Saturday, July 7, 2012
Uncanny X-men #15 - Cosmic Sinister Awesome
When five superheroes suddenly become imbued with cosmic power, what sort of shit do they have to fear? So many superhero stories are based around the heroes being the underdogs and like the 1980 US Olympic hockey team or the 2007 New York Giants, they overcome impossible odds to defeat a stronger opponent. People tend to fall for that shit all the time, even if it's only in sports and never against shit that might actually improve the status for some peoples' lives in this shitty world. That's part of what made the X-men so appealing. They were always the underdog, the upstart branch of human evolution that makes creationists shit bricks and incur the kind of bullying that even Dan Savage would say doesn't get better. Well thanks to the Phoenix Force, they're not the underdogs anymore. Hell, they're practically the doctor that cuts off the dog's nuts and pulls out their teeth. So what do they have to fear?
Well even the most powerful heroes have enemies. For the X-men, no matter how powerful or well-organized they get there are always some enemies tenacious enough to fuck their shit up. One that ranks in the Hall of Fame for ruining the X-men's day and being cock-smashingly cool about it is Sinister. He may not be the most imposing villain. He's not even the ugliest. Hell, I know college co-eds with daddy issues that would think he's very doable. But what he lacks in god-like power he more than makes up for with a suave cunning that I liken to a cross between James Bond and Kim Jong Ill. No matter how powerful or secure the X-men may be, Sinister will find a way to fuck with them and in the pages of Uncanny X-men he already has.
When Kieron Gillen relaunched Uncanny X-men and formulated the X-men's Extinction Team, he had Sinister as their first major villain. Since being KIA in Messiah Complex, he's been a busy mad sociopath. Now no longer content with just being one cunning asshole, he turned himself into an entire species. And after hijacking a Celestial in the first Uncanny arc, we find out that in Uncanny X-men #14 he's used that power to create his own little mock-up of Victorian England in an underground cavern complete with mercury covered top hats and taboos against showing ankles. Even for Sinister, it's a kind of madness that you can't help but be impressed by. Using Celestial power to turn yourself into your own species isn't the craziest thing I would have done (I would rather use it to end all hangovers now and forever), but it's right up there.
Uncanny X-men #15 takes what Sinister created and brings it to the doorstep of the Phoenix Five. It comes at a time when the Phoenix Five and the X-men as a whole are enjoying all the trappings of being cosmic powered beings in a world where the Avengers have become the assholes. It starts with Magneto taking a light stroll through the new Utopia mega-city that makes the old Utopia (which is basically just Asteroid M, the world he built) look like an old underfunded rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike. He meets up with Psylocke, who he's been conversing with regularly in the pages of Uncanny lately. You get the sense that with Rogue leaving Utpopia that he's in need of some replacement pussy and since Psylocke lost Angel, he's looking to swoop in and get some pity sex. I mean fuck, she gave it to Fantomex. Magneto would be a step up, but for now her panties are locked. That just talk about how far the X-men have come and you can almost see Magneto getting a boner when he talks about it. Danger shows up to remind them that they've got a meeting with the Phoenix Five, but she's still being controlled by Unit (insert dick joke here) so Sinister isn't the only looming threat they'll have to deal with. At least with Sinister, I don't have to make as many dick jokes.
But Unit isn't the only butt-ugly source of devious douche-baggery that the Phoenix Five still have to deal with. During the Fear itself event (which feels like one of those parties where you woke up with ten dicks drawn on your face at this point) Colossus became the new avatar of Cytorakk. Well now that he's hosting a portion of the Phoenix Force, you would think Cytorakk would get jealous. But surprisingly, he's more than willing to share. He actually sounds affectionate in the way a serial killer is affectionate towards his victims when he says Colossus has been his favorite avatar and the Phoenix's propensity to bring destruction can only help his desire to cause it. He may be a twisted as fucked inter-dimensional force of nature, but he's not wrong. And even when Colossus and Illyana try to fight him, they fail miserably because even with the Phoenix Force they might as well be pissing into the wind while in Cytorakk's domain.
Colossus and Magik must then attend the Extinction Team meeting knowing they got pwned by Cytorakk and will only continue helping his inter-dimensional ass. But it's probably not the most fucked up anyone has been at one of these meetings. I'm still convinced Emma Frost shows up high on Ludes half the time, but now this particular meeting is fucked up at Courtney Love levels with the presence of the Phoenix Five. I'm sure it makes Storm and Magneto feel like that kid that got lost in Miami and ended up in a male strip club. But while Hope's absence is quite glaring, they rightly point out there are other threats besides the Avengers that are more pressing. One of them has used the Phoenix to fuck with them before and it's only fitting that they use the Phoenix to fuck back. I'm pretty sure that's the plot of several pornos, but this promises to be only somewhat less messy.
The threat in question is Sinister, of course. He taunted and teased the X-men with the same casual attitude that a ten-year-old has when they take a piss on an ant hill. He's become his own species and he's got Celestial tech to boot. He also was the first one to drop the Phoenix bomb on Hope so I guess that's the equivalent to calling their mother fat for the Phoenix Five. They rightly conclude that the Avengers aren't going to hurt Hope. Sinister, however, has a history of using young redheads in ways that would automatically get someone blacklisted as a sex offender in some states. So the Phoenix Five want to take his ass off the board before he decides to stick his red-head hating dick into the mix. And armed with the Phoenix Force, that pasty faced psycho can't hide from them any more than he could hide from the IRS.
