Saturday, July 14, 2012
Uncanny X-Force #27 - Blood Soaked Shape-Shifting Awesome
In nearly every superhero comic, the heroes have to endure some pretty fucked up shit on their way to teaching readers valuable life lessons about power, responsibility, and sharing. Then there are some superhero comics whose only lessons involve how to slice off a guys face and still bang a hot Asian chick in the same week. Uncanny X-Force has never tried to follow the standard mold of a superhero comic. Rick Remender seems to get a perverse pleasure in taking certain X-men and making them look as heroic as an Eminem song. There's killing, stabbing, lying, sex, and all on the same fucking page at times. In many ways that's part of the charm of this series. It's dark, it's crude, it's violent, and it's fucking awesome.
Beyond the excessively glorious violence, Uncanny X-Force has also been a compelling and well-organized story. It's not enough to just have X-men butcher the Apocalypses and Omega Reds of the world. There has to be a solid story behind it and Rick Remender has ensured that this story unfolds as beautifully as a hookers legs on a bed covered in chocolate. It's followed the emotionally gripping story of characters like Psylocke and Fantomex's burning desire to bone her. That desire finally got his ass in trouble in Uncanny X-Force #26 when Mystique used his penis against him. All this took place when a new mercenary group known as the Omega Clan opened a business that specialized in creating assassins specifically made to utterly despise their targets with the same tenacity as Pat Robertson at a gay pride parade. It's led to Wolverine and AOA Nightcrawler getting royally fucked up while Fantomex and Psylocke have their hearts and genitals strained. It makes for a devious threat that definitely meets the high standards of Uncanny X-Force's level of fucked upedness.
Uncanny X-Force #27 gets the blood flowing to all the right places by putting Fantomex against a bra-and-panties bearing Mystique. In the previous issue, Mystique set the stage for Fantomex's beating by impersonating Psylocke and boning him before kicking his ass. It's not enough for her to just torment her enemies. She has to play with their emotions and their dicks as well. But if the last thing you see before checking out is Mystique in her underwear after bumping uglies, I'd say that's a damn fine way to go. Fantomex is in a position to check out with that wonderful image, but then Mystique reveals that Psylocke was in the process of being tormented as well. Even though Fantomex just fucked someone who took Psycloke's appearance, his dick still compels him to save her. Never mind that Mystique revealed that she poisoned him, probably by hiding something in her snatch while they were humping. Again, if you had to explain to God how you died, that's one worth strutting a bit. But that's not enough for Fantomex. After fighting off Mystique, he prepares to go after Psylocke.
But Fantomex and Psylocke aren't the only targets. In the previous issue, some of the students from the Jean Grey Institute went on a little field trip to Genosha for a little lesson on how fucked mutants have been in recent times. Along the way Genesis, the Kid Apocalypse who thinks he's lived the life of Superman, endures his usual bullying from Kid Gladiator. Granted, Kid Gladiator treats everyone like shit, but when someone has a history of becoming a megalomaniac mutant tyrant I think a little shit is warranted. However, the shit gets a bit too stinky when Sabretooth shows up to abduct Genesis. While Kid Gladiator tries to subdue him, AOA Blob subdues him by sitting on him. Whereas dying by an underwear clad Mystique is an awesome way to go, being sat on by Blob is the complete opposite. You might as well tell God you were mauled by kittens.
The abduction of Genesis goes completely unnoticed by Fantomex, who's penis is still compelling him to save Psylocke. Keep in mind he's been poisoned. EVA tells him outright that his powers are now subdued. He can't heal or use his misdirection talents either. So when he confronts Faurok, he might as well have brought wet noodle to attack a tank. Fauroke knows this and decides to fuck with him, telling him exactly where Psylocke is. In the last issue she confronted what appeared to be a healed Angel and Professor Xavier. That turned out to be just a way of psychically tormenting her. We don't get to see exactly how unfortunately. We just see that it's really fucked Psylocke up and left her more traumatized than a kid that just saw his grandmother in a bukkake video.
It feels like a missed opportunity, not seeing the psychic struggle Psylocke went through. If you read the last issue and then this one, you wouldn't see too many subtle hints as to how real or unreal that struggle was. I mean you might have guessed that the Professor Xavier and Angel that showed up were frauds because that would be more convenient than a line of blow coming with a free hooker. But if you didn't know Marvel's history of psychic mindfucks, you would be pretty fucking confused by what you see here.
Thankfully, it's a lot less ambiguous when Fantomex's old buddy from Otherworld, Faceless Man, shows up to rough him up. Since he can't use misdirection or healing anymore, he's not in a position to lose another face. It doesn't just make for a very gruesome struggle between Fantomex and a guy who looks like he spent a month in Snooki's tanning bed. It builds on a battle that was nicely established in Otherworld. Rick Remender may not have shown us Psylocke's psychic struggle, but he continues his tradition of having conflicts extend into multiple arcs. That makes it all the more satisfying as Fantomex is further tormented and he returns the favor by shoving Faceless Man's head in a toilet. He probably wishes he did it after a chicken wing eating contest, but when you look like shit to begin with I guess you don't mind tasting it.
While Faceless Man is getting a faceful of last week's chili, Fantomex tries to get Psylocke out of her mind-fuck to escape. Unfortunately, Farouk is still there and having way too much fun making a hot Asian girl cry in ways that Russian mobsters can only dream of. So in probably the least douchey thing Fantomex has done in the course of Uncanny X-Force (bearing mind this guy once shot a kid in the head), he takes off his mask with the psychic dampening plates and places it on Psylocke's head. It allows her to block out Farouk's influence, but it leaves Fantomex vulnerable. He's able to get EVA to fly Psylocke away, but Faceless Man and Farouk wheel him back in like a wounded fish and start fucking him up in ways that make cutting off a face look like a blowjob. It gets pretty gruesome, but since Fantomex is already poisoned this isn't one of those instances where he can use his fancy misdirection to toy with readers who like seeing him suffer.
