Saturday, June 9, 2012
Uncanny X-men #13 - Tying Loose Threads of Awesome
I once faked a British accent at a bar one night in a shameless effort to hook up with this cute girl with a tattoo of a heart on her inner thigh. Given how drunk I was, it shouldn't have worked. But god damn it, British accents just have a certain magic to them that both make naive young women spread their legs more readily and make men write awesome comics. Alan Moore and Warren Ellis are the gold standard for how cool British writers should conduct themselves when dealing with comics. They march to the beat of their own drum, tell their own unique brand of story, and soak the panties of plenty of women in the process. Kieron Gillen may not be in the same class as Warren Ellis and Alan Moore yet, but with his work on Uncanny X-men he's well on his way. Panties beware!
Gillen's work on Uncanny X-men has spanned the events of Schism, Fear Itself, and the historic relaunch of this series whose last launch came at a time when JFK was still slipping the high hard one to Marilyn Munroe. It's quite possibly the most trying time to be the writer of Uncanny X-men, yet Kieron Gillen pulled it off with that distinct British sneer. And heaven help me, even my panties were soaked. Uncanny X-men has been the best it's been in decades and now Gillen must apply his British bravado to Avengers vs. X-men.
So far, Uncanny X-men has been quite successful in terms of tie-ins. It hasn't been the best. That title still belongs to Wolverine and the X-men, but that's probably because Jason Aaron's beard has some sort of mystical power. But Gillen has offered some interesting insights into the events of Avengers vs. X-men through the lens of Uncanny. Sometimes it covers the inner thoughts of the main players like Hope and Cyclops. Sometimes it covers situations where women try desperately to fuck Namor, as was the case in Uncanny X-men #12. Now the event has reached a critical moment. The Phoenix Force has reached its destination, the Avengers and the X-men are mixing it up on the moon, and Hope is still making Jean Grey fans cringe with every panel. So what does that mean for Uncanny X-men?
Well for some, it means being left behind worse than being the last guy kept out of a strip club on free lap dance night. Storm, Psylocke, and Magneto have all participated in the battles surrounding Avengers vs. X-men in their own unique way. Storm actually got to fight her husband, Black Panther, without having to go through a lawyer. Even in a comic involving cosmic firebirds, that is quite possibly the most ridiculous premise ever done in in a comic. But once the fighting stopped when Wolverine ratted Hope's blatant Jean Grey ripoff ass out, the only thing some could do is get left behind, lick their wounds, and twiddle their thumbs while they waited for the world to get dropped into a deep fryer. On the plus side, Dr. Nemesis got hit with a batch of Black Widow's neurotoxin. And as we all know every time a douche-bag like Nemesis gets poisoned, a beautiful woman in LA gets a free boob job.
Magneto, Psylocke, Storm, and Dr. Nemesis's state is made only slightly more pathetic when the young, inexperienced mutants actually get off their asses and do something productive. If you've been following the other tie-ins for Avengers vs. X-men (and you damn well should because this is one and possibly only instance where the tie-ins don't suck donkey balls), then you'll also know that Pixie and the remnants of Hope's Five Lights managed to escape detention in the pages of Avengers Academy. Since their book was canceled, they've been only slightly less relevant than David Hasselhoff. But unlike Hasselhoff, they actually have the opportunity to become relevant. Before they parted ways with Hope, she left them a brief note that told them to find Unit. For once, it didn't refer to a game you play with your drunken girlfriend when you're out of lube but have a spare blindfold.
Now Unit is another character that has been in the pages of Uncanny X-men recently. More importantly, he's been a relevant character in the sense that he told Hope about the Phoenix Force. This is important because usually in tie-ins there's way too much shit being pulled out of way too many asses to make the events fit the bigger event. It's like a fat guy trying to suck his own dick. It's a losing battle. But in this instance, it fits because Unit clearly knew something in the last pre-AvX arc of Uncanny X-men. So with help from Pixie's teleportation talents, she and lights teleport to the prison with the walking dick joke for some answers.