The previous issue of Uncanny X-men showed how Sinister created his own little slice of Victorian Era London. It's a charming yet exceedingly creepy world occupied by this fucked up species that must make for some horribly awkward masturbation needs has been essentially a hiding spot for Sinister. He revealed that he suspected the Phoenix's arrival in the previous issue and created this world underground to bide his time and prepare for their arrival. That and I'm sure he wanted a place where he could dress like an old world pimp and nobody would give him shit for it. When one of his fellow Sinisters reveals that the Phoenix Five are in the process of psychically hunting down their pasty white asses, Sinister Prime just sits there calmly drinking what appears to be hard liquor. I admit I would do the same if I got news some overly powerful forces were coming to end my ass.
Sinister is smart enough and cunning enough to know that he's got no chance of hiding from the Phoenix Five. He also has to realize that one of them, Cyclops, is someone he's routinely fucked with in ways that violate every article of the Geneva Convention. So he's going to have extra motivation to burn Sinister's ass with cosmic flame, let him heal, and burn him again all while fucking Emma Frost doggy style over his ravaged corpse. Even if the danger is real, he remains remarkably calm while telling his fellow Sinisters to prepare for battle. They may have the Phoenix Force, but he has his own species armed with Celestial technology. That actually sounds like a fair if not fucked up fight.
This is actually a nice little addition to the Avengers vs. X-men event because to date the Phoenix Five haven't faced many battles that they couldn't dominate. Even the Scarlet Witch could only hurt them, but not outright oppose them. She's basically the only thing keeping the Phoenix Five from frying the Avengers like a strip of bacon on an episode of Epic Meal Time. But Sinister has far more robust forces. He actually has his own little world with which to oppose the Phoenix and even if it still seems skewed, you can't help but appreciate the ambiance of such a battle. It's like an outdoor strip club near a pool at the Four Seasons. It just adds something special to something that's already awesome.
The Phoenix Five pretty much ditch Magneto and Storm back on Utopia. They make it clear that Sinister is someone only those with cosmic power can handle. I can't help but think that's a subtle way of saying "We've got cosmic power and you don't. Ha ha!" But name-calling aside, they make their way to Anchorage, Alaska (yet more proof that Sinister is trying to fuck with Cyclops) and Colossus uses that Cytorakk hard-on to dig all the way to the underground world that Sinister has ready for them. They arrive to find Sinister's devious perversion of Darwin's theories armed with Celestial technology and dressed in their finest attire. I guess David Lee Roth was right. It's not whether you win or lose. It's how good you look.
Unfortunately, we don't get to see the spectacle unfold beyond a page or two. We don't even get more than a glimpse of the Madelyne Pryror clones he has waiting in the wings. It just has the Phoenix Five arriving in Sinister's domain and that's it. The whole issue basically set up the two sides to do battle. It's a setup issue and unfortunately it's as exciting as it sounds. The premise is juicer than Jennifer Lopez's ass, but we only get a slight drop of that juice. We're stuck having to wait or take sedatives for the next issue. I'm personally leaning towards the sedatives.
The first time Sinister unleashed his twisted perversion of a species on the X-men, it was about as fair a fight as pitting a retarded ferret against Mike Tyson in his prime. The only reason Sinister didn't completely end the X-men in the first arc is because he's not that basic a villain. He's got a very different agenda and a very unique style in terms of going about it. We're not talking Lady Gaga style here, but it's close to that level of eccentricity. You get the sense that the coming battle is more evenly matched. Five Phoenix powered X-men against an entire species of Sinisters armed with Celestial technology sounds like shit that belongs on pay-per-view alongside Co-Ed lesbo porn. Sinister doesn't seem too worried about it and given all the Madelyne's he's got waiting in the wings, it's clear that he's got a plan to fuck with the Phoenix Five. The only problem is we've got to wait another two fucking weeks to see that fight.
In many ways, that is this issue's greatest flaw. It really does spend too much time setting shit up rather than unleashing the battle that was nicely built up in the previous issue. Now maybe this is a result of Gillen or the big wigs at Marvel not wanting to move too fast with this tie-in so they don't give too much away. Even so, it's still painfully apparent that this issue just set a lot of shit up. Granted, Gillen made the most of each page in this issue. He took some time to address the ongoing side-plot with Colossus and Cytorakk, which had gone completely untouched in every other tie-in. He also took some time to get the other members of the Extinction Team involved, which is a nice touch even though they really didn't do much other than show how obsolete they've become under the Phoenix Five. But given that it means Magneto having more time to get into Psylocke's panties, I don't think they mind.
Overall, this issue was a solid Kieron Gillen style issue full of his usual flare for dramatics. Sinister's presence in Uncanny continues to be one of the most entertaining and colorful of any character that Gillen has used. But as well-done as it was, it still had all the features of a setup issue. It's really hard to get too enthusiastic about it. It's like going to what you think is an all-nude strip club and only seeing bikinis. It's disappointing and your dick ends up hating you. My dick still enjoyed this issue though and convinced me that Uncanny X-men #15 deserves a 4 out of 5. The battle between the Avengers and the X-men may be getting all the press, but with the way this series has been unfolding it's clear that the battle between the X-men and Sinister will definitely be the most fucked up. How can it not when you've got a guy who is his own species with an army of Jean Grey clones NOT named Hope on his side? Nuff said!