Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men #9 - Mounting Loss and Escalating Awesome
When I have a few bad days, I tend to take it out on oversized bottles of hard liquor and/or my dick depending on how much porn I have available. When I'm in an especially bad mood, I purposefully take a shit in a bag and purposefully throw it at things I usually enjoy like movies, comics, and Jehova's Witnesses stupid enough to knock on my door when I'm hung over. So if I sound like I'm a bit more abrasive than usual with my reviews, you know the reason. I'm still a bit hung over so be thankful that it's not possible to show the chunks I blow in between the text. I say this not only to warn my lovely readers, but because it also happens to be relevant on some levels if you can believe that.
The pages of Avengers vs. X-men have read like someone getting progressively more drunk on their 21st birthday while half their friends tell them to stop and the other half cheer them on. Those lucky drunks in the making have been the Phoenix Five...well, I guess they're the Phoenix Four now because one of them couldn't handle their Phoenix in the same way some can't handle their alcohol and they tapped out. But now that has only emboldened the four remaining Phoenix Five and like those celebrating drunks, they're even more encouraged to do more shots.
We've seen a steady shift in the Phoenix Five/Four's mission plan. They started off so noble, seeking to end all war and create a global utopia where Rick Santorum would be in an insane asylum and every hippie on the planet would be forced to shut up and take a fucking shower. But in order to gain that utopia, they've started acting like cosmic dicks. The latest issue of X-men Legacy showed how they've decided to handle the captured Avengers by throwing them into a literal slice of hell in the form of Limbo, which also happens to be Magik's old stomping ground. In Wolverine and the X-men, we see what happens when one of them gets cock blocked by an ex-lover. Like anyone with sufficient alcohol in their system, they overact and pick a fight. Yet like the idiot in the bar who can't resist taking on drunks, the Avengers continue to attack.
Avengers vs. X-men #9 is an issue where the losses continue to mount. The Avengers have basically been holding up in K'un L'un for over a week now and in the process have found many ways to get their asses kicked. One-by-one, they keep losing prisoners to the Phoenix Four. Their latest lost this time was Thor, who fell at the hands of Magik and Colossus. I imagine in the process they said "Who's worthy now, motherfucker?" But in Russian, of course. Narrating how fucked they are is Spider-Man because let's face it, when you're getting your ass kicked by people with god-like powers the best source of commentary is a guy who sold his marriage to a fucking devil. He doesn't say much other than the Avengers are wounded and they're running out of shit to throw at the Phoenix.
Now you would think the Phoenix Four would be sitting on more confidence than the Men's Olympic basketball team when they're facing Trinidad. They now have more power than before, they keep imprisoning more Avengers, and they're making the world a global utopia. Yet somehow, that shit still isn't enough. But it's not entirely out of spite. The added power does have some unfortunate side-effects. Cyclops finds this out when she visits Emma in an Ethiopian desert because what better place for a hot cosmic blond to work on her tan than Ethiopia? She tells Cyclops that now she can sense every mind on the planet. She can't filter them out and she's basically learning everybody's secrets. So that basically means she now knows what every man on the planet wants to do with her tits and ass. Even for a cosmic being, that's not a pleasant thing to deal with.
But Cyclops doesn't seem to care that much that his beautiful, cosmic girlfriend is dealing with some shit. The moment she tells him she's located Hope in K'un L'un, Cyclops bolts like a guy who just found out he impregnated Ted Nugant's daughter. It's not the most negligent thing a guy can do to his girlfriend, but it's right up there under buying her the wrong tampons. Emma actually seems to beg Cyclops to stay because she knows she can't be stopped. She even demonstrates how fucked up she is by finding some random guy who killed a mutant 17 years ago and killing him in front of his family. When there are no secrets and no subtleties, you just can't help but be painfully (and brutally) blunt.
