Thursday, August 23, 2012

X-men Legacy #272 - Too Much Talking and Not Enough Awesome

When it comes to a comic book that has fucked itself like a triple-jointed nymphomaniac acrobat, I'm usually pretty forgiving. I'm no fucking Gandhi, but I am a reasonable drunk if nothing else. I'm always willing to offer a second chance, whether it's with a comic or with someone who is sincerely sorry they smoked all my weed and took a shit on my couch. Now I've yet to see a comic book ever outright apologize for shitty issues. Marvel has never shown even the slightest remorse for shit like the Clone Saga or Chuck Austin's Uncanny X-men run. DC isn't much better, who still haven't apologized for that shitty Superboy Prime continuity punch. But I'm of the opinion that the best way for a comic to make up for shitty issues is to make the next issue extra awesome.

This extra awesome is vital for a series like X-men Legacy and not just because it's one of the many titles relaunching under the Marvel NOW! initiative. Anyone who read my review of X-men Legacy #271 should still have their assholes clenched at the thought of how fucked this title has become. At the onset of the Avengers vs. X-men tie-ins, X-men Legacy was the early gold standard. Now it's standards are lower than the producers of the Jersey Shore. It's one thing to just tell a shitty story. It's quite another to take an awesome character like Rogue and essentially cast her out from the shit storm that is AvX into some crazy world where a bunch of cat-people offer to bone her (both literally and figuratively). It was quite possibly the most forgettable tie-in in the history of tie-ins. I mean how the fuck do you go from fighting cosmic forces to fending off cat people that want to bone you? There isn't a magic mushroom in the world magical enough to conjure that shit.

But I am more than willing to give X-men Legacy #272 a shot. X-men Legacy has had it's ups and downs before, but it has a history of fighting it's way back, kicking my ass, and doing it in a way that gives me a serious boner (amongst other things). Now I'm not expecting an apology from Marvel or pictures of the asshole that lost the bar fight that led to this issue (although they would be much appreciated). But I would at least expect a story that is somewhat more memorable and somehow relevant in way that can't be forgotten with a single bong hit. That may be asking a lot. Then again, this is X-men Legacy. It does have a legacy to hold up and not just in name alone.

X-men Legacy #272 picks up after the overly predictable ending in the previous issue. Actually, it picks up AFTER that overly predictable ending hinted at some action. In the phantom pages between the end of X-men Legacy #271 and the first pages of X-men Legacy #272, Rogue is subdued by the cat people's arch enemies, the Swarm. We don't get to see the struggle. We don't get to see much of anything aside from the the king of the cat people thinking this pretty girl who they offered their finest studs wasn't as good as her rack made her out to be. The only action we get is when we catch up with Rogue while she's being marched away with the Swarm while they try to influence her with their hive mind. She tries to break free, but fails without much of a battle. It's as exciting as it sounds.

If you thought it couldn't get more predictable, then clearly you have awesome weed because the first thing the Swarm does is take Rogue to their queen and the source of the hive mind. That's like giving North Korean gangsters your passport and credit card info. Shit is not going to turn out well. The queen tries force her into the Swarm's hive mind (again). And (again) she fails miserably and Rogue fights her way out. Since she doesn't have her Miss Marvel powers, there's nothing really spectacular about it. It's just a hot girl running from a pack of monsters. You can pretty much get the same shit from EVERY slasher movie ever made.

Since she's not armed with the same power as before, the Swarm subdues her (yet again). At this point, no amount of weed is enough to make you overlook the growing trend here. The queen tries (yet again) to bring Rogue into their collective hive mind. But instead of another epic struggle, we get something that different that actually ends up being more boring if you can believe that.

The queen takes Rogue into a psychic journey of sorts that's about as exciting as a staring contest between a couple of dead fish. She explains with some very shitty visuals the joys of being part of a hive mind. It's pretty much everything you hear from North Korean propaganda. Everybody is on the same team. There are no secrets. Everybody has a common goal. Nobody is better than everybody else except for some great leader who probably jerks off behind the scenes while everyone else suffers. It's not quite as vile as Nazi collectivism and to the credit of the queen, she tries to paint it as a good thing. But it's all just needlessly wordy and any reader that isn't part of a Mormon cult won't take it seriously.