For the adult mutants that are supposed to be the responsible ones, there isn't much left to do or say. They talk about finding a way to get to the moon so they can partake in the action. They briefly mention Pixie how her abilities may help them reach the moon, but then Storm reminds them that she escaped with the Lights. So they're pretty much up shit's creek without a paddle and constipated pit bull. Not only that, Storm laments about how she had to fight her own husband. Now this may seem horrifying to all you sensitive family values types, but given that I have about as much respect for the Storm/Black Panther marriage as I do the DEA I was glad to here her call her husband "estranged." I would have preferred more harsher words, but Storm's not a raging drunk. So they're wounded, defeated, and unable to join the action. So what do they do? Magneto grabs some hard liquor and pours them a drink. Fuck, that should be how every hero both solves problems or accepts defeat! It's Uncanny X-men and booze in the same comic. Excuse me. I just teared up a little.
Those tears had to dry pretty soon though because the explanation Unit gives the Lights is about as appealing as a rash around your anus. He basically explains to the Lights what the Phoenix is. Some of this shit you can find on Wikiepdia. Phoenix is a powerful cosmic being that was there in the fires of creation along with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is a force that doesn't really like it when someone fucks the universe without their permission. Apparently, no means no even to a cosmic being. When someone like Wanda Maximoff says "No More Mutants," well that just pisses the Phoenix off and it needs to fix that shit. Unit claims to be working on a theory and claims that he saw the Phoenix pull shit like this billions of years ago. It leads to this flashback depicting aliens and another messiah figure, this one that DOESN'T look like Jean Grey if you can believe that. The Phoenix used a messiah and five lights to make a planet not so fucked up. That means that the Lights made a huge fucking mistake when they gave Hope the finger and parted ways with her. Because if they weren't around when Hope needed to handle the Phoenix, then all that rosy peaches and cream scenario that Unit described wouldn't have played out.
Here's where Unit earns all the dick jokes his name evokes though. He must have gotten stoned on some bad Earth pot because he didn't tell Hope about this even when he told her about the Phoenix in the previous Uncanny X-men arc. That means he pretty much denied Hope knowledge that might have actually saved the fucking planet and spared the world of having to see five X-men dressed in Phoenix outfits fit for 80s rock band. But Unit gives exactly as much fucks as a retarded cobra. It saw what happens when the Phoenix gets what it needs. Now he wants to see what happens when it doesn't. That's right. He's willing to see the Phoenix fuck over a planet just out of curiosity. That's a dick move, but with a name like Unit that should be both expected and maybe a little funny if you consider how Marvel could make a Unit themed vibrator with this guy.
Naturally, Unit does not want the Lights fucking with his curiosity. As soon as the Lights hear of this enlightening tale of cosmic shit, they get understandably pissed. They know they have to get to Hope, but Unit just can't allow that shit. So of course he has a simple plan to deal with them and it involves a sexy robot android. And by that I mean he hijacks Danger and has her attack the Five Lights and Pixie. I know you might have been hoping for a working robot model of Jessica Alba complete with functioning tits, but I'm sure Kieron Gillen and Greg Land are saving that for a later issue. Danger, who was able to overcome Unit's influence in the previous arc, has no such luck here. She makes quick work of the Five Lights, who are still inexperienced mutants who stand as much chance against Danger as I do of passing a drug test after 4/20.
Shortly after the Five Lights are subdued by Danger, the events of Uncanny X-men once again connect with the events of Avengers vs. X-men #5. In that comic, there was a moment when Hope was about to take on the Phoenix and a host of other characters back on Earth sensed it. Well since Psylocke is a telepath with a propensity to bone douch-bags with faux-French accents (see Uncanny X-Force if your stomach allows you), she feels it too. She senses that the Phoenix has arrived and the Avengers are hoping that Iron Man's latest gizmo saves the day. She probably knows just how fucked they are and it's a sentiment that deserves to be shared in a tie-in. So for that, I applaud Kieron Gillen's attention to detail.
