Thursday, November 8, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #33 - Choosing the Side of Awesome

When you're a complete and utter asshole with a history of heavy drinking and trying to stick your dick in married women, you're bound to have a problem finding people you can trust. Even the biggest Wolverine fans in the world have to admit that he's a colossal douche-bag on some levels and most sane people probably wouldn't trust him to look after their cat, let alone trust him to lead a team. But that's exactly what he tasked himself with doing in Uncanny X-Force after Cyclops made it a point to disband X-Force after the events of Second Coming.

The result has been a team that has the kind of leadership that you only see when you give five stoners an unlimited supply of crystal meth, assault rifles, and bullets. But in many ways Wolverine's ineptitude as a leader has been what makes Uncanny X-Force such an epic source of awesome. Rick Remender seems to understand that Wolverine is the guy you send to stab shit and de-virginize naive women with animal fetishes. He's not the guy you want to lead a team because at some point someone is going to remember that he's a douche and turn on him.

That's exactly what happen in Uncanny X-Force #32. Wolverine is best to lead X-Force against a new Brotherhood of Mutants that's hell bent on turning their kill-first-spit-on-the-corpose-and-never-ask-questions approach against them. They already went to great lengths to abduct Genesis and expose all the bullshit lies he was fed by Fantomex which he ripped off from the first three seasons of Smallville. They survived a big ass explosion when the Brotherhood first attempted to screw them over. It seemed like they had the upper hand in locating the Brotherhood, tricking Mystique, and extracting the necessary resources from her in a completely non-sexual way. However, that meant putting her in the same room as her alternate reality son, Nightcrawler, who is dead in her world. Given that AOA Nightcrawler has come from a universe where Wolverine takes a giant shit on all that he holds dear, it doesn't take much convincing by Mystique to have AOA Nightcrawler screw Wolverine over.

Uncanny X-Force #33 has Wolverine dealing with the direct ramifications of AOA Nightcrawler's betrayal. After being knocked out, Wolverine has a rather disturbing dream. We know it's a dream because he's naked and giant heads are chasing him. In my nightmares I'm usually naked too, but I'm usually being chased by parole officers and ex-girlfriends. So it's only remotely as terrifying for Wolverine, even as he sees Cyclops take Genesis and throw him off a cliff after pointing out how much he's fucked over the world. He also has that snide grin that says "I fucked Jean Grey and you didn't" so I'm sure that can't help Wolverine's condition.

When Wolverine wakes up, he's confronted with a site that's just as horrifying as running naked from a giant mountain monster. I'm, of course, referring to his bastard pan-sexual son who takes the if-it-has-a-hole-I'll-fuck-it philosophy to the nth degree. But unlike their previous encounters, it's not dominated by a bloody brawl with a few romps a gay bar in between. Instead, it's just Wolverine tied to a chair while Daken gets drunk and calls his father out for basically being a dick father and a hypocrite. Now it's hard to call Wolverine a lousy father when he clearly didn't know about Daken until his bleached metro-sexual ass attacked him in the pages of Wolverine Origins. But oddly enough, Daken actually makes a valid point. I'll give readers a moment to digest that and throw up in the nearest trash can if necessary.

Back? Well here's what Daken so drunkingly points out. Wolverine is a born and bred killer. Killing is in his nature almost as much as trying to put his penis in married redheaded women. Yet he tries to be a hero. Then he forms teams like X-Force which essentially tries to mix killing with heroics and Daken points out that shit just doesn't make sense. And he's completely right. Unlike his dad, Daken embraces the killer role. He believes that his father is a dick and hypocrite for pretending otherwise. He also points out how he had to be a killer to survive the shitty life he was stuck with as a result of Wolverine being a deadbeat dad. It's a provocative conversation and for once Daken keeps his pants on. The only problem with it is that it's a little drawn out. It's good melodrama, but it kind of drags while other more gruesome shit is going on.

One such gruesome shit is Deadpool getting his ass kicked by a member of the Omega Clan. He doesn't have his healing anymore so he's not in a position to keep going against a brain-washed bitch that thinks he decapitated her mother (no, that's not colorful drunken metaphor because that's what she claims he did even though it's clearly the result of brainwashing). All the while, Deadpool is trying to urge Genesis to overlook the minor bit about his whole life being a lie that Fantomex ripped off from the Superman comics. The Brotherhood wants him to become the kind of twisted killer that would torture the X-men for shits and giggles and they've given him plenty of reason to do so. But Genesis, to his credit, hasn't made the Apocalyptic choice everyone is expecting...yet. He better make it soon though because Deadpool is starting to look like Rocky Balboa after ten rounds with Ivan Drago on meth.

Deadpool isn't the only one on the losing end of a battle against the new Brotherhood. In the previous issue, Psylocke attempted to take on Shadowking so at least X-Force wouldn't have to worry about being mind-raped into thinking evil rabbits were chewing on their eyeballs. For a time, anyways, she managed to hold her own in a psychic battle on the astral plane that looks like it was ripped from a Michael Bay and Peter Jackson movie. Psylocke offers some interesting narration, describing the battle as something that feels like it has been going on for decades. Think Israelis and Palestinians armed with unlimited weapons and LSD. But even though Psylocke's telepathy got an upgrade in the Dark Angel Saga, Shadowking is still a telepath that used to go toe-to-toe with Charles Xavier. And since he got his ass killed in Avengers vs. X-men, Psylocke is overmatched and she ends up getting the psychic equivalent of an uppercut by a steroid-abusing Mike Tyson.

