Saturday, June 30, 2012
X-men Legacy #269 - Old Grudges, Same Awesome
I try not to hold too many grudges. I'm no Ghandi. I'll still wish rectal warts on the asshole that holds up traffic at a stoplight because he's yelling at his kids in the backseat of his gas-guzzling Hummer, but overall I try to forgive, forget, and drink plenty of substances that aid in forgetting (amongst other things). In comics, many major story-lines revolve around characters holding a grudge way longer than they should. Hell, there are stories in the Old Testament that are less vindictive than some of the grudge feuds in comics. However, some grudges still make for awesome stories. Some of them involve grudges that are completely understandable. Others still involve two beautiful women trying to beat the shit out of each other and those tend to be the best.
Most modern X-men fans probably don't remember the bad blood between Rogue and Miss Marvel. Unless you watched a few select episodes of the X-men 90s cartoon (I weep for you if you've denied yourself such awesome), you probably wouldn't know that these two have a long list of reasons to want to kill one another. Rogue put Miss Marvel in a coma for a long time and ran around with her powers, stealing both her gigs and her sex appeal in the process. I imagine for women that's only slightly less egregious than stealing their imported shampoo conditioner. As forgiving as I may be, if someone puts me in a coma and runs around with all my drinking skills then I'm not going to let that shit slide. And Avengers vs. X-men offers a perfect opportunity to get some sweet vengeance and show two beautiful women beating each other up in the process. They're not covered in oil or mud, but it's better than nothing.
X-men Legacy has been one of the many X-books that has been directly affected by the events of Avengers vs. X-men #6. The Phoenix Five have asserted their power over the world and are looking to drag humanity kicking and screaming to a worldwide utopia. In X-men Legacy #268, we saw just one of those battles through the eyes of Frenzy. In X-men Legacy #269 we see the battle through another set of eyes that also happens to have a great rack.
The issue sets the stage with peace, prosperity, and all that other shit hippies think they see when they're high on acid. Rogue and the rest of the X-men not named Wolverine are enjoying the Phoenix Five's new policy of ending war and ensuring prosperity for every soul on Earth. In the previous issue, Frenzy got to fight to good fight by kicking the ass of violent warlords in Africa. Rogue gets to contribute in a far less violent way by helping with food and poverty efforts. After meeting up with Iceman and borrowing his powers, she flies to New Orleans where she helps the crew fix the shit that FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers fucked up pre-Katrina. And she did it while looking sexy as well. One of the workers even flirts with her. I guess when there's no more war or poverty to fight, the best you can do for excitement is flirt with a girl who could castrate you with her pinkie finger.
It's probably the least hectic Rogue's life has been since she first put a man in a coma by kissing him. I'm sure the same thing happens with Courtney Love, but for very different reasons. She seems content with what the Phoenix Five are doing and with the prospect of not having to do so much fighting from now on. So when Miss Marvel shows up unexpectedly under the guise of a phony distress call form a rescue helicopter, she's understandably pissed. Last she checked, the Avengers were still opposing the X-men and this is a woman who fucked up her mind worse than a dildo through the eye-socket. She has a lot of reasons to hate Miss Marvel and Miss Marvel has a lot of reasons to hate her so seeing Rogue skip the Q&A and go right to the ass-kicking is very appropriate.
What follows is a few glorious pages of two potent sources of T&A laying into one another like Mel Gibson in a synagog. Not much is said. Hell, even if they were talking most guys probably wouldn't listen because they're too caught up in wondering who will rip who's uniform off first. But there is a bit of narration from Rogue to ensure that this isn't just one of those comics a 13-year-old that's too much of a chicken-shit to steal a Playboy hides under his bed. She basically reminds the readers that she and Miss Marvel have a history. It's a history that's been somewhat lost since her glory days in the 90s when she had sass and wasn't boning Magneto. It's not too detailed either, but it's enough to explain that she has plenty of reasons to beat her up.
Moreover, she has to do it with only Iceman's powers as well since that's all she absorbed earlier. So she decides to get a little touchy with Miss Marvel and no, not in that way. But I'm sure plenty will fantasize about it none-the-less. To this point Miss Marvel has been trying to talk to her, albeit in a horribly planned way that involves faking a distress call. But once Rogue absorbs her again, she gets pissed and sets aside any sense of diplomacy as well she should.
Now armed with Miss Marvel's powers, the battle escalates. It's got a very old-school feel to it with all the flash and flare, but Christos Gage makes sure it doesn't play the nostagia card too much. I'm among those who thinks nostalgia is a cheap gimmick, although some shit like Rogue beating up Miss Marvel never gets old. But as the fight unfolds, Miss Marvel gets chatty again. She starts questioning Rogue's commitment to the Phoenix Five and these so-called utopian plan. She claims that this whole Pax Utopia deal sounds so rosy on paper, but like a business deal with Bernie Madoff it has a hidden cost. Rogue doesn't buy it though. She rightly points out that people are getting fed, bridges are being fixed, and shit is getting done that the Avengers couldn't be bothered to finish for years. Like the rest of Avengers vs. X-men, it argues a conflict that is not set in stone and does so with beautiful women. That's always a plus!
