Friday, March 29, 2013

X-men Supreme Issue 3.1: Sin City Shenanigans is LIVE!

Viva Las Vegas and the launch of a very special issue of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series! I'm very excited about this and not just because it brings X-men Supreme one step closer to X-men Supreme Volume 4. I've always had a soft spot for self-contained stories. There's a place for the continuity and epic nature of the arcs in the comics and a fanfiction series. But at times, I understand that readers just want to be able to sit down and enjoy one story without having to muse over the cliff-hangers at the end. That's what Marvel had in mind when they began their Point One initiative and that's what I have in mind for this very special addition of X-men Supreme.

Like X-men Supreme Issue 0: Revelation X, this issue isn't directly tied into a particular volume. It takes place in between X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope and the upcoming X-men Supreme Volume 4. Professor Charles Xavier and his X-men are still recovering from the events that culminated with the election of Senator Robert Kelly as President of the United States. He understands the X-men have many challenges ahead of them, but he also understands that contrary to what some may believe, his X-men are still human. They need a break from it all every now and then. That's exactly what they hope to do by taking a vacation to Las Vegas, Nevada! But as is often the case, trouble seems to find the X-men no matter where they go. A familiar foe that we last saw in X-men Supreme Volume 2: War Powers has re-emerged and is poised to ruin their vacation and so much more! It's a story of epic battles along the Las Vegas Strip and as such, it gives me great pleasure to launch this very special issue!

X-men Supreme Special Issue 3.1: Sin City Shenanigans

I had a lot of fun writing this issue. I hope this helps bring the X-men Supreme fanfiction series closer in line with the quality and structure that fans have become accustomed to with Marvel comics. While I understand that as a work of fanfiction this can never be on the same level as the comics, I still want to treat X-men Supreme with the same level of care. That is why it is so important that I receive feedback from readers. I know I constantly harp on it, but aside from a few very dedicated reviewers (a big shout-out to Stormbreaker for being among the most consistent) really don't get a lot of feedback on X-men Supreme. I would like that to change as the scale of this fanfiction series continues to grow. So please, in the spirit of X-men and making X-men Supreme the best it can be, take time to send feedback for this issue. You can either contact me directly or post your thoughts in the comments section. I hope everyone enjoys this special one-shot for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series! I don't intend for it to be the last! Until next time, take care and best wishes! Viva Las Vegas and Excelsior!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wolverine Trailer - Blood, Babes, and Ninjas

I have a love-hate relationship with the X-men movies and by that I mean I love it when I'm not reminded of how much I hated how these movies were butchered. Of all the comic book movies and yes, I'm including the Dolph Lungern Punisher and Nicholas Cage's Ghost Rider, I found the X-men movies to be the most disappointing. It's one thing to be underwhelmed by a movie. It's quite another to feel like you just had a quart of molten iron shoved up your ass. That's how I feel about the X-men movies.

And I'm not just talking about X3 and Wolverine "Who the fuck came up with Barakapool?" Origins. It's blasphemy among some fans, but I think Singer fucked the dead donkey with his approach to X1 and X2. His approach was basically fuck the comics. Just make use the characters and try to leech off the inherent awesome of Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman. As much as I love those two, that shit only goes so far in a movie. You actually have to have a fucking story and unless your Michael Bay, that story has to have some sort of meaning to it. The X-men movies didn't really have that. Wolverine just falls in love with some chick he knows for less than a few days, Nightcrawler completely fucking disappears after one movie, and Rogue proves that you can solve all your problems with drugs. Real fucking genuine, Singer! Maybe you should piss off Spider-Man fans by having Doc Ock take over Peter's body! Oh wait...bad example.

But like a guy who keeps waking up hung over at an S&M club in Amsterdam, I keep coming back for more. Matthew Vaughn's X-men First Class actually proved that an X-men movie can still work. It took a novel approach of actually telling a story that the comics never even bothered to tell until recently, namely the history of the friendship between Xavier and Magneto. It still had some pretty fucked up twists on certain characters, but it also had Emma Frost and a naked Mystique so that's a win in my book. Now Fox hopes to capture that same magic with The Wolverine.

Granted, the bar is NOT that high. You could just have two hours of Hugh Jackman taking a shit and eating a burger and it would still be better than fucking Barakapool. It's based on one of the best eras of Wolverine comics, namely the Chis Claremont and Frank Miller run in the 80s that had Wolverine in Japan. It's a defining story for Wolverine and one that has everything you could want in a movie. There's ninjas, hot chicks, and more violence than a drunk Chris Brown at a strip club. It also has Hugh fucking Jackman. This movie has no excuse not to be awesome and this trailer shows that if Fox fucks this up somehow, then they're beyond redemption. Nuff said!

Uncanny X-Force #3 - Overdue Awesome

In my experience, when you get good and drunk at some point you forget which direction is up and which person and/or statue called your mother a bitch. That kind of disorientation only has so many outcomes. You could wake up naked in a fountain with the word “asshole” written on your back in lipstick. You could wake up in a hotel room with a girl, a transvestite, and a goat, each of which claim you promised to marry them. Or you could wake up in your bed hung over with the sudden need to make the toilet your best friend. My point is very little good ever comes of being disoriented. You don’t usually black out and wake up in the Playboy Mansion in a bed with three naked playmates. I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m just saying the odds are stacked against you.

With this in mind, I remain both skeptical and confused by what Stan Humphries is doing in Uncanny X-Force. Whereas Rick Remender kept everything tighter than Rick Santorum’s asshole during his run, Humphries has been all over the place. He’s been throwing around side-plots with Fantomex who may or may not be engaging in the most elaborate form of masturbation ever and a side-plot surrounding Bishop, who to this point has been MIA and presumably stuck in the future.

The initial plot, I think, was to start a new X-Force team with Psylocke and Storm because feminists apparently infiltrated Marvel and want to prove that women can also make a kick-ass kill squad. But even this plot was fucked up because it led to them meeting up with Puck and hunting down Spiral, who is guarding some new mutant that was getting ravers high. If it sounds confusing and/or something that might happen in a bad movie on the Lifetime channel, then congratulations because you’ve just identified the biggest problem with this book.

Uncanny X-Force #2 at least attempted to bring some of the side-plots together by having Storm and Psylocke cross paths with Bishop while they were hunting down Spiral. It was messy, random, and more confusing than the last half-hour of Inception. But at least Humphries is making an effort to bring these plots together. It’s not clear if the final product will be in the same time zone as Remender’s first arc, but I have hopes that it is at least on the same planet.

In Uncanny X-Force #3, Humphries takes a desperately needed new approach to making this series seem less chaotic than an orgy at a Russian rock concert. He starts with a quick flashback of Psylocke’s life before she was fucked up by swapping bodies with a hot Asian ninja and had to kill her boyfriend. It doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about her or can’t find on Wikipedia, but it does add some added impact when she wakes up from Bishop’s attack at the end of the previous issue exceedingly pissed off. Now this flashback was not needed in the slightest, yet it did something that I think is important in the context of Uncanny X-Force. It reminded readers that Psylocke is very vulnerable in addition to being pissed off. Given how most readers are more focused on her ass and tits than her history, I think it’s a reminder worth including.

Another way that Stan Humphries brings a little order to chaos of Uncanny X-Force is finally explaining just why the hell Spiral was so protective over that young mutant girl in a way that would get some people listed as sex offenders. He uses another flashback, this time showing how Spiral was exiled from the Mojoverse and left with pretty much nothing. And since she wasn’t about to live the life of an undocumented immigrant or take shit from Lou Dobbs, she chose a life of crime. That’s what led her to Ginny, who could help her survive by getting people high and profiting from it. And since there aren’t any drug laws against using psychics to get high (although I’m sure the DEA is working on it), it made for a lucrative living. I’m sure if my pot dealer read this comic, he would be jealous as hell because it’s pretty brilliant. But more importantly, it helps make sense of Spiral’s actions, which to this point had been more creepy than Christopher Walken reading 50 Shades of Grey.

