Friday, August 31, 2012

CBR: Axel-In-Charge - My Question Asked!

Like most fanboys with too much free time and a drinking problem, I often like to throw random questions at Marvel, DC, and pretty much anyone who will listen and not assume I'm as psychotic as I sound. Most of the time, they don't get answered. To be fair, most of the time they involve questions about Emma Frost's boob size, Jean Grey's butt, Psylocke's legs, and Cyclops's penis (it's not gay if it's the same penis that parties in Emma Frost). But every so often, I will ask a serious question. And every so often, the fine folks at Marvel and sites like Comic Book Resources are generous enough to answer. While I may give them plenty of shit on this blog, they're still the kind of guys and gals I would gladly buy a round of beer and a few lines of blow.

Usually, not a lot of questions get asked in Axel Alonso's weekly Axel-In-Charge column. So when I ask a question, the odds of it getting asked are about the same as not getting kicked in the balls after pretending to be a door-to-door gynecologist at a sorority house. My question was a simple pry for more info on the upcoming Wolverine MAX line. I was going to ask if there was a chance that they would depict Wolverine's penis, but I decided to keep it tame. That and the weed wore off.

CBR: Axel-In-Charge

For fan questions this week, I thought we'd take things in a completely different direction by zeroing in on a corner of the Marvel U near and dear to you: the MAX line. First up MarvelMaster616 stopped by to ask, "First off, I want to say I'm a big fan of the MAX series and I'm glad that Wolverine is finally getting the MAX treatment. Can you tell us how long this series will run? What else can we expect from the MAX series in the future?"

Alonso: "Wolverine MAX" is a 5-issue limited series written by crime novelist Jason Starr and illustrated by Roland Boschi and Connor Willumsen, with covers by the incomparable Jock. I'm super-excited about this series and can't wait for you guys to read it.

He didn't reveal too much and I shouldn't expect him to. I'm sure if they did have plans for the MAX line and all the exposed nipples they offer, they wouldn't reveal it to a drunk with a blog. But just acknowledging my existence goes a long ways. In a world where the front page is dominated by stories of stuff that comes out of Snookie's vagina, that's the best we can hope for. Nuff said!

X-men Supreme Issue #61 - Partners in Madness is LIVE!

The dog days of summer are almost over and so is Marvel's latest big event, Avengers vs. X-men. But while this event is nearing its end, the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is getting ready for an event every bit as epic! I don't make that claim lightly because I understand that events like Avengers vs. X-men have heavy expectations for X-men fans and Marvel fans alike. Well I have every intention of delivering for this upcoming event for X-men Supreme. But like Marvel did with Avengers vs. X-men, there will quick prelude arc in the same way Avengers: X-Sanction was a prelude to Avengers vs. X-men. I hope that this little prelude is more awesome for one simple reasons: Deadpool.

Of all the characters I get comments and questions on, Deadpool is one of the most frequently mentioned. And that's understandable. He's one of Marvel's most popular (not to mention entertaining) characters. I've already written Deadpool in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series before in the aptly named Deadpool arc. I had a lot of fun writing him as he made a visit between Nightcrawler and his girlfriend, Amanda, more eventful than they probably would have preferred. But I've yet to really explore Deadpool's history in the annuls of X-men Supreme. It is not the same as it is in Marvel's normal comic universe. And that's why I'm so excited to begin this new arc that won't just bring Deadpool into focus within the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, but set the stage for the big event I have planned in a way that involves plenty of Deadpool inspired explosions!

Issue 61: Partners in Madness

I hope everyone enjoys this arc. In terms of writing fanfiction, Deadpool is one of the most enjoyable characters to write. I also hope everyone enjoys the hints I've been dropping for the big event that's about to transpire in X-men Supreme. It's a very important event in the sense that it's one I've heard plenty of people talk about and has always been in my plans since I started X-men Supreme. I really want it to be awesome and I am somewhat worried because I haven't been getting as much traffic as usual lately. For some reason, there's been a dip both in reviews and hits. I really want that to change as I continue to build this important, landmark event for X-men Supreme. If I'm doing something wrong, tell me! Please send me your feedback directly by contacting me or post it in each issue. I'm open to suggestions, criticism, or pretty much anything that will help make the X-men Supreme fanfiction series better. I want it to be awesome and I really hope everybody will help me in that endeavor. Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #30 - Awesome Bites Back

Unless you're a politician or coach of the New England Patriots, lies only go so far. When you lie, cheat, and steal without a full compliment of lawyers and politicians in your back pocket, that shit is going to catch up with you. The heroes of Marvel and DC may be powerful enough to destroy potential earth-shattering threats, but when they lie they do a piss poor job of covering their tracks. The heroes and anti-heroes of Marvel are prone to lie every bit as much as that guy in a bar trying to pick up a girl by telling her he can get her a role in the next James Cameron movie. But you would think with the added powers and abilities of heroes, they would be capable enough of covering their asses with bribes, non-disclosure agreements, and lawsuits. I guess that's a lot harder when you're a secret kill squad.

Uncanny X-Force is not your typical superhero book in the same way getting a prostate massage from a cute female nurse is a sex position. These heroes are only as heroic as a kill squad will allow them to be. Hell, the first arc of the series culminated with a kid getting shot in the head. Moreover, the consequences of that shot led to some pretty fucked up events that few lawyers outside Mitt Romney's inner circle could cover up. In a ways, it's fitting that Fantomex was the one that set all this shit into motion because his specialty is deceiving people in ways that would impress Bernie Madoff. But since he doesn't have the money for lawyers, that deception eventually caught up with him and it's catching up with X-Force as well.

And it isn't just Fantomex's bullshit that is incurring the wrath of karma. All of X-Force is getting their ass tenderized by a new Brotherhood of Mutants that has taken their "kill these motherfuckers before they fuck up our shit" strategy and turned it against them. They already took kid-Apocalypse. They also killed Fantomex and blew up X-Force's base of operation. So it isn't just bad karma. It's like karma has a bad case of PMS and X-Force forgot to buy her tampons.

Uncanny X-Force #30 explores what the new Brotherhood has been doing with Kid Apocalypse (aka Genesis) while X-Force explored yet another dystopian future. There's a nice little scene with Genesis and Fantomex, who he thinks is his uncle. It helps remind the readers that while Fantomex was growing a new Apocalypse in the World, he attempted to make him less of an asshole by basically ripping off Superman and making him believe that he was just a good old boy from Kansas who was born with apocalyptic power. It's yet another one of Fantomex's huge lies and it isn't even of the douchy kind. Yet it's the one that the new Brotherhood is looking to expose thanks to Shadowking, who probably gets a boner by fucking with the minds of young kids. He's almost as bad as Jerry Sandusky in that sense.

Now Genesis's disappearance hasn't gone unnoticed. There's a brief scene at the Jean Grey Institute that shows Shadowcat and Beast getting understandably upset about his disappearance. Even they seem to know that losing the kid destined to become Apocalypse is bad news. Plus, they don't know where the fuck Wolverine is. But you would think they would be used to that shit.

That makes the new Brotherhood's triumph all the more satisfying I imagine. The X-me are clueless while X-Force is seemingly as dead as Fantomex, whose body they have mounted on a wall. To be honest, I would do the same if I killed someone who was as big a douche as Fantomex, but that's besides the point. The new Brotherhood don't seem to give much thought to the possibility that X-Force somehow survived Ultimaton blowing up. They just decide to kick back, shoot some pool, and wait for Apocalypse to join their ranks. Now maybe this is odd coming from an admitted stoner, but this is one instance where someone needs to be extra motivated and like Fantomex's bullshit that's going to come back to bite them.

