Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men #11 - Underwhelmingly Fatal
When someone takes a massive shit on your favorite meal, it's hard to keep eating. Most reasonable people push their plate away, kindly call for the manager, and ask that they kick the head chef in the balls. Unfortunately, that's not always possible. Sometimes when you're committed to eating a meal, you're forced to either eat around it or eat through it. Now why would anyone in their right mind eat shit? Well it usually follows sentences like "I'll bet you $50 bucks" and "Want a shot a tequila?" When good comic book events go bad, you don't even get the luxury of a bet or a shot of liquor. If you want to keep going, you have to eat around that shit. It'll stink to high hell, you'll want to throw up, and you'll probably get extremely sick. But unless you're a total pussy, you go through with it.
Now I'm not implying that Avengers vs. X-men #10 was akin to a tidal wave of explosive diarrhea on the overall event, but someone at Marvel was definitely doing shots of hot sauce when writing this issue. In just one issue, the entire event went from a viable conflict between two superhero teams to just another glorified monster battle. The Avengers and the X-men aren't fighting anymore. Hell, most of the X-men are on their knees preparing to suck Captain America's dick to atone for siding with Cyclops and the Phoenix Five. Because apparently siding with the same people who sought to create a worldwide utopia is something you have to apologize for. For some reason, heroes have to have the world fucked because the idea of innocent people not being in danger all the time makes them cranky.
I could do a whole blog post on how Marvel has completely fucked the concept of Avengers vs. X-men. Hell, I'm still waiting for a viable explanation as to why no one has pointed out that the Avengers were the ones responsible for the Phoenix Five in the first place. If they didn't give Tony Stark so many high tech toys and no women to distract him, the Phoenix wouldn't have been split. And when the Phoenix Five tried to make a better world by ending shit like poverty, famine, and war the Avengers thought the best solution was to blindly attack them and take the mutant messiah they fought so hard to protect. That's like beating up a hungry bear with a juicy steak and then bitching about it when the bear mauls your ass.
Then there's Hope Summers herself. If ever there was a character I was more eager to see die at the hands of the Phoenix, it's her. This pissant piece of shit ripoff character is about as likable as an infected rectal wart. First she was ready for the Phoenix. Then she wasn't. Now she claims she's ready again and only after ditching the people who sacrificed damn near everything to save her miserable rip-off ass in Second Coming in favor of the group of heroes who have no fucking experience whatsoever in dealing with the Phoenix Force and did precisely dick to come to your rescue when Bastion was trying to blow your head off. I'm usually not in favor of any character suffering needlessly in a story, but I make an exception for Hope "Jean Ripoff" Summers. May the Phoenix snap her neck and peck her fucking eyes out.
But I digress. While Avengers vs. X-men #10 sucked elephant balls, I usually give a big event one mulligan. Marvel has already promised that Avengers vs. X-men #11 will be giant sized and carry this shit forward. So like the guy who took the bet and the shot of tequila, I'm willing to eat around the shit. Avengers vs. X-men #11starts by further defeating the purpose of the title. The Avengers and X-men are gathering for one last assault on Cyclops and Emma. Because that's been working so damn well to this point, attacking the Phoenix head on. Captain America goes out of his way to enlist Hulk (the green one and not the red one) while Rogue (apparently back from her adventure with cat people dongs) meets up with Professor Xavier and the rest of the Avengers. It's yet another bullshit moment where Rogue and the X-men admit they were wrong and the readers are left wondering WTF? She was wrong for siding with the people who wanted to create a worldwide utopia? Xavier claims to love his X-men, but forgets to mention that he's been fucking MIA since House of M and done jack shit for the X-men until now. Yet nobody says a fucking word. It's like the long-snapper of the New York Giants claiming he's the reason why they won the Superbowl. It makes you want to punch the guy in the balls and shit in his mouth so he'll shut the fuck up.
As for their targets, the Phoenix powered Cyclops and Emma are in the midst of a friendly debate. By that I mean they're discussing how easy it would be to just burn the whole fucking planet to a crisp and start from scratch. Emma Frost already entertained that idea in the previous issue and now she's essentially tempting Cyclops to do the same. Then in yet another display of him NOT being an asshole with the Phoenix, he tells her to cut that shit out. It gets somewhat tense, but as we've seen before Marvel never lets shit get tense with Cyclops and Emma. Even though the cover depicts them going at it like Rick James and Tina Turner, it's no more serious than arguing over where to go to dinner for these two. And if they were going to fight, Marvel 'conveniently' ensured their favorite porno couple doesn't get the chance because that's when the Avengers show up.
But before the fighting starts, Professor Xavier tries one last time to reach Cyclops before he...I don't know, makes another worldwide utopia or something. They meet on a psychic plane where Xavier essentially tells Cyclops that he needs help. Because apparently using cosmic power to create a better world is a mental illness in his mind. Cyclops rightly points out that Xavier sat in a fucking wheelchair or was completely MIA while he was leading the X-men after M-Day. And now that he actually has created a better world he thinks he can come in and tell him he's sick? Cosmic power or no cosmic power, that's a pretty fucking retarded reason for attacking someone, let alone someone Xavier trained and is supposed to trust.
