Wednesday, November 14, 2012
All New X-men #1 - All New World of Awesome
It's finally here! It's been teased at, discussed, spoiled, and picked apart more than Barack Obama's birth certificate. But it's finally here. All New X-men #1, a new series meant to symbolize a new era of X-men comics while simultaneously shutting up angry Jean Grey fans, is here. Now why would I be reviewing this comic at this point? It can't just because I'm a stoned and I'm out of Cheetos. It can't be because I didn't do enough drunken commentary on all the previews that were leaked over the past month either. But perhaps a better question is do you, my fine readers, give a shit about my reasons for doing this review? Or do you just want to see me get drunk, post some pretty pictures, and tell you whether or not this comic is as awesome as we've been led to believe? I may not be psychic, but I did take a hit of LSD last night before I passed out so I'm pretty sure I know what you, my wonderful readers, want me to do.
All New X-men has been by far one of the most talked about X-books of the Marvel NOW! relaunch and for a very simple reason. I'll give you a hint. She has red hair, green eyes, and is NOT named Hope Summers. Way back when Avengers vs. X-men was still actually decent, Marvel revealed that they had finally gotten tired of jerking off to angry letters from Jean Grey fans demanding that she be brought back and that Hope Summers have her ass scoped by the Ultimate Nullifier. But instead of just doing the typical Phoenix resurrection (and let's face it, that shit has been done before and exploited more than Honey Boo Boo) Marvel wanted to get back to basics with Jean Grey. To hell with the whole I-can't-control-the-Phoenix or the I-can't-decide-if-I-would-rather-fuck-Wolverine-or-Cyclops stories! Let's just get back to the young Jean Grey that would eventually become the woman who fans would fall in love with and who Wolverine's penis will never get over.
The logic is admirable, but it also comes off as downright lazy. It's like some of the writers at Marvel whined, "But I don't wanna write about all the ramifications of Jean's history with the Phoenix or the guys she wants to bone! That's hard!" And eventually, the editors said, "Fuck it, we'll just do time travel." I'm pretty sure a deal with Mephisto was part of the original plan, but since that shit didn't go over well in Spider-Man they need to go with something that's only slightly less contrived. Now I have my share of problems with time travel. Ever since I saw Back to the Future and thought, "Why the fuck did Doc require his time machine run partially on gas?" I've had mixed feelings. But it still promises to bring Jean Grey and the whole Original Five into a world that Avengers vs. X-men fucked up in ways more extreme than German prison porn.
Now there are a lot of ways this series could go. This book also marks Brian Michael Bendis shifting gears from Avengers to the X-books. He's replacing a writer in Kieron Gillen who endeared himself to my fanboy heart in ways that would require I buy him 100 lap dances from 100 different Swedish supermodels. Gillen set the bar pretty high by taking Cyclops and the Extinction Team in a bold direction. And his style is quite different from Bendis, who basically wrote a superhero book that had a very different set of circumstances. His work on the Avengers was mixed. He was like the third Manning brother of Avengers comics and he's coming over to the X-men with a lot to work with. Can he succeed on the same level as Kieron Gillen? Well that depends entirely on whether or not he can make time travel slightly more palatable than a deal with Mephisto. Given that he now has Jean Grey to work with, that shouldn't be too much to ask.
All New X-men #1 gets things rolling by attempting to have Beast do something that doesn't make him come off as a complete douche-bag. It's not just a hard task. It's an impossible task. This was the asshole who basically gave the finger to Cyclops before he got drunk on Phoenix Force, claiming moral superiority because he never kept a secret. But wait...now he's keeping a secret himself? Thus making him a bigger hypocrite and a bigger douche-bag by default? If any part of this surprises anyone, go to a doctor immediately. You likely have a tumor in the reasoning portion of your brain.
But to his credit, this secret is more serious than merely claiming moral high ground against a guy who ended up being right all along. It turns out Beast is dying and not from being an asshole or a breeding ground for pubic lice. Having been fucked over by his mutation before, which turned him into the lovable overgrown cookie monster we know now, his mutation is fucking him over again and now he's dying. But rather than actually tell his friends so they can help him or at least give him some unbiased and non-douchy advice, he decides to keep it a secret so he has an excuse to do some insanely reckless shit. I'm pretty sure if hypocrisy was an overpriced hooker, Beast would be banging her until his dick fell off.
But enough about Beast and his feeble attempts to not be a douche. All New X-men is all about a bigger world where mutants are no longer dying off faster than Glenn Beck's credibility. Because Cyclops was right and the Avengers finally got out of their own fucking way, new mutants are emerging all over the world. To date, the X-books haven't really explored these new mutants. Well in this all new world, we get to meet our first lucky/unlucky genetic abomination!
