Saturday, October 6, 2012
Uncanny X-Force #32 - Family Unfriendly Awesome
What is it about sociopaths and killers that allow them to get more pussy than every straight-A student in the history of the world? There are so many logical reasons why we should despise these asshole, yet some macabre part of us finds them compelling. It must be the same part of us that thinks Paris Hilton has talent, believes the Cleveland Browns will win the Superbowl, or can't turn away from gay midget porn. I like to think that Uncanny X-Force hasn't gone too deep into the world of sociopath killers that would win most people a two-hour special on A&E, but it's come pretty damn close.
Uncanny X-Force is the same series that started off with an arc that involved a kid getting shot in the head. Granted, that kid was creepier than sack of worms, but it was still pretty disturbing. Yet it was awesome on levels that make you sick and give you multiple orgasms at the same time. I used to think I couldn't get that sort of shit without mixing Viagra with Red Bull, but Rick Remender has proved me wrong. Uncanny X-Force has been one of the most consistently awesome and cohesive comic runs in a long time. Every issue seems to break new ground. The last issue had a naked Mystique. Okay, that's not new ground, but you still have to admit that shit is pretty awesome.
But beyond Mystique getting naked, Remender explored the intentions of the new Brotherhood of Mutants and the divisions from within. When they first showed up, they just seemed like another deranged collection of sociopaths looking to blow up their enemies. And a few issues ago, they actually did...figuratively speaking. They also abducted Genesis, who is yet another Kid Apocalypse that Fantomex tried to turn good by creating a big lie ripped off from old Superman movies. But as is often the case with lying to a kid, it came back to bite him because Shadowking revealed the truth. Now the Brotherhood is on the cusp of having their own Apocalypse and X-Force, having survived being blown up, have caught up with him.
This is where Uncanny X-Force #32 picks up. Wolverine and Psylcoke now know where the Brotherhood is keeping Genesis, courtesy of Mystique. However, they have to play catch-up because Deadpool ran out ahead of them and as we saw in the final page of the previous issue, he's looking to do his best Fantomex impersonation by putting a bullet in Genesis's head. As they're making their way to the Brotherhood's hideout (which happens to be your typical evil underwater lair), they argue over whether Deadpool will actually shoot Genesis like Fantomex. This is a guy whose sanity is more unstable than the Syrian government. Maybe he'll shoot the kid. Maybe he'll try to get him to sign up for the next season of American Idol. You just don't know with Deadpool. That's part of what makes him fun/insane.
In this instance, Deadpool's insanity trumped Fantomex's douche-baggery. While it showed at the end of Uncanny X-Force #31 him pointing a gun at Genesis's head just as Fantomex had done, he didn't pull the trigger. That's right, Deadpool is on a higher moral ground than fucking Fantomex. Genesis is still pissed off, but Deadpool still points out that Fantomex did try to save him...after boning Mystique, but then again who could blame him for that? Genesis still isn't convinced that he can trust Deadpool. Hell, I'm sure Deadpool isn't convinced he can trust Deadpool. But he doesn't get time to convince him because Daken, Blob, and the Omega Clan show up to stop him from escaping with Genesis. Deadpool tries to fight his way out with his trademark charm. He ends up getting hit by the Omega Clan and covered in tumors. But he still has a sense of humor about it. When a guy can make jokes about tumors, you know he's both awesome and insane.
Tumors aside, Deadpool still tries to put up a good fight. Only in Uncanny X-Force can you see a story about a guy being racked with tumors putting up a fight against an oversized lard-ass who looks like Rush Limbauh 30 years from now. He even manages to get the Omega Clan to share some of the tumors with Blob. With any luck, the chemo will finally help him lose some of those bloated pounds. All the while, Deadpool is still doing his demented narration, which always adds a little flare to any battle. Yeah, it's a symptom of dementia. But in comics where everyone has a personality disorder of sorts, it's no worse than anything you see from a Fox News commentator. But as good a fight that Deadpool puts up with the tumors and shit, he still gets blasted by Genesis. That's may be because Shadowking is influence him again or because his insanity didn't convince Genesis that he was not worth shooting. Or it may be a little of both. Rick Remender leaves that up in the air, as well he should.
But the battle against the X-men and Brotherhood isn't the hardest hitting moment of this comic. Not by a long shot. In case some of you blacked out worse than I did during my last trip to Tijuana, you should know that 616 Nightcrawler is dead. And Mystique didn't take it very well. Now in the last issue, she's confronted by X-Force, which includes AOA Nightcrawler. Even for an admitted sociopath, that's a pretty jarring feeling. And thankfully, Remender doesn't let this moment go to waste. AOA Nightcrawler and Mystique have a little heart-to-heart. Essentially, AOA Nightcrawler tells Mystique that he's not the good natured son she did everything to try to corrupt. He's a murdering thug who had a great relationship with his mother in AOA and is just hanging out in 616 for revenge. I think Mystique teared up a bit, but it's hard to tell with her.