Psylocke is whisked away, missing the kind of blood bath that puts the Saw movies to shame. Along the way, Psylocke pulls herself together. She finds out from EVA that Fantomex is dead. This for some reason triggers a sliver of sorrow in her. Even though this is a guy she recently fucked just to toy with him after sacrificing her ability to give a damn, she actually feels again and that adds the necessary motivation to rejoin X-Force and indulge her killer instinct once more.
Now I've gone on plenty of rants as to why the Psylocke/Fantomex coupling was more nauseating than watching animal porn with Ron Jeremy. But given Psylocke's recent emotional turmoil, it just feels wildly erratic for her to feel twisted enough to bone Fantomex for all the wrong reasons only to want to kill for all the right reasons. If the point was to make the drama between these two believable, it really didn't work. At the very least, it gave Fantomex a certain level of redemption. The same guy that shot a kid in the head sacrificed himself to save Psylocke. But given the casual manner with which he died, Marvel might as well plaster on their asses that he's going to come back soon enough just like Mystique and Sabretooth did.
When Psylocke returns, she meets up with Gateway who leads her into Cavern X. There Wolverine, Deadpool, and AOA Nightcralwer are waiting for them. Wait...weren't they both royally fucked up by the Omega Clan in the last issue? Wolverine turned into Marlon Brando and Nightcrawler turned into Bea Arthur's twat. Now they're okay again? Just like the psychic struggle with Psylocke, we really don't see what happened aside from them getting back to base and healing up. Are we just supposed to fill in the blanks? I can do that with weed, but I know others don't have that luxury so I'm left to believe it'll leave some disappointed. But in addition to Psylocke, EVA emerges as a result of Fantomex's death. She turns out to be more than just a robotic voice as well. She's actually a hot robot chick. So Fantomex dying means we get a hot robot chick? Fuck, that's a trade up if ever there was one. Unfortunately, it comes at a high price.
Shortly after Psylocke and EVA meet up with the rest of X-Force, they get a special message from Wolverine's bastard son, Daken. He's been MIA for a while, but he hasn't lost that burning desire to make his old man more miserable than drunk in withdraw in a Mormon church. In addition to awakening EVA, the death of Fantomex removed all those cozy failsafes from the Ultimaton, which had shown up in Deathlok nation as the one safeguarding the infant Genesis. Now it's more confused than a baby at a strip club and back to following it's basic programming, which is to kill all mutants. I guess that means it must have been programmed with Windows Vista. Go figure.
As a result and like most other computers that run vista, Ultimaton fucked up royally and blew up all of Cavern X in a mushroom cloud. All the while the whole thing was captured on film and watched on a live feed by Fauroke, AOA Blob, Mystique, Sabretooth, Daken, and the Omega Clan. But they aren't just watching because they need an excuse to break out their best whiskey. They're the new fucking Brotherhood of Mutants. That's right, one of the X-men's oldest adversaries is back and they just spent the last several issues fucking with the X-men's kill squad. If that's not reason enough to break out said whiskey, I don't know what is.
I've come to expect Uncanny X-Force to dazzle my senses and churn my stomach with it's unique blend of drama and brutality. But with every arc, Rick Remender has always found a way to bring something new and awesome to the table. Sometimes it's a Kid Apocalypse. Sometimes it's Mystique in her underwear. Sometimes it's a crazy villain that likes to rip the faces off his enemies. He had all that and a new Brotherhood of Mutants in this issue. He couldn't have thrown in more bonuses without including a free bag of weed with the issue.
Not only does feel like a bonus, it also feels like a natural progression of what Uncanny X-Force has done since it began. Cyclops shut down X-Force for a reason and a pretty damn good reason after Second Coming. Operating a kill squad is a lot like pissing into the wind. Some of it is bound to blow back in your face and leave a nasty taste in your mouth if you're not careful (and/or drunk). Wolverine was the one that decided to keep X-Force going and since he took over, it's been about as well-run as the accounting offices at Enron. Fantomex shot a kid. Angel became Apocalypse. Psylocke lost her ability to give a damn. It's like treating a severed arm by cutting off a foot and now those wounds have become infected. A new Brotherhood has emerged to take on X-Force and by "killing" Fantomex they've proven they can fuck with X-Force in ways that humble even a kill squad. It's also the first time a group specifically organized to oppose the X-men has emerged and Remender makes it feel more satisfying than a three-way with Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba.
If there are any flaws in Remender's brand of storytelling, it's only in the minor details. The Fantomex/Psylocke affair was one of the least appetizing parts of the story and that includes Fantomex's face getting ripped off. Then Fantomex dies and suddenly this open wound that should have scabbed over has been torn. And given the unceremonious manner in which Fantomex dies, it seems unlikely that he'll stay dead. He's not Gwen fucking Stacy. Now Marvel could carry on with the new hot robot chick in Eva and possibly have her do a lesbo scene with Psylocke. However, that would make too much sense.
Whatever flaws there may be, it doesn't prevent Uncanny X-Force #27 from being an awesome book. It may be expected from Rick Remender at this point, but considering he's in line to write some of Marvel's big relaunch titles during Marvel NOW! it's reassuring in many ways to know that his talent for creating consistent awesome will be utilized on a grand stage. This issue has everything that has made Uncanny X-Force an awesome series along with Mystique in her underwear. That earns this issue a 4.5 out of 5. Now that there's a new Brotherhood in town, hopefully that means more X-Force style carnage and more Mystique in her underwear. And if she wants to keep killing in her underwear, all I can say is you go girl! Nuff said.