I’ll say it again because it’s an important point to make when reviewing comics, telling stories, or explaining why you were speeding to a traffic cop. Clarity matters. One of the biggest weaknesses of this series since it began has been the utter lack of coherence and clarity. It’s the complete antithesis of Rick Remender’s approach when he wrote Uncanny X-Force. I get that Humphries is taking a different approach, but it helps that it makes a lick of sense. If for no other reason, it makes this comic easier to read while stoned.

Once Spiral is finished explaining her connection to Ginny and why it’s not as creepy as it looks, Storm decides they’ll need her help finding her. Psylocke can track her. Spiral can teleport them. It makes perfect tactical sense, although it does mean trusting Spiral. That’s like trusting Lindsey Lohan to drive you to the hospital without getting pulled over. You know it’s not going to turn out well, but you also know it’ll be entertaining as hell.

While Spiral’s part in Uncanny X-Force is now much less creepy in light of a few flashbacks, Fantomex is still as disturbing as ever. We’ve had two issues that have taken the concept of “Go fuck yourself!” to a twisted extreme that it need not go. With Fantomex split into separate bodies and now able to literally fuck himself, they’ve decided for reasons that still don’t make a god damn bit of sense to track down Psylocke. They claim they’re just going to stop the more sinister half of Fantomex from hurting her, but I’m pretty sure they have a very disturbing kind of three-way in mind. And to get to her, that involves hijacking a plane and jumping out of it. Again, it makes no god damn sense. I’m as pissed off at the TSA as anyone else, but this is not a productive way to deal with it.

Maybe it’s because I still think Fantomex is a massive dick-cheese, but this plot with him has very little appeal. But at the very least Humphries is setting things up for a confrontation between Psylocke and the split personalities of Fantomex. That means at some point this crazy shit will come together and the promise of shit making sense is the next best thing I guess. But if Fantomex still tries to bone Psylocke, it’ll only make him/her/them a bigger douche.

Back with the part of the plot that actually makes sense, Storm and her team appear in the subway with Spiral where they confront Bishop and Ginny. What transpires next is the kind of dark, violent, dangerous battle that you would expect to see in an X-Force book. We still don’t have an explanation as to why Bishop is after this girl and not trying to maim Hope Summers, but then again he hasn’t exactly demonstrated that he’s in a clear state of mind either. He doesn’t respond to any of the pleas of his former allies. He just looks at them the same way a drunk looks a guy he caught dry-humping his girlfriend. So in that sense we don’t need a full explanation. Like a real drunk, the best thing you can do is grab a few beers yourself and watch the show before the cops show up.

The battle itself between Bishop and X-Force is very well-scripted. Humphries makes it clear that this shit is taking place in a subway tunnel and it must be at rush our too because they have to work around the oncoming trains. We even get a quick reminder in the form of another flashback that Storm is still claustrophobic. Again, this is shit we already know, but it’s shit that’s worth reminding about because I’m sure Marvel understands that not everyone who reads their books are sober. They need to cater to the drunks in the comic market and I think it’s a market that is continuously growing.

In the end, however, the battle comes down to Psylocke and Bishop. And that distracts everybody just long enough for Spiral to reclaim Ginny. Now that we know what she was using her for in the first place, it’s not quite as creepy. And since Spiral isn’t sentimental towards anyone that can’t make her money, she leaves X-Force to continue fighting Bishop. Is she a bitch for doing so? Yes, but she’s a bitch who cares for a little girl and all the money they can make together. It may be a dick move, but it’s a dick move that makes sense on an economical level and since I’m feeling generous and drunk I’ll take it.

And while Spiral makes off with the girl that can make her rich, X-Force is left to deal with Bishop. Given her pissed off state, Psylocke attempts to end the battle swiftly by attacking his mind. But in doing so she discovers that Bishop’s psyche is more fucked up than Jim Carey on LSD and muscle relaxers. For some reason, his mindscape looks like someone dumped toxic waste in the world of My Little Mermaid. For a guy who has been stranded in the future, you expect him to be a little fucked up. But this confuses even Psylocke. When she tries to piece Bishop’s mind back together, she finds some unusual manifestations in the form of animals. Either Bishop has adopted some disturbing new hobbies in the future or something else happened to him. Whatever it is, we’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out and for once I’m not completely confused on what form that story may take.

There are many ways I could criticize Stan Humphries for his first two issues of Uncanny X-Force, but I can never fault him for making a concerted effort to make these stories awesome. It reminds me somewhat of this fat kid I knew in grade school who always gave the most effort in gym class, but his love of donuts and MacDonald’s always ensured that his efforts were in vain at times and hilarious at others. I still laugh every time I remember seeing him fart uncontrollably after trying to run a mile. He was an admirable kid and in the same respects, this is an admirable comic without the fart smell.

I was hoping to at least get a hint of it in the last issue, but I guess there are some benefits to having damaged my short-term memory with so much pot. This issue actually felt like it should have followed up the first issue because it actually did a much better of bringing these three separate plots together. When I finished reading this issue, I was like “Ah! So that’s why Sprial has gotten into the business of fucking up peoples’ minds for profit! Damn, now I need some weed.” In addition, Humphries also did what Rick Remender was so good at in adding a few personal moments to the mix. The flashback with Psylocke and Storm may have only told us shit we can already get from Wikipedia, but it added some extra depth that had been lacking from the first two issues.

While this issue was definitely more coherent than the first two, it still had a few WTF moments that made reading it drunk a challenge. I like that we got a glimpse into Bishop’s fucked up mind, which we assumed had to be fucked up after being stuck in the future. But other than reveal that he may or may not have some kinky animal fetishes, we really didn’t get any further clarity on why the hell he’s back and why the hell he wanted Ginny. Most of what Psylocke saw in his mind looks like nothing more than a bad acid trip at a zoo, but thankfully it didn’t end with someone trying to fuck the zebras. Also, the Fantomex plot still makes no god damn sense. It seems like their paths will finally cross in the next issue, but at least them jumping out of a plain wasn’t nearly as disturbing as the shit they did in the previous issues. My mind and my dick is still trying to comprehend this new Fantomex and failing terribly in the process.

Maybe I just didn’t read this issue sober enough to appreciate all the subtleties, but in the end I feel as though this comic is only halfway to being awesome. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a massive improvement compared to the previous issue. It’s like going from drinking expired milk to cheap beer. While it won’t make you sick, it’ll still give you somewhat of a buzz. There are still a lot of elements in this arc that need to come together for it to be awesome and Humphries is clearly making an effort. But like that fat kid I used to know, he needs to break certain habits. And since it doesn’t involve eating less quarter pounders for breakfast, I’m more confident that he can get it done. I give Uncanny X-Force #3 a 3.5 out of 5. There may come a day when I add this to that special collection of books that you can actually read sober and still enjoy. But until then, keep the six pack and the whiskey nearby! Nuff said!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Uncanny Avengers #5 - Public Relations Nightmare (of Awesome)

I know I’ve been pretty critical of the Avengers lately. In my recent reviews, I seem to gleefully wave my dick while slamming back shots of tequila whenever the Avengers are pwned. I won’t say that after reading Uncanny X-men #3 I was extremely hung over and had a strange piercing in my balls that I don’t remember getting. I’ll only say that strange things happen when you get drunk in New Orleans during a gay pride parade. But while I may seem like I’m anti-Avengers, I want to assure my readers that I’m no embittered hater.

I love the Avengers. They are Marvel’s mightiest team of heroes. They had a billion dollar movie. They have Samuel freakin’ Jackson and Scarlett freakin’ Johanssen. Their capacity for awesome is beyond dispute. The purpose of subjecting them to more poop jokes than usual on this blog has to do with their success. They won Avengers vs. X-men with their shit smelling like roses. And like the New England Patriots, The New York Yankees, and rich white guys who bitch about the gays and poor people they are a big target. They’re easy to hate and easy to get annoyed by. Maybe me calling them a bunch of lying, hypocritical dickheads after Avengers vs. X-men is excessive, but that’s warranted in the same way that calling Donald Trump a dick is warranted.

