Saturday, June 16, 2012
Uncanny X-Force #26 - Bloody Mind Fuck Awesome
Even the most hardened of souls have their limit to the amount of bullshit they can endure. We all like to think we're tough like the comic book characters we respect. In reality, if we were put in the same situations that Wolverine faces every other Tuesday we would all piss our pants and cry like babies. But even in a fictional reality, people have limits. Even mediocre writers understand that if you put a character through enough crap, they're going to come out stinking and that stench is going to get to them at some point. If it doesn't, they're either not human, a sociopath, or a douche-bag.
Rick Remender is far more than just a mediocre writer. He's been the driving force behind the awesome that has been Uncanny X-Force. From the very beginning, he's told a story about characters being put in situations that strains sanity almost as much as it strains bodies. There has been child murder, cannibalism, Nazi hunting, and women sleeping with Fantomex. You couldn't get much more insanity without giving Tom Cruise and Michael Bay a metric ton of crystal meth and $200 million to make a movie. It's become it's own grim and gritty pocket of the X-men universe. It hasn't really tied into the main events of the comics like Avengers vs. X-men, although sometimes to shit they cause stinks up in other books like Uncanny X-men (and in a good way mind you). But this grim and gritty world has taken a serious toll on the characters and recently some have started to crack.
It started with the end of the Dark Angel Saga. Psylocke lost the man she loved, had to kill her brother, and fucked Fantomex. She's basically one crashed Porsche away from being Lindsey Lohan. In Uncanny X-Force #25, she flat out quit the team just as Wolverine and AOA Nightcrawler were investigating a new threat in the Omega Clan. It was a dick move, but not to be outdone Fantomex quit as well. It has left X-Force's manpower dangerously depleted and on top of that, Deadpool doesn't have his healing factor anymore (see the Deadpool ongoing to find out why. It's as fucked up as you think it is). They're basically fucked before they even go on this mission and it shows. And what about Fantomex? Well he's doing what you would expect any phony French douche-bag would do. He's throwing a sexy party in Paris and lamenting over the sweet feeling of Psylocke's pussy that he misses so much. It's as pathetic as it sounds.
All that musing hides the fact that he flat out abandoned X-Force the moment Psylocke decided losing the man she loved, her brother, and her sanity was just too much. All it took from him is losing the money and the opportunity for hot ninja pussy. It's a pretty low threshold, but one I can fully understand. His inner monologue makes it sound like he's over her, but he clearly misses seeing her naked. So when she abruptly shows up in the middle of his den of decadence wanting to talk, he tells all the hookers, frat boys, and sex tourists to get the fuck out. He simply cannot have any distractions when he's seeking hot ninja pussy.
For Wolverine and AOA Nightcrawler, ninja pussy is only the fifth thing on their mind at the moment. In the previous issue they decided to charge head first into a new upstart company, White Sky. Now this isn't one of those bullshit dot com companies that butt fucked the stock market back in 2000. This is a company that creates powerful assassins from the DNA of Omega Red. But to give this twisted business plan it's own unique brand worthy of Pepsi, they essentially mind-fuck their soulless creations into having a personal vendetta against the target. So they basically pursue you with the same tenacity as a jealous ex-boyfriend whose girlfriend you fucked over the hood of his car. Already undermanned, Wolverine and AOA Nightcrawler put up a piss poor fight. The Omega Clan isn't just content with killing their asses. Like anyone with a vendetta, they want to see them suffer. So using Omega Red's powers, they poison AOA Nightcrawler so that he ages more rapidly than Bill O'Riley's neck and Wolverine so he becomes a bloated fatass. I'm not sure that's really poison. You can get the same thing from living in a McDonalds, but the Omega Clan makes sure it's painful and humiliating because that is White Sky's motto after all.
While Wolverine and AOA Nightcrawler are suffering horribly, the students back at the Jean Grey Institute are enjoying an impromtu field trip. It's rare when Uncanny X-Force meets up with other elements of the X-books, but since they were the ones that brought Genesis to the Institute it makes sense that they would somehow show up. As Beast and Kitty are leading them on a trip through the mass grave that is Genosha, it also makes sense that they're being watched by a creepy shadowy figure. And not creepy in the way some men like to hide cameras in the toilets of the women's bathroom. Creepy as in the kind of guy that rubs elbows with Ahmul Farok, aka Shadowking. For whatever reason, his fat ass isn't a spirit anymore and he's sipping a martini while Mr. Shadowy drools and presumably jerks off to his little reality show. He also mentions a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Because if Wolverine is going to form his own secret kill squad, why shouldn't someone else get in on the action? It's mysterious because it's not clear who the shadowy guy is. It's also painfully ironic because in trying to be proactive by killing threats before they begin, Wolverine is giving his long list of enemies a reason to form their own kill squad. He's not going to say Cyclops was right, but it looks like he'll have to go back to just hating his guts for fucking Jean Grey.
Speaking of fucking, I remember how I did my share of irate ranting when Psylocke boned Fantomex. I'm a guy who will suck spilled whiskey out of an ashtray that a bum spit in, but even I find that unholy union disgusting. It's not just that Fantomex is a douche-bag. It's that he's a douche-bag that actively undermined Psylocke's relationship with Arcangel before he went crazy. And Psylocke sleeping with him just reinforced the kind of douche-bagger that drives 99 percent of all sociopaths and 100 percent of all politicians. So when we revisit Fantomex and Psylocke in Paris and they're in their underwear, I'm more than prepared to take a few shots of Jack Daniels and start ranting again. However, Rick Remender throws in a twist that makes me put down the booze, pick up a bottle of lube, and prepare to remove the semen stains from my sweaters.
