Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #3 - Rehabilitating Awesome
I've been accused of being pretty damn arrogant in the past. I've also been accused of being forgetful. Every now and then I'll black out at a bar, wake up on the floor of my kitchen with my pants around my ankles and mustard smeared on my anus, and get a call from some random woman that claims I shaved her dog and drew dicks all over him with permanent marker. But at least when that woman shows me her dog with a giant dong drawn right over the tail, I admit that I was fucked up and someone was stupid enough to let me borrow their electric razor and a permanent marker. I don't just ignore that shit and claim it was someone who just looked as drunk as I do. I've come across one too many state troopers to know that excuse is bullshit. I make no exceptions for comic book characters either. Sure, they're fictional. But it doesn't give them an excuse to be arrogant assholes.
Anyone who saw the first Iron Man movie would never claim that Tony Stark is Mother Theresa. Hell, if arrogance was a disease, this guy would be fucking quarantined on his own moon. But he's usually pretty good at about shrugging his shoulders when he fucks up. Recovering alcoholics at least try to do that in between withdraw symptoms and insomnia. But in Avengers vs. X-men, Iron Man's arrogance took on a Freudian level of bullshit. This guy actually thought that it was a good idea to deal with a cosmic force by shooting it with a big ass gun. That would be like me saying at a bar, "Too many shots of tequila may kill me? Fuck, someone get tank! That ought to fix this shit!" Anyone who has any experience with tequila (may Galactus have mercy on your soul) knows why that shit is a bad idea.
Iron Man's so-called solution for the Phoenix Force was a bad idea for the exact same reason. Yet has anyone called him out on his shit? Fuck no! He's never even acknowledged that maybe he fucked up in causing the Phoenix Five fiasco in the first place. No one, Avengers or X-men, has even tenderized his ass for basically preventing something that ended up being the right thing after all. Hell, even he reached that conclusion in Avengers vs. X-men #12 when he conceded that the Phoenix needed to merge with Hope. But at no point did he admit he was wrong or full of shit or take any responsibility for what happened.
In the end, all that shit was lumped on Cyclops and he came out smelling the worst. Yet he was right. Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #2 nicely articulated this when he pretty much gave Wolverine the finger and proclaimed that he did the right thing while Wolverine came dangerously close to fucking everything up. He accepts responsibility for what happened to Xavier and for all the destruction. But he doesn't regret it. And why should he? He saved a whole fucking species and created a worldwide utopia. Some shit you need to apologize for. You take a piss on your buddy's boot, you fess up. But saving a species and creating a utopia? Fuck, you deserve a free blowjob from all the hookers in Vegas for that.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences has only slightly explored these details that Avengers vs. X-men shrugged off in the same way George W. Bush shrugs off illegal torture. Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #3 continues that exploration with Tony Stark as he lends a hand in rebuilding K'un L'un. But does he mention at all that it was his alcoholic ass that split the Phoenix, led to the Phoenix Five, and the destruction that followed? Fuck no! He just talks about how awesome it was to finally walk that fine line between science and magic. Because like a creationist, science is hard. It's just easier to believe in crazy shit. It helps distract you from the bullshit your guilty of that everyone else seems to have forgotten. It's a pretty worthless scene that only amounts to Iron Man saying goodbye to K'un L'un and returning to rebuild the world that he indirectly helped fuck up yet isn't in jail for.
Iron Man has it easy. All he had to do was just believe crazy magical shit. For Cyclops, all the crazy beliefs in Texas wouldn't save his ass. At the end of the previous issue, he found himself at the business end of an improvised shank made by a guy twice his size who looks only slightly less menacing than Wolverine when he's hung-over. Anyone else in that situation would probably be able to forge a diamond out of coal from their clenched asshole, but Cyclops isn't just anyone. He's fucking Cyclops! His skills go far beyond controlling his optic blasts and giving multiple orgasms to the likes of Jean Grey and Emma Frost. He can also fight. He can fight well enough to beat the shit out of a bunch of prison thugs with too much free time, no women, and poor impulse control. I'm not sure if this counts as another instance of him giving the finger to Wolverine and the Avengers, but fuck standards! I'm counting it anyways!
