Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #5 - Unchanging Awesome
Getting comic book fans to agree on anything to a large degree is a lot like trying to teach evolution to Pat Roberson. You're bound to get obscenely frustrated and probably make yourself dumber in the process. But every now and then, something does unite a certain segment of comic book fans in a way you won't get outside a group of PETA supporters trying to rescue a crate of baby seals from underneath an overturned truck. Avengers vs. X-men did a lot to pit comic fans against one another. Hell, I'm convinced that if Marvel could find a way to force fans into covering their bodies in peanut butter and fighting live bears in an arena in addition to buying their comics, I'm sure they would do it. But in the end that division led to a few profound realizations amidst the terrible storytelling that no sober mind could possibly conjure. It led us all to realize that Cyclops is the man with the plan and while may be a douche that gets to regularly put his penis into the hottest telepaths in comics, he's often vindicated in the long run.
This has given rise to the whole Cyclops was right movement. Sure, the Avengers came out of Avengers vs. X-men smelling like the Virgin Mary's vagina, but that doesn't change the inescapable fact that they were dead wrong and epic dumbasses over the course of the fight. If they had their way, the Phoenix Force would have torched the whole planet (see X-Sanction if you think that's just the bias conclusion of an admitted drunk) and the entire mutant species would have been doomed. They would either have had to spend the rest of their lives sucking Cyclops's dick to apologize or just shrug their shoulders and act like even bigger assholes. But despite all the bullshit that transpired in Avengers vs. X-men, most of which the Avengers were directly responsible for, Cyclops was right about the Phoenix kick starting the mutant race. And what was his reward? He got thrown in fucking jail. That and killed Professor Xavier by accident, but fuck if that guy wasn't asking for it by taking on the Phoenix all by himself and doing everything possible to piss it off.
Avengers vs. X-men Consequences follows Cyclops and the rest of the Marvel universe as they recover, but mostly it focuses on how much Cyclops's life in prison sucks ass. In the past four issues we've seen various major players in Avengers vs. X-men make sense of this new world where mutants aren't endangered and Cyclops is a criminal for being right. At times, it's been somewhat narrow. Hell, for most of this series, you could just call it, "The shit that happens to Cyclops and the team he used to save the fucking world." I get that it's probably too much to ask to cover every corner of the Marvel universe in the aftermath of a big event in just a five-issue mini, but this mini took a critical turn at the end of the last issue.
From the beginning of this little aftermath series, Cyclops has been committed to taking full responsibility for his actions. He's allowed himself to be imprisoned, despite getting some secret help from Agent Brand at SWORD and a still at-large Magneto. He's prepared to spend the rest of his days protecting the integrity of his asshole, playing the part of a martyr for the mutant race and requesting that he be buried face down in his grave so the Avengers (and Wolverine) can kiss his ass. But then in Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #4, a very dramatic event prompted him to say, "Fuck this! There's still work to be done and my asshole isn't going to get any less vulnerable!" A newly manifested mutant, who happened to be a prisoner that Cyclops befriended, was murdered right in front of him and the guards at the prison handled it with the same urgency as Rush Limbaugh has to losing weight. Even though mutants are back from extinction, they're in a world that's determined to shank them and piss on their corpses for shits and giggles. And he just can't have that.
Avengers vs. Consequences #5, the final issue of this mini, begins with Magneto preparing to comply with the order given to him by Cyclops at the end of the previous issue. Breaking him out of jail at a time when the Avengers are supremely pissed off at him is tricky, but Magneto has just the right tools for the job and one of those tools has great tits. Danger, who was essentially relieved of her duty as prison guard on Utopia by Unit has decided to help out along with Magik, who most likely just got bored fucking with Colossus and Storm. It's their job to get Cyclops out before the Avengers and X-men team up again and reinforce each others' douche-baggery. In the Marvel universe, we call this kind of shit every other Tuesday.
Something else that happens every other Thursday is Hope Summers being an annoying little brat. I know I seem to dedicate a good chunk of my blog and a good bit of my stash of blow towards describing all the ways in which Hope is a useless Jean Grey rip-off that deserves to be utterly nullified from existence, but it's a point worth reinforcing. After deciding in the first issue of Consequences that she wanted to give a normal life a change, she once again said "Fuck it, I'm going back on that shit" in the same way she went back on the X-men when they tried to protect her ass in Avengers vs. X-men. The Avengers catch up with her, who now know that whenever Hope is left to her own devices really bad shit happens. They find out she's been looking for Cable and finding new ways to make herself come off as a bitch. Because with her there's never enough. Not much is really said here other than the Avengers are worried and they had to go to great lengths to find her. Like Hope Summers herself, this development is useless until the Avengers get word there's a prison riot going on and it doesn't involve a fucking hunger strike.
