Thursday, July 5, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men #7 - Cosmic Tyranical Awesome
In every movie, TV show, video game, book, comic book, and drunken rant at two in the morning that involves a utopian paradise, there's always a point where times seem good. The people and the world are all basically a John Lennon song where there's no poverty, no suffering, no corruption, and Glenn Beck has finally shut up. Assuming, of course, that's it's not a dream induced by mixing ecstasy with vodka, those times eventually go bad. Sometimes they go bad faster than John Edwards's likability because the people find out that this paradise is either a complete fraud or being fueled by the entrails of puppies. There's always a cost associated with paradise and while they often begin with the best of intentions, they end like a hangover in Tijuana with someone naked in a tub full of ice and a note pinned to their balls saying "thanks for the liver."
In Avengers vs. X-men #6, we saw the Phoenix Five carve a new utopian world out of a Marvel universe that can't seem to resist fucking itself up every couple years or so. It's like an emo teenage goth with a history of depression and access to unlimited razor blades. They turned barren desert into lush grassland. They provided free energy, clean drinking water, and abundant food to every human being on the planet. They even outlawed war, saying that this whole killing each other for trivial shit was no longer cool. It all seemed so nice on paper. They were poised to put the Avengers out of business and make them get jobs at Subway. But all this happiness and baby kittens all hinged on the Phoenix Five's ability to not let all that cosmic power go to their head. They might as well have given Rush Limbaugh control over an Oxychotin factory.
Avengers vs. X-men #6 ended with Hope leaving with the Avengers. It led a Phoenix powered Cyclops to read the kind of conclusion that only a paranoid schizophrenic would make after watching the Matrix while stoned. The utopian world they sought to create couldn't happen so long as the Avengers were around. So in a statement that reflected the Scarlet Witch's equally grammatically flawed words from House of M, he said "No more Avengers." Thus, the time for creating a happy world where Sean Hannity and Michael Moore can live in harmony is over. This event is still called Avengers vs. X-men so that means the senseless violence needs to continue.
Avengers vs. X-men #7 sets the stage by showing that when the Phoenix Five have a new policy in mind, they take to it more efficiently than any government in the history of the universe. Shortly after Cyclops uttered those ominous words, "No More Avengers," the Phoenix Five and the X-men easily seized Avengers Tower and began a search for those that got away and for Hope, who willingly went with them mind you. Okay, so maybe they're still somewhat like a typical government in that they use children as an excuse to act like douche-bags, but I guess some shit is too powerful even for cosmic forces. Whatever their reason, they find the Avengers pretty quickly and with help from a few additional X-men they take to proving without the need of a lawyer that they can no longer call themselves the mightiest heroes, although a lawyer might also be too much for cosmic forces now that I think of it.
Not surprisingly, the Phoenix Five go right for the Scarlet Witch when they see her. She's not only the one that lured Hope away from the X-men like Tom Cruise lured Katie Holmes into Scientology. She's the one that fucked the entire mutant race with a sentence fragment as Cyclops called it. In the battle, the fight is as much a spectacle as one would expect. The Scarlet Witch showed in the previous issue that she could actually hurt the Phoenix Five. So this time she gives them a run for their money, roughing up Magik before coming face-to-face with Emma Frost, who has never been known for fighting fair or looking modest while doing it. During the fight, Tony Stark is trying to gather data to use in another machine that hopefully won't fuck the Phoenix up more than he already has. However, I refuse to believe that he's not also recording it so he can jerk off to it later. When you're a rich man who bangs supermodels for breakfast, I imagine you need some pretty extreme shit to get your dick hard.
The battle goes south for the Avengers as one would expect. They are unable to hold out long enough for Tony to get the data he needs. While the battle is well done, it's a bit abrupt compared to how the battles unfolded in Wolverine and the X-men #12 last week. That battle was set up nicely because it was basically a cosmic bar fight. This battle might as well be taking place in Mianus, Kuntucky or Bumfuck, Texas because there's a very poor sense of location. The Phoenix Five just locate the Avengers and start beating them up. I'm all for fast forwarding to the parts of the movie that show tits, but even I like a little setup. I find that makes your dick that much harder. That's what made seeing Linda Hamilton's tits in Terminator so satisfying. But I digress.