But Cyclops isn't the only one in jail because of the shit storm that was Avengers vs. X-men. It's barely been mentioned in a few passing speech bubbles, but Emma Frost ended up behind bars as well. Because apparently it's a crime to have cosmic power, make the world a global utopia, and look inhumanly sexy. But her situation as well as her relationships with the rest of the team have been completely ignored. Hell, she hasn't even talked to anybody with her usual wit and lurid subtext for much of the Avengers vs. X-men aftermath. Well we finally get to hear from her and I'm proud to say that one thing I learned from prison porn turned out to be true. You can masturbate to a woman in prison garb.
Being in prison still hasn't hurt Emma Frost's edge. She engages in a brief conversation with Kitty Pryde. Unfortunately, it doesn't vindicate some of my other beliefs about prison porn, but if you close your eyes and use your imagination I figure you can still masturbate to it. As expected, Emma has no remorse for what she did. She just tells Kitty, who only shows a tiny hint of sympathy, that she regrets that new mutants won't be able to learn from her. Because somehow young mutants can only learn from someone with the capacity and willingness to use her boobs as often as her mind. I'm not going to argue with it. I'll just say it's a great scene that adds some long overdue context to Emma's assessment of her situation. Some issues remain clear. The status of her relationship with Cyclops wasn't addressed, but there was a hint that she may not be inclined to let him see her naked anymore. Then again, if I had a nickle for every woman that called me stupid, I would own every cocaine factory in Columbia by now.
Her sensual grit aside, Emma Frost did bring up one important issue. There's a whole new generation of mutants emerging because of what happened in Avengers vs. X-men. We actually met one of those mutants in the previous issue. Cyclops's cell mate, whose powers manifested while he was still in prison for planning a burglary as well as Todd Akin prepares for a gynecological exam, happens to be a mutant. After seeing Cyclops beat the shit out of a bunch of prisoners with his asshole intact, he's understandably intrigued. Cyclops actually talks to him about doing something with his powers. He even refers him to Wolverine's school. Again, I'm counting that as another middle finger to Wolverine. But moreover, he further explains why he has no regrets. It's because new mutants are emerging once again that guys like this failed criminal have a chance to be something more, be it a hero or a guy who ends up going batshit and killing his mentor. It adds a greater insight into how Cyclops is coping with this new world. And it makes him all the more awesome yet he didn't have to bone Emma Frost to do it. Need I say more?
Cyclops's awesome may be undeniable, but SHIELD and the Avengers are struggling with logistics like every other government agency that ever existed. Wolverine returns from his visit with Cyclops to report that not only did he get no information from Cyclops, but he got the size of his balls reduced by more than two thirds. The Avengers and SHIELD are basically stuck at a dead end. They know someone is helping Cyclops and the Extinction Team, but they have no fucking clue how to find out. It leads Maria Hill and Captain America to question whether Wolverine really knows how loyal his team is. Being a drunk womanizer with a tendency to juggle multiple superhero teams, it's not too crazy to think that maybe someone is pulling some shit behinds his back. It's a disturbing possibility for them, but an awesome possibility for the reader.
That possibility may or may not manifest with Magik, who finally pissed her brother off enough to make him want to snap her neck if they're ever in the same time zone. There's a memory of how much I pissed off one of my old teachers by posting pictures of his gay porn career in the school cafeteria, but I'll save that for another review. After prettying must cutting ties with her brother, Magik has clearly found some other means of occupying her time. She appears to Storm at the Jean Grey Institute telling her she knows where Colossus is. Does this mean she's the one operating behind the scenes? Or does it mean Storm is? SHIELD wants to arrest Colossus as well. Yet Storm doesn't seem to be in too great a hurry. It's vague, but it's a scene that has so many possibilities and I'm not just talking about the femslash fanfiction I know some fans are going to write for this scene.
Unfortunately, there are far fewer possibilities for the little redheaded rip-off character that Avengers vs. X-men turned into the most annoyingly bratty pissant since Honey Boo Boo. Yes, I'm talking about Hope fucking Summers. I know I've given her a lot of shit on this blog, but I maintain that I don't even give her a fraction of what she deserves. Because of her Mitt Romney-style flip-flopping, the events of Avengers vs. X-men were both royally fucked up and her likability fell apart faster than downtown Detroit. This little bitch has no redeeming qualities. Yet after the events of Avengers vs. X-men where she betrayed the people who sacrificed everything for her and shrugged her shoulders when others were sent to jail for that shit, all she wanted to do was live a normal life. Yeah, well after I was found naked in ball pit, I would love to go back to a McDonald's with a play house but that shit ain't happening.