Rogue responds with an equally wordy, equally predictable rebuttal. It basically amounts to "being a mindless drone sucks" and "thinking for yourself is awesome." It all sounds so nice, like something you would see in a Mitt Romney add, minus the subtle racism. But again, it's so painfully predictable and bland that you really don't even have to read it. You can just assume Rogue reads from a script of every evil empire vs. freedom loving hero story ever made and it's pretty much the same thing. Rogue doesn't say anything that stands out aside from the queen, the great leader of the hive mind, keeping secrets. They're probably not as bad as Kim Jong Ill's porno collection, but to make the queen ditch the whole "free will is overrated debate." It's probably for the best.

The queen orders the Swarm to attack Rogue and the one other Swarm that tried to corrupt her earlier, who may have overheard the queen's dirty little secret. So he/she or whatever the fuck qualifies as a gender for these things is like the guy who walked in on Sadam Hussein while he was masturbating to pictures of Hillary Clinton. He might as well not exist. The attack isn't all that spectacular. Instead of fighting back this time, Rogue just decides to play dead and allows herself and the unfortunate Swarm to fall into a canyon. Of course they survive because this comic just wasn't predictable enough I guess. If you're still awake at this point, consider yourself lucky.

After the rest of the Swarm are confident they're dead, Rogue and the now excommunicated Swarm break out. Rogue is even nice enough to completely cut his link from the hive mind. This is probably as traumatic as cutting off a teenage girl from her Facebook account. This helps reveal a secret that really shouldn't be very startling. This whole war between the cat people and the Swarm is nothing more than a theater between a couple of power-hungry monarchs. It would be a great twist if there was at least some indication that there was a mystery behind it. That shit was never even hinted at so when you find out, it has about as much impact as another sex scandal involving a gay-bashing politician and male prostitute.

So all we really find out in this debate between individualism and collectivism is that authority figures are dicks and war is just one big joke. It's almost as if Rogue was nothing more than a prop in that joke. This doesn't really feel like her journey anymore. It's a sci-fi cookie cutter story that offers nothing new or compelling. Rogue now has to stop a war between two alien races and it has absolutely nothing to do with the events of Avengers vs. X-men. If this issue was meant to rescue the series from obscurity and make up for the previous issue, it failed miserably.

When I finished reading the last issue, my first response was to bang my head against the wall and swallow copious amounts of sleeping pills. My reaction to this issue was similar, but I didn't need the sleeping pills. This issue was dull and boring enough to be a fucking Ambien commercial. Rogue was yanked out of Avengers vs. X-men and thrust into the middle of an alien war. Yet this issue made it look as though she was in the middle of a republican primary debate. It was mostly talk, a philosophical debate on the merits of collectivism vs. individualism. Of freedom vs. order. Now I'm all for philosophical debates after ingesting a certain amount of LSD, but shit like this has no place in a fucking comic book arc about an alien war. It's not like a new twist was put on this argument either. Being in a collective is boring. Being individualistic is chaotic. The connections between this and Avengers vs. X-men were more loose than the shit in an Indian public restroom. That makes this issue all the more forgettable and only half as nauseating.

At least with the previous issue, we had some funny and memorable moments. I still laugh when I recall the look on Rogue's face when she was offered to bone some of the finest studs the cat people have to offer. But this issue had no boning, no hints at boning, and embarrassing moments for Rogue. It was just her talking and getting the two opposing sides to talk. That's about as exciting as it sounds. There's not a single memorable moment or a memorable piece of dialog. You could probably take the speech of any Republican politician, minus the racist, anti-gay, and anti-woman innuendo, and paste it into Rogue's dialog here on the merits of individual free will and there won't be much difference. You would think Rogue would at least show some of her trademark sass in the face of an alien war, but we get none of that shit here.

Now I'm not giving up on X-men Legacy. I still love this series, but I'm ready for this fucking arc to be over. This issue and the previous issue were boring, forgettable, and dull. The only good thing I can say about them is that they haven't butchered any characters or done any major damage to the rest of X-men Legacy or the X-books as a whole. In that sense, it's nowhere nearly as fucked up as every Ultimate title at the moment. It's just completely useless and not worth picking up. And with no cat people dongs to save it, I can only give X-men Legacy #272 a 1.5 out of 5. It's boring. It's dull. There's really no reason for this issue or this arc to exist other than trying to subtly influence comic fans into voting Republican. In that sense, comics like this aren't just bad. They're a Republican conspiracy. Nuff said!

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