Her name is Eva, an attractive young lady who likes to wear her skirt really high, enjoys partying in Australian night clubs, and has an overprotective brother who will beat the shit out of any guy whose dick so much as twitches in her presence. She and a friend are just for a night of casual decadence. Eva is hopping to secure the seminal fluids of a guy she's been eying, but then that overprotective brother I mentioned shows up to perform an impromptu castration. It causes the kind of scene you only find in a domestic dispute with Chris Brown, which ends in Eva's mutant powers activating. At first it's unclear what it does, but it effectively freezes everyone where they stand in a fancy light show that you only see at a planetarium on an acid trip.
She's understandably confused, but she quickly gets an explanation from Cyclops and his Extinction Team. Fresh out of jail, he reaches out to her along with Magneto and Emma Frost to explain that she's a mutant with time displacement abilities. Wait...back the fuck up. Emma Frost is now on the team? When the fuck did she suck enough dicks to get paroled? We saw in Avengers vs. X-men Consequences that Cyclops and Emma were in jail. But Cyclops broke out. It was a big moment at the end of the mini, but there was absolutely no indication that Emma Frost broke out or was freed. Maybe that shit happens in another book, but for some reason she's with Cyclops and Magneto and carrying on as if she didn't have to live without high heels and push-up bras for a while. Did I miss something or am I just more drunk than usual?
Unfortunately, I'm sober enough to pick this out and it is a pretty glaring flaw in the overly malleable comic book logic department. It may be a let's-not-and-say-we-did moment because all Emma Frost does is show that prison didn't do a way with her crass attitude as she explains to Eva that she's fucked up time in ways that would make her overprotective brother's head explode. She's created this odd bubble of displaced time that has frozen everyone in place. From the outside, 20 hours have passed and the police are pissed because at some point I guess Australia made it a law to fuck with the space-time continuum. But they reach out to her and offer help. Cyclops actually comes off as pretty sincere her in saying he's fucked a lot of shit up and wants to atone for it. Moreover, he wants to help Eva fix what she's fucked up. It doesn't take much convincing when her little time bubble breaks and she's got a lot of angry men pointing guns at her head.
This incident leads to a very public spectacle on the scale of three Kardashian sex tapes where Cyclops, Magneto, and mysteriously paroled Emma Frost beat up the authorities to protect Eva. They don't try to be diplomatic about it either. They just start beating the shit out of authorities and smile for the cameras. And other less violent X-men such as Storm, Iceman, and Kitty Pryde have a problem with that. Wait...didn't Storm also beat the shit out of her husband in Avenges vs. X-men? Okay, bad example. But none-the-less, they do see the broadcast and they are understandably upset that Cyclops has taken on much more aggressive tactics. They call him a mutant revolutionary and for Iceman, who has known Cyclops for a long time, that shit hurts.
But Cyclops and his Extinction Team aren't done making public spectacles that make the anti-mutant crowd shit their pants. We meet another new mutant, Christopher, who has a far less destructive power. He can heal people just by touching them, like a cross between Elixir and Barack Obama. I'll give Opera a moment to stop swooning. But for reasons that I can only attribute to the horribly inept and underfunded police force at Ann Arbor Michigan, they arrested him. He just explained that he healed someone and they treat him as a criminal. Because apparently that shit was cook back during Jesus's time, but not in a world where pharmaceutical companies spend billions blowing politicians. Cyclops and his team make a very destructive entrance yet again and save Christopher from being forced to spend his days healing bloody assholes in jail.
But in addition to the rescue, there's also a very powerful moment where Cyclops stares down a camera and essentially gives a new version of the finger to the world. We saw this in one of the spoiled previews, but now we have a Mel Gibson style speech to go along with it. He essentially tells mutants to not like humanity fuck with them. He calls his new team X-men and not some evil mutant liberator type crap. He just wants to make sure mutants enjoy the same freedoms as humans, even if that means roughing up a few humans. I'm not sure how much sense that makes, but it clearly establishes Cyclops's new position in Marvel NOW!
Needless to say, his former teammates at the Jean Grey Institute have a big problem with Cyclops's position, particularly the whole roughing-up-humanity part. They're all just appalled that Cyclops would be so militant after they let the Avengers throw his ass in jail. Because people who go to jail NEVER come out more violent, do they? Well whatever the case, they mull over how to deal with this. If they fight Cyclops, it's just another heroes vs. heroes battle and we already saw how much that shit sucks with Avengers vs. X-men. If they do nothing, Cyclops is free to piss off humanity as much as he wants and given how good he is at that it's only a matter of time before every last human is on their knees and sucking the dicks of anyone who has enough killer robots to stop them. It's here where Iceman makes the ominous remark that Cyclops's younger self would hate what he's become. Beast, who is still dying and still a douche-bag, hears this and gets an idea in that twisted mind of is.