If that's not bad enough, Xavier doesn't even attempt to acknowledge how the others were responsible. He doesn't mention Iron Man being responsible for splitting the Phoenix. He doesn't mention Hope. He doesn't mention Schism. He doesn't mention how it was Namor who attacked Wakanda and Emma Frost who encouraged him. He just attacks Cyclops and only Cyclops as if he's the one jerking off behind the scenes. If Xavier was supposed to come off as a caring father figure here, Marvel failed miserably. Instead, he comes off as that asshole parent telling their gay son that he's sick and needs to put Jesus inside him instead cock.
Xavier comes off as an even bigger asshole when he brings the Avengers and X-men down to attack him. Because again, that shit has been working SO fucking well thus far. I'm shocked that at this point in the comic no one has pointed out attacking the Phoenix only seems to make shit worse. The Avengers were the one that attacked Utopia. They were the ones that attacked the Phoenix and abducted Hope. And each time, shit got worse. Captain America actually has the gall to say Cyclops is under a rest. Really? For what?! What the fuck did he do that deserves arrest? I know drug dealers and meth heads who have done way worse shit than what Cyclops has done in Avengers vs. X-men. He used his Phoenix powers to create a better world, bitch slap Sinister, and ensure the safety of mutants for generations. I've met bullshit cops that will arrest people for spitting on the sidewalk, but Captain America is a bigger asshole than all of them at this point.
The battle quickly escalates with some fancy fight scenes that show Emma getting slammed by Storm and Hulk, which is actually pretty satisfying because she was the one that argued they should just destroy the world and start from scratch. But the focus is still on Cyclops. Even Magneto turns on Cyclops because...well, it's probably for the same reason Captain America is trying to arrest Cyclops. The idea that someone may actually use this cosmic power to make a utopia for humans and mutants just doesn't sit right. He urges Cyclops to listen, but at this point what the fuck can he expect? He admits he brought Xavier to Utopia along with the Avengers, thus pissing off Cyclops even more, and expects him to listen? That's like trying to debate a creationist after they beat up your mother. I'm starting to wonder if Marvel stopped thinking shit through at this point because they just want a clearer view of Cyclops becoming an asshole.
Even Cyclops's best friends and closest teammates turn on him. Again, I can't surmise a single fucking reason why and I've read this comic both sober and stoned. Even Iceman, the Ringo Star of the X-men, just says everyone is sick of him. Why? Again, what the fuck is he doing that makes them so sick? He tried to create a global utopia for fucks sake. I know I've said that way too many times over the course of this review, but it's a point worth reinforcing. How the fuck is he the asshole here? What has he done with his power other than try to protect Hope, build a better world, and fight off the Avengers? There are plenty of opportunities within this giant sized issues for them to explain in a handful of words what he's done wrong, but they don't. It's like Iceman is just going with the flow. Everybody is acting as though Cyclops is being an asshole. No one is questioning it. They're just going with it. They're as competent as the SEC when they investigated Bernie Madoff. They don't come off as heroes in a desperate struggle. They come off as that annoying kid in Kroger that's clearly off his ADHD meds and pitching a fit for no fucking reason.
I'm still left to wonder why the Avengers haven't figured out that fighting the Phoenix only makes it more pissed. That's like trying to fight a forest fire with rocket fuel. Yet like the SEC when investigating Madoff, they choose not to try a different approach and keep pushing Cyclops. So when he finally gets pissed off enough to do something excessive, they have no excuse to look deadpanned. Yet when Cyclops decides he needs to attack his bleach blonde girlfriend and take her portion of the Phoenix Force, they actually look surprised. It would have been more surprising if he bent her over and fucked Emma just to remind them that he's awesome. But as was hinted at in the previous issue, Cyclops knew he couldn't beat the Avengers with only half a Phoenix. He needs the whole thing.
Now in another blog post, I did a quick rant on how Marvel avoids having Cyclops and Emma fight under any circumstances. The cover for this comic clearly showed them bickering just like that bullshit cover from X-men: The Confession. But this comic hasn't had any major fighting between Cyclops and Emma. It's just had a few verbal scoffs that are no more serious than the arguments I used to have with my ex-girlfriend on what we should have for dinner. But when the time does come along to wrestle away Emma's part of the Phoenix, it's pretty much glossed over. He just blasts her in mid air, grabs her, and takes the Phoenix. It may actually be a metaphor for when Bristol Palin lost her virginity, minus the shitty reality show that followed. But at the very least, it shows Cyclops defying Emma in a way he hasn't since they started swapping body fluids. It doesn't offer any hint as to whether their relationship will survive this. Unlike the Cyclops/Jean relationship, Marvel doesn't seem to give a damn about having Cyclops/Emma work through issues in a way that can't be acted out in a porno so I'm not holding my breath.