And to their credit, the Avengers are trying to take the lessons learned in Avengers vs. X-men and apply it so they aren’t easy targets for poop jokes. The point of Uncanny Avengers was to bridge the gap between the Avengers and the X-men. The first arc involved putting together a new team of both Avengers and X-men to see if they can work together without someone shooting a cosmic bird and blaming it on mutants. The results were only semi-successful. The X-men they ended up entrusting to this task was Alex Summers, who is basically the New Coke version of Cyclops. Not only was he a total douche to his brother, but he’s nowhere near the leader in terms of experience and track record. That’s like making a former living weapon the headmaster of a school for mutant children. Okay, bad example.

But to his credit, Havok managed to pull his team through when the Red Skull attacked armed with the brain of Charles Xavier. Granted, the Red Skull got away and a fuckton of innocent people were horribly traumatized. But Havok was able to hold his own on a team with Captain America, Thor, and Wolverine. He’s still a douche, but he proved himself as admirably as you could hope for.

Unfortunately, he’s going to have to prove himself even more because some nasty shit is brewing from some loose ends left by Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run. During the epic Dark Angel Saga, Archangel apparently thought he was too advanced to need condoms. As a result, he knocked up one of the horsemen in what may have been the only sex tape nobody ever wants to see outside of Japanese fetish porn. It’s not clear if Angel is going to get sued for child support in the tradition of Evander Holyfield, but apparently it has already been long enough for a couple of new baby Apocalypse’s to emerge from the most unholy of twats. I’m not sure if Havok is ready to face an Apocalypse threat yet, but there’s no fucking way he’s prepared for a couple of baby Apocalypses. Like any child that results from forgetting to use a condom, there’s going to be some tension.

But Archangel and the Avengers aren’t the only ones who should be shitting themselves over the possibility of Apocalypse babies. Apparently, someone has already beaten them to the punch and knows how soiled his pants end up being. That someone is Kang the Conqueror, a villain who has crossed paths with the Avengers more often than the X-men. But I guess now that the X-men and Avengers are sharing a collective vision, they might as well start sharing villains too. And I’m all for it because not only does it continue elements from Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run without coming off as overly nostalgic, it creates the kind of threat that feels like it can only be best handled with some Avengers/X-men collaboration.

However, that powerful threat, as awesome as it may be, takes a seat to more pragmatic matters in Uncanny Avengers. Seriously, it’s never mentioned again in this issue. It was akin to a teaser that only shows you the good parts of an Adam Sandler movie and skips all the parts that suck. But in this instance, some of those pragmatic matters actually make sense. And after Avengers vs. X-men, these comics are in desperate need of shit that makes sense.

The first logical thing the new Uncanny Avengers do is step up their manpower. They didn’t exactly measure up against the Red Skull in the first arc so how they fuck can they expect to measure up to a threat like Kang and Apocalypse? Their new recruits include Avengers veterans Wonder Man and Wasp. And they’re not just joining the team for an extra set of fists to punch the Red Skull either. Wonder Man has a history with the Scarlet Witch that may or may not involve him wanting to feel her tits. He’s a calming influence on her and for a woman who can bitch-slap reality, that’s a pretty important thing to have. Unfortunately, they aren't exactly thrilled with their first meeting with Rogue and Havok. Apparently, they have different tastes in terms of how to decorate the Avengers mansion and I guess fighting for all that is good can't work without decor worthy of a Bravo mini-series. It once again shows that Havok is in over his head, yet still doing his best not to come off as a douche.

He’s not the only one worried that he’s destined to fuck things up. The Scarlet Witch also confronts Captain America about her presence on the team. It’s already well-known that she’s a mentally unstable mutant who could fuck up reality if she has a bad case of PMS. Her being on a team that showcases a new collaboration with the Avengers and the X-men is neither wise nor logical. It would be like putting Justin Bieber in the Wu Tang Clan. Nothing good could come of it. But Captain America helps reassure her and maybe soaks her panties a bit in the process. As we saw in the first arc, sometimes it does come in handy to have a reality-warping mutant on the team.

With the addition of two new Avengers, the team is starting to get horribly unbalanced. The X-men on the team are like the token black characters in a slasher movie in that they’re just a way to get the ACLU off their ass. Well Wolverine does some recruiting as well and hunts down Sunfire in Japan. If you’ve forgotten that Sunfire is still alive, that’s okay. You don’t need to cut back on the booze. He’s been MIA for a good reason. He sort of pissed his teammates off when he joined Apocalypse to get his legs back (they were blown off previously) and he’s been drowning his sorrows in booze and self-loathing ever since. That makes Wolverine the perfect guy to convince him to join the team because no matter how bad Sunfire thinks he has it, at least he can’t say that he has to live with the fact that Cyclops boned Jean Grey and he didn’t.

Armed with these new recruits, the new Avengers team calls a meeting. And what does Havok propose they do with this new muscle? Maybe it would be advantageous to hunt down the Red Skull and kick Xavier’s brain out of his head before he mind-fucks more people or maybe it would help if the new team gets proactive and starts hunting down threats like Apocalypse before they start blowing shit up. No, that would make too much sense. That would be something Cyclops would do and Havok just can’t have that. Instead, he’s going to hold a press conference. I shit you not, that’s his plan.

It may sound stupid at first, but after I took a few bong hits I realized it made a lot of sense. This new X-men/Avengers team really hasn’t gone public yet. And as a few news reports in the issue showed, people still aren’t all open to a new population of mutants. The Red Skull actually convinced people without mind control that mutants should be hunted down, beaten up, and images of their bruised bodies broadcasted on Instagram. Those are probably the same people that still think Barack Obama’s birth certificate was forged, but they’re still a threat. Moreover, Havok wants the whole team, including the Scarlett Witch, to join them. It’s a risky move that any politician will tell you means you’ll get your ass handed to you by bloggers and Fox News. But Havok wants to try the truth approach rather than relying too heavily on bullshit. In that sense, he’s clearly very bad at PR.

Despite the many logical reasons why he shouldn’t do it, Havok has his press conference and even got a kiss on the cheek from Rogue in support. That alone should count as a partial win. He addresses the media as best a Cyclops-lite can possibly manage. Unfortunately, he spends a good deal of time just whining about his brother and like the first issue, he gives some piss poor reasons for hating him. Exactly how did Cyclops stray from Xavier’s dream when he used his power to create a utopian world for humans and mutants alike? Havok never explains that. He doesn’t even try. He’s still a douche, but he does come off as somewhat likable. And in PR that’s usually enough to bullshit your way to progress.

Another key aspect of PR is don’t let some psycho super-villain attack during the middle of a press conference. That’s like Elliot Spitzer getting a blowjob from a hooker while he’s busting a prostitution ring. The villain in this instance is a nasty fellow named the Grim Reaper. It’s not exactly clear if he’s linked to the earlier teaser with Kang and Apocalypse, but it is clear that he wants to make Havok and the Avengers out to be more of a douche. It finally allows Havok to say “Avengers Assemble!” without someone laughing their ass off. It’s basically another test to make up for the nasty shit the Red Skull did and this time the cameras are rolling so it’s in his best interest, PR-wise, not to fuck up.

Despite having a pretty tough contingent of Avengers and X-men in front of him, the Grim Reaper does a damn good job of single-handedly humiliating the new Uncanny Avengers. First, he neutralizes the Scarlet Witch, which is always smart when you’re dealing with a reality warping psycho-bitch. He then proceeds to rough up Wonder Man, Rogue, Captain America, and the rest of the team. If the point of this press conference was to avoid coming off as inept, Havok is failing miserably. You get the sense that none of this shit would happen if Cyclops were leading.

But in the end, they do manage to subdue the Grim Reaper. It’s actually pretty simple on the surface. Rogue swaps some power from the injured Wonder Man and proceeds to slug the Grim Reaper right in the face as if she caught him stealing her panties. That’s all it takes to knock him out, but it’s not quite as simple as it looks. Keep in mind, the cameras are still rolling. This is still a press event. And Rogue just helped prove the Red Skull’s point in showing how dangerous mutants were. It ends the issue on a somewhat ominous note while also being a new case study in how NOT to conduct a PR campaign.