We then take some time to revisit the other murder scene that the Phoenix visited. In the last issue, Wakanda was left completely decimated by Namor, who was desperately seeking a way to get into Emma's panties before she went too crazy. He failed miserably and left Black Panther the king of a ruined nation. So when Storm, his chosen queen, drops by to pay him a visit, he's more than a little pissed. It's one thing for a wife to root against your favorite football team during Monday Night Football. It's quite another when she sides with the guys who destroyed your whole fucking country. Storm tries to calmly tell him that she was not at all for the Phoenix destroying a country. He responds not just by ignoring her pleas, but by ANNULLING THEIR FUCKING MARRIAGE. Yes, I'm shouting when I say that because that's exactly what Black Panther does.
Now this is a monumental moment because when it comes to marriages, Black Panther and Storm rank right up there with Bristol Palin and Levi Johnson as relationships that should have ended way sooner. I can't think of many Storm or Black Panther fans that were excited about this marriage. Hell, these two barely interacted until after House of M when this elaborate love story between them was basically pulled out of the collective asses of several writers. It was a bullshit kind of love that had nowhere near the impact of a Cyclops/Jean Grey, Reed/Sue, or Peter Parker/Mary Jane. Hell Iron man and She-Hulk had more chemistry than these two. While Black Panther could easily go back on his word and they could still end up married in the end, it's a moment to savor for fans who think this marriage was a big fucking mistake to begin with.
Marital issues aside, Storm does manage to convince Black Panther to tag along with the Avengers as they stage a rescue from the Limbo prison that was introduced in the pages of X-men Legacy. They even enlist help from Professor Xavier, who has finally gotten off his uncrippled ass and decided to help out in this event. He's about several issues late to the party, but I guess being that late is only egregious when it's your girlfriend's period. They enter Limbo under the guise of a cloak so they can avoid all the horrific worm monsters that look like the nests of pubic lice infesting an Indian hooker's snatch. You know full well that this shit isn't going to last.
As soon as Magik and Colossus detect the intrusion, they pile it on the Avengers like a constipated elephant that just ingested ten barrels of laxatives. Again, it's pretty lopsided. Not only are these undermanned Avengers trying to take on two X-men armed with cosmic power, they're trying to do it within their hellish domain. They might as well try to box Ivan Drago naked in Siberia during the middle of winter. It's a battle as well depicted as any other during the course of Avengers vs. X-men. Thankfully, however, things are mixed up a bit and from an unlikely source no less.
Now I know I give Spider-Man a lot of shit on this blog. I keep making jokes about One More Day when most fans have been reasonable enough to get over it. I called his latest movie something you should only watch after sustaining heavy brain damage. But believe it or not, I still have love for the guy. He's an iconic superhero. I'll never debate that. He also has the kind of balls that not only get him regular pussy from women like Mary Jane, but also allow him to go up against two Phoenix powered X-men while the rest of the Avengers free the prisoners. The battle isn't just one sided. At one point Spider-Man looks like one of those plastic toy soldiers after you've left them in the microwave for several minutes too long. Colossus and Magik easily beat up on him. Colossus urges him to stay down while Magik encourages her brother to end his wall-crawling ass. It leads to a moment of cunning that could have made the Amazing Spider-Man movie a billion times more awesome.
Using his wit more than his webs, Spider-Man encourages more bickering between Colossus and Magik. They're already brother and sister, so you know they're going to have some animosity between them for having shared both a womb and the same pair of tits. Plus, Colossus has been a bit damaged lately after his date with Kitty Pryde turned out only slightly less disastrous than the last two Jurassic Park sequels. So when Magik tells him to embrace having the authority of a fucking cosmic being, he's going to have a problem like that. And like any older brother that's ever had an annoying sister, he's not afraid to fight back either. That's exactly what they do while Spider-Man is counting how many broken bones he has.