But to get Apocalypse on their side, they first have to undo the innocent little shell that is Genesis. Now Remender could have just had Shadowking telepathically undo all the shit Fantomex did. But that's not bloody enough for an Uncanny X-Force comic. He would much rather see Genesis succumb to his inner Apocalypse on his own. So he, Sabretooth, and Daken prepare a little test to see if he's not quite as creepy as he seems. Daken tells Genesis that Sabretooth is going to walk into a gas station and start killing innocent people. The only way to stop him is for Genesis to get out and kill him first. It's a cruel, messy way to make a point, but it definitely sends the right message.

The attack on the gas station is messy, but not quite as bloody as we're used to seeing in the pages of Uncanny X-Force. Genesis makes a feeble effort to stop Sabretooth, but he avoids killing him. This allows Sabretooth to butcher several innocent people, which for him is no worse than pissing on an ant hill. Again, it's not as bloody as it could have been. Sabretooth didn't torture them first. He didn't shit on their faces or gouge out their eyes Spanish Inquisition style. He just kills them in front of Genesis in a way that will still require more therapy than Dr. Phil will ever be able to provide.

While it may not be as bloody as seeing Deadpool feed pieces of himself to Arcangel, the whole psychological torment element adds some very compelling elements to the scene. It's not unlike how the Joker fucks with people, trying to prove that we're all assholes at our core. The Brotherhood just does it with less clown makeup and more mindless violence. It's the kind of violence that almost makes you feel sorry for Genesis because he clearly is trying not to become Apocalypse. I say almost because you know this shit can't be avoided, especially when it's based around lies by Fantomex.

Since killing innocent people wasn't enough turn Genesis bad, the Brotherhood steps up their game by seeking out his parents. Keep in mind Genesis's parents are all an illusion, a lie Fantomex ripped out of old Superman comics. But to Genesis, they're still his parents so he makes an extra effort to try and save them. He breaks out of the camper where the Brotherhood had been holding them and tries to reach them before they do. He ends up failing miserably. By the time he arrives, Sabretooth and Daken have already slaughtered them. It's not too graphic, but then again his parents aren't real to begin with. That doesn't make the impact any less potent because you get the sense that it really does affect Genesis. It essentially symbolizes the kind of shit that can happen when you adopt this whole pre-emptive killing mentality.

At this point, Genesis stops playing nice and starts exercising his Apocalyptic powers. He attacks Daken and Sabretooth with the kind of force that most would expect of a young Apocalypse going through puberty. He blasts them in ways that make them look like they took a bath in Snookie's vaginal secretions and uses his powers to become that much less of a pussy farm boy. It's the first time Genesis has really flexed his powers and shown signs of being the Apocalypse we all know he's destined to become. But remarkably, yet not surprisingly he stops himself before he starts dissecting Sabretooth and Daken like Jeffery Dahlmer in a morgue. Despite thinking he had just lost his parents, he refuses to become the Apocalyptic asshole they want him to be. That says a lot about him or about how strong Fantomex's deception was. I tend to err on the side of Fantomex's deception being pretty fucking strong.

While Genesis was able to resist the urge to become too apocalyptic, it doesn't dissuade Sabretooth and Daken in the slightest. Unlike Fox News, they actually have the truth on their side. They know thanks to Shadowking that everything Genesis thinks about his life is a big ass lie. Now that they've opened the door for him to become an evil son-of-a-bitch, they can dig even deeper. They can expose Fantomex's lie completely. For a kid with Apocalyptic tendencies, that's some pretty heavy shit to process. And were it not for future solicitations of Wolverine and the X-men that showed Genesis still intact, you wouldn't be sure if he could resist his dark inclinations at this point. Maybe Sabretooth and Daken should have just gone the traditional route and got him hooked on weed and heavy metal.

Even though this book is called Uncanny X-Force, X-Force didn't even make an appearance. Usually, that would be grounds for a whole lot of WTF, but as he often does with seemingly fucked up premises Rick Remender finds a way to make it work. It's not enough to just have Shadowking tell Genesis that everything he thought about his life was a lie. Hell, that shit could have been handled in half a page. But Rick Remender finds a way to spread it out over an entire issue that turns into one massive mindfuck. And you know what? It's pretty damn awesome.

Now I'm not in favor of mindfucking anybody who isn't an ardent supporter of Rick Santorum, but Remender did something pretty amazing with this issue in that it actually made readers care about Genesis. It's not easy to forget that this kid is still Apocalypse. He's still destined to become the living embodiment of every creationists's fears about evolution. There was always a sense that sooner or later he would have to confront the horrible truth, but the way the Brotherhood is going about it in this issue makes for a compelling drama and intense character moments. It goes back to the whole nature vs. nurture dilemma that Remender first explored during the first arc. It's taking on a much more dramatic twist with Genesis as he's fighting the Brotherhood's influence. I don't want to get too attached to a kid I know will probably turn out to be the kind of guy that jerks off to genocide. But damn it, Remender is making that shit hard!

Uncanny X-Force always finds a way to break new ground. While the previous arc overplayed the whole dystopian future story, this issue once again made solid connections back to plots that have been unfolding since the very first issue. It takes elements of psychological torment and drapes them with the gritty, blood-soaked sheets of X-Force's awesome. Even though X-Force didn't show up and the action wasn't bloody enough in some areas, this issue still embodies so much of what makes Uncanny X-Force one of the most awesome X-books on the market. I give Uncanny X-Force #30 a 4.5 out of 5. The Brotherhood is going to great lengths to prove Freud wrong. They're looking to show that no matter how much you butter up a kid, you can still turn him into a sadistic asshole and you don't have to resort to parenting tips from James Dobson to do it. Nuff said!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wolverine and the X-men #15 - Allegiances of Awesome

Ever since Avengers vs. X-men started to unfold, I've had a love/hate relationship with the tie-ins. For many comic events, I see the tie-ins as sub-standard strains of weed that you only smoke if you have to and/or really want to and/or are just bored with the main story. Every event seems to have a few tie-ins that are real gems and those that you wouldn't want to hold near an open flame. Avengers vs. X-men has had plenty of both. Tie-ins such as Avengers, Wolverine and the X-men, and until cat people dongs started showing up, X-men Legacy have gone a long ways towards helping Avengers vs. X-men become a more awesome event. Conversely, tie-ins like Secret Avengers and the X-men Legacy issues that do feature the dongs of cat people is like dipping dirty diapers in diarrhea and squeezing the entrails out over the main event. So when the event itself starts to descend to the level of cat people dongs, what does that mean for the tie-ins?

I've already done enough drunken rants about Avengers vs. X-men #10 to explain why it sucked and why it's sending the whole event further south than Jenna Jameson at a dick sucking contest. But now it's getting to the point where the tie-ins are catching up. That leaves me both worried and hopeful because sometimes the tie-ins can help make up for the shitty entrails in the main event. And if any book can do that, it's Jason Aaron's Wolverine and the X-men. This series has been one of the top quality tie-ins since Avengers vs. X-men began and unlike X-men Legacy, it didn't need to do dick jokes to stay relevant. But it has a lot working against it and like Barry Bonds, it'll need some serious juice to compensate even if it risks shit like shriveled balls.