Knowing that the Avengers are probably not too keen on letting Cyclops escape, Magneto and what's left of the Extinction Team descend on the prison with the subtlety of monster truck being driven by Lindsey Lohan. Armed with Magik's teleportation powers and her Facebook friends in Limbo, she tears some holes in that prison that no sodomy joke could ever appropriately describe. It's not very flashy. Hell, they don't really break a sweat. They might as well be twiddling their thumbs and playing Angry Birds while Magik's buddies do all the work while Cyclops waits patiently for his ride.
He doesn't have to wait for very long either. He's as calm as Tom Brady in an orgy of supermodels as Magneto busts down a few walls and Danger frees him of that ridiculous helmet he's been forced to wear. There's not much in terms of resistance. We're left to assume the underpaid prison guards just started shitting themselves and ran or were so ill-equipped to handle the attack that they Magik just took them out while Magneto was waving his dick in their faces. Again, it's not very flashy and not very detailed. The focus is on freeing Cyclops, but it's not enough to just get him out of jail. Cyclops, having adopted this new fuck-the-world-and-my-old-boy-scout-image mentality, has to make a statement first.
The last issue left a significant impact on Cyclops. After finding out that one of his fellow prisoners was a mutant, befriending him, and watching him get murdered in front of his eyes, he decided that shit just can't stand. Now armed with a career supervillain, a killer robot AI with tits, and a crazy teenage mutant girl who had her soul gang-banged in Limbo he's in a position to do the very un-Christian thing and get back. He starts by taking the prisoners responsible for the mutant's death and letting Magik send them on an all-expense-paid trip to Limbo where their assholes will be ravaged in ways that no prison will ever match. Then he addresses the warden who was profiting from this shitty excuse for a prison and jerking off while mutants were murdered. He doesn't kill him. He just makes it clear that he's not going to get away with shit like this unscathed.
Now stop for a moment and listen. Do you hear that? That's the sound of every Cyclops-hater taking to the internet and bitching about how he's the new Magneto and how he's now a villain. Well in this case there's not much ambiguity. Cyclops is carrying himself as the kind of guy that would have a beer with Magneto and not favor peaceful solutions to human/mutant conflict. But in this context, it makes sense because Cyclops just witnessed in the previous issue what a new generation of mutants is facing. There are a lot of crazy assholes out there who are more inclined to kill mutants rather than embrace them. And Xavier's old philosophy of peace just isn't going to work with them. While Cyclops is pretty badass, he's not very Cyclops-like. And maybe that's the point of this scene and this series as a whole. The events of Avengers vs. X-men have created a very different Cyclops. He's not Magneto, but he's not Xavier either. He's just a guy who has a big fucking problem with people who get boners from killing mutants.
The Avengers eventually do arrive on the scene, but like Bristol Palin after a camping trip with her boyfriend they're late. Not much happens here other than cleaning up the rubble and some light head-scratching as to why Cyclops would be inclined to escape after being so thoroughly screwed over by the events of Avengers vs. X-men. It's not very exciting, but it does play up the melodrama a bit more when Wolverine finds the warden. Apparently, Cyclops had him scarred with a badass X on the face that probably won't get him laid outside a biker bar. He also gave him a letter to give to Wolverine, which essentially said, "Fuck being the better man. That's your job now you Avenger-loving, wife-stealing, hard-drinking, excessively hairy midget. Someone needs to keep mutants from being killed and it sure as hell ain't going to be use. PS: I still got to fuck Jean Grey and you didn't. Just thought I would remind you." Cyclops's words might have been a little nicer, but I think that nicely sums it up.
The implications of Cyclops escaping and reforming the Extinction Team are pretty fucking big. What's not so big...Hope Summers whining about her daddy issues when her daddy has clearly stated that off is the general direction in which he wanted her to fuck for the time being. Well after she takes a breather from running around like a drunk monkey with a boner, Cable eventually finds her. Not much is said. Hell, not much is even implied. He just tells her that it's his job to look out for her and not the other way around. She should stop being a little bitch and listen to the people that care about her. But we all know that she's not going to do that.
