Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #2 - Prisoners of Awesome
Being in prison is a lot like being being a protologist whose office is right across the street from a gay bar. You're bound to find some pretty odd shit for some pretty fucked up reasons. There's also a major difference between being tossed in a drunk tank at the county lock-up after you've been caught pissing on the sheriff's mailbox at three in the morning and being sentanced for taking part in nearly destroying the world. The only way that could possibly suck any more would be if you actually weren't entirely responsible for nearly destroying the world and the assholes who played a much bigger role don't even get a slap on the wrist or so much as a parking ticket. That's the state Cyclops is in right now with Avengers vs. X-men. He may be guilty of a few crimes from Avengers vs. X-men, but only to the point that brain-dead American TV viewers are guilty of creating Honey Boo Boo.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences is taking the usual aftermath formula of an event and giving it ADHD. By that I mean it's taking the story from the moment the shit hits the fan to the moment when you go diving into a nearby pool to wash the fecal matter out of your eyes. Avengers vs. X-men ended with the Avengers proving that Cyclops was right all along about the Phoenix Force, but screwing him over anyway because admitting they were assholes for poking it like a drunk waving his dick at a cobra just made them feel too awkward. Now Cyclops is in jail, guilty for crimes that include saving an entire species, undoing a reality fuck from a crazy bitch that never answered for her crimes, trying to creat a global utopia, and being driven crazy by friends and allies that kept bullying your ass. I'm pretty sure those crimes are shakey even in North Korea, but I'm no lawyer. I only know the ones that get me off a drug charge on a technicality. Avengers vs. X-men Consequences has no such technicalities becuase Cyclops is in jail, the Avengers are trying to partner with the X-men, and a new mutant population is a long list of new problems that are bound to give every hero a migraine.
If that shit weren't bad enough, Captain America has been trying to round up the rest of the Extinction Team on which everyone is pinning the Phoenix debacle. To hell with blaming Tony Stark for blasting the Phoenix with his fancy needle-dick compensating gizmo that split it into five pieces in the first place. He's rich and he's well connected. He'll never spend a day in jail in the same way the head of Goldman Sachs will never spend a day in jail. But along the way, Captain America discovered that someone from the inside is helping the Extinction Team. He asked Wolverine for help in getting Cyclops to play ball with them, but he did what I would do and just drank a beer while telling him to go fuck himself. The story about Cyclops's prison life, the traitor, and beer is the crux of Avengers vs. X-men Consequences and it continues with plenty of reasons to drink.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #1 ended with Wolverine paying an impromptu visit to Cyclops in prison for reasons that aren't conjacle. Avengers vs. X-men Consquences #2 picks up with that encounter and pretty much sticks with it for the entire fucking issue. There's no flashbacks, no teleportation, and no exotic locations where dinosaurs roam free and alien bugs bite off your dick. It's takes place entirely in a prison. And unless it's the setting of a softcore cable porn series on Cinemax, it usually doesn't translate to an awesome story. But like picking up a hooker with an unusually large adams apple, I've been wrong before.
The conversation starts off fairly simple. There's the standard awkward silence you get, not unlike the silence between you and your parole officer when he catches you taking a shit in his bird bath at two in the morning. Then Wolverine goes off on this angry "fuck you" speech because Cyclops killed Xavier. In response, Cyclops calmly points out he was fucked up on Dark Phoenix just as Jean Grey was when she killed 5 billion aliens and he still wanted to fuck her. But that's not enough for Wolverine. He calls Cyclops out for just walking down this road in the first place, even though he couldn't have known it would end the way it did. I want to say that's just the beer talking, but I'm just going to assume it's Wolverine being a big douche.
Then Cyclops says it. He says the very thing that so many fans like myself have been thinking in their most sober moments after reading Avengers vs. X-men. He points out (after being imprisoned and locked in a room with a guy that tried to fuck his wife no less) that he was right. Everything he did during Avengers vs. X-men turned out to be spot on. He was right about Hope. He was right about the Phoenix. And he also points out to Wolverine that at one point he tried to kill her, which would have fucked everything and doomed the whole species if not more. So while there are plenty who still have a right to call Cyclops a douche-bag, Wolverine ain't one of them.
This scene may not have shit explode or result in a bloody brawl like Schism, but it does show something that Marvel hasn't shown much of lately. It shows they've actually read their own shit. They didn't gloss over certain details for once, namely that Cyclops was right about Hope and Wolverine was a complete asshole for trying to kill her. Those are details that Marvel has been glossing over lately more than Mitt Romney's tax returns. So for them to have Cyclops stand up on panel and say it to Wolverine's ugly ass face, that really helps make the whole Avengers vs. X-men timeline a bit less fucked up. It doesn't address everything, but at least it makes an effort. It's like a necrophiliac trying to salvage a corpse that's been burnt to a crisp. The effort entails a commitment, disturbing it may be.
But Cyclops isn't done pissing Wolverine off. He points out that him being right ensures his school will have more students and some of them may actually wear a T-shirt that says "Cyclops was right." Hell, there are people in the real world already wearing that shit! Not only that, he takes a page right out of his Schism playbook and drops a J-bomb. By that, I mean he references Jean Grey again. He tells Wolverine that since he's gone Dark Phoenix, he now understands her in a way he never will. Just as he'll understand Jean's pussy in a way he never will. That's enough to send Wolverine over the edge. He takes a page right out of a rerun from Oz (minus the prison rape) and tries to kill Cyclops on the spot. It's bad enough to be reminded that he was dead wrong. Being reminded that Cyclops now has even more of a connection with Jean Grey is just too much.
