Act 2 for Avengers vs. X-men.
Going back to my little anecdote about promises, I would be lying through the open scab just under my ball sack if I said I Marvel failed to make the effort. Everybody loves to throw hype into their shit so that it smells extra shitty when it hits the fan. Marvel is no exception and Avengers vs. X-men has had more than its share of shit. Well like spending an hour on the toilet after winning a chicken wings eating contest, this was an immensely satisfying issue. I'll say it while I'm at least partially sober. Marvel delivered on their promise here. This issue was a game changer and mostly for the right reasons.
This issue had an epic feel to it that fit the overhyped scale that Marvel had spent five issues establishing. It wasn't just about the Avengers and X-men fighting. It was like you were taking a test, you know all the answers, you were on a roll, and then someone pulls the fucking fire alarm and waiting outside was pool full of chocolate and strippers. You're shocked for a brief moment, but you're met with an amazingly appealing sight. The inner monologue with Hope added a nice backdrop, even if it only made her sound like more of a whiny little bitch of a rip-off character. But readers should have come to expect that shit by now. The bitter divide between Wolverine and Cyclops returned like a bad outbreak of herpes again and fit in nicely with the tension throughout the issue. But it was the end where the very nature of the Phoenix was given a cosmic middle finger that ended up being the game changer that Marvel promised. It is by far one of the most awesome moments in comics since Emma Frost's breasts implants.
However, this does set one precarious precedent. Now Marvel has set it up so that the X-men are the ones with the power and the Avengers are the underdogs. It was different before. The Avengers had a fucking helicarrier and the backing of every major nation not run by Kim Jong Ill's deranged son. Now the X-men have one-upped them to the nth degree. They have fucking cosmic power. And like every shitty sports movie ever made, the underdogs usually come out on top in the end. It almost spoils who will be the clear victor in this battle if there is one. That's not to say Marvel won't pull a fast one, kick readers in the balls, and do the opposite. It's just not as likely at this point.
I can't remember being this excited about a comic in a long time. Avengers vs. X-men has had many awesome moments since it began. The moments in Avengers vs. X-men #5 raised the bar, kicked Odin in the balls, and made love to every porn star in the San Fernando Valley. While it is threatening to fuck up the Phoenix mythos even more and still deals with a shitty red-haired, green eyed ripoff character NOT named Jean Grey, it's still as awesome an event you could hope for. I give Avengers vs. X-men #5 a perfect 5 out of 5 and my highest recommendation. I don't care if you're in the process of doing blow off the tits of teenage hooker with daddy issues. Stop what you're doing right now and buy this motherfucking comic! It's THAT awesome. Nuff said!