Going back to what I said about the Avengers actually trying to apply the lessons they learned in Avengers vs. X-men, this issue was by far the best example in the post-Avengers vs. X-men era of a more unified Marvel universe. Yes, Havok was still a douche and his speeches are about as inspirational as George W. Bush giving a lecture on grammar. But he and this new team of Avengers really came together in this issue and established a clear vision for both the team and the series. In many ways this issue is sort of a transition from the team being just a knee-jerk reaction to Avengers vs. X-men to being an actual force in the Marvel universe. And I can say with a semi-sober mind that I’m all for it!

Granted, their first efforts at fostering human/mutant peace ended in another semi-disaster, but the premise is clearly established and neatly fleshed out. I can already hear some hyper-douchy hipster types choking on their lattes over this issue focusing too much on PR. That’s like going to a Metallica concert and having to listen to Justin Bieber. But the reason I give an extra-large finger to those hipster types is because it actually makes fucking sense to focus on this sort of thing, even if it is boring on the level of watching the Fox Business Channel. If the Avengers and X-men are serious about working together, then they kind of need to sell this shit to the public. Because what good is working together going to do if the public still supports the Red Skulls of the world and makes beating up mutants a new Olympic sport?

Even if you find the concept of PR less appealing than watching C-SPAN sober for eight hours, this issue offers plenty of action and a few nice moments of drama. This new Avengers team is different from the others in that they aren’t all on the same page and not all of them are in good standing with the public. Hell, one of them committed mutant genocide and another teamed up with a mutant tyrant. That’s like a rapper collaborating with Vanilla Ice on a song. That’s more than a tough sell, but it definitely helps make the story more awesome no one’s brain needed to be cut out. So it’s win-win!

There’s a lot to like about this issue, but if you hate Alex Summers then all those good things will probably be overshadowed. He may be the leader of this new team, but he’s still a douche who does nothing but whine about his brother for exceedingly shitty reasons. In addition, the teaser at the beginning with Kang and the Apocalypse twins was awesome, but it really didn’t amount to much in the larger story. It felt out of place and if the attack at the end was linked to it, then it’s hard to make that connection without the aid of LSD. It’s also hard to imagine Rogue and Wanda as cat-people without LSD, but I don’t hold that against this issue.

This issue still lacks the concise, focused awesome that made Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force so legendary. However, it is definitely a comic that is up to his lofty standards. Even if you didn’t enjoy the first arc, this issue offers the promise of plenty more awesome. We’ve got new characters in Wasp, Wonder Man, and Sunfire. We’ve got a new Apocalypse threat. I mean if that shit isn’t enough for you, then you’re either smoking too much weed or smoking the wrong kind. I give Uncanny Avengers #5 a 4.5 out of 5. Like it or not, superheroes need good PR and as anyone who works in the PR department at Penn State now knows it doesn’t take much to fuck it up. That’s what the Uncanny Avengers are going through right now, but I think it’s still better than Penn State’s PR problem. Nuff said!

Friday, March 22, 2013

X-men Supreme Special Issue 3.1: Sin City Shenanigans Announcement and PREVIEW

I'm very excited about this latest addition to the X-men Supreme fanfiction series! First off, I want to assure everyone that I am already hard at work on X-men Supreme Volume 4. The next era of this fanfiction series is on its way and I'll be making an official announcement very soon. But before we get to that point, I have a very special bonus issue to announce that I think will help bridge the gap between X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope and X-men Supreme Volume 4.

A while back, I did an extra long special issue of X-men Supreme called X-men Supreme Issue 0: Revelation Xand overall, I think it was a success. I wrote it because I wanted to tell a story that took place in the past before X-men Supreme Issue 1: Generation X. Part of the inspiration came from the X-men First Class movie. But I never intended to do another spin-off like it. Then a while back, Marvel comics introduced something called the Point One initiative. For a number of their popular books, including the X-men, Marvel made these .1 issues that were meant to be self-contained one-shots to help readers jump into the books. I really enjoyed those books and while it can be argued that some didn't fulfil Marvel's mission as well as others, the idea is a good one. The X-men Supreme fanfiction series has grown a lot over the past three years. It's bigger than I ever thought it would be, but one consequence of size is that it can be hard to follow. So with that in mind, I've decided to adopt Marvel's approach and make the first ever X-men Supreme Point One issue!

So it is with great pleasure and excitement that I announce X-men Supreme 3.1: Sin City Shenanigans! This issue is different from X-men Supreme Issue 0: Revelation X in that it doesn't take place in the past. This issue takes place in the time gap between X-men Supreme Volume 3: Ashes of Hope and X-men Supreme Volume 4. The events of X-men Supreme Issue 71: Election Day are still fresh in everyone's mind, but the dust hasn't quite settled just yet. The X-men know they have some big challenges ahead of them, but before they get to that point Professor Charles Xavier believes his team needs some time to rest. And the best way to do that is a vacation to beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada! And anyone who has ever seen the Hangover knows how crazy a trip to Vegas can be!

But their stay in Sin City isn't all glitz, gambling, and shows. Trouble always seems to find them, even when they try to take time off. And once again, they'll be called upon to stop a dangerous threat from a familiar foe. And as usual, I've prepared an extended preview for this first (but hopefully not the last) X-men Supreme point one issue!

“Prime rib, sausage, chicken wings, and salsa…if zhis is not a touch of heaven, zhen I vill become an atheist!” said an overly excited Kurt Wagner.

Las Vegas was a place of many spectacles. There were world class shows, world class resorts, vast casinos, and a wide variety of activities for anyone with money to spend. Yet for some, the simplest spectacles were still the most alluring. Kurt may have been too young to gamble and his appearance made venturing out in public troublesome, but he could always enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffets. The Golden Nugget had just opened up for a large lunch buffet. Thanks to a few generous tips, Kurt and Hank had first dibs.

“First you partook in the free continental buffet at the MGM. Then you had a light snack in the cab that consisted of a three-layer sandwich. Now you’re staging an all out assault on a lunch buffet?” Hank McCoy pointed out, who had a much more modest plate of food in hand, “I’m confounded as to how you make room for such a vast culinary intake.”

“I may look like skin and bone, Herr McCoy. But I assure you zhis slim frame of mine burns a lot of calories,” said Kurt while shoveling a large helping of sweet potatoes onto his plate.

“I would wager that your caloric intake is only rivaled by Logan’s alcohol consumption,” joked Hank.

“At least bacon is easier on zhe liver,” the German mutant retorted.

“That may be, but I almost get the sense thate you’re taking the all-you-can-eat aspect of this buffet as a personal challenge.”

“Vhy not? In Las Vegas, zhere are far more unusual sights zhan a blue-skinned demon vith a tail or an ape man. Where else vould ve be able to do zhis out in zhe open?”

Before Hank could respond with a logical retort, a new round of patrons entered the buffet. Three of them were Las Vegas showgirls wearing these elaborate bikini-like outfits that consisted of metal chains, thigh-high boots, and a feathered head-dress. Another man walked in behind them with an afro wig, oversized novelty glasses, and clown shoes. Behind him was a full blown Elvis impersonator. When they saw Kurt and Hank they only tensed for a moment before shrugging and partaking in the buffet.

“I rest my case,” said Kurt as he offered the Elvis impersonator some bacon.

“Thank you. Thank you very much,” he replied in a perfect mimicking of the King.

“The prosecution rests,” laughed Hank as he watched the man in the wig walk by.

Hank was in no position to debate. He already lost to Remy at the poker tables. He wasn’t about to lose to Kurt over a buffet.

“Try not to clean them out completely, Kurt,” sighed Hank.

“Vhy not? Zhe casinos clean people out of zheir savings. Vhy can’t I clean zhem out of zheir pantry?”

“If that’s your goal, at least leave an overly generous tip.”