This results in Limbo erupting in a way that would probably give Mephisto a slight boner. The Avengers are able to escape with their friends in hand, but in the process Colossus and Magik bloody each other to a point where they each knock the Phoenix out of one another. Just as with Namor, the resulting defeat causes their Phoenix Force shred to leave them and join the remaining hosts, Cyclops and Emma. It's another powerful moment that shows the Avengers still finding a way to screw themselves even when they're victorious. The only real problem here is we don't actually see that battle. We don't get to see Colossus and Magik unleash their sibling brawl. Its' all pretty much done off-panel before the eruption. After how epic the battle in Wakanda was with the previous issue, that's pretty disappointing.
It's still hard to count this shit as a victory because now they have two more Phoenix hosts left and they're more powerful than ever. But they still got their prisoners back so despite being wounded, the Avengers are back at full strength. They should still take at least one moment to pat themselves on the back, but they don't even get a chance to do something that basic because Cyclops shows up. Since Emma told him where Hope is, he had no problem finding it now that he has some extra Phoenix power. He doesn't arrive to just throw the Avengers back in Limbo though. He just shows up to tell Hope that this whole "rubbing elbows with the enemy" phase has gotten old and she needs to come home. It still sounds like an angry parent trying to discipline a rebellious teenager, but even with a cosmic force any reasonable minded person would know that shit is a losing battle.
This was a landmark issue and not just because of the usual cosmic caliber awesome that Avengers vs. X-men has consistently delivered since the beginning. It was a landmark issue in that it finally allowed Storm fans to rejoice. At last, she's no longer bound by this ridiculously contrived sham of a marriage that is only slightly more relevant than Paulie Shore's movie career. I could several entire posts describing all the ways that Storm's marriage to Black Panther was the most bullshit relationship Marvel has ever done since they played the incest card with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in Ultimate. I'll only say that it was a marriage that never should have been done and should have been annulled before the guests had enough time to get drunk. Now Marvel could still pretty much retcon this shit and have Storm and Black Panther kiss and make up. That would be a cosmic level dick move, but at least for a moment we would have a Storm that isn't tied to this shitty excuse for a marriage.
Beyond the Storm/Black Panther part, the rest of the issue was another cunning thrill ride that tipped the balance at just the right time when it needed to be tipped. The Avengers were getting their asses handed to them with way too much ease lately. Now finally, they manage to outwit the Phoenix and free their fellow Avengers from a fate only slightly worse than having to be Tommy Lee's urologist. Plus, Spider-Man gets battered and bloodied in the process. Anyone still bitter about One More Day should love that. But even with the Avengers having freed their friends, they still have to worry about a Phoenix powered Cyclops and Emma Frost, now fully imbued with a double dose of Phoenix power. And since Emma seems to be in the process of losing her mind, that doesn't bode well for either side. Emma's vindictiveness is only matched by her bra size.
The only issue I had with this comic was that it felt a bit too condensed at times. I get that a lot happened in a short span of time, but some details were just too juicy to leave out. Like the battle between Colossus and Magik was only revealed in a flash. We didn't get one panel of them struggling against one another in an epic brother/sister battle that would only be matched by a cage fight with the Baldwin brothers. We only saw the end result. It still had plenty of flare, but it definitely left you wanting more in the same way being dragged out of a strip club with a thick wad of singles still in your pocket has you wanting more.
Avengers vs. X-men has been at it for 9 issues by now. It's already exceeded the length of Fear Itself, Secret Invasion, and House of M. Yet somehow each issue has found a way to become progressively more awesome. That shit is extremely rare in an event comic, let alone any comic. Yet somehow Marvel is pulling it off. It leaves me more excited than a crack head in a Colombian cocoa factory, but at the same time it leaves me anxious because big events have fizzled before. Fear Itself is the most recent example. It would be a billion times more tragic if this event did the same. But so far, it's measuring up like an elephant at a dick measuring contest. With three issues left, I hope it stays that way. Avengers vs. X-men #9 gets a 4.5 out of 5. The Phoenix is now inhabiting two people who have both fought each other and boned each other. It'll either make for the most epic of blood baths or the most awesome of pornos. Either way, the last few issues are sure to leave many dicks hard and many panties soaked. Nuff said!