The big problem with Avengers vs. X-men at this point is that it isn't really Avengers vs. X-men. It's the Avengers and the X-men fighting against a couple of X-men that the Phoenix turned into monsters. There's no more debate over which side is correct. It's just another fucking heroes vs. monsters brawl that we've seen 92859298150 different ways since comics were first invented. How do you make that shit interesting? Especially if it means bringing Charles Xavier back into the mix after he's found so many ways to come off as a raging douche-bag in recent years?

Wolverine and the X-men #15 attempts to distract readers from the painful lack of imagination in Avengers vs. X-men #10 by trying one of Marvel's oldest and most classic tricks: fucking with Jean Grey fans and reminding readers that Wolverine desperately wanted to fuck her. It's easy to forget at one point that Wolverine wanted to gut Hope like a fish before she went mad with Phoenix power. He even flat out betrayed her trust and tried to fork her over to the Avengers when they were still the assholes. Yet here she and Wolverine share a nice moment in the shadow of Jean Grey's memorial. And in an amazing twist of irony, Hope flat out tells Wolverine she's not Jean Grey and Jean's not coming back. Boy is she going to look fucked when Jean Grey returns in All New X-men. It's one instance where Marvel fucking with Jean Grey's death on panel is actually entertaining because we already know she's coming back in some capacity. So all I can say is suck it, Hope! May Wolverine gut you a billion times over you immature little bitch!

Sorry for venting, but I'm running low on weed if you can't already tell. Beast and his Avenger buddies probably need it more anyways because it seems they've grown tired of the kung pao chicken in K'un L'un and have decided to move their operation to the Jean Grey Institute. Because the Phoenix Force would NEVER think of looking for them there. But again, I digress (seriously, blame the weed). They're basically fumbling over how to contain the Phoenix now that they have at least some idea of how to stop it. They take a few shots at everyone who ever lived in Mossori before Broo, the adorable yet blood-thirsty Brood with a head that looks like shit, makes a suggestion that floors everyone in the room. It's like Bart Simpson proving String Theory to a room of physicists. Of course Jason Aaron keeps it vague and doesn't seem to acknowledge the fact that the Phoenix Force is a force of fucking nature, but such an oversight is worth it to see some of the Avengers and X-men look like dipshits.

But this issue doesn't just cover serious issues like how the fuck you contain a cosmic force. It also explores how some of the characters that ditched Cyclops and Utopia adjust to life at the Jean Grey Institute. Now I'm tempted to call them traitors, but since Emma Frost began mind-fucking everybody on Utopia I can't hardly blame them. Hell, it makes for some light-hearted moments like Kid Apocalypse getting flirty with Martha (who is just a brain in a jar) and Karoka flirting with Dust. So mutants or not, a school is still a hot bed of raging hormones.

Speaking of hormones, Aaron pays extra attention to the ongoing drama with Kitty and Bobby. Since Wolverine and the X-men began, the two have been getting extra flirty. After the last issue when Colossus flexed his Phoenix powered nutsack a bit too much for her taste, Kitty seemed to officially decide that she needed to get frisky with someone whose bicep wasn't as big as her entire body. I'm not sure how dating a living popsicle is an upgrade, but Aaron definitely makes it look sweet.

Another new resident of the Jean Grey Institute who thumbed his nose at Cyclops in a far more douch-bag sort of way also makes his presence known. Now I've already gone on a number of rants about how Charles Xavier has been the world's most powerful douche in addition to being the world's most powerful psychic. His bullshit in Avengers #29 and Avengers vs. X-men #7 where he calls Cyclops when he wasn't responsible for the shit others did still stinks like a constipated elephant. But he's still committed to taking down the Phoenix before it claims another student and you can't fault the guy for that.

It also helps that Xavier takes some time out from being a douche to chat with Rachel, who actually expresses some reservation about leaving her father's side. Now this could have turned into a serious issue where she points out that maybe fighting Cyclops when he's trying to create a worldwide utopia isn't very smart. But sadly, we never get that. Instead, we get Xavier confronting the ever egotistical Kid Omega who calls him out on his world's most powerful telepath title. Xavier actually does something noble for once and flat out pwns Kid Omega with a little telepathic trickery. It's not as appropriate as discussing the merits of opposing Cyclops at this point, but it's still humiliating Kid Omega and that's always a plus.

There are some more romantic little moments like a quick field trip with Toad and Husk. As someone who is stuck as the institute janitor, it's nice to see that even Toad has a chance to get his dick wet at the Jean Grey Institute. But like some of the other scenes, it's really just an aside to remind readers that even during a battle against a cosmic force there's still room for raging hormones.

There's also room for family affairs that would make Jerry Springer cringe. A few issues ago, Gladiator returned to Earth with the intention of getting his son out of the Phoenix's path. This proved to be as foolish as it was bloody. Now healed, Gladiator simply avoids admitting that he got his ass kicked by telling his son that they're leaving Earth and never coming back. Kid Gladiator isn't too fond of the idea, but this time he's in no position to slip away like he did before. While he does leave, Warbird is told to stay. Gladiator says she's not fit to be a royal guardian and would probably do better on Earth. It's just a nice way of saying "I don't have the energy to deal with your ass at the moment." But at least it means Warbird will have a chance to get some earthly nookie as well.

At some point you still hope that someone will question whether they're right to keep fighting Cyclops and Emma like this. Rachel lightly touched on it and you would think Bobby would want to come to the aid of one of his oldest friends, but no. Iceman flat out tells Wolverine that he was wrong for supporting Cyclops. Apparently, he has to apologize for supporting a guy who wanted to create a worldwide utopia. Now I've apologized for a lot of crazy shit I may or may not have done (depending on whether or not I blacked out), but supporting your oldest friend when he's trying to make the world a better place ain't something you apologize for. It only reinforces the bullshit notion that Avengers vs. X-men #10 established with the X-men now being villains. It's as if everyone forgot that Cyclops isn't trying to destroy the whole fucking world. He's trying to make Xavier's dream a reality. At the very least Wolverine offers him a drink. It doesn't make up for the fact that he's still an asshole, but there's never a bad reason to have a drink in a crisis.

As the team seems poised to battle once more, they handle one more little aside that seems a little random. They tell Warren, who is still completely mind-wiped from the Dark Angel Saga, that he doesn't need to be a student anymore. He can be the Jean Grey Institute's first graduate. They claim that he's shown that he has a better handle on some of the exotic new powers he's developed (including a preference for flying around naked). I just think Marvel felt it awkward to make this guy who was part of the Original fucking Five a student. It's still random, but it's better they handle it now so they don't have to deal with it later.

All these scenes and random asides help contribute to the sense that the X-men are preparing for a final showdown with the Phoenix. Not every scene really contributed, but it still feels like it came together in the end when the Jean Grey Institute's heavy hitters walk out in their standard Rocky Balboa montage in preparation for battle. They're still not talking about whether or not it's a good idea to fight the Phoenix like this, especially when Cyclops has shown no indication that he wants to destroy the world. It's a question that could have been asked at many points during this issue, but wasn't. It's like going to a strip club and not getting a lap dance. It feels incomplete.