“I’ll send a personal check to zhe chefs if I have to!” affirmed Kurt.

Hank shook his head and laughed as he left the buffet. Kurt had already heard every possible joke about his hyperactive metabolism and the appetite that came with it. He couldn’t be faulted for taking advantage of a buffet while on vacation. If Amanda were here, she would chide him for getting overly creative with his food. Kurt had stacked two whole plates to the brim. He packed it in so tight that he had to balance them so he wouldn’t drop it. All the while he kept ignoring the looks he was getting. This time he was pretty sure it wasn’t because of his appearance. It was quite a work of art, packing in so much food.

‘Zhis should be enough. At least until zhe dinner buffet opens!’

The German mutant eagerly navigated through the buffet towards the tables where Hank was already sitting. Then as he stepped out from the buffet line, neatly dressed man nearly knocked him flat on his back as he ran by him. Were it not for Kurt’s nimble agility, he would have dropped both plates of food.

“Whoa! Zhat vas close!” Kurt exclaimed.

“Watch it, freak! I’m in a hurry!” said the man, who barely looked at him and kept running.

“Apology accepted,” groaned the German mutant as he re-balanced himself.

It was a pretty rude gesture, even for a place known as Sin City. It took him a moment to make sure all the food he meticulously assembled was still in place. Once he was sure both plates were balanced, he looked towards where the man was running.

“At least he didn’t cry out for a lynch mob,” sighed the German mutant.

He was about to brush him aside and turn his attention back to his food. Then noticed the man stop and meet with a woman that was remarkably overdressed for a place like Las Vegas. She had a full body coat, a hat, and sunglasses. However, Kurt could still make out her red hair and distinct facial complexion. Once he recognized her, he quickly lost his appetite.

“Siryn?!” he gasped.

Setting his plates aside at a random table he walked around the buffet to get a closer look. Sure enough it was Siryn, the daughter of Black Tom Cassidy. The man who nearly ran him over looked really nervous in her presence. It was hard to tell, but the situation was tense enough for her to grab the man by the collar and give him a menacing glare. Having been involved in one too many of Siryn and Black Tom’s affairs, Kurt’s curiosity grew.

‘It doesn’t look like she’s here for zhe buffet and shows. Zhat can only mean she’s here on business. If her dear old father is making deals again, it’s only a matter of time before people start dying.’

Kurt looked back towards Mr. McCoy, who was already eating his lunch. Logan and Remy weren’t done at the poker tables yet. They weren’t due to meet up with the others for another hour or so. He was tempted to call for back-up, but this was personal. Vacation or no vacation, he couldn’t brush this aside.

‘Sorry, mien friends. Go on and enjoy your vacation. I have unfinished business to tend to.’

I have high hopes for this very special one-shot of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Depending on how it turns out, I may write more as the series unfolds and grows. But as always, the success of this one-shot and that of this fanfiction series as a whole rests on whether my readers enjoy it. So as always, I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to review this and future issues. Either post them on the comments section or contact me directly. Either way is fine. Thank you very much and I hope X-men fans and Marvel fans of all stripes enjoy what I have planned for this fanfiction series! Until next time, take care and best wishes! Excelsior!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cable and X-Force #6 - Diverse Range of Awesome

Maybe it’s the fact I live in a Christian nation according to Fox News, but I’m a big fan of second chances. Even if someone hits me with their car, throws me to the curb, and takes a piss on my face I’m willing to give that someone a second chance if they admit they were truly sorry and agree to give me some of whatever they were smoking. I’m forgiving like that. And that forgiveness does extend to comic books.

Cable and X-Force has been by far one of the weakest X-books to come along since the Marvel NOW! relaunch. Dennis Hopeless was blessed with an awesome cast that features Cable, Domino, and Colossus. You’ve got your rugged badass, your hot gun-toating bitch, and your emo strong man. This is practically a 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 type formula for a successful X-men comics. Yet Cable and X-Force found a way to make it boring, repetitive, and completely unappealing. And it even threw in a jab at fast food. As someone who has lived on fast food and has the taco shits to prove it, I thought that was a very low blow. But like I said, I’m a forgiving guy.

The first arc of Cable and X-Force is over and good riddance. The bullshit flashbacks and repetitive themes couldn’t end fast enough. All you really need to know from those books are that Cable is having visions of the future on par with a shitty hangover, he puts together a team to avoid said hangovers even if it means a liberal application of lethal force, and they all end up as fugitives. Some innocent people got turned into monsters and killed. Hope found some time to be an even bigger whiney puissant bitch. And Colossus’s guilt complex from the events of Avengers vs. X-men made him almost as whiney, yet it still got him some pity sex from Domino. That and Havok got his ass kicked. So in that sense it wasn’t a total loss, but you really don’t need to know much more than that.

So in the spirit of second chances, I’m going to smoke a few extra joints and forget about how shitty the first arc was and try to enjoy this new arc, which begins in Cable and X-Force #6. And the circumstances are still pretty shitty for Colossus, who after banging Domino in the previous issue decided to turned himself in. Maybe he thought that he could die happy now so there’s no point in fighting anymore. That or he’s just being an overly emo douche, thinking he’s a criminal for trying to solve world poverty as part of the Phoenix Five and having to kill a bunch of unlucky security guards that had been mutated into monsters by a fast food conspiracy. Even if he had a shittier reason, he still got to bone Domino. That earns him points in my book. We even get a guest appearance by Wolverine, who tells him his reasons for turning himself in were pretty shitty. But Colossus is committed to punishing himself. Even Domino’s pussy can’t heal a wounded spirit like his.

As this drama is unfolding, Cable and the rest of his team of outlaws are taking the exact opposite approach as Colossus. They’re opting to continue giving the finger to the authorities in favor of finding more things that need killing. To do that, they opt to hijack a SWORD ship that was tactfully hidden as a park guide at a national park. Is it fucked up? Yes, but I admit that is close to the last place I would look for a hidden SWORD ship. I would sooner look under the Pope’s porno stash before I look in a place like this.

While this does nicely indicate that shit is getting serious, it’s hard to figure out just how this factors into Cable’s plan. He’s already assembled a team, made them criminals, and given readers more reasons to not eat fast food. How does unlocking a hidden space ship move things forward? That was one of the many flaws in the first arc, namely the ambiguity of Cable’s mission. We know he’s having visions of the future, but I have horrific visions every time I smoke a bad strain of weed. So like a rash on your scrotum, those flaws continue to persist.

Cable’s little side-mission may not make sense, but the drama surrounding Colossus needs no such ambiguity. As he continues to punish himself and protect the integrity of his asshole in prison, he receives a few letters and visits from Kitty Pryde. I find it troubling that he has to end up in prison before she decides to show that she still gives a damn. But given how upset she was with the whole Phoenix Force date she had with him in Avengers vs. X-men and that he opted to save his sociopath sister, I guess she can be forgiven for such oversight. Yet given their history, she’s still a bitch for waiting until he’s in prison to pay a visit and for hooking up with Iceman in the interim.

It’s not the most dramatic moment. Colossus and Kitty Pryde don’t have a moment, but I think Dennis Hopeless did a good job of addressing the lingering aftermath of their failed relationship. Kitty essentially tells Colossus that she’s proud of him for taking responsibility. She doesn’t explain why he deserves to be in jail for the crap he did with the Phoenix Force, but she respects his decision and his humility. She even brings him some art supply. Personally, I would have asked for some porn and some blow, but I guess an ex-girlfriend can only be expected to provide so much.

But Colossus’s self-inflicted punishment isn’t the only prison-related plot in this issue. Hopeless introduces yet another side-plot into the mix and this one takes the form of a hot blond in a bikini with a bottle of hard liquor. I swear it was taken right from one of my dreams. The hot blond in question is Tabitha “Boom Boom” Smith and like a college girl on spring break in Cancun, she decides test the patience of the authorities by hopping a jet ski and riding into restricted waters. I’m sure the security guards on duty were pleasantly surprised to see that this trespasser was a pretty blond and not Dr. Doom, but they still look pissed as anyone who has dealt with a traffic cop knows their sense of humor is often incredibly limited.