But as the battle unfolds, Miss Marvel's rhetoric escalates along with her attacks. She shows Rogue that boning Magneto made her a little soft and runs her right into the middle of a busy street. Never mind the possibility of traffic. She's trying to make a point and it's not an invalid point either. She even cites an old episode of the Twilight Zone to explain that living in a utopian created by people with god-like abilities is bound to get fucked up in ways that would make even Glenn Beck go running to the ACLU. She argues that the acceptance and peace the Phoenix Five are forcing is imposed so it's not a real peace. While I tend to believe that some shit is worth forcing down the throats of idiots that won't accept it, I concede that Miss Marvel has a point and a nice ass.
Rogue, however, still doesn't buy it. That and she probably never watched reruns of the Twilight Zone anyway. So after Miss Marvel is finished warning her about the dangers of world peace, Rogue effectively shuts her right-wing bullshit down by using what's left of Iceman's power to freeze her like a Popsicle that I would still lick while sober. She tells her she's not buying it, but even in defeat Miss Marvel tries to convince her that she's in a shit storm with a faulty umbrella. She thinks Rogue just didn't listen to her closely enough. My old parole officer probably thought the same thing and last I checked he retired early and moved to Switzerland. So once again, Rogue schools Miss Marvel and screws her over in a way you can't masturbate to but still enjoy reading.
While enjoyable, the extent to which Miss Marvel lost sort of makes you question why the fuck she would come to Rogue in the first place. She said it herself and Rogue added onto it with her narrations. She fucked her up when she absorbed her psyche. Yet she thinks Rogue would listen to her warning? I mean why the fuck would she try to hunt down Rogue and take her on alone in hopes of turning her off the Phoenix Five's plans for world peace? I've looked at it from many different angles while both high and sober and I can't figure out a reason that makes sense. So while I'm always happy to see two beautiful women fight, I more happy if it has a little meaning behind it and this shit is just contrived.
In the end, however, it doesn't matter whether Rogue listened to Miss Marvel or not. She still ends up vindicated even if she got her ass kicked. Because once Rogue calls for Magik, she finds out that the Phoenix Five have decided that they need to be dicks in dealing with the Avengers. So rather than just throw them in some normal prison or force them to act as body guards for the cast of the Jersey Shore, they actually decide to lock them up in a chunk of Limbo where Illyana's soul was tainted worse than a Catholic School Girl on a camping trip with Levi Johnson. Even if Rogue still believes in the Phoenix Five's utopian dream, she's gotta have a problem with literally tossing Earth's Mightiest Heroes into the Marvel equivalent of Hell. It may still be better than playing body guard for the Jersey Shore cast, but it's still fucked up.
Books like X-men Legacy have never left their mark by just blowing shit up or throwing tits in the readers' face (although tits do help). They rely more on character centered moments that send the reader on a journey alongside whoever is the focus. In the previous issue, we saw this new utopian world through the eyes of Frenzy. For the most part, it was fairly rosy. Violent warlords got their asses kicked and cute girls in school girl uniforms mind-fucked those too stubborn to accept peace. This issue followed Rogue and relied on much more violence. It also helped that most of the issue revolved around two beautiful women beating the shit out of each other. But in between this fight that will give most men the same boner they get watching two swimsuit models fight over a half-eaten chocolate bar, there was a serious debate here. Miss Marvel and Rogue argued over the merits of Pax Utopia as the Phoenix Five call it and how it could go horribly wrong. In the end, Miss Marvel's concerns were vindicated and all those LSD inspired hippie dreams quickly turn into a nasty hangover.
Given the history of Rogue and Miss Marvel, I'm not terribly surprised that Marvel threw these two into a brawl during an even that pits the Avengers against the X-men. Hell, I'm surprised Marvel doesn't try to force those two to fight more often and in more revealing uniforms to boost sales. However, it's that same history that makes it seem somewhat forced. Miss Marvel's life was royally fucked up by Rogue back in the day when she couldn't even give a guy a hand-job without sending him into a coma. So her logic for seeking Rogue out to warn her was somewhat fucked. Hell, Rogue would probably be the last person she should warn. And it's not like Rogue was in a position to listen either. She saw Miss Marvel and just started beating the shit out of her. Even if they both had valid points to make, the premise of their battle still felt forced even if it was a sight to behold.
While I try not to get too picky when it comes to beautiful women beating each other up, certain details do count in a story. In an event where plenty of tie-ins easily fall flat and flow with less coherence than a Sarah Palin interview, there's a premium on setting the right circumstances. It's like when you're trying to bang the governor's daughter. You gotta light a few extra candles, be extra romantic, and buy more life insurance to get the job done. Christos Gage did a great job detailing the fight and setting up the debate between Rogue and Miss Marvel. However, the premise was just a bit too off to be completely believable. For that, I give X-men Legacy #269 a 4 out of 5. Does it have two beautiful women beating each other up? Yes. Does it have a solid premise behind it? Not really. Will most guys care? Probably not. That's all you need to know about this issue. Nuff said!