This issue followed a similar theme of previous issues of Wolverine and the X-men where action wasn't emphasized as much as setup. Jason Aaron is as guilty as every other X-men writer of filling issues with mindless action. He did so not long ago when the Phoenix Five attacked Gladiator. Before that, he spent an entire issue that basically boiled down to Wolverine telling Cyclops to go fuck himself when he sought allies against the Avengers. It was an issue where the character moments were actually more compelling than any brawl between a cosmic force and a powerful alien that isn't currently boning Wonder Woman.

However, some of these moments were more compelling as others. Moments like Charles Xavier pwning Kid Omega or Kitty and Iceman sharing a tender moment was as enjoyable as a fresh joint and a blowjob. But other moments like Iceman admitting he was wrong to Wolverine and the bullshit apology between Hope and Wolverine at the beginning was a complete load of horse semen. These scenes felt like missed opportunities to actually expand on the debate that seems to have been thrown away in Avengers vs. X-men #10. Jason Aaron could have actually recaptured it by having characters like Iceman and Rachel argue that Cyclops isn't a complete monster for doing crazy shit like trying to build a worldwide utopia. But like rookie porn star that prematurely blew his load in a girl's ass, Jason Aaron jumped the gun.

Moreover, the lack of an overall plan just makes the issue seem like too much talk. I get what Jason Aaron was trying to do here and I'm totally cool with it. He just didn't do a good job of tying this shit into the bigger picture. All it really showed is that some of the X-men from Utopia have ditched the Phoenix Five and are shacking up in the Jean Grey Institute. I'm not saying that shit isn't important to explore, but it could have been much more.

Compared to other tie ins, Wolverine and the X-men is still the gold standard in terms of maintaining a certain level of awesome. Even though the event itself has gone skinny dipping in a sewage pond, Jason Aaron finds a way to make the story compelling in the pages of this comic. The art, dialog, and premise were all solid. It just left too much potential hanging out to dry. For that, I give Wolverine and the X-men #15 a 3.5 out of 5. With or without that potential, this comic still assured us of a few simple facts. Namely that Xavier is still a douche, Kitty and Iceman need to bone, and Hope Summers is still an insufferable bitch that will never be more than a piss poor Jean Grey ripoff. Nuff said!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fan Expo: ANOTHER All New X-men Cover Mystery

It goes without saying that Marvel loves to tease the shit out of their fans when a new series comes along that they know will make a fuckton of money and inspire a fuckton of variants. It also goes without saying that the motivation for this teasing isn't entirely predicated on just watching fans react and laughing their asses off behind the scenes while they plan to snort imported caviar off the ass of a teenage stripper. Keyword entirely. I've cited numerous instances on this blog where a cover turned out to be a complete ruse. Remember this shit?

May we pause for a moment while Jean Grey fans relive this terrible memory?
But sometimes a cover sparks an outcry without being a ruse if you can believe that. Sometimes the cover partly spoils the end of a big event. Other times it creates another mystery that has fans scratching their heads with intrigue and frustration. When that scratching starts chipping away at the skull, then Marvel knows they're onto something.

That brings me to All New X-men #1. I've already made two blog posts on this cover since Marvel started leaking them. One was just to admire the sight of Jean Grey and the Original Five gracing the cover of an actual 616 book again. The other added a new wrinkle to the teasing in the same way that a prostate massage adds a new wrinkle to a happy ending at a massage parlor. I won't review all the twisted conspiracy theories that the Rachel Grey look-a-like on that cover has incurred, mostly because I don't want to overshadow the 9/11 truthers or the birthers. But I will gladly spark a new round of conspiracy theories just because I think the sober world is too damn boring and needs something to mix some shit into the pot of awesome.

At this past week's Fan Expo, there was more teasing than Tijuana topless bar. Most of it was pretty standard, but then Marvel saw fit to reveal yet another All New X-men cover. This one may or may not have spoiled the outcome of AvX and sparked yet another conspiracy theory.

Suck it, Loose Change!
Let's start with the obvious. If this cover isn't bullshit, it basically reveals that all those teases about Cyclops and Emma fighting in AvX were bullshit yet again. Since they're standing to close and on the same team, they clearly haven't broken up or anything. So all that fighting in AvX is probably going to amount to jack shit yet again. I've ranted about it so many times before. Cyclops and Emma have become the same sacred cow that Marvel often criticized when Cyclops was with Jean Grey. They won't do dick about jack about squat with this relationship. They're not romantic. They're not affectionate. They're just a few witty remarks and bed scenes. Again, how is that any different than a fucking Two and a Half Men rerun? If these two are supposed to be the X-men's most passionate couple, why do they have the depth of a fucking porno while Northstar and Kyle get more emotional in one fucking issue before getting married? I seriously don't know what the fuck Marvel is doing with these two anymore. Are they just together because they want to see two attractive people fuck? Maybe they haven't heard, but there's this thing called the internet and most comic readers are smart enough to download a billion pictures of attractive people fucking onto their smart phones.

Since Namor isn't even in the picture, that pretty much reveals that he's not going to be in the X-books anymore and therefore he won't be causing any tension between Cyclops and Emma anymore. Hell, he was the only source of tension between these two and even that wasn't much to begin with. Now with a young Jean Grey coming back, there seems to be absolutely no room for drama. If Cyclops is still just bedding Emma, there's really not much room for Cyclops to do much other than say "Fuck, there's the teenage girl I used to bone. Oh well. I've got someone else now."

But I digress. My outrage with the Cyclops/Emma relationship is probably better explored once Marvel once again does jack shit with it in AvX. The other part of the promo that will probably get many a panties into many a nots is that odd looking guy next to Emma. Unlike the Rachel Grey look-a-like, there's not much of a hint as to who he is. He doesn't have red hair and green eyes so that really narrows it down. But for some reason, he's in the background and not a single clue has been given. That means human nature must by default create some wild conspiracy theory to fill the void because waiting for the explanation is for pussies.

I have my theory. I believe that character is a young Bishop. He's been MIA since before Second Coming. Marvel could have killed him beforehand, but they didn't. Instead, they left him in the future. And since Cable came back in X-Sanction, Bishop has no excuse. We already know that All New X-men will involve time travel and that is sort of Bishop's thing. So why not? Or maybe a better question is if that is him, why the hell does he look like he should be working as a cashier at Wal Mart? Whatever the case, it's clearly linked because this cover links up with the others.

They ALL look so pissed.

I'm sure Marvel will tease the shit out of this moving forward. Just as I'm sure I'll have plenty more to rant about regarding Marvel's shitty handling of the Cyclops/Emma relationship. But so long as they keep fucking with fans and I have a steady supply of booze, that means I'll have plenty to write about on this blog! Nuff said.

Friday, August 24, 2012

X-men Supreme Issue 61: Partners in Madness Part 1 PREVIEW

There have been some tragic moments in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Like the real X-men comics, there have been some moments to really test the heart of the readers. However, there will also always be room for less serious moments. By that, I'm saying there's also time for moments that are crazier than a sack of ferrets. That colorful metaphor should resonate with X-men fans everywhere because it means Deadpool is set to show up again in the pages of X-men Supreme. I already introduced Deadpool back in X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers in Issue 36: Deadpool. I had every intention of bringing him back for another arc later on and that time has finally arrived!