But not every battle is going poorly for X-Force. What about the guy who was foolish enough to listen to his psychotic mother and betray Wolverine? AOA Nightcrawler is very different from his 616 counterpart in one key area. That is he really isn't into the whole compassion and forgiveness bullshit. In Age of Apocalypse, Wolverine became the new Apocalypse and Blob horribly maimed people he loved. 616 Nightcrawler may have only been pissed. But AOA Nightcrawler throws some Charlie Sheen style crazy into the mix and teleports a fucking shark right into Bolb's stomach and has it eat him alive. No, I didn't get a bad batch of shrooms this week (although I noticed some elves watching me type this). That shit actually happens.

It's a much more gruesome and ball-bustingly awesome moment compared to the other fights. While every Uncanny X-Force battle tends to borrow elements from slasher movies, Remender tends to add a little something extra. The battles with Psylocke and Deadpool weren't really that spectacular and pretty much glossed over. But a battle that involves someone being eaten alive by a shark from the inside is the kind of shit that sticks with you and haunts your nightmares when you're not dreaming of your first day of high school. Every issue of Uncanny X-Force has one particular moment that tattoos itself into your memory banks. This is definitely one of them.

After such a creatively sadistic means of torture, it's almost a let-down when Daken reveals his plan to finally resolve his daddy issues. He allows Genesis to take a break from seeing Deadpool get the shit beat out of him so he can watch him kill his father. How does he plan to do that? Some elaborately grotesque method that somehow overpowers his healing factor? Fuck no, he just decides to drown him. The man will come up with some amazingly perverse ways to fuck someone, but he's not nearly as imaginative when it comes to killing. Go figure. But while he's watching his father die, he also further pushes Genesis to embracing his Apocalypse persona. He kicks the kid's ass, telling him that if he wants to save Wolverine then he'll have to become Apocalypse. It's a pretty cruel thing to do to a kid, but given the cruel things Daken probably does to his lovers I doubt it's all that excessive by his standards.

Eventually, he beats him so bad that he looks dead. So one of the Omega Clan brings him back to the site of Deadpool's ass-kicking so Daken can masturbate to his father's death in peace. But Genesis reveals that he's not dead and he's sick of being a weak little bitch. He understands that he's not going to help anybody (or screw anyone over for that matter) by being such a pussy. He needs to stop being clumsy Clark Kent and start being fucking Superman. But for him that means dawning his Apocalypse armor and going on a Celestial-powered rampage against everyone that's been fucking with him. It makes for some spectacular visuals and an asshole clenching conclusion.

When two sides try to screw each other over only to end up screwing themselves, I not only find that ridiculously ironic. I think it's incredibly entertaining as well. It doesn't always end with someone getting their insides eaten by a fucking shark, but it tends to be just as bloody and just as entertaining. That's one of the many unique traits of awesome that Rick Remender has established in Uncanny X-Force. Every side, the good guys and the bad guys, usually find a way to fuck up on their own accord while trying to fuck with others. It makes for great drama, great character moments, and great scenes that involve more blood and guts than toilet at a bulimia convention. For the past few issues X-Force and the Brotherhood have exchanged low blows, cheap shots, and probably a few yo-mamma's-so-fat-jokes. Now it's starting to catch up with them. Genesis is about ready to skip the rest of the bible and become Apocalypse. Even though the outcome was indirectly spoiled by teasers of future issues of Wolverine and the X-men, it's still tantalizing to contemplate how this is going to fuck up both X-Force and the Brotherhood.

This issue did a great job of devolving the conflict into a glorious state of controlled chaos. However, it was an unbalanced process at times. Too much time was focused on Wolverine and Daken trying to have a father/son moment in the midst of really bad blood and alcohol. They might as well try to pimp gay prostitutes outside a Mormon temple. Meanwhile, other ongoing battles like the struggle with Psylocke and Shadowking are underplayed while the mother/son moments for Mystique and AOA Nightcrawler aren't even touched on. Usually, Remender does a great job of covering every angle of a series. In this issue you get the sense that he just ran out of ink and wasted too damn much of it on Daken and Wolverine.

The issue is still worth picking up and waiting in line naked in the middle of winter to do so, if for no other reason than to see a shark eat Blob from the inside out. The gruesome shock value and moments of melodrama are part of what has made Uncanny X-Force a key source of awesome since its inception. Now with only two issues left, Remender is poised to put a cap on his ball-bustingly awesome run. This issue didn't have the usual cohesiveness or balance that we've come to expect with previous issues, but it's still pretty fucking awesome and future issues promise Daken getting his ass reamed in ways that won't give him a boner. For that, I give Uncanny X-Force a 4 out of 5. Uncanny X-Force has a very simple formula. Give readers a reason to smile and lose their lunch at the same time. This is just the latest issue that succeeds in that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a toilet to clean. Nuff said!

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