I'm really not sure what the point of Hope's little non-journey was in Consequences. Once again, she says she's going to do something, but changes her mind as soon as she remembers that she doesn't give a damn about the people who sacrifice for her messianic ass. She finally meets up with Cable, but what the fuck does that do other than show she's more desperate for attention than Honey Boo Boo? Avengers vs. X-men gave me and many others a nearly infinite number of reasons to despite this pissant little brat. And this mini just adds to them. While it's already been announced that Hope will be featured in the new Cable and X-Force series, this scene really doesn't do shit to indicate or even tease what her role will be. And that's probably for the better because the sooner Hope can be in the line of fire of people who want her dead, the better.
A much more important precedent is set by Cyclops and his reformed Extinction Team now. We already know from the overly spoiled previews of All New X-men that Cyclops will be on the loose and giving his old friends at the Jean Grey Institute plenty of headaches. This issue and the final scene nicely demonstrate why. Now that mutants are no longer in danger, someone has to be the asshole that fights back against the people that would want to kill them. Cyclops is ready to be that asshole with Magneto and Magik by his side. Magneto claims everything is different after the shit that went down in Avengers vs. X-men. But Cyclops says otherwise. He just asks "What has changed?" I'm pretty sure the implied response is jack shit.
It's not an unreasonable question to ask. Really, what has changed? Did the Avengers accomplish anything by throwing his ass in prison and admitting that they were assholes for not paying more attention to all the ways mutants were getting fucked? Avengers vs. X-men, while being a wondrous source of bullshit and bile, did accomplish one important change that may or may not qualify as a change. It undid the Scarlet Witch's M-Day spell so that mutants could re-populate the Earth like the Duggers in heat. But is that really a change or is that just putting shit back to the way it was? I'm too drunk to get philosophical so I won't try to rationalize it. I'll only say that this comic and this glorious little mini-series served as a nice kick in the balls for the Marvel universe. It essentially reminded them that humans still hate mutants and will jump at the chance to fuck with them, regardless of what the Avengers try to do to placate them. Cyclops knows this and rather than putting his asshole at risk and staying in jail, he decides to skip the whole suck-the-ACLU's-dick-for-a-decent-lawyer part of the justice system and parole himself. It's not just badass. Hell, this shit is necessary in a Marvel universe with a fresh influx of mutants and an abundance of humans ready to shit themselves!
It's this kind of setup that helps make Avengers vs. X-men Consequences even better than Avengers vs. X-men itself. It actually fucking tries to make sense of the fucked up circumstances you find in a comic book world where people have superpowers and people who don't have superpowers act immeasurably stupid in response. It may not sound like much, but Kieron Gillen seemed to put more effort into five issues than anyone of Marvel's big guns did when they wrote Avengers vs. X-men. While I won't say that Gillen effectively cleaned the shit stains left on the Marvel universe left by the event, I will say he left it clean enough to take future stains if necessary.
While the end of this mini was immensely satisfying for those who wanted to see how Cyclops was going to react to being screwed over on a cosmic scale in Avengers vs. X-men, it wasn't very satisfying to anyone else. Hell, this whole series could have been called "Shit that happened to Cyclops" and it would have fit perfectly. Aside from the bullshit and utterly inconsequential side-plot with Hope Summers, this series really didn't cover much of anything. It lightly touched on the rest of the Extinction Team, but just barely. Hell, some were only in a few pages before being forgotten faster than Mitt Romney's tax returns. So while the series set the stage nicely for Cyclops's team in All New X-men, it didn't do much else.
It's that narrow focus that is the biggest weakness for this book. It was supposed to be the aftermath for Avengers vs. X-men as a whole and not just Cyclops. The shit the Avengers have to deal with was ignored or forgotten. The shit with the Jean Grey Institute was barely mentioned. Hell, this series was the comic book equivalent to tunnel vision and you didn't even need to huff an obscenely unsafe volume of laughing gas. While the narrow story it focuses on is very nicely done, it leaves a fuckton of unresolved issues that don't give this issue or this series the sense of a good aftermath comic. But for succeeding in a very important way while hitting just the right level of melodrama without getting too Twilight-ish, I give Avengers vs. X-men Consequences #5 a 3.5 out of 5. Cyclops is free. His asshole is intact. He's given the finger to Wolverine and is supremely pissed off at the human race for not giving a fuck when innocent mutants are killed. Be afraid, human bigots and registered Tea Party members! Be very afraid! Nuff said!