It was not a moment that Remender glossed over in the slightest. He definitely played up some of the emotions here with Mystique seeing her dead son from another universe. And true to her nature, she tries to manipulate him by saying the Wolverine in this universe deserves to be maimed to death just as the Wolverine in AOA who took on Apocalypse's mantel. But even though the exchange was nicely detailed, it lacked the real impact you would expect from Mystique seeing her dead son or Nightcrawler seeing a new version of his mother. That's not to say it's poorly handled. It's just not as compelling as you wish it were.
We don't see at first if Mystique is influenced by her son or vice versa. Instead, we catch up with Wolverine and Psylocke as they make their way into the Brotherhood's lair. Wolverine makes his usual Rambo-esque entrance, crashing through the roof and attacking Sabretooth. Yeah, it's cliched. And yeah, it's still awesome. Some shit just doesn't get old. A nice battle scene unfolds that shows Wolverine taking on Sabretooth and Skinless Man. Unlike his first battle with the Omega Clan, he doesn't get turned into a walking medical marvel that would give Dr. House a boner. He's as badass as Marvel wants him to be. And even if Wolverine has been a douche in other comics lately, it's still as fun as ever to watch him kick ass.
As for Psylocke, who broke in with a bit more subtlety and in a sexier uniform, she attempts to rescue Genesis from Shadowking while Wolverine plays the part of the obnoxious asshole that starts a bar fight. She's able to get close and work her way past Blob. She's also able to make contact with Deadpool, who at this point looks like the Elephant Man's nutsack. She attempts to take on Shadowking, but Shadowking has already shown some decent psychic proficiency in mentally scarring a young boy for life. So he's more than equipped to take on Psylocke. They start doing battle on the astral plane and in addition to showing that Shadowking watched way too many Akira Kurasowa movies, he shows that he can hold own against Psylocke.
Now if you'll recall, the last issue had a big twist that I drunkenly praised. It involved Mystique getting deceived and screwed over (for the second time no less and with her clothes on for once). Well twists like that help make good comics truly awesome. For that reason, I don't expect them in every comic or every arc for that matter. However, Rick Remender is just too damn generous. He threw in yet another twist at the end of this issue and while not as shocking, it's every bit as satisfying.
Unlike last time, Mystique is doing the screwing. Unfortunately, she has her clothes on. But fortunately, it shows that she still has some level of parenting skills because she's able to convince AOA Nightcrawler that Wolverine deserves to be betrayed and stabbed in the back. And AOA Nightcrawler listens to her. You think that makes him an asshole, but considering Wolverine's recent track record of trying to murder mutant messiahs and ditching his X-men buddies for the Avengers I have a feeling that Mystique didn't have to do too much. So in the end when AOA Nightcrawler is standing over Wolverine ready to end his ass, it's not just a twist. It's a very satisfying twist. It's so satisfying that it might help to have tissues on hand. Trust me, semen stains are a bitch to clean!
I can't tell you how good it feels to be reviewing a comic that actually makes sense. After reading all the bullshit Avengers vs. X-men stories that was organized either by writers with shitty weed dealers or brain dead monkeys, it's refreshing to see Rick Remender tell a story that you can actually read sober. After reading so many other Marvel comics that have been more fucked up than a crack den in Snoop Dogg's basement, I have a new appreciation for Rick Remender's attention to detail and this issue was a case study in how to move a story forward without having to kick logic in the balls.
The conflict surrounding X-Force and the Brotherhood is as basic as it gets. The X-men (or X-whatever) fight the Brotherhood in the same way Superman fights Lex Luthor. It's as basic an X-men story you can get without throwing in minority metaphors, but the way Remender develops it is what makes this comic work. It's all about Genesis and who can influence him. Deadpool and X-Force seem to think that they can work around the whole making-his-whole-life-a-lie-ripped-off-from-Superman conflict while the Brotherhood wants to use him to fuck with people. You really do get a sense that Genesis is genuinely torn. He knows his life is a lie, but he's not ready to become the asshole he's destined to be.
But as nicely as this conflict plays out, it's the twist with Nightcrawler and Mystique that makes it extra awesome. The moment between Mystique and AOA Nightcrawler may not have had the impact it could have had, but the twist with them sneaking up on Wolverine was a great moment. It shows that Mystique still has some parenting skills despite being a runner up for world's worst parent (the reigning champ still goes the family of Honey Boo Boo). It also is a sharp reminder that AOA Nightcrawler is not the lovable Nightcrawler that died in Second Coming. He has no loyalty to Wolverine aside from his ability to grant him his vengeance. If stabbing him in the back will accomplish that, so be it and damn it if Mystique is not going to take advantage of that.
This issue was a solid, sordid, sexy story that is yet another fine addition to the Uncanny X-Force mythos. It heightens the tension surrounding the Brotherhood and X-Force while throwing in yet another satisfying twist. Some moments still lacked impact, namely the initial Nightcrawler and Mystique conversation. But in the end it still made for a truly satisfying issue that would warrant a cigarette if it came with a hooker. I give Uncanny X-Force #32 a 4.5 out of 5. See Marvel? It is possible for comics to make sense and be awesome! Try and remember that the next time you try to do some shitty crossover event. You can only go so far with stories that require a certain level of mind-altering substances to enjoy. So for the sake of my liver and the brain cells of millions of innocent fanboys, follow Rick Remender's example. Make some fucking sense already! Nuff said!