But Boom Boom’s appearance isn’t just Marvel’s attempt to fill the void left by the now bankrupt Girls Gone Wild. It’s actually part of another elaborate plan, courtesy of Domino. She’s looking to break into a high security prison and she understands that few things cause more of a distraction than a pretty blond in a bikini. While Tabitha is being hauled off and detained TSA style, Domino sneaks into the prison. And once she’s in, she meets up with Boom Boom just in time to see her blow shit up. It’s a brilliant scene that makes me wonder how Marvel could not find more ways to utilize a pretty blond that makes shit explode. They do know they’re core audience is young men and young men tend to be horny, right? A story with Boom Boom and Domino practically rights itself and any man who partially thinks with his penis would gladly devour it! Just saying.

Domino reports to Forge to let them know she’s in, which implies this is yet another part of that ambiguous plan that is so poorly explained. And while things are still coming together on their end, Domino non-conjugal visit to Colossus. She makes clear that the mission isn’t to rescue him. She just wanted to drop in and say hi. Why? Because she has big tits and a nice ass, that’s why. She doesn’t need a reason. And given that they bumped uglies in the previous issue, it’s fitting that their paths cross again. But in addition to saying hi, she also informs him that Cable and his buddies aren’t done fucking things up wherever they go. I guess that’s just something to keep in the back of his mind along with memories of her boobs.

What could Cable and his team be up to? Again, I have no fucking clue and this issue did a piss poor job of leaving clues. But for some reason, it involves an alien that happened to be imprisoned at the same place as Colossus. This isn’t as contrived as it sounds. At the beginning of the issue, it was made clear that this prison specializes in housing inmates with powers that are difficult to imprison. So why wouldn’t a place like that imprison an alien-like creature that looks like something that Ridley Scott would sue over? Again, the reason isn’t clear, but Boom Boom is there to set it free. While it may be an alien, I’m sure even it appreciates the value of being freed by a hot blond in a bikini.

However, any possibility of aliens hooking up with pretty blonds will have to wait until future issues. Because at this point, Cable and his team are just about ready on their end to take off in the ship. But before they can depart, they get yet another unexpected guest star from another X-book. This time, it’s Cyclops. He already dropped in on All New X-men. Now he’s paying a visit to Cable. Seeing as how they’re both wanted fugitives and they both pwned the Avengers, they’ve earned some father/son time. It’s not just a fitting way to tie in the events of Cable and X-Force with other X-books. It’s a nice little reminder that these two men were both screwed over by Avengers vs. X-men and they are in a perfect position to screw back.

So how do you judge a book from a series that has set the ball so low that Tommy Lee could top it just by standing on his dick? Even in my most sober moments, I find it hard to be objective for books like Cable and X-Force. When the first arc of a brand spankin’ new series sucks ass, it’s like a botched boob job. It takes something that could have been beautiful and makes it a tragedy. The first arc of Cable and X-Force suffered from repetitive issues, shitty organization, and too much Hope fucking Summers. This new arc takes a completely different approach and since I’m such a forgiving guy with access to hard liquor, I’m willing to give it another chance.

And I’m glad I did because this issue was a considerable improvement compared to the first five issues. It wasn’t overly fancy by attempting to jump around the timeline, making for a lousy comic and an even lousier LSD trip. It was basic in that it focused on various members of X-Force and followed their respective plots, each of which offered something different. It wasn’t the most engaging collection of plots, but it did give this series a badly needed sense of direction. At least now it doesn’t come off as a drunk trying to do the moonwalk down a busy highway.

I still have issues with the details, but the overall theme of Cable and X-Force is still intact. This is a team of outlaws. Hell, one of them is already in fucking prison trying to keep his asshole intact. And what really helped this issue was how it tied the events of this series into other X-books, namely by having Wolverine and Kitty Pryde pay a visit. Also, introducing another hot blond into the series is always a plus. Boom Boom is one of those obscure characters that doesn’t show up unless Marvel wants to throw in some extra T&A. It’s a shameless tactic, but I’m not complaining and fuck anyone who does. It’s not clear if Boom Boom will be a regular member of the cast, but as I’ve said many times before on this blog there aren’t many stories that can’t be made more awesome by a hot blond with a nice rack.

I still can’t be overly generous to Cable and X-Force because I still don’t know what the fuck Cable is hoping to accomplish with this outlaw team of his. However, there are plenty of signs to indicate that there is a story worth following here. The arrival of Cyclops at the end of the issue certainly helps in the sense that it gives it the potential to have an impact on the X-books as a whole. I would much rather have that shit than see more issues of Hope Summers being a whiney little bitch. I give Cable and X-Force #6 a 3.5 out of 5. This series still has a long ways to go before I allow myself to get excited about it. I would love for it to be one of those books I don’t have to read stoned in order to enjoy. But I understand that awesome is a process. So long as I have friends in Colorado and Washington, I can afford to be patient. Nuff said!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

All New X-men #9 - Setting The Stage For Awesome

Before I go into my typical drunken rant, let me say one thing for the record. Being a teenager sucks every kind of ass that has ever existed. Unless your rich, beautiful, and a complete sociopath, being a teenager is like having your asshole being operated on by a blind doctor wearing a boxing glove. I’ve made this point many times in many different reviews, but I think it’s worth reinforcing in the context of All New X-men.

Brian Michael Bendis made it clear from the beginning that the X-men he’s dealing with are teenagers. It doesn’t matter whether they’re time-displaced or pathetic rip-off characters meant to replace someone that was killed off (looking at you, Miles fucking Morales), being a teenager is central to the theme. It has already played a big part in the events of All New X-men. Cyclops is no longer the large and in charge leader who gets to bone Emma Frost every night. He’s an awkward teenager who isn’t sure of himself and isn’t sure of his future. Jean Grey isn’t the loving, compassionate woman that men can’t help but fall in love with and try to bone. She’s also an awkward teenager trying to figure out new powers while wrapping her head around the fact that she’s died multiple times and has been replaced by a shitty rip-off character in Hope Summers.

And then there’s Angel. Oh Lord have mercy, there’s Angel and he feels like he’s in hell. The entire previous issue was basically dedicated to Angel freaking out on a level usually reserved for teenagers that find out the girl they boned in a drunken stupor is pregnant and has a father with a licensed shotgun in his possession. The Avengers finding out about Beast’s time travel shenanigans was secondary. Angel’s freak-out was sort of a microcosm of how the Original Five X-men are dealing with being in the present. That is to say they’re dealing with it in a way you would expect of a bunch of hormonal, emotional, and utterly irrational teenagers.

Yet they’re intent on changing the future so that it doesn’t suck so damn much and they’ve enlisted help from Kitty Pryde to train them. I guess she can take some comfort in the knowledge that teenagers are easily bored and need shit to stimulate that underdeveloped mind of theirs. After freaking the fuck out in the last issue, they still have to get their shit together if they’re to have any impact on the future. I normally have sympathy for teenagers going through their own personal hell, but Bendis has made this so entertaining that it’s almost masochistic in a non-porno sort of way.

The masochism in All New X-men #9 continues in that it doesn’t just focus on the physical rigors. Kitty Pryde goes so far as to call out Jean Grey for the mind-fucking she did to Angel in the previous issue. Jean’s response is typical of any teenager who thinks they can solve all the world’s problems by legalizing pot and having hippies run the government. She claims it was the right thing to do and Kitty Pryde calls bullshit. However, not much else is made of it. Last I checked, teenagers don’t just change their mind when you call their actions bullshit. Tell someone not to do something and it usually has the opposite effect. Just ask the Catholic Church.

While it would have been nice to see Kitty Pryde or anyone for that matter give Jean Grey a crash course in the ethics of mind-fucking other people, instead the O5 X-men get a crash course in X-men basics. That means they need to start fighting giant robots and go about it the same way most people go about taking a shit. Kitty Pryde treats them like virgin schoolgirls in Japanese anime porn in that she throws them into a den of tentacle monsters by having them fight sentinels in the streets of New York City. It’s a classic scenario that anyone with a nostalgic fetish should be able to jerk off to. But it’s important to keep in mind that what seems so basic to X-men veterans is actually akin to having an intern with cerebral palsy perform open heart surgery on their first day.