We go back to the past and catch up with the Original Five before the bullshit surrounding Avengers vs. X-men, the Phoenix, and Cyclops being a revolutionary asshole. But apparently it wasn't before Beast was such an asshole because he essentially yells at Cyclops while he's writing a love letter to Jean Grey, complaining that humans are assholes and he's sick of pretending they'll stop being assholes. He basically sounds like the kind of guy that future Cyclops would have a beer with. I'm not sure if this is ironic, pathetic, or an ominous sign of things to come. But it establishes that one moment where the Original Five X-men are early in their superhero career, but have enough experience to understand that humans can be remarkably huge assholes.
It's just as Hank is about to give Cyclops the finger and storm off (where have we seen that shit before?) when they get a visit from future Beast. But wait...back up again! First Emma Frost is paroled and now Beast has a time machine? When the fuck did that happen? I had to smoke a few joints and re-read the previous pages. But there's no indication that Beast had a time machine nor decided that this specific point in time was the best place to go rather than something a big more recent (Jean Grey dying a second time and Wanda going crazy might have been more productive). Yet somehow he's able to show up at this moment in the X-men's history and keep the space time continuum intact? Fuck, if he was in Australia like Eva, the police would have a standing kill order on his ass.
The details behind the time travel are flat out ignored, but the outcome is essentially what it needs to be. It has Beast telling the original X-men that the future is fucked and they need to come with him to unfuck it. He says Cyclops is about to commit mutant genocide, yet I checked a dictionary recently. And there's nothing in the definition of genocide that involves saving innocent mutants from being arrested and attacking the assholes who like to fuck with mutants for no reason. Maybe Beast's illness has caused him to forget the definition of certain words. I hate to think that he may now think that peace involves taking a shit. But it sets the stage for the Original Five to return to the future and for the space time continuum to become more fucked up in the most awesome of ways.
So in the grand scheme of things, what can we say is "All New" about All New X-men? The issue is basically a new beginning for the X-men in the sense that it's a new status quo. It establishes Cyclops as a mutant revolutionary and the Jean Grey Institute thumb-up-our-asses pacifists. It's definitely not something that's been done before. But is it really that new? X-men vs. mutant revolutionaries? I say fuck no. It's just a more reasonable and less buzz-worthy concept than X-men vs. Avengers. Both sides have a point, but unlike Avengers vs. X-men that point actually makes sense.
After Avengers vs. X-men sucked donkey cock, I've developed a new appreciation for comics and stories in general that make sense. And in a purely thematic sense, All New X-men #1 makes perfect sense. Bendis establishes the two opposing sides and explains what they have to work with. What's lacking, however, is the finer details. And they're not trivial details either. Like how the fuck did Emma Frost break out of jail? And how the fuck did Beast get his hands on a time machine? Moreover, why the fuck would he pick this one part of X-men history instead the many others? Like maybe going back to that point when Wanda Maximoff lost her fucking mind and committed the genocide that drove Cyclops to his current actions anyhow? I'm not sure Bendis is even going to try and explain that shit. That's not to say there's a logic towards seeking out the Original Five to talk some sense into Cyclops. But unless he had few options, that would be like flying to Bankok for a happy ending massage despite having a neighbor across the street who will give a guy a blowjob for a free beer.
There were a lot of elements missing from this issue. They may be explained in other issues, but for this one in particular it seemed to be getting ahead of itself. It's like putting a condom on your dick before your hard. It doesn't exactly function the way you want. However, Bendis made great use of the elements he did focus on. This issue more than anything established Cyclops's new mission while taking an in depth view at the new mutants that are emerging throughout the world. Two of them already have names, Christopher and Eva. They each had their powers manifest in ways that got them into trouble and they each had to be saved by the X-men. It's a very old yet classic type of X-men storytelling. In that sense it's hardly new, but Bendis finds a way to make it compelling and awesome.
All New X-men #1 is one of the most hyped up books in the Marvel NOW! relaunch. It promises to do so much and it succeeds to a degree. It brings the Original Five into the picture, albeit at the tend, and establishes a new struggle for the X-men in the post-Avengers vs. X-men world. Seeing new mutants and exploring this new Cyclops is like that first hit of crack in that it makes your teeth itch and you start trembling for more. Okay, so the teeth itching is probably just me, but you get the idea. However, the abundance of blanks and the lack of details with which to fill them keep this book from feeling complete. So I give All New X-men #1 a 3.5 out of 5. It's a new battle and Jean Grey is actually going to be part of it. It's an exciting time to be an X-man fan. The way Bendis is setting everything up, you'll either have multiple orgasms or your soul will be crushed. Both my dick and my soul are ready so with that in mind, out with the old and in with the All New! Nuff said!