Thursday, October 11, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #1 - Inconsequential Awesome
Your bullshit has consequences. That's not me talking. I'm quoting a Baltimore County judge with whom I'm on a first name basis unfortunately. I know better than most that when you do stupid shit like piss on the windshield of a cop car at four in the morning, you're going to get in trouble. Being drunk isn't an excuse. Not remembering how you woke up face down in a puddle of piss doesn't work either. You're ass is still going to be in trouble and if you're really unlucky, it's going to be the new semen repository for your cell mate.
The big difference between my drunken antics and what Cyclops did in Avengers vs. X-men is that I chose to get drunk and to accept those odd purple pills from the guy at the liquor store with a neck tattoo. Cyclops didn't choose to wield the Phoenix Force, nor did he choose to go Dark Phoenix after the entire fucking Marvel Universe ganged up on on him. That would be like someone sneaking up on me, injecting me with booze and PCP, pissing me off by insulting my mother and the size of my dick, and then letting me loose in a bar fight. Yet Cyclops has a shitty lawyer in the sense that he still ended up in jail, despite being completely right about the Phoenix saving the mutant race and being driven insane by the Avengers's bullshit. Now both his friends and his enemies hate his guts despite him being completely right on pretty much all counts. I'm not sure if that's a win, but I think that means he's not in a position to be anyone's bitch in prison.
But the consequences of Avengers vs. X-men go far beyond Cyclops. In wake of the bullshit ending that I had so much fun shitting all over, the entire Marvel universe has been affected and now it's being reshaped to make way for Marvel NOW! But as bad as Avengers vs. X-men was, it wasn't so bad that it made the Marvel universe unreadable. Hell, only one guy died and it was a character that had been MIA since he was shot in the fucking head a mere five years ago. Some characters got more screwed than others, but that's not the point. The point is the shit storm has passed and Marvel has a chance to reshape their universe for the better. And it all begins with Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #1, courtesy of Kieron Gillen. His work on Uncanny X-men #19 showed that he was one writer who didn't have his head up his ass for much of Avengers vs. X-men. So he would be in the best position to tell the story about the aftermath.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #1 begins by reminding readers of some of the good that Avengers vs. X-men accomplished. Hell, one of the only notable gems things that came out of this shit mine was that it finally ended the pathetically contrived Storm/Black Panther marriage. This was one relationship that even Jerry Springer would call trashy out of the sheer circumstance surrounding it (or lack thereof). We find out that Black Panther still has some bitter feelings about their annulment because when the X-men fly to Wakanda to offer help, he shoots at them. That's only slightly less hostile than shoving divorce papers in Storm's face, but it still brings a non-alcohol induced smile to my face to see that this relationship is fucking over.
From bullshit relationships to bullshit imprisonment, Kieron Gillen also takes some time to explore how the Marvel universe is screwing over Cyclops. It's not enough they've killed his wife twice. They have to make him a criminal for doing shit that Wanda Maximoff did less than a decade ago, yet she remains free. But I've already ranted about that. This scene doesn't dwell on the bullshit reasons why Cyclops is in jail. It essentially describes the kind of prison life's in for. See, the Avengers just haven't been big enough assholes to date so they don't want to put him in a prison with other villains that have nearly destroyed the world and aren't named Wanda Maximoff. They instead put him in a new private prison, complete with advanced mutant shock collar technology and a guy who looks disturbingly similar to a George W. Bush. It's about as fucked up as it sounds and then some.
But aside from screwing Cyclops over in ways that don't yet involve prison rape, Gillen uses this to explore another important aspect of the post-Avengers vs. X-men world. With so many new mutants emerging, the world has to re-learn how to deal with them. It was all so much easier when there was less than 200 of them and they were just hanging out on an island. Now they have to worry about imprisoning them again and what better way to test their tyrannical ingenuity than testing it on the guy who nearly destroyed the world after making it into a utopia? It's bullshit, but it's pragmatic bullshit and shows that Gillen is actually putting some thought into this issue. If only Avengers vs. X-men had been that logical.
And since Avengers vs. X-men gave readers even more reasons to want to see Hope Summers horribly tortured in ways that only Todd Akin would approve of, an aftermath book wouldn't be complete without reinforcing that hatred. Now that Hope has fulfilled her destiny and helped re-power the mutant race (exactly as Cyclops predicted no less), what's left for her? What the fuck does she do? Captain America and the Scarlet Witch (who Hope punched in the nose no less), come to her to ask that very question. She basically says she wants to live a normal life. That's right. This bratty little cunt who ditched the X-men after they did everything to save her ass and didn't bat an eye when one of them was thrown in jail just wants to say "Fuck it, I'm done with this." It would be like Jesus saying, "Fuck this, I'm going to a Roman orgy." Again, you want another reason to hate Hope Summers? Well there you go. Now excuse me while I fantasize about taking a shit on her grave.