The Avengers end up having to retreat before Tony can get his precious data or fire off some knuckle children. The Phoenix Five still make a mad dash to fry Wanda Maximoff where she stands for her genocide and poor grammar skills. However, Hawkeye jumps into the line of fire and ends up getting his ass fried. Even Vision gets fucked up. When you go up against cosmic forces, you're gonna get burned especially if you're only armed with a computer for a brain and a medieval weapon.
But for all you angry Avengers fans that still shit through their ears at the mere mention if Decimation, rest assure Hawkeye isn't dead. He's not Jean fucking Grey thankfully. Once the Avengers retreat, the Phoenix Five take him back to Utopia as a prisoner. Once there, they're nice enough to heal him from his extra crispy form. Yet he still looks somewhat better than that chick with the tanning booth addiction. So he could probably still fuck Snooki if he really wanted to. But being able to heal an injured enemy is besides the point. Cyclops makes it clear that killing their enemies, even if they are threatening their vision for world peace, isn't cool. They're basically gods now. They have to be held to a higher standard. For those of you who read the Infinite Comics #2 that came out with Avengers vs. X-men #6, you should see some of the influence on Cyclops when he had a little chat with a moon-dust mock-up of Jean Grey (again, another Marvel cop-out for bringing her back). So while others are letting the power corrupt them like Gordon Gecko in Wall Street, Cyclops is making a conscious effort to not let this power make him a douche bag. It's only a matter of time before that comes back to fuck with him.
This made bode well for the Avengers in the long term, but in the short term they're still more fucked than Jenna Jameson in greatest hits compilation. They didn't get the data they needed for Tony and Black Panther. Their people are being imprisoned and deep fried only to be brought back to life to remind them how fucked they are. Yet they still feel they have the upper hand because they have both the Scarlet Witch and Hope Summers. But Hope makes it clear she's not on the Avengers side completely. She claims that she doesn't want to help the Avengers win. She wants to save her friends. As in the same friends she thumbed her nose at constantly and stole jet packs from when they tried to warn her about putting herself in danger. I wish there was a way to make that sound less fucked up, but there's only so much LSD my brain can endure.
This has been an unfortunate theme that is emerging in Act 2. Throughout Act 1, Hope was shown to be hot-headed and head-strong if that's not to volatile a combination. But here she sounds like a scared little girl worried for her friends. I know missing out on the Phoenix Force may have fucked her up, but given her history of being a bratty little bitch she earns no sympathy. It's bad enough she's a horrible Jean Grey ripoff. Trying to appear sympathetic at this point would be like Bernie Madoff asking one of his victims for a loan.
But even with Hope's schizophrenic approach to this crisis, the Avengers still have a plan. They need to call the Phoenix Five out again so they can get more information. Since the Scarlet Witch showed in the previous issue that she can hurt the Phoenix Five and inspire cosmic pants shitting fear in them, Dr. Strange pulls one of his magic tricks to make it appear as though the Scarlet Witch is appearing in multiple locations. Once again, it draws the Phoenix Five out. And once again, they're deeply frustrated from being distracted from their efforts to create a Utopian world. Not sure if it makes them or the Avengers the assholes here, but I think that was Marvel's intent here.
Finding the real Wanda was only slightly less difficult than finding Waldo. To this point, nobody has been able to really stand against the Phoenix Five. Pretty much every Avenger no matter how worthy they may be ended up getting their asses kicked while the Phoenix Five probably had energy to spare to bang their lovers in the process if they wanted. Well this time Namor is the one that finds Wanda and for once, the Phoenix Five take some damage. And by damage I mean Namor ends up shattered like Anderson Cooper's dreams of ever being invited to Pat Robertson's birthday party. It's a rather graphic scene, but considering what the Phoenix Five did to Vision and Hawkeye it's fairly appropriate. And once again, all you Decimation haters out there can rest easy. Namor doesn't die. He's got the fucking Phoenix! Unless your name is Jean Grey, you don't die when you've got the Phoenix and last I checked Wolverine doesn't secretly fantasize about boning Namor outside of slash fanfiction.
Needless to say when the Avengers retreat, Namor is more than a little upset. He doesn't bother hiding how pissed he is that he got "Disassembled" (pause for a moment for Avengers fans to stop throwing up), but Cyclops tells him to cool his jets and try to think happy thoughts like Emma and Sue Richards naked and covered in honey. Cyclops sticks to his "Let's not be the assholes and start killing here" mentality. He believes the X-men are winning. Namor thinks this kind of winning only exists in Charlie Sheen's head. He points out to Cyclops that he knows how to lead a team, but he doesn't know shit about being a ruler. And he's right. The events of Schism show that in terms of being a ruler of a country, he might as well share a bunk bed with George W. Bush.