While Unit was still a douche-bag, he's not a murderous douche-bag. He could have killed Pixie and the Lights, but chose not to. Instead, he had Danger wipe their minds of everything he told them so they could wake up peacefully on the beaches of Utopia. I suppose there are worse ways to wake up. If they don't wake up in face down in cheap motel just outside Juarez Mexico with a twenty dollar bill and a note stapled to their ass, they should consider themselves lucky as hell. Like Psylocke, Unit seems to know that they're too late to stop the Phoenix and what it's going to do. So now it gets to observe what happens when you deny a cosmic force the pieces it wants to fix a universe that has been fucked. It sounds like denying condoms to teenagers on their prom night. Nothing good can come of it.
In the end, the Lights wake up looking more oblivious than a transexual prostitute in a Mormon temple. They don't know that the universe just got another dose of cosmic level fucked up. There's a nice little shot that shows them watching as the cosmic flare shoot out from the moon, which are the five new hosts of the Phoenix Force as was revealed in Avengers vs. X-men #5. It's definitely one of those ominous moments where you know bad shit's going to happen, but it all seems so pretty and peaceful. It's like being in the back seat of a car doped up on bad shrooms while your buddies drive you to the hospital. It seems so pretty, but you know you're in for some nasty shit very soon.
Once again, I'm forced to save all my jokes about shitty tie-in issues for another event. Avengers vs. X-men has finally broken that annoying habit for most event comics to have shitty tie-in issues that you try to ignore like the that shit stain on your carpet that you can't remember making. While it means more money has to be spent on comics and less on booze, I'm willing to make that sacrifice and my liver thanks me for it. If my liver were a woman, she would be offering free blowjobs to Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen for quality books like this. Uncanny X-men has been slightly less consistent than Wolverine and the X-men. The previous issue was mostly a glorified AvX VS with some nice tidbits about women wanting to bone Namor. This issue actually tied recent events surrounding Uncanny X-men, namely that of Unit, into the events of Avengers vs. X-men. It also nicely linked up with the events of Avengers Academy. There are so many great connections here that you could die of electrocution if a water pipe burst and for comics that's a damn good feeling.
However, the issue of the Phoenix mythos still bothers me. While the story about the Phoenix Corps in Avengers vs. X-men #5 did have a solid backing in Grant Morrison's run as well as Phoenix Warsong, some of the shit revealed by Unit gives the impression that Marvel is purposefully gouging out any eye that gazes upon the more established history of the Phoenix, namely that involving Jean Grey. I get that the Phoenix has other hosts, but how many other hosts have become the fucking White Phoenix of the Crown? How many have had classic X-men issues that show Jean Grey more closely tied to the Phoenix than shady polygamous Mormon sects on Mitt Romney's family tree? I could give you a number, but it would be the same as Pat Roberson's credibility on gay rights. It's not so horribly egregious that I could argue that Marvel is retconning and shitting all over the Phoenix mythos, but it is frustrating as hell and rather blatant that they're doing everything in their power to separate the Phoenix from Jean Grey in favor of a shitty rip-off character that looks just liker.
Potential retcons aside, this issue had plenty to offer and had Kieron Gillen showing off some of his best talents. He's a guy with a British accent that deserves to soak every pair of panties that hears it. He captures the voice of the characters perfectly and makes Unit as creepy as he is a walking dick joke. On top of that, he had some of the X-men getting drunk! How can someone with a damaged liver like me have anything but love for such a scene? Avengers vs. X-men #5 was billed as a huge game-changer for the Avengers vs. X-men event. And it delivered! This issue wasn't billed as something quite that big. It's another tie-in and usually that's not going to make anybody's dick overly hard, but the way this issue ties in so efficiently with so many different aspects of the event it could be it's own viagra commercial. Just remember to see your doctor if it lasts more than 4 hours. That's why I give Uncanny X-men #13 a perfect 5 out of 5. It's a great week for X-men comics. The Phoenix has arrived, the Avengers are screwed, their cartoon got cancelled, and the Phoenix Five have some kick-ass new uniforms. Enjoy it now X-men fans! Like all those shitty Mighty Ducks movies, it'll likely come back to bite us in the ass. Nuff said!