Given the recent events of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I think it needs someone like Deadpool to lighten the mood. Often, that lightening involves things that explode or shoot bullets. But would X-men fans expect any less? Now like everyone else in X-men Supreme, Deadpool does have a history. I only hinted at that history in the first arc. I'll be exploring it more in this new arc. Hopefully, it will lead to a bio entry that will fully explain how Deadpool became his 4th Wall Breaking self in this fanfiction series. As such, I've prepared an extended preview of the new issue.

The team fell silent and carefully followed Logan through the thick jungle. The facility was coming into view. They could see the outline of the building just up ahead through the haze. It was fairly big for a freight yard, but nothing seemed too out of the ordinary so far

“What about the other fella in this deal? Sylvester Shaw?” asked Rogue, “Do we know anything about him?”

“It’s Sebastian, Rogue,” Logan corrected, “And no. We don’t know dick about this guy. All we know is his company was involved in those sentinel thefts a while back.”

“So why didn’t we investigate this homme?” said Remy, bitterly recalling that affair, “If he be involved in the sentinels and with this Omega punk, he got to be a problem waitin’ to happen!”

“Funny, I told Chuck the same thing. But this guy’s a big time businessman, not a thug. Whatever he’s involved in, he knows how to keep his hands clean. Far as the real world is concerned, Shaw just an  upstanding fat cat.”

“Upstanding…right,” said Bobby dryly, “Must have some damn good lawyers protecting him.”

“Probably more zhan zhat,” said Kurt, speaking from experience in the Azazel, “Vhatever he’s involved in, I zhink it’s safe to say it isn’t noble.”

“Think we ought to worry about him more than Omega Red?” asked Rogue.

“I’m more worried about throwing Deadpool in zhe middle of all zhis,” said Kurt, “Zhat man has caused me nothing but trouble. For all ve know…”

But before Kurt could finish, he was abruptly cut off. Logan stopped in mid-stride and grunted intently as he took a defensive position.

“Quiet, elf!” he said under his breath, “Nobody move a muscle!”

“What is it, Logan?” asked Remy.

“All of you stay back! We’re being watched!” growled the feral mutant.

Remy, Rogue, Bobby, and Kurt each froze as they quickly scanned their surroundings. Logan’s senses were always pretty sharp. If he said something was there, then something was definitely there and that was usually a prelude to something messy.

The next few moments were tense. Logan, his claws drawn and ready for combat, sniffed the air thoroughly to pick up the scent. He took a few steps further, leaving the rest of the team to back him up. He eventually stopped at the base of a tree. That’s when he heard it.

“Peak-a-boo! I see you!”

Immediately turning his attention upward, Logan watched as the menacing figure of Deadpool came into view. Just as he had back in Germany he came in from above, descending from an adjacent tree with both his guns in hand. With Logan in his sights, he started firing relentlessly at his old partner. As soon as he landed, he set his guns to full auto and showered his former partner with a barrage of bullets.

“Errrrrr! Deadpool!” howled Logan as the bullets ripped through him.

“I’ve got him, Wolverine!” said Bobby.

Bobby sprang into action along with Rogue, Remy, and Kurt. He quickly iced up and fired and ice blast at Deadpool’s hands, freezing them and his guns in a thick block of ice to stop the shooting.

“Whoa that’s cold!” said Deadpool.

“Allow Remy to warm you up!” said the Cajun thief.

Taking out a couple of cards, Remy charged them up and flung them right at the stunned mercenary. They exploded right near his hands, shattering the ice and knocking him back against the tree. In the split second it took for him to recover, Kurt teleported in front of him and swiped his guns.

“I’ll be taking zhese!” said Kurt with an angry tone.

“Penelope! Lucile! Be careful with those! They’re minors!” said Deadpool obnoxiously.

“You want careful? Ah’ll show you careful!” said Rogue as she attacked.

“Ooh! Sounds sexy-ahhhhh!”

The merc with a mouth’s dirty comment was abruptly cut off when Rogue lunged forth and pinned him against the tree, pressing her forearm against his neck. She used an extra dose of strength, not just to keep him restrained but to shut him up as well.

While Rogue had Deadpool pinned, Remy and Bobby helped Logan back to his feet. He had at least fifteen bullet holes in him, but he was far from out of it. The wounds were bleeding profusely, but Logan was too pissed off to feel pain. With blood dripping down his face he stormed over towards Deadpool and held his claws right up to his face.

“You got a lot of nerve, bub!” roared the angry mutant, “First you call me and my friends out here! Then you attack us?! What kind of bat-shit game are you playing?!”

“Ack! Take it easy, Logan! I was just playing!” said Deadpool through Rogue’s choking grip, “You always liked it when I snuck up on you back in the day!”

“Why in the heck would anybody like being shot by a masked clown like you?” scoffed Rogue.

“What can I say? When you heal like we do, you gotta find new ways to train!” laughed the masked mercenary.

“Whew, this guy really is crazy,” commented Bobby.

“Aww, now that really hurts,” said Deadpool playfully, “I go out of my way to reach out to you and this is how you repay me? Seriously, Logan, have a heart!”

“For all zhe trouble you’ve put us through, vhy vould ve have any kind of sympathy?!” spat Kurt, who was eager to condemn this man for abducting Amanda twice.

“Would it help if I said I was sorry?”

Kurt and the rest of the X-men looked at him strangely. Rogue maintained a firm grip on his neck, ready to crush him the second he gave her another reason. It was starting to look as though this deal they were here to stop was a ruse.

Then Logan’s demeanor shifted unexpectedly. Looking at Deadpool, he searched his memories. Everything involving the wise-cracking mercenary was still pretty vague, but some of it was starting to come back to him. The pain of the bullets left in him seemed to jar his memory. He recalled a similar greeting like this when they were partners in Southeast Asia. It was still as annoying back then as it was now, but it was part of how they operated. He even remembered encouraging Deadpool.

'You seriously gotta try harder, Wilson. How do you expect me to be ready to stop an ambush when you’re as subtle as a live grenade?'

'I’ll make note of that, old buddy! Next time, I’ll shoot first and make jokes after!'

As the memory played over, he made a fateful decision.

The X-men Supreme fanfiction series is nearing the end of another volume and the importance of feedback is all the more vital. I already commended my good friend Stormbreaker for being a regular commenter. I hope others will join him as this fanfiction series continues to unfold. So please take the time to post comments or contact me if you have any feedback or questions. I'm always willing to talk X-men and fanfiction! Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's Official: Superman and Wonder Woman Are Hooking Up!

I know it's been a long time since I posted anything DC related on this blog. Don't blame me. It's not my fault the days aren't long enough and humans have to do shit like sleep, eat, and fuck in between writing kick-ass comic reviews. But don't think just because I review only Marvel titles on my blog means I've lost any love for DC Comics. Ever since the New 52, I've been more neck deep in the DCU than I've been in years. Books like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Justice League have been steady suppliers of awesome. Hell, Catwoman is worth buying just to see her bone Batman!

But every so often, some news comes along that requires me to take a break from getting drunk and hiding from my ex-girlfriends (or their fathers) that I just have to talk about. This news doesn't involve another relaunch, reboot, or whatever the hell DC calls it. It involves superhero romance. No self-respecting, red-meat loving, porno-watching fanboy will admit it, but they get very passionate about their favorite heroes' love lives. We all have an inner Twilight fan in all of us, minus the terrible story and graphically bloody childbirth. When our heroes bone someone or stop boning them, it resonates on a level akin to watching out favorite porn stars bone. DC seems to know this has decided to finally do what every fanfiction writer and porn parody has dreamed of doing. They're hooking up Superman and Wonder Woman.