But Cyclops finds a way to fuck with Wolverine again. Wolverine figures out that Cyclops wants him to kill him. He flat out says that he would prefer Wolverine shank him than one of the prisoners who might not be so gentle with his asshole. It fucks with Wolverine in a way that all the whores in Bankok never could. Cyclops doesn't just do it to get under his skin though. He's still a tactician in addition to being an ass. He doubts anyone is going to let him live long enough to see a trial and even if he hires OJ Simpson's legal team, Captain America wouldn't stand to let him walk free. That would be like seeing a Nazi ass-rape Uncle Sam. Cyclops sacrificed pretty much everything to save the mutant race and the world. No one could blame him for wanting to check out, but Wolverine just has to be the bigger asshole and deny him.
But Wolverine doesn't just leave him along with what's left of his dignity. He points out that while Cyclops was right and he saved the mutant race, the shitty way it played out ensured that this new generation of mutants are going to have targets on their backs, heads, and assholes. When a mutant goes Dark Phoenix and tries to destroy the world, that shit makes a bad impression on an already petrified human population. It's like Mitt Romney doing a photo opp at a KKK meeting or George W. Bush pissing on the side of a mosque. People are going to be pissed and a little scared. Wolverine tries to get him to see this and asks him to help him bring in the Extinction Team. Cyclops doesn't give him anything, leaving Wolverine to finish his beer and leave before he can be pissed off by another Jean Grey reference.
At this point, the story is still entirely confined in the prison. We don't see any of the Avengers or Captain America. We don't even get any additional clues as to who the mole might be that's protecting the Extinction Team. Instead, we see Cyclops meeting up with one of his fellow inmates. He's not the inmate that tries to make newbies his bitch without a little chit chat either. Cyclops finds out that he was in prison during the whole Avengers vs. X-men shit storm and he was just one of the countless ordinary humans that suddenly became mutants. We even get a nice flashback that shows what happens when a prisoner is threatened by a guy twice his size with a shanking and an impromtu prostate exam and suddenly becomes a mutant. It's the closest this issue comes to throwing some flash and flare into the story, but it goes further than that.
To this point, the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-men has been mostly focused on the heroes and how fucked up their world is after they started bitch-slapping each other. Not much attention has been paid to the millions of new mutants who are now free to show off their powers in a world where Wanda Maximoff's reality fuck has been undone. This issue focuses on just one case and he just happens to be a guy sharing a prison cell block with Cyclops. It's one of those little details I often gush about on this blog, but it certainly helps put some badly needed perspective on the post Avengers vs. X-men world that doesn't involve Captain America ignoring what a douche he is.
The guy makes small talk with Cyclops, hoping to ask about how real Emma Frost's breasts really were. He doesn't seem too bent out of shape about being a mutant either. It's probably the most exciting thing that's happened to him since his defense attorney showed up at his trial drunk and got stuck with more years behind bars. Unfortunately, not everyone is thrilled about sharing a prison cell with mutants. That guy that tried to shank the hapless new mutant earlier isn't too happy about his asshole still being intact. Cyclops notices that they guards have gone on a rather sudden break and now they're set to become prison bitches and/or martyrs. Cyclops makes it clear that he's hoping for and expecting to be a martyr. For the sake of his asshole, he better be right.
A comic book that takes place entirely in a prison and involves mostly conversation and a slight threat of a shanking (and prison rape) shouldn't be very satisfying. Hell, this is usually the kind of comic book that should come with a warning label telling readers that this shit is just filler and nothing explodes. But damn it, this issue was still awesome. It sounds impossible, like being a hooker inside Flavor Flav's house and not coming out with an STD. But it actually happened. This issue, despite being mostly a conversation between Cyclops and Wolverine, was awesome.
Now I know there are some fans out there with shitty weed dealers that will never be too thrilled by a story that just involves two characters talking. The dialog could be written by Shakespeare themselves and they'll still bitch about there not being enough explosions. There's a case to be made by those people. I wish I could forward them to my weed dealer, but I'd rather not threaten my stash. Moreover, the excessive talking does make this comic come off as tedious if not overly narrow. It didn't deal with any other X-men or the Avengers. But the focus is part of what made this comic compelling. It actually did what probably should have been done in Avengers vs. X-men and showed that Cyclops was not only right. The assholes like Wolverine that are condemning him are fucking hypocrites for some of the shit they pulled. Wolverine wasn't quite as bad as Tony Stark, but he did try to gut the mutant messiah that ended up saving them all. In that sense he came off as the guy who should be getting shanked at the end.
While I'm glad and extremely relieved that Marvel addressed these details, it still feels a bit late in the context of the story. Like this should be part of Avengers vs. X-men #12, but Marvel just ran out of ink. So while it felt a little misplaced, it still succeeded in getting the necessary point across. It also added a nice addition at the end with the prisoner that became a mutant. It doesn't just give Cyclops a cell-mate who isn't inclined to sodomize him. It focuses on just one of the millions of new mutants who are now part of the Marvel universe. That gets right to the heart of the whole consequences concept and sets the stage for a struggle that hopefully doesn't involve too much sodomy.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences has to do a lot in order to escape the shit stains left by Avengers vs. X-men. The last issue didn't exactly go the full distance, but it helped give the Marvel universe a nudge in the right direction. This book gave it a violent shove that it desperately needed. Avengers vs. X-men still sucks, but this issue shows that the shit it bore shall fertilize a lush new garden of Marvel awesome. For that, I give Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #2 a 4 out of 5. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and clench your asshole! This comic took a trip to prison and made it awesome. Nuff said!