In one of the least coherent scenes of this issue, we find out that somehow Hope managed to enroll in some fancy private school that isn't the Jean Grey Institute. She's basically a school girl in a Harry Potter-like uniform pretending to be a normal girl that fucks over anyone who sacrifices for her. She muses about how much school sucks and how much fitting in sucks. Well here's a news flash you little shit, you don't need to survive an apocalyptic future to figure that out! She's whined about damn near everything else so it's no surprise when she whines about this. Unfortunately, she's not going to be a character that Marvel just sweeps under the rug like a pile of dog shit on your grandmother's living room floor. She wants to find Cable, who apparently got sick of her bratty ass and ditched her in an earlier issue. But being the little rip-off character, she can't take a fucking hint and decides to go looking for him. With any luck, she'll get shot or contract an incurable rectal itch. I'm sorry if I'm harsh, but there was no fucking explanation for how she joined this fancy school and since she's already back to defying the wishes of everyone who cares about her it felt like a pretty pointless scene.
There's much more mystery surrounding the shit Cyclops is doing while behind bars. To this point, he hasn't shown that he plans to do anything in prison other than take responsibility for his crimes and protect the integrity of his asshole. But this is Cyclops we're talking about. Not only can he beat the shit out of a bunch of prison thugs, but he can formulate a plan under any circumstance. So we find out here that Captain America was actually right for the first time since Avengers vs. X-men began in that he did know something. Using some fancy looking powder that probably isn't the kind you buy from a guy in a Grateful Dead T-shirt on a street corner, he communicates with some unknown person in the form of powder messages. Is it Magik? Is it Storm? We don't know, but Cyclops makes it clear that he doesn't want to be broken out of jail...yet. He's more valuable as a political prisoner than he is a fugitive. So he decides to stick around. Score another middle finger against Wolverine!
Whereas most of the previous issue took place entirely in a prison cell and consisted mostly of Cyclops informing Wolverine that he acted like a complete douche during Avengers vs. X-men, this issue takes a slightly broader view. It not only continues the story of Cyclops in jail, but it finally catches up with some of the other stories that were established in the first issue while addressing others that have slipped through the cracks, namely the fate of Emma Frost. It also finds a way to deepen the mystery surrounding the so-called sympathizer that's helping the Extinction Team. Cyclops may be rotting in jail, but the man always has a plan and we finally found out what he's been secretly laughing about behind everyone's back. He clearly knows more than he told Wolverine, which I guess counts as yet another instance where he upstaged that wife-seducing furball. It also indicates that the Extinction Team is still active, as Magik's little visit to Storm showed. What does it all mean? Shit if I know. I'll need to do a few bong hits to come up with a sufficiently crazy idea. Or I can wait until the next issue, whichever comes first.
But what really sets this issue apart from the previous issue is that it finally felt like the story was moving behind all the characters pissing themselves as they tried to process all the shit that happened in Avengers vs. X-men. Ever since Avengers vs. X-men #12, it seems like the only thing anybody is doing is whining about how much the world is fucked up and blaming it all on Cyclops. Some manage better than others. Then you've got a shitty rip-off bitch in Hope Summers suddenly playing the part of the cute school girl that always gets tentacle raped in anime porn. Not all of it is coherent, but it all makes sense in a way that is very refreshing.
After reading the last few issues of Avengers vs. X-men, I was starting to worry that a Marvel comic would never make sense again. I'm glad I was at least partially wrong. This issue made a clear effort to move the Marvel universe forward while still exploring the aftermath. It worked for some, but not others. In that since it's like tequila. Some people can enjoy the brain-melting power of that shit and some can't even say the word without dry heaving.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences has had to claw its way out of a pretty deep hole. It's success is basically akin to the chances the Cleveland Browns have at going to the Superbowl this year. It's not just an uphill battle. It's pretty much impossible. But after two solid issues and this issue on top of it, I can finally say that the Marvel universe is on its way to becoming coherent again. It's like that guy who goes on a week-long cocaine bender in Columbia and only finally starts remembering how many dicks he's had to suck along the way. It's incredibly disturbing, but it opens the door to rebuilding a new era of awesome. This issue did a great job in most areas in rebuilding that awesome while maintaining that fragile balance that every aftermath issue must deal with. It has some skid marks in its underwear, but it's nothing that'll get you kicked out of a public pool. For that I give Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #3 a 4 out of 5. Cyclops has a plan. Hope Summers is an annoying little brat. Wolverine is a douche. And Magik enjoys fucking with people. Take a deep breath, Marvel fans. Shit is finally getting back to normal! Nuff said!