Now DC is claiming this shit is no fluke. It's not one of those lame ass teases that we've seen many times before (see Action Comics #600). It's not one of those dream-like sequences that Wolverine probably has about Jean Grey whenever he's left alone in a room with a box of tissues and a bottle of lube. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are saying this is the real deal. Superman and Wonder Woman are actually going to be an item.

If the concept of these two hooking up never crossed your mind, then please stop reading this blog right now and look up the world's greatest neurosurgeon because something is horribly wrong with your brain. This has been one of those relationships that seems so fucking obvious. They're both superheroes, they work on the same team, they're super strong and super durable, and they're both ideals for their gender. Why shouldn't they hook up? Well part of the problem if you can call it that is that Superman has always been linked to Lois Lane. Going all the way back to the days republicans think were better, they're romance has always trumped every other romance. It left Superman and Wonder Woman as that concept that would make for good fanfiction by writers with drinking problems and too much free time, but not for a legitimate story.

Well the New 52 changed all that. It not only One More Dayed Superman's marriage with Lois without having to make a deal with the fucking devil, it set up a world where Superman was more alien than human. In recent comics, he's been struggling to relate to damn near everyone. Wonder Woman isn't much different. She just found out she's yet another bastard love child from Zeus and that doesn't sit right. So what do you do when you're messed up? You either drink or try to get laid. Since DC doesn't like having heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman get drunk, that leaves only one option.

Now I consider myself to be somewhat old school when it comes to comic book romances. I always have a soft spot for the classics like Superman/Lois, Reed/Sue, Cyclops/Jean, and Peter/Mary Jane (fuck you, Mephisto). However, I'm of the opinion that any relationship can be made to work if it's written well enough. So I believe completely that Superman and Wonder Woman can work. Now I don't think they could ever work the way Superman and Lois did. I think that in the long run, Superman will always end up with Lois just as I'll always end up drunk at a bar on St. Patrick's Day. But that doesn't mean there can't be some soap opera in between.

So DC is finally doing it. They're going to give Superman and Wonder Woman a shot. I guess that only leaves one question now. How are they going to handle the unavoidable desire of fanboys to see these two fuck? Moreover, how hot can such heroic fucking be with these two? The world shall tremble in more ways than one. If nothing else, it'll give fanfiction writers a few more lurid ideas that they may or may not have had to begin with. Nuff said!

X-men Legacy #272 - Too Much Talking and Not Enough Awesome

When it comes to a comic book that has fucked itself like a triple-jointed nymphomaniac acrobat, I'm usually pretty forgiving. I'm no fucking Gandhi, but I am a reasonable drunk if nothing else. I'm always willing to offer a second chance, whether it's with a comic or with someone who is sincerely sorry they smoked all my weed and took a shit on my couch. Now I've yet to see a comic book ever outright apologize for shitty issues. Marvel has never shown even the slightest remorse for shit like the Clone Saga or Chuck Austin's Uncanny X-men run. DC isn't much better, who still haven't apologized for that shitty Superboy Prime continuity punch. But I'm of the opinion that the best way for a comic to make up for shitty issues is to make the next issue extra awesome.

This extra awesome is vital for a series like X-men Legacy and not just because it's one of the many titles relaunching under the Marvel NOW! initiative. Anyone who read my review of X-men Legacy #271 should still have their assholes clenched at the thought of how fucked this title has become. At the onset of the Avengers vs. X-men tie-ins, X-men Legacy was the early gold standard. Now it's standards are lower than the producers of the Jersey Shore. It's one thing to just tell a shitty story. It's quite another to take an awesome character like Rogue and essentially cast her out from the shit storm that is AvX into some crazy world where a bunch of cat-people offer to bone her (both literally and figuratively). It was quite possibly the most forgettable tie-in in the history of tie-ins. I mean how the fuck do you go from fighting cosmic forces to fending off cat people that want to bone you? There isn't a magic mushroom in the world magical enough to conjure that shit.

But I am more than willing to give X-men Legacy #272 a shot. X-men Legacy has had it's ups and downs before, but it has a history of fighting it's way back, kicking my ass, and doing it in a way that gives me a serious boner (amongst other things). Now I'm not expecting an apology from Marvel or pictures of the asshole that lost the bar fight that led to this issue (although they would be much appreciated). But I would at least expect a story that is somewhat more memorable and somehow relevant in way that can't be forgotten with a single bong hit. That may be asking a lot. Then again, this is X-men Legacy. It does have a legacy to hold up and not just in name alone.

X-men Legacy #272 picks up after the overly predictable ending in the previous issue. Actually, it picks up AFTER that overly predictable ending hinted at some action. In the phantom pages between the end of X-men Legacy #271 and the first pages of X-men Legacy #272, Rogue is subdued by the cat people's arch enemies, the Swarm. We don't get to see the struggle. We don't get to see much of anything aside from the the king of the cat people thinking this pretty girl who they offered their finest studs wasn't as good as her rack made her out to be. The only action we get is when we catch up with Rogue while she's being marched away with the Swarm while they try to influence her with their hive mind. She tries to break free, but fails without much of a battle. It's as exciting as it sounds.

If you thought it couldn't get more predictable, then clearly you have awesome weed because the first thing the Swarm does is take Rogue to their queen and the source of the hive mind. That's like giving North Korean gangsters your passport and credit card info. Shit is not going to turn out well. The queen tries force her into the Swarm's hive mind (again). And (again) she fails miserably and Rogue fights her way out. Since she doesn't have her Miss Marvel powers, there's nothing really spectacular about it. It's just a hot girl running from a pack of monsters. You can pretty much get the same shit from EVERY slasher movie ever made.

Since she's not armed with the same power as before, the Swarm subdues her (yet again). At this point, no amount of weed is enough to make you overlook the growing trend here. The queen tries (yet again) to bring Rogue into their collective hive mind. But instead of another epic struggle, we get something that different that actually ends up being more boring if you can believe that.

The queen takes Rogue into a psychic journey of sorts that's about as exciting as a staring contest between a couple of dead fish. She explains with some very shitty visuals the joys of being part of a hive mind. It's pretty much everything you hear from North Korean propaganda. Everybody is on the same team. There are no secrets. Everybody has a common goal. Nobody is better than everybody else except for some great leader who probably jerks off behind the scenes while everyone else suffers. It's not quite as vile as Nazi collectivism and to the credit of the queen, she tries to paint it as a good thing. But it's all just needlessly wordy and any reader that isn't part of a Mormon cult won't take it seriously.

Rogue responds with an equally wordy, equally predictable rebuttal. It basically amounts to "being a mindless drone sucks" and "thinking for yourself is awesome." It all sounds so nice, like something you would see in a Mitt Romney add, minus the subtle racism. But again, it's so painfully predictable and bland that you really don't even have to read it. You can just assume Rogue reads from a script of every evil empire vs. freedom loving hero story ever made and it's pretty much the same thing. Rogue doesn't say anything that stands out aside from the queen, the great leader of the hive mind, keeping secrets. They're probably not as bad as Kim Jong Ill's porno collection, but to make the queen ditch the whole "free will is overrated debate." It's probably for the best.