The battle between the O5 X-men and the sentinels is a classic struggle, but one that once again reveals just how inexperienced these teenagers are compared to the X-men we know and love. They start off as you would expect a bunch of teenagers, just charging head first into the problem without giving much thought to teamwork and trying to conceal their boners. Cyclops attempts to be the leader that Mystique told him he should have been in previous issues, but it works about as well as a Mormon missionary at a crack house.

Keep in mind, this is just a simple sentinel. The O5 opted to stay in the future so they could fix all the shit that’s wrong with it. And if they are struggling with one fucking sentinel, they might as well go back to the past and ask Charles Xavier to both wipe their minds and give them diapers. It shows just how inexperienced this team really is. Maybe it’s because I still get a kick out of any story of a teenager fucking up hilariously, but I took a special satisfaction in this scene.

In the end the team fails the mission and fails it badly. Kitty Pryde ends up stopping the simulation early and calmly explains to the O5 the extent to which they fucked up. Granted, she’s pretty generous about it. And O5 Iceman even goes so far as to say that this is way more fucked up than the Danger Room sessions they did in the past. While it’s still as satisfying as ever to see teenagers fail, it does make an important point. It identifies the gap in training between the O5 X-men and the modern X-men. They need to adjust to this fucked up future and they need to adjust fast. It's a message every other teenager would be wise heed, but we know they're not. So we might as well just sit back, grab a beer, and laugh our ass off as they continue to learn the hard way.

But in the same way it is in the nature of teenagers to fuck up and not heed good advice, it is also in their nature to challenge authority. Some, like the recently mind-fucked Angel, haven’t forgotten that they were roped into visiting the future because Beast told them Cyclops was going to commit mass mutant genocide. Well he’s been in the future long enough to be mind-fucked, but so far he hasn’t seen any genocide. And he’s not sure how this sort of training is going to help them prevent it, if it even is a threat. I usually don’t agree with any teenagers I’m not trying to bone, but O5 Angel makes a damn good point.

And he’s not the only one fucking with team dynamics. Jean Grey, who still can’t seem to understand why it’s wrong to poke around someone else’s mind without their permission, finds out that O5 Cyclops was hanging out with another redhead who may or may not have given him an erection. She asks him about Mystique. And naturally, he’s not too happy with her being in his mind again. Even if he does still want to bone her, a man has his limits. It offers both a nice connection to the recent comics and a nice segway into other issues that involve shit blowing up.

Mystique made it clear in All New X-men #7 that she had a good reason for fucking with the O5 and playing on O5 Cyclops’s hormones. She has a plan of her own and it doesn’t involve the X-men interfering. She encouraged O5 Cyclops to take more initiative than any teenager should and while it’s hard to tell how much influence she’s had, she’s carrying on as if the X-men are too occupied to stop her plans.

And these plans involve her disguising herself as Maria Hill, pretending that Sabretooth can be restrained outside her bedroom, and casually strolling into a high security prison. It’s pretty basic. It’s the kind of shit you would expect Mystique to do on her typical Thursday afternoon, but it adds an element of action that doesn’t involve fucking holograms. In a series like All New X-men where teen drama supersedes action, it adds some much needed balance. If an X-men comic goes too many issues without blowing shit up, I feel the same way the military probably does when they go a few too many days without an illegal drone strike.

Mystique’s plans quickly progress as she proceed to break out a prisoner that she believes can help her plan. That prisoner is our old friend, Lady Mastermind. Now maybe I killed one too many brain cells last weekend, but I can’t for the life of me remember how Lady Mastermind ended up in a prison cell. I know she was part of the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants and got her ass kicked by Emma Frost while she was in her underwear (you don’t forget shit like that). But after that, she ends up in prison? Well, whatever the reason, she’s a hot blond and we all know hot blonds never stay in prison for very long. Just ask Paris Hilton.

While I’m all for Mystique having a hot blond on her team, her plan is anything but ambitious. After reading All New X-men #7, you got the sense she was planning the kind of shit that would make sentinel manufacturers cum in their pants. But instead, her plan involves gathering a few powerful mutants, using their powers to make fucktons of money, and using that money to live in luxury while the rest of the world sorts out this shit. Granted, that’s probably the most logical plan any villain in any comic has ever come up with. However, for someone like Mystique, it’s pretty fucking underwhelming. Maybe I just miss a Mystique that had ambition, but it if this was reason enough to fuck with the O5 then it’s a pretty shitty reason.

From one shitty reason to another, O5 Angel shows that he’s not dropping this whole genocide bullshit that Beast pulled on them. He confronts Beast, who is now healthy and no longer looking like Thundercats cos-player, and calls him out. He basically demands he explain why he told them that Cyclops was going to commit mass genocide on mutants. He dances around the question for the most part. All he does is say Cyclops is going to provoke human fears and that’s going to cause some shit. But genocide? He claims that by just being here the O5 could prevent it, but he doesn’t admit he may have been pushing it when he used that excuse to draw the O5 to the future. That’s akin to telling Republicans that President Obama is amassing a secret Kenyan army to take over the White House. It’s obviously bullshit, but the Michelle Bachmann’s of the world will take it seriously and that’s just a dick move.

There’s plenty more dick moves to discuss, including O5 Cyclops’s encounter with Mystique. But before anyone can start pissing and moaning about it, a more pressing issue emerges and it takes the form of sweet, beautiful convergence. In Uncanny X-men #3, Brian Michael Bendis penned another issue that was light on action yet heavy on drama of the most awesome variety. It ended with Cyclops pwning the Avengers in a gloriously fitting way and taking a trip to the Jean Grey Institute for a recruitment run. Well that’s exactly how this issue ends as well. Rather than come off as repetitive, it comes off as two comics in perfect harmony in terms of events. In the world of Marvel comics where time is often more flexible and fucked up than a Russian gymnast on crack, this kind of convergence is a true thing of beauty.

After reading this issue, I’m compelled to say it again and say it with the certainty of the most annoying creationist. Being a teenager sucks. Now I’m not sure if Brian Michael Bendis is just belaboring a point or if there’s a larger message in this story, but at this point he’s hitting readers upside the head with this concept so hard that the NFL would give him a lifetime suspension for inducing concussions. It’s not enough for it to just suck. In All New X-men, it has to suck and involve getting your ass kicked by killer robots. It’s like high school, a prostate exam, and being arrested at the same time. While it may evoke some traumatic memories in some readers, it’s still a fucking awesome comic.

This issue took a break from the drama in some respects to explore the finer details about how the Original Five are being conditioned for this mission of theirs. For a series that has been so heavy on the drama and subtle with the action, this issue added some much needed balance. We didn’t just get to see the Original Five fuck up their first Danger Room session. We also got to see Mystique fuck up life for a group of unlucky SHIELD agents while gaining a new member to her plan. And yes, it helps that said member is a hot blond. And no, it doesn’t help that her plan is basically the same as every white collar criminal that ever gave the finger to the SEC. So in that sense it balances out in more than one way.

But as much as I enjoyed seeing Mystique blow shit up while giving me a boner, some dramatic elements seem to be getting lost in the mix. The impact of Jean mind-fucking Angel was only lightly touched on, but other elements like Cyclops giving Jean that wedding invitation a few issues ago seems to be completely lost. These are issues that have serious personal implications for these characters, but Bendis has basically cast them aside.

However, the seamless convergence at the end with the events of Uncanny X-men #3 provided the perfect excuse for such oversight. I mean how can you squeeze that sort of shit in when you know shit is going to be hitting the fan when Cyclops shows up with his revolutionary team? I understand that Bendis takes his sweet fucking time when it comes to developing certain sub-plots. For a guy like me who only has so much weed to pass the time, that can be frustrating. But he always finds a way to move shit forward and make it awesome. This issue is no exception.

