Thursday, June 21, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men #6 - No More Avengers, Plenty More Awesome
I've never been a terribly religious man. In fact, the closest thing I ever came to being spiritual was seeing Jesus Christ dry-hump the Greek goddess, Athena, while strung out on peyote. I tend to look at religion in the same way I look at a penis laced with sores oozing with small pox. You don't wave that thing around in someone else's face and you don't thrust it into someone to infect them with your poison. But I can understand the appeal of wanting god-like power or god-like knowledge. That is, essentially, what ever religion seems to promise. Personally, I think that shit is overrated. But nobody in this day and age can possibly know what it's like to have god-like power. In the pages of Avengers vs. X-men, five lucky X-men are finding out what god-like power feels like and by all accounts it's as awesome as a week in Vegas with a mountain of cocaine.
Act One of Avengers vs. X-men is over. It concluded in truly spectacular fashion with the Avengers royally fucking up the Phoenix just as it was about to enter it's chosen host, Hope "Jean Grey's shitty replacement" Summers. The Avengers thought Tony Stark could make a gizmo that could destroy something whose very name implies it always comes back to life. They might as well have asked him to make Apple products run Adobe Flash. His fancy, micro-dick compensating contraption only split the Phoenix and caused it to inhabit five hosts in Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Namor, and Magik. So instead of one Phoenix host, they have five. They could easily take their new cosmic power and give the Avengers the cosmic finger. However, that wasn't their plan.
Act One ended with something that turned into one of my Sunday Rants on the morality of superheroes. Since I'm too drunk to recall every detail, I'll just say that the Phoenix Five as they're called chose not to end the Avengers for all their bullshit. Instead, they plan to hit them with something that'll make them wish they were dead and wish they were born without testicles. They're going to use their powers to fix the world in a way the Avengers never could. Now if I had god-like power, that would only be fifth on my list of things to do after creating an army of Pamela Anderson, Carmen Elektra, Hallie Berry, and Lucy Liu clones. But in terms of actually not being an asshole after being imbued with so much power, I gotta tip my hat to the Phoenix Five.
Act Two of Avengers vs. X-men shows the Phoenix Five making good on their word and making the Avengers look like slackers. A week has gone by since the events of Avengers vs. X-men #5. Before your panties start to tighten, take comfort in the knowledge that this time period isn't glossed over. It is addressed in other tie-ins, some of which I'll be reviewing. So please refrain from yelling at me for not ranting about skipping ahead. I'm too hung over for that shit. This issue doesn't need to cover all the shit that happened in the span of a week. All the reader needs to know is that when armed with Phoenix powers, shit can get done. So much so that Utopia has been turned into a home that even Donald Trump would envy. It's so bawdy that it actually lured Charles Xavier out of hiding. Apparently, it takes his X-men gaining cosmic power for him to show up in the books now. He travels to the new and improved Utopia where he meets up with Magneto, who makes it a point to show that his students pretty much one-upped his ass to the nth degree. He should be either proud, ashamed, or both. It's hard to tell.
Xavier then meets up with Cyclops in what has to be the most awesome pent house observation deck outside of a Las Vegas high roller villa. Xavier expresses concern about his first student gaining cosmic power, but Cyclops gives him the finger in a very subtle way by explaining how the Phoenix Five have essentially made the world into a hippie fantasy. They've created free, limitless energy. They've provided enough food to end hunger. They've provided abundant, clean water. They have essentially silenced every liberal douche on the planet.
Full blown peace on Earth isn't enough to ease Xavier's concerns. And they say I have high standards on this blog, but fuck if I wouldn't be okay with world peace. It would be worth it just to see Dick Cheney have a heart attack. But some of Xavier's concerns are valid. He points out that there will be complications. He also points out that power like this tends to turn people into raging douche-bags. Cyclops turns it around and says Xavier gave him the necessary vision to see this through. This new world was part of Xavier's dream essentially and someone else aside from him accomplished it. I think that definitely gives Cyclops a reason or two flex his nuts.
But if global peace left Xavier with concerns, it has left the Avengers shitting themselves in ways they never thought they would. It isn't just that the Phoenix Five now have enough power to fuck them up with their pinkie toe. They're actually upstaging them. After picking themselves up and leaving a good chunk of their dignity behind on the moon, they return to Earth to come up with a plan as if a plan even applies with this shit. It's a rather abrupt transition, but since a week has past it leaves readers to wonder what the fuck the Avengers did with themselves. Even if it's addressed in other tie-ins, it's still pretty shaky. It was probably a light week for them anyways because Iron Fist reveals how the Phoenix Five took a race of hostile energy creatures known as the Electric Legion and were able to turn them into a new source of clean energy without having to resort to any violence. It sort of defeats the purpose of the Avengers and makes them look more inept than FEMA.