The queen orders the Swarm to attack Rogue and the one other Swarm that tried to corrupt her earlier, who may have overheard the queen's dirty little secret. So he/she or whatever the fuck qualifies as a gender for these things is like the guy who walked in on Sadam Hussein while he was masturbating to pictures of Hillary Clinton. He might as well not exist. The attack isn't all that spectacular. Instead of fighting back this time, Rogue just decides to play dead and allows herself and the unfortunate Swarm to fall into a canyon. Of course they survive because this comic just wasn't predictable enough I guess. If you're still awake at this point, consider yourself lucky.

After the rest of the Swarm are confident they're dead, Rogue and the now excommunicated Swarm break out. Rogue is even nice enough to completely cut his link from the hive mind. This is probably as traumatic as cutting off a teenage girl from her Facebook account. This helps reveal a secret that really shouldn't be very startling. This whole war between the cat people and the Swarm is nothing more than a theater between a couple of power-hungry monarchs. It would be a great twist if there was at least some indication that there was a mystery behind it. That shit was never even hinted at so when you find out, it has about as much impact as another sex scandal involving a gay-bashing politician and male prostitute.

So all we really find out in this debate between individualism and collectivism is that authority figures are dicks and war is just one big joke. It's almost as if Rogue was nothing more than a prop in that joke. This doesn't really feel like her journey anymore. It's a sci-fi cookie cutter story that offers nothing new or compelling. Rogue now has to stop a war between two alien races and it has absolutely nothing to do with the events of Avengers vs. X-men. If this issue was meant to rescue the series from obscurity and make up for the previous issue, it failed miserably.

When I finished reading the last issue, my first response was to bang my head against the wall and swallow copious amounts of sleeping pills. My reaction to this issue was similar, but I didn't need the sleeping pills. This issue was dull and boring enough to be a fucking Ambien commercial. Rogue was yanked out of Avengers vs. X-men and thrust into the middle of an alien war. Yet this issue made it look as though she was in the middle of a republican primary debate. It was mostly talk, a philosophical debate on the merits of collectivism vs. individualism. Of freedom vs. order. Now I'm all for philosophical debates after ingesting a certain amount of LSD, but shit like this has no place in a fucking comic book arc about an alien war. It's not like a new twist was put on this argument either. Being in a collective is boring. Being individualistic is chaotic. The connections between this and Avengers vs. X-men were more loose than the shit in an Indian public restroom. That makes this issue all the more forgettable and only half as nauseating.

At least with the previous issue, we had some funny and memorable moments. I still laugh when I recall the look on Rogue's face when she was offered to bone some of the finest studs the cat people have to offer. But this issue had no boning, no hints at boning, and embarrassing moments for Rogue. It was just her talking and getting the two opposing sides to talk. That's about as exciting as it sounds. There's not a single memorable moment or a memorable piece of dialog. You could probably take the speech of any Republican politician, minus the racist, anti-gay, and anti-woman innuendo, and paste it into Rogue's dialog here on the merits of individual free will and there won't be much difference. You would think Rogue would at least show some of her trademark sass in the face of an alien war, but we get none of that shit here.

Now I'm not giving up on X-men Legacy. I still love this series, but I'm ready for this fucking arc to be over. This issue and the previous issue were boring, forgettable, and dull. The only good thing I can say about them is that they haven't butchered any characters or done any major damage to the rest of X-men Legacy or the X-books as a whole. In that sense, it's nowhere nearly as fucked up as every Ultimate title at the moment. It's just completely useless and not worth picking up. And with no cat people dongs to save it, I can only give X-men Legacy #272 a 1.5 out of 5. It's boring. It's dull. There's really no reason for this issue or this arc to exist other than trying to subtly influence comic fans into voting Republican. In that sense, comics like this aren't just bad. They're a Republican conspiracy. Nuff said!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Uncanny X-men #17 - Containing Cosmic Awesome

How do you contain a power that's far greater than your own? And I'm not talking about the kind of power an overprotective father has for his hot, sexually repressed daughter with a loaded shotgun wields. That kind of shit can be dealt with easily by just buying the guy a beer, stealing the firing pin of his guns, and making sure his daughter isn't too rough when she breaks out the handcuffs (I did say she was repressed). Shit like cosmic entities that torches planets and corrupts pretty redheads for fun are a bit tougher to handle. The events of Avengers vs. X-men have shown that in graphic detail. In fact, the entire premise of Act 3 is based on the notion that the Phoenix Force is like that devious nerd we all knew back in high school who liked to Photoshop naked pictures of people and spread them throughout the school, ruining relationships, reputations, and in some cases incurring the wrath of republican politicians. We can all assume that nerd is still laughing his ass off somewhere. We don't quite know what the Phoenix Force is doing behind the scenes, but we can be pretty sure it's getting quite a cosmic boner from the shit storm it's causing.

But if ever there was a time in Avengers vs. X-men where the Phoenix actually had a reason to feel threatened, it would definitely be at the hands of Sinister. This is a guy crazy enough to make himself a fucking species and smart enough to hot-wire a Celestial and use it to make his own subterranean tribute to Victorian era London. There's probably a lot of awesome shit you could do with a Celestial, but like I said Sinister is crazy. Making an army of hot robot chicks in the mold of Carmen Electra and Scarlett Johanssen just doesn't appeal to him. Furthermore, we learned in the previous two issues of Uncanny X-men that he had been using this Celestial tech for far more pragmatic purposes. He was using it to prepare for an eventual attack by the Phoenix. And as the events of Uncanny X-men #16 showed, he prepared pretty fucking well.

Now this little side-quest for the Phoenix Five took place early on in Act 2 before Namor couldn't hold his wad anymore and gave Wakanda a cosmic money shot. For reasons that weren't explained and I can only assume involved an artist, distributor, or editor getting drunk and losing a bar fight, this arc was delayed. Despite Avengers vs. X-men entering Act 3 with only two remaining Phoenix wielders, this story takes place when the Phoenix Five are still the Phoenix Five. I bring this up because it has an unfortunate side-effect on the story that I'll explain a bit later. But first, I need to take a few shots of tequila and detail what has gone down with Sinister and his twisted troops in this late yet welcome installment.

Uncanny X-men #17 begins with Sinister enjoying a full fledged victory boner. In the last issue, he actually managed to subdue the Phoenix Five with a potent mix of Celestial tech, clone armies, and balls almost as big as Donald Trump's ego. The Phoenix Five are understandably annoyed, but even a menacing cosmic force isn't enough to stop Sinister from gloating. Like the pimp referenced in every Ice-T song, he celebrates how awesome he is with a fine glass of whine and a symphony. If that's all he wanted to do, I think there are easier ways to go about it. I'm pretty sure certain mixes of drugs can help, but I guess Sinister thinks this is less boring.

In addition to flexing his Sinister balls, he reveals that Extinction Team including Storm, Psylocke, and Magneto followed them into his tribute twisted Victorian domain. In the previous issue, they reasoned that even a cosmic force would have difficulty in dealing with Sinister. It's not an unreasonable assertion. This is a guy who if you sent him to hell, he might end up date raping Satan himself if it meant screwing with the X-men. They followed the Phoenix Five down into Sinister's lair (against Cyclops's orders mind you) and arrive to find some of Sinister's various clone armies hungry to kill them. Unfortunately, Sinister's standards for clones are lower than that for a supporting role in a movie starring Tom Arnold. He cloned Sabretooth, whose mind is easily fucked with by hot Asian psychics like Psylocke.