If there is a flaw here, it’s that this issue is built mostly on potential. Lady Mastermind joining Mystique and Cyclops’s revolutionary team showing up didn’t really move the plot forward. For the most part, all it did was set things up for future issues. It’s frustrating in that it leaves readers like me foaming at the mouth to see more sexual tension between Mystique and Lady Mastermind and more Angel calling out Beast on his bullshit. Maybe I’m just getting greedy or I’m way too fucking sober while I’m writing this, but I give All New X-men #9 a 4 out of 5. This issue just left me wanting more and wanting it bad! I mean come on, Bendis! This throbbing erection I’ve got isn’t going to go away on its own! Nuff said.

Quick Message About Comments

You know what today is, my wonderful readers! It's new comic day! That means I'll be getting started on reviews soon enough. But before I get to that, I just wanted to make an announcement to the fine folks who take the time to post comments on my reviews.

In short, my bad guys! I usually try to respond to those comments. While I may be a drunk, I do want to show those who take the time to support this blog and the X-men Supreme fanfiction series that I give a damn and appreciate their efforts. But these last few weeks have sucked for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with the typical hangovers. I've been sick. I've been tired. I've just had more issues than usual. So while I may not have time to respond to all the comments posted here, I none-the-less deeply appreciate them all. Thanks guys! Please keep them coming and I'll keep getting drunk and reviewing comics!

To further placate your outrage, here is an overtly pornographic image of Emma Frost.

We good now? Nuff said!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Xtreme X-men #12 - Universe-Crumbling Awesome

Every so often you find yourself in a situation where a long list of shitty circumstances converge right on your asshole and make you wish you were dead, gay, or comatose. We've all had bad days, but there are bad days when you get stuck in traffic on your way to work and the kinds of days where an ex-girlfriend, an IRS agent, and a New York City judge kick in your door at six in the morning while hung over. Comic book characters have these days all the time. Hell, they're probably akin to our typical Monday. But some just have a special kind of suck that makes you wonder whether they have a good therapist or an even better pot dealer.

Dazzler just began having one of those days at the end of Xtreme X-men #11. Up to that point, things had been going pretty damn well for her. She proved herself a capable leader of her team, she took down what she believed to be the final evil Charles Xavier, and she got to hook up with a black Cyclops. So she got to kill a Nazi and piss off the KKK in the same day. Hell, that's as good as they come for a pretty blond these days. But just when it seemed like this journey was over for her, the Xavier-in-a-Jar that had been guiding her through this mission from the beginning decided to say, "Fuck it! You're all screwed!" It made for a somewhat random and incoherent ending. However, it set the stage for the final stage of Greg Pak's Xtreme X-men. It's bittersweet in that a series that turned Dazzler from just another pretty blond into a kick-ass team leader is nearing its end, but to even get to the end she's gotta have one last shitty day.

This shitty day begins in Xtreme X-men #12 with the team's arrival at another exotic location. This time they end up in an Ancient Egyptian setting. But it's not the Disney's Aladdin type setting. This shit involves slaves and back-breaking labor, basically the kind of shit that Walt Disney didn't want to show kids until they were able to become underpaid interns. Now right off the bad we're not told how they got to this point. We know Xavier-in-a-Jar linked up with Nazi Xavier and Wizard Xavier in the last issue, but we don't know why they ended up in Egypt. I'm guessing the only way they felt their egos could be sufficiently supported is with pyramids and big ass statues. It's not the first time we haven't been told how Dazzler's team showed up in a new world, but since they're already in the midst of a pretend-to-be-captured-as-slaves plan to get them close to the evil Xaviers it kind of feels jarring.

However, the plot quickly settles as we find out that the evil Xavier's are already making their mark by having slaves carve their bald heads into monuments. I assume they're planning on statues depicting their undersized dicks too, but right now the priority is their ego and tapping into a rift in the space-time continuum. I'm assuming the statues of their dicks are a close third, but that rift is poised to be their way of giving the finger to the multi-verse. As evil Xaviers, they're never content to just have an army of slaves and monuments to their dicks. They need to fuck over multiple universes. All I can say to that is their dicks must be smaller than I thought.

After watching the evil Xavier's throw some slaves into the rift and compliment one another on how big their dicks are, Dazzler and her teams maintain their cover. They allow the Xaviers to keep jerking each other off while they formulate a plan. Later that night, Dazzler muses on how she fucked up by assuming they had killed 10 evil Xaviers when they only killed 9. While she may fail math and be subjected to any number of dumb blond jokes, she is committed to making it right and her team is committed to standing by her. It shows that she really has won over this group of dimensionally displaced X-men and not because she has a great rack either.

The novelty should have worn off by now, but I can't help but take note of it every time I see it. Dazzler really has come a long way as a character since this series started. She's gone from that other cute blond not named Emma Frost to a capable leader that can fight an army of evil Charles Xaviers and still make you want to smell her panties. She's no Lara Croft or Black Widow. She's her own leader and if given the choice between following her or Cyclops, I would definitely follow her and not just because Emma Frost might castrate me for staring at her rack too much. Dazzler really has become something special and I hope that continues after the end of this series.

The next morning, the team puts Dazzler's plan into motion. It's pretty basic, boiling down to causing a slave riot and pissing off the evil Xaviers as much as possible. It really doesn't take much convincing to inspire all the slaves to rise up against their bald, baby-dick oppressors. And in the process of causing such a commotion, they give Dazzler plenty of noise to work with. Given the growth in her leadership skills, it's easy to forget that she has some pretty potent powers as well in turning noise to energy. In the desert, there are not boom boxes with Pandora radio. So they have to create their noise and it works almost as well as dubstep.

Armed with all this noise, Dazzler attacks the evil Xaviers near their Sphinx statue where the rift in the universe is growing. Evil Wizard Xavier and Nazi Xavier are unimpressed and are still probably looking forward to how big the statue of their dicks are going to be. But during the attack, Dazzler also manages to get Xavier-in-a-Jar away from them. This then allows Hercules to do to these two evil Xaviers what every gay man in the world wishes they could do to the Westboro Baptist Church and bury them under a pile of rubble.

It's not the most epic battle, especially considering how much it took to take these two evil Xavier's down in the previous issues. You could say that Dazzler has just become so proficient at hunting down evil Xaviers that it's like being adopted by Angelina Jolie at this point. It just isn't all that shocking. But in terms of epic scale, this battle is somewhat lacking even if it is still satisfying to see Hercules bury the evil Xaviers.

Even if the battle isn't all that epic, it certainly doesn't end the threat of the evil Xaviers. Xavier-in-a-Jar informs Dazzler that they had already tapped a good chunk of that power from the rift and they're as unstoppable as the IRS at Wesley Snipe's front door. In order to keep the battle semi-fair, Dazzler and black Cyclops try to use their powers to close the rift. I don't know the physics of how that shit works, but given this is a series that involves hopping across universes with a floating head I'm pretty sure I can keep using my old high school physics textbook to roll joints.

But the two evil Xaviers aren't keen on letting someone fuck up their power source. Not when they're this close to finally getting a statue proclaiming how big their dicks are. After digging themselves out of the pile of rubble Hercules buried them under, they blast Dazzler and black Cyclops away from the rift and prepare to absorb more power. They seem poised to improve their evil wizard and Nazi abilities to cosmic proportions. But like using the pages of your physics books to roll joints, physics ends up screwing them over when they're tested on it.

For reasons that would probably still get any physics student a failing grade, the rift in the continuum decides it doesn't like evil wizards or Nazis and incinerates them. It's a rather inglorious way for these assholes to go, but since there have already been a couple comics that shows these two failing in epic fashion it's not too disappointing to see them fall in such an unglamorous way. And with two more evil Xaviers dead, that means this shit is finally over, right? Well if you read the last issue, you know what that sort of attitude will get you. And unlike last issue, Dazzler doesn't even get a chance to hook up with a black man.

For more reasons that aren't explained, the rift gets pissed off and starts sucking