Not only that, we find out that Cable was MIA from Avengers vs. X-men because he just fucking left. After X-Sanction, he did absolutely nothing to affect Avengers vs. X-men despite having insight into the future. He left Hope a note, but all it said was "Don't come looking for me you little brat. I've had enough of your shit." Okay, so maybe it was nicer than that, but it would be completely understandable. While this feels like a complete omission, it's worth pointing out that Marvel already announced that Cable would be part of a new X-Force book and that his activity or lack thereof during Avengers vs. X-men would be explained in that book. So while it may have been glossed over here, Marvel hasn't swept that shit under the rug and called it burnt bacon.
Another issue aside from Hope being an even bigger bitch is the rest of the Extinction Team. At the end of Avengers vs. X-men, only Cyclops and Emma Frost were taken into custody. The rest of the team including Colossus, Magik, Danger, Magneto, and Namor are still unaccounted for. So the Avengers have been taking breaks from being complete assholes in the face of victory to try to hunt them down. Whether by karma or incompetence, they've failed every step of the way. There's a nice scene with Iron Man and Captain America attacking what they think is Magneto's location. But it turns out it's just another dead end. You have to assume that somewhere Magneto is watching and waving his dick at them while laughing his ass off.
Because of this inability to find the Extinction Team and the prospect of having to deal with a new mutant population, Captain America tries to get some more help out of Wolverine, who is still an embittered drunk. This is another instance where Gillen ties this book with Uncanny Avengers very nicely. It takes place after the funeral scene that was so poorly depicted, but the funeral is secondary to this scene. The main issue is Captain America trying to convince Wolverine to help the Avengers hunt down the Extinction Team. That, unfortunately, means him trying to convince Cyclops to help them. Because for some reason, Captain America thinks Cyclops can be convinced to turn on his teammates after the Avengers have treated him like shit and thrown him into a private prison whose warden has probably sucked half the dicks in Congress. He might as well try to convince Wolverine to go vegan because he says no and isn't polite about it, which helps make up for him being such a massive douche as of late...somewhat.
But there's another little twist to Captain America's visit. While discussing with Wolverine the difficulty he's been having in tracking down the Extinction Team, he mentions that he suspects someone on their side is helping them avoid capture. He just refuses to believe that the same team that shot the Phoenix with a giant gun and split it into five pieces is too incompetent to track down a bunch of wayward heroes/villains. Go figure. But Captain America points out that the longer the Extinction Team remains free, the more people are going to shit their pants over this new surge of mutants. He's not wrong even if he is an asshole, but it does open the door to another plot twist. Who could the traitor be? Who would still help Cyclops's team at this point when the Avengers have labeled him the worst human being since Hitler sodomized Doom? There isn't a hint as to who it could be, but it definitely opens the door to some intriguing stories.
The intrigue must have gotten to Wolverine because despite telling Captain America to fuck off when he asked him to talk to Cyclops, Wolverine goes behind his back and pays Cyclops a visit in jail. It's not a very jaw-dropping moment. But at least Wolverine brought beer with him so that earns him points in my book. Perhaps he's also interested in who the traitor is that's helping the Extinction Team or for all we know he is the traitor because he's finally realized what a douche he's been. But that shit would just be too awesome for Marvel to come up with. Wolverine is already pissed off at Cyclops for being able to put his penis inside Jean Grey for so long. This visit can only be another way for him to give Cyclops the finger before his cell mate does worse.
In terms of consequences, this issue wasn't so much a lesson as it was an insight into what consequences one could expect if the world were run by Donald Trump. By that I mean ex-spouses hate each others' guts and the people with power and influence determine who the true victim is. This issue expanded somewhat on what Uncanny Avengers did in that it showed how shitty Cyclops's situation has become. He went from sharing a bed with Emma Frost to sharing a jail cell and keeping his asshole clenched at all times. It also shows just how big an asshole Captain America and the Avengers are when it comes to victory. They'll give their enemies a fancy cell that doesn't involve shock collars, but when one of their hero buddies goes crazy with power and isn't named Wanda Maximoff they get sent to a private prison where shit like torture and sodomy aren't frowned upon. It makes for a lousy message and it does hurt the comic in many ways because like Uncanny Avengers it essentially ignores circumstances and double standards in the same way creationists ignore fossils.
That's not to say there weren't some good moments. One thing that this comic did that Uncanny Avengers didn't was give a sense of progression from the end of Avengers vs. X-men to the aftermath. Kieron Gillen addresses lingering issues from the event like the whereabouts of the Extinction Team, how the world is going to handle a massive influx of new mutants, and the new partnership between the X-men and the Avengers. Even though Avengers vs. X-men sucked and plenty of details were still ignored, you at least get a sense from this issue that Marvel is trying to address them as best they can. But since Avengers vs. X-men was supposed to be their best as well, that's probably not saying much.
Overall, Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #1 does partially succeed in exploring the consequences of Avengers vs. X-men. It only fails in glossing over certain plots like Cable and providing yet another reason for readers to wish Hope dies a horrible, horrible death. Everything else from the dialog to the art to the general pacing of the story is solid. It's not Kieron Gillen's best, but it is more readable and more enjoyable than Uncanny Avengers. That's still not saying much so I give this issue a 3.5 out of 5. If you're going to teach your kids about consequences, this is not the kind of issue to use as a guide. But if you're going to teach them how to follow-up a shitty story and why men like Donald Trump should never be in charge, this will do the job. Nuff said!