Now armed with the full Phoenix, Cyclops is poised to take down the Avengers. Again, Xavier urges him to stop. Again, I ask stop what? He and the Avengers are the ones that fucking attacked! That's like an invading army yelling at civilians to stop oppressing them as they run their asses over in tanks. Who should really be telling who to stop here? I'm not saying Cyclops isn't being an asshole for taking his girl's Phoenix Force, but just telling him to stop without at least trying not to sound like parent yelling at their kid for not flushing the toilet is bullshit. And the world's most powerful telepath is supposed to know that. So it's not too surprising when the Phoenix powered Cyclops shuts him up by killing him.
That last sentence is as boring as it sounds. That's right. Cyclops has killed Charles Xavier. On the surface that sounds like a big fucking deal. Then when you look at how Cyclops has been MIA since House of M and spent most of AvX condemning Cyclops for shit he's not responsible for, it's hard to have much sympathy for this asshole. He's lied to Cyclops. He's walked away from the X-men. He's used his powers to manipulate him. And then when Cyclops has cosmic power and actually uses it to do good, all Xavier can do is tell him he needs to stop without giving him a half-decent reason. All the while, the Avengers keep attacking and pissing him off even more. This circumstances couldn't have made this moment less surprising if it was leaked early to the New York Daily News...okay, bad example.
Killing Xavier may not shock the readers, but it certainly shocked the X-men and the Avengers. They all just stand by and look deadpanned. Even Hope, who by the way is the entire reason for the Phoenix Force being on Earth in the first place, does absolutely nothing throughout this whole fucking issue. It's like the entire issue was dedicated to pushing Cyclops into becoming so pissed off that he's become a villain. As such, he crosses that fine line from Phoenix to Dark Phoenix. It looks pretty badass and he even fries Wolverine for good measure, which is always nice since he double crossed both the X-men and the Avengers at some point in this event. But now Avengers and X-men have to deal with a fucking Dark Phoenix. The worst part of it is they have absolutely no one to blame but themselves.
When Marvel goes out of their way to kill a major character and goes through the trouble of leaking spoilers to the New York Daily News, it usually means they're killing someone they've never had the audacity to kill before. But this time, the headline might as well have been reporting that Rush Limbaugh was beaten to death by feminist militias. It's only shocking if you're too brain damaged to wipe your ass after taking a shit. The death of Charles Xavier has about as much emotional resonance as the death of Jerry Falwell did with Richard Dawkins. This guy was fucking SHOT IN THE HEAD at the end of Messiah Complex. That shit happened fairly recently. Unless Marvel thinks every reader can't remember shit from five years ago, they have to know how fucked this is. They can't honestly assume their readers are as stupid as the people who still supported President Bush's second term.
But this is what we're left with. This was supposed to be the big death and it came from a guy who has been MIA and jerking off in the background for the last five years. There was a time when Charles Xavier's name carried a lot of weight. Marvel spent nearly a decade marginalizing his ass so Cyclops and Wolverine could take charge. Killing him off at the hands of his first student, who he kept attacking for bullshit reasons mind you, isn't a tragic or heroic moment. It's only as heroic as the guy who jumps into a tank of hungry sharks covered in baby seal blood. That is to say it's not heroic at all. Marvel just threw his ass away and had Cyclops do it so that it would raise a few eyebrows. But considering what an asshole Xavier has been in condemning Cyclops for bullshit reasons, it not only lacked the impact. It made readers who remembered Xavier being shot in the head nostalgic.
Avengers vs. X-men continues to dive head first into an ocean of whale shit. This story was built around the premise of the Avengers and X-men clashing over an ideology that you could argue had merit on both sides. Now it's just character assassination on a level that can only be attained by ingesting a gallon of gasoline and a fuck ton of prescription pain pills. Marvel has officially made Cyclops the asshole after using a cosmic power to create a worldwide utopia. It takes a very potent kind of bullshit to take a character, give him vast power, have him do all sorts of good shit with this power, and then make him the fucking villain. It takes shit of an equal caliber to make the so-called good guys being the same guys that invaded someone's home, ordered them to hand over their messiah, and kept attacking them even as it became clear that it was only making shit worse. At this point, Marvel is starting to sound like they have a shit fetish and one that requires serious psychiatric help.
Avengers vs. X-men #10 was the first issue of this event that really fucked up. Now I'm usually willing to give an event a pass when just one issue fucks up, but when two issues in a row essentially bury that rusty knife deeper in the wound I have no sympathy. Avengers vs. X-men #11 took the shitty parts of Avengers vs. X-men #10 and made them even shittier. It flat out ignored Hope Summers. It had a very underwhelming death. It went to extraordinary lengths to make Cyclops the villain when he's done nothing villainous. And it did it in the most underwhelming way possible. The only saving grace was having Cyclops stand up to Emma Frost along with the awesome artwork that depicted the action. I can't say this issue is as shitty as your typical Ultimate comic, but it's within spitting distance. That's why I give Avengers vs. X-men #11 a 2 out of 5.
With All New X-men and the Original Five returning, Marvel has made sure that the X-men have been thoroughly gangbanged and disgraced. Bendis now has a world where everyone will hate Cyclops for very shitty reasons and where Xavier died only after he stopped being relevant. Like a crusted over scab, I'm ready to do a way with this shitty event and get to the part where they start retconning the fuck out of it. Nuff said!