Yet this doesn't stop the Avengers from plotting a way to take on the Phoenix Five. Iron Man even talks about tweaking the very suit that caused this shit as a means of evening the odds as if infinity can ever be even with anything. But it's at this point where someone raises their hands and asks the very valid question, "Uh...if they're making the world a better place, why are we planning to fuck it up?" Even more remarkable is that the person who said that shit was Beast. He's so pissed that the Avengers are actually plotting against world peace that he flat out quits the Avengers.
Now I know I've used Beast as a punching bag laced with pictures of Paris Hilton for a long time now. And I still stand by those criticisms. He's earned every dick joke and douche-bag remark that I've ever made about him. However, I'm not without mercy. I'm the kind of guy that will allow someone who just dented my car to make up for it if they show they're sincere. That usually involves buying me weed, but Beast's position here is more logical. He believes they should adopt the same motto as Congress and do as little as possible while the X-men succeed where they've often failed.
Even though the world is getting much nicer by the minute, there are still some loose ends. Namely, the Phoenix Force never got to inhabit the host it wanted. She has red hair, green eyes, and is NOT named Jean Grey. In Avengers vs. X-men #5, Hope rejected the Phoenix Force after spending several issues claiming she was ready. In addition to making her more of a bitch than she already is, it left her to see five others take on the Phoenix. At one point Cyclops flat out offers it to her, but then pulls back like a pedophile pulls on a fishing line with a twinkie at the end of it. He tells her she doesn't deserve it and given her bullshit attitude from earlier in the series, he has a valid point. But Hope also points out that she can still hear the Phoenix Force. She senses it wants more. Leave it to a Jean Grey ripoff to ruin what should be a great moment for the X-men.
Speaking of bullshit replacement redheads ruining other established redheads, we get a quick glimpse of the situation that has been unfolding in the pages of New Avengers with K'un Lun. Now if you're wondering why I haven't reviewed it, just know that I would have to come up with a whole new slew of ways to explain why replacement characters and rip-off characters are bullshit. And I already did plenty of that shit during Generation Hope's run. All you need to know about New Avengers is that apparently there was another bullshit Jean Grey look-alike (in China of all places) named Fongi and she dealt with the Phoenix Force hundreds of years ago. Right, because the history of Marvel just doesn't have enough Jean Grey rip-offs. If you didn't think Hope was a rip-off character before, there's no fucking excuse whatsoever after reading New Avengers and the scene here in K'un Lun only echoes how the key to controlling the Phoenix is in whatever trick Fongi did.
I wish I could be kind about this. I really could. But there is way too much WTF here even for Marvel. How many more bullshit Jean Grey rip-offs are they going to make? Hope was bad enough. They could've made her ass look like anything, but they made her look like Jean. Now there's another bullshit ripoff in the past? One from a past that was never even hinted at in all the time Jean Grey was alive? I would call bullshit, but there aren't enough bulls in the history of the world to adequately represent that level of excrement. If Marvel really wants to use Jean Grey's imagery, just bring her the fuck back! They bought fucking Bucky Barnes back for crying out loud. They have no fucking excuse for what they've done with Jean Grey. But I digress.
My frustrations with Jean Grey aside, Marvel does a good job on showing the political ramifications of world peace. Naturally, politicians and diplomats aren't too thrilled with the prospect of being out of a job. Going back to work at a KFC just doesn't jive with them. But the Phoenix Five aren't having it. They show up at the UN and officially declare that war is no longer cool. All this bullshit fighting that they've been doing to each other and to mutants has to stop. It's not an unreasonable request. I doubt it would stop Pat Robertson from continuing his war against gays. But the President of the United States and the Avengers are still sweating over the prospect of having this policy enforced by cosmic powered X-men. They rightly point out that while peace may be a noble thing to enforce, the X-men are doing it without any accountability. What happens when their notion of peace becomes watching naked men wrestle bulls while women pleasure themselves with a lizard's tail? Who tells them that shit is fucked up? Even though the Avengers may come off as dicks for opposing world peace, their concerns are valid.
It may not matter how valid those concerns may be though. As the Avengers plot their next move, we get only our second glimpse of the very reason for all this shit and for once she doesn't have red hair and green eyes. Wanda Maximoff showed up earlier in Avengers vs. X-men, but didn't do jack shit other than watch her brother join the battle and see the world that she declared shouldn't have any mutants get more fucked up. Well after all this time of sitting on her ass, she has a vision about the Phoenix (who hasn't lately?). She sees the Avengers getting torched in cosmic flame. Given how they're planning to oppose the Phoenix Five, that isn't so much a vision as it is common fucking sense. If this counts as a vision, then my vision of me getting drunk on St. Patrick's Day is fucking biblical prophecy.
The Avengers decide (foolishly) that the only way to oppose the Phoenix Five is to raid their bawdy Utopian stronghold and take Hope. They believe she's the key to turning the tide. It's not an unreasonable assumption, but it is unreasonable to think they can raid the X-men's stronghold and take their (presumably former) mutant messiah. Perhaps unreasonable is too kind a word. More like stupid as fuck would be more appropriate. They don't go in full force. They just swoop in with a small team and think that'll be enough.