Once Sinister's pets are effectively chasing their tales and/or humping the nearest couch, they're left to confront the same forces that Sinister used to take down the Phoenix Five. They seem to understand fully how stupid that is, but they do come up with a plan. Or at least Unit does, who has been hijacking Danger for a number of issues now. But don't tell Congressman Akin. He'll probably argue it's not a "legitimate hijacking." But even if Unit is a douche, he's reasonable enough to conclude that allowing Sinister to wield the Phoenix Force is like giving crystal meth to a pack of angry wolves. So using Danger, they formulate a plan to infiltrate Sinister's lair and disrupt his clone army. To do this Danger does a little robot/hot chick action and turns into a kick ass ninja suit for Psylocke. I'm not sure if this counts as lesbian porn, but if it does I want to see more.

It sounds like a good plan, at least for Psylocke and Danger. Unfortunately for Storm and Magneto, they're stuck providing the distraction. That's like being the first doctor that rejects a prescription for Charlie Sheen. You're going to be a big target and you're going to be overwhelmed in ways that'll make your ass hurt. Storm and Magneto do fine against Sinister's army of Vitorian style minions, but then Sinister throws a very volatile redhead NOT named Jean Grey OR Hope Summers. Remember those Madelyne Pryor clones? Well it turns out (without too much of an explanation mind you), that they were the ones that subdued the Phoenix Five and now they're using their cosmic flames to carry out Sinister's whims. And since Sinister is parading around like the top pimp, that means the Pryor clones are the hos which means Storm nor Magneto last about as long as a line of cocaine at Lindsey Lohan's house.

The Pryor clones easily subdue them both while removing Magneto's helmet in the process, allowing them to psychically control him. Now using him as a meat puppet, they hunt down Psylocke. This seems a bit redundant. They're tapping the power of the fucking Phoenix Force for crying out loud. Wouldn't it be easier to just subdue her by telekinetically tightening her thong until it splits her in half? But since Sinister is controlling them, you can't rely on that kind of logic. But once again, Psylocke reminds Sinister and the entire comic world that she's not just a hot Asian chick. She's a fucking ninja and she evades the onslaught while taking out Magneto. We get it, Psylocke. You're a ninja. Now can you let my balls go so I can finish jerking off?

Unfortunately, the plan to attack Sinister's control over his clones falls apart. Danger, who is still hijacked by Unit, finds out that Sinister's tech is every bit as awesome as he claims. Unlike Donald Trump, the shit he builds is actually as awesome as he thinks it is. He orders that the X-men run away because they have no such hope against ego like that. It gives Sinister even more reason to gloat, which at this point is becoming so overblown that he could inflate all the tits in Las Vegas. But in that gloating, he leaves himself vulnerable because let's face it. There's only so much you an focus on when you're effectively proving to the world that you've got the biggest dick in the universe.

Utilizing that snide attitude that makes scrotums shrivel and cosmic forces take notice, Emma Frost uses her telepathy to reach out to the Phoenix Force. She basically points out that being used by Sinister is only slightly more humiliating than having that video of yourself humping a statue of Ronald McDonald uploaded to youtube. Even a cosmic force seems to understand that shit and finally gets off its ass to do something.

At last, Sinister has to stop gloating and start shitting himself. The Phoenix Force starts breaking free of Sinister's control, causing the Pryor clones to mess up in ways that probably makes Emma's panties wet. Sinister does his best to try and fix it. Finally, he fails miserably. Maybe if he wasn't so busy gloating and sipping wine he would have figured out that Emma Frost's influence on the Phoenix would catch up with him. At last, he actually looks like he's not the ultimate pimp and starts looking like a kid watching his older brother flush his stash of Playboys down the toilet.

This is all very satisfying, but it does leave one detail out. What the fuck was Sinister trying to do with the Phoenix anyways? Did he think he could control it forever? I get the guy has an ego, but he can't be that fucking stupid. If he did have a plan, it's never hinted at or explored. He just wanted to have a cosmic force swinging from his nuts for a while and that was it.

The Phoenix reminds him in a very painfully spectacular manner that they don't appreciate being ornaments for his balls. Once they break free from his control, they remind them that the Phoenix Force is capable of taking and entire planet and wiping it's ass with it. It doesn't really care for shit that it thinks doesn't work or is in it's way. And unfortunately for Sinister, he happens to be both. So in a glorious attack of cosmic flame, they burn Sinister to a crisp like a deep fried turkey. At last, that gloating grin has been wiped off his face and all it took was a little cosmic mojo.

The Phoenix Five and the Extinction Team return to the surface. Cyclops claims Sinister is dead, but for a guy that turned himself entire an entire fucking species that's about as likely as Rick Santorum becoming a Muslim. Even if he isn't dead, he's no longer in a position to fuck with them. That means the Phoenix Five can go back to fucking with the Avengers. Damn, I miss Sinister already. Excuse me while I take another shot of tequila.

Every time there's a story where a big name villain is apparently defeated, most fans yawn. Like whenever Jean Grey dies, you know it's only a matter of time before they're brought back or replaced by shitty replacement characters. Fans know that comic companies aren't in the business of throwing away awesome characters. Sinister may be creepier than Michael Jackson's parenting skills, but there's no denying his awesome or his legacy. He's the kind of guy who will watch a bunch of Phoenix-wielding superheroes attack him while sipping a glass of imported Pinot Noir. He showed that special level of classy evil in this arc, so his defeat really didn't feel that final. That's why his defeat in this comic felt so satisfying.

What made this arc and the plot with Sinister so intriguing was that he was able to give the Phoenix Five a serious challenge that didn't involve a mindless superhero mash-up. There were no Avengers or innocent bystanders in this battle. It was all Sinister, showing how he could organize himself into an entire fucking species and coordinate that species to at least temporarily control the Phoenix Force. But he wasn't the only one who shined. Psylocke showed on two different occasions that there may be something to the stereotype of hot Asian women in tight outfits being ninjas. Both she and Danger were able to kick ass in that special way that'll make you smile and give you a boner. It helped make the story feel like it was about the Extinction Team and not just the Phoenix Five. Given how the seeds of this story were sewn way back in the first arc, it comes together beautifully here and is capped off in spectacular cosmic fashion.

The only lingering flaw in this arc is the extent of Sinister's plan. I get that Sinister is more mentally unstable than Tom Cruise at a psychiatry convention. But the overall plot was left feeling somewhat incomplete even after Sinister was defeated. We still don't know what the hell he was trying to do with controlling the Phoenix Force. Was he just doing it for shits and giggles? Or was he just sick of paying his electric bill and wanted to use the Phoenix Force as a free source of lighting? Either way is equally likely because his intentions really weren't clear. It just comes off as a basic, "I'm an evil asshole and I want to control the forces of a god so the world can suck my big, holy cock" type story. That's okay in some instances, but given Kieron Gillen's level of skill it's somewhat of a disappointment.

Never-the-less, Uncanny X-men #17 was a fun, entertaining conclusion to an arc that took a break from all this bullshit superhero ball busting. It continued Kieron Gillen's legacy of telling compelling, cohesive X-men stories. While I'm excited about Brian Bendis's role on All New X-men, books like this make me sad and in need of another shot of heroin because they remind me he's leaving. I give Uncanny X-men #17 a 4 out of 5. So once again, Sinister is defeated. But like herpes, he always finds a way to come back. Nuff said!