That Psylocke that just wanted to talk and swap body fluids...that wasn't Psylocke. It turns out that woman that just smothered Fantomex's phony French cock was none other than everyone's favorite shape-shifting bitch, Mystique. She was dead for a while, but unlike another certain woman with red hair and green eyes she came back in a recent arc of the Wolverine solo series. As such, she's looking to fuck up Wolverine's world and squeeze in a little cock-teasing on the side. I'm pretty sure Fantomex doesn't mind, but when she pulls a gun and starts shooting at him I'm sure that either kills the mood or makes him hornier. It's hard to tell. But the mere presence of Mystique is a true joy. She's been a longtime favorite of mine and someone who is right at home in the pages of X-Force, boning wannabe Frenchmen and then trying to kill them. Hell, that's the shit Mystique does on a Thursday when she's bored!
But as thrilled as I am to see Mystique show up, I'm still curious about Psylocke. I tend to worry about beautiful psychic ninjas. I'm just that kind of guy. It turns out she was nowhere near Paris when this shit started going down. She was in Manhattan. Along the way she has some nice inner monologue about how she enjoyed hurting Fantomex by boning him. I'm not sure the logic behind it, but when it comes from the mind of a hot ninja chick it's all the more satisfying. Most importantly, it means she's not boning Fantomex more than she has to and let's face it. Her character doesn't need that and Fantomex's douche-baggery shouldn't be awarded with ninja pussy.
But why is she in Manhattan? Well, she returns home to confront another startling twist that isn't quite as startling. Professor Xavier and Angel are there waiting for her. And for reasons not entirely explained, they're both cured. Xavier is no longer the absent douche who has pretty much left the X-men to their own devices while he deals with his Schizophrenic son. Angel appears to have his memories back after an issue of Wolverine and the X-men made it clear that there were none left to regain. Plus, Xavier's in a wheelchair again. What the fuck gives? Okay, so it's pretty obvious that there's some mind-fucking going on. It's just not obvious who or what is behind it. It could be Shadowking since he showed up earlier. Or it could be the shadowy figure, presumably after he finished jerking off to the image of Mystique trying to kill Fantomex (don't pretend you wouldn't either). He's certainly being extra cruel with Psylocke, saying her mind must be erased for all the shit she's done lately. That assures the reader that this is some sort of psychic farce, but the details here are really lacking and it's definitely a bit confusing if you read this with some bad weed.
Pretty much every member of X-Force is getting mind-fucked or just fucked in some instances. The only break they get comes when Wolverine uses his claws to slice open his overbloated gut to bleed out the poison. It's Uncanny X-Force. You can't tell me that shit surprises you in a book that shows kids getting shot in the head. This allows him and Deadpool to grab the rapidly aged AOA Nightcrawler and teleport out. Deadpool also managed to use White Sky's own toys against them and create his own special assassin. He looks like a guy who puts too much effort into a Renaissance fair, but he gets the job done. It helps them get away, but it doesn't help Fantomex overcome the wrath of Mystique after she's had a nice hate fuck or whatever is attacking Psylocke. It's still a bit chaotic because it's not clear how all this shit fits together, but when it involves Mystique fighting in her underwear you know it's something you gotta see.
There's only so much deception and tricks that a mind as damaged (and stoned) as mine can take. Whatever that threshold is, this issue didn't cross it even if it did flirt with it. Uncanny X-Force has always been special in it's ability to play on the perceptions of the reader and throw in some awesome twists. When that twist takes the form of Mystique, there's no way around it. The bar has been raised motherfucker. He's already had a kid get shot, he's had Fantomex's face cut off, and he's had Psylocke bone Fantomex. What more could he do? Every week I keep contemplating a way for Rick Remender to surprise readers with this series. And no matter how much weed I smoke or LSD I drop, my damaged mind fails to predict such awesome. Never before has such failure been so satisfying. The arrival of Mystique, the emergence of a new Brotherhood of Mutants, the appearance of the Jean Grey Institute crowd, and the return of Shadowking makes for an embarrassment of riches that if Marvel didn't own the copyright then Donald Trump would build a shitty hotel on top of it.
The only downside to all these mind fucks if you can call it that is it gets a little chaotic at times. As awesome as all these elements are, they don't fit together as perfectly as they could. Rick Remender left a bit too much to the imagination at times and didn't always fill in the details. But those missing details are so minor that I doubt anyone who doesn't take a hit of acid will notice. Remender's brand of storytelling usually gets a little chaotic at various points. It always comes together in the end, but there's usually a point in the middle where it can be a bit hard to follow. I get the sense that this is that point in this particular arc and given Remender's track record, it's not overly optimistic to expect this shit to come together in the end.
Even though Uncanny X-Force hasn't played a part in Avengers vs. X-men, it is still one of the top X-books on the market. It's a series that exists in it's own little world of awesome and Rick Remender shows with this issue that this same little world can be pretty deceptive. And I'm not talking about deceptive in the way that skanky looking chick at the bar who asks for your credit card information before she shows you her tits (I can't be the only guy who has fallen for that). It's deceptive in the sense that it's mysterious and intriguing. And of course there's the blood. Can't forget about the blood! That's Uncanny X-Force and this issue embodies all of that. For this and other reasons that aren't so deceptive, I give Uncanny X-Force #26 a 4.5 out of 5. With so much going on in this series, it's easy for anyone with a soft spot for secret kill squads to enjoy. It also has Mystique fucking Fantomex before she kicks his ass. What more do can you ask for without dipping it in chocolate? Nuff said!