This leads to a rather ominous scene where Namor storms off in anger and Emma Frost's follows him, presumably checking out his ass every step of the way. She reveals that she actually agrees with Namor. For once, Cyclops's penis isn't enough to convince Emma that he's doing the right thing. So she not only tells him that she knows where to find the Avengers, she tells him she didn't tell Cyclops. And further shrivel the X-leader's balls, she kisses Namor. Now normally this is my queue to go on another rant about how Marvel doesn't do shit with the Cyclops/Emma/Namor affair, but this time it actually feels as though it's more than just an easily glossed over gimmick for the 50 Shades of Grey crowd. Given their situation, the whole relationship between Cyclops and Emma is actually in question. While I still believe it's fairly likely that this event will end with these two swapping spit and having the kind of make-up sex that porn companies only wish they could film, it's nice to actually have the tension feel real for once.
On Wakanda, the Avengers are still laying low. Tony is actually able to make a discovery this time. During the battle, he uncovers that there's a link between the Scarlet Witch and the Phoenix Force. Their powers are linked and that could be key to stopping it. In addition, Iron Fist tells Tony about K'un L'un and insists that he take Hope there to train her in anticipation of regaining the Phoenix. So it does actually link up with the shit that went on in Wolverine and the X-men. Unfortunately for the rest of the Avengers, though, Namor and Emma show up at Wakanda with an entire fucking tsunami at their back. Even if Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on the planet, all the technology in the world won't do shit against a pissed off Namor that's been pussy whipped by Emma Frost.
Once again, Scott Summers has underestimated the extent to which egotistical douche-bags that want to bone his girl will fuck with him when he's trying to pursue a seemingly righteous vision. It's like he lost all the lessons he ever learned from Schism in the recesses of Emma Frost's pussy, amongst other things. Yet what's remarkable here is that Namor, while still a douche, is not wrong. The big theme to this issue wasn't just showing how fucked the Avengers are. It was to show that the vision for the Phoenix Five is now stating to fragment. Cyclops lead the charge from the beginning, but now all that utopian idealism is being lost along with his girl to Namor's regal charm. While I've often felt that the Cyclops/Emma/Namor triangle has been horribly underplayed in the X-books because Marvel has shown a ridiculous propensity to make Cyclops and Emma seem about as deep as a porno, this was the first time it actually felt like their relationship as strained and not just because of the appeal of Namor's penis.
Act 2 of Avengers vs. X-men is shaping up to be awesome on an entirely different level compared to Act 1. Whereas Act 1 was basically a worldwide cage match minus the ring girls throwing out free porno, Act 2 is basically the underdog Avengers trying to survive against the cosmic powered X-men. While it has come together nicely for the most part, Act 2 has been a bit less coherent compared to Act 1. The events of this issue didn't sync up as well with some of the tie ins such as Wolverine and the X-men #12. In other tie-ins it was already established that Hope was in K'un L'un with Iron Fist, but now they're just getting there? Is this an extended recap or did I smoke too much weed again to kill my short-term memory? In addition, Hope Summers's portrayal has been more inconsistent than Mitt Romney's stance on health care. In one act she's this overly bratty teenage bitch looking to hook up with this cosmic power. In Act 2 she's just this innocent little girl trying to save her friends. I'm sorry, but when you're a Jean Grey rip-off you don't get to play the innocence card.
Even as announcements about the post AvX world start to leak to the media, Avengers vs. X-men is still shaping up to be a pretty awesome event. This issue, while not the best, definitely moved the story along and set the stage for some compelling drama moving forward. The plot with Cyclops, Emma, and Namor promises to have hearts strained and panties soaked. The Phoenix Five are set to become undone and even with cosmic power, they still can't overcome the draw of two men wanting to bone the same women. It's a compelling theme for a cosmic story that earns Avengers vs. X-men #7 a 4.5 out of 5. Fuck Team Edward and Team Jacob! All you Twilight folks out there that still masturbate to X-rated fanfiction need to put that sexual frustration behind Team Cyclops and Team Namor! So much more is at stake aside from the surgically enhanced rack of Emma Frost, but I guess the fate of the world is a close second. Nuff said!