As such, I don't think anybody should be surprised when Cyclops and Emma Frost take a break from cosmic sex to come fuck their shit up. The battle here is horribly one-sided. No one should be too surprised to find out that the Avengers here are horribly overmatched in taking on the Phoenix Five. The problem is that the battle here is horribly depicted as well. The action isn't nearly as epic as the moon battle was in the previous issue. It's actually pretty bland, which is a first for this event. The outcome is still clear though. The Phoenix Five have the edge and the Avengers have dick.
That all changes when some quality dick shows up in the form of Wanda Maximoff. Her presence actually makes the battle somewhat more interesting because Cyclops and Emma actually sense the chaos she brings with her. It's like that sixth sense Tiger Woods must have when a porn star is nearby. She even causes Cyclops pain when he tries to grab her, possibly hinting at a much more even fight in the near future.
But Wanda doesn't fight in this instance. Instead, she demands that she be allowed to teleport the Avengers away, presumably leaving more of their dignity behind in the process. Hope also offers to go with her. This of course doesn't sit well with Cyclops for a second. The Mutant Messiah hanging out with the crazy bitch that said "No more mutants?" No good can possibly come from that shit. But Hope eventually goes with her. So I guess the mission, as fucking stupid as it was, ended up being successful.
But that success doesn't sit well with Cyclops for a second. The thought of Hope now hanging out with Wanda probably has the same feeling as a parent must feel when their per-pubescent boy goes on a camping trip to a secluded area with a Catholic priest. In wake of this attack, all that power finally starts to lead him to the kind of conclusions you can only reach while strung out on the best cocaine in the world. He concludes that the only reason that humanity won't accept peace is because they believe Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be there to bale them out. That means there can be only one way this shit will end. The Avengers have to go. So like Wanda's infamous "No More Mutants," Cyclops ends this issue with an equally infamous "No More Avengers." Because if heroes are going to stand in their way from ultimate peace, they're not heroes. They're charcoal for a cosmic cook-off. If Xavier was worried about the cosmic power going to Cyclops's head, he must be shitting himself into another wheelchair by now.
Avengers vs. X-men is officially at the halfway point and already this series has met and exceeded the cosmic expectations it boasted. The first issue of Act II was actually a nice change of pace because it not only showed what the X-men are capable of when they have a little cosmic power, it also downplayed the role of Hope "Jean Rip-Off" Summers. She's just a prop now and the Phoenix Five are the stars of the show. They put the Avengers and even the readers in a bind by presenting a very difficult dilemma. Here they are, making the world a better place in a way that Bano only thinks he's doing. After years of endless war and pointing guns at mutants, I think the Phoenix Five are well within their right to tell the world to cut that shit out. Yet at the same time the Avengers are rightfully concerned that these cosmic powered X-men have no filter. They're like Charlie Sheen if you give him unlimited money and unlimited cocaine. There's nothing preventing them from becoming a raving mass of destruction and douche-baggery. It's hard for anyone to take a side. I still side with the X-men because Emma's ass looks great in that Phoenix costume, but I'm assuming others out there have more ridged standards.
As an issue that bridges Act I to Act II, Avengers vs. X-men #6 is flawless. As an individual comics, it's not without some WTF. Marvel was nice enough to make this comic extra long, yet it still turned out choppy. There were transitions that were confusing and the battle at the end with the Avengers and the Phoenix Five left way too much to the imagination. Also, where the fuck has Wanda Maximoff been while this shit has been unfolding? Has she just been jerking off with a Ryan Gosling dildo for a week? She clearly knew about this shit before she had that vision of the Avengers getting torched by the Phoenix. But let's face it, you don't need to be Miss Cleo to assume that something like that would happen. Her meeting up with Hope was way past due and could've been a lot smoother.
Yet still, the Avengers vs. X-men event as a whole has been awesome in more ways than a schizophrenic whose brain was soaked with LSD could imagine. Marvel it telling a story that feels truly cosmic while maintaining a very ambiguous sense of who is the hero and who is the asshole. Usually you don't know which side is the asshole until they start shitting on the other and while it appears the X-men's side were the constipated ones at the end of this issue, there's still a sense that they're still the heroes. Avengers vs. X-men #6 has kept Marvel on the path of awesome and now that they're officially halfway to the finish line, they can hold their heads high and say "See? For once, you can't say we were bullshitting you!" Avengers vs. X-men #6 gets a 4.5 out of 5. The world is now a better place, but for some folk that ain't enough. Someone is going to fuck this cozy little world that the Phoenix Five has created and it's still not clear which side is hiding the raging boner. If your assholes can take it, we should find out soon enough. Nuff said!
PS: This issue also came with an extremely awesome bonus called Infinite Comics #2. Even if you hated this issue, check this shit out! It actually tells a story that will further enrage Cyclops haters and further torment Jean Grey fans. It couldn't be a better bonus if the comic came with a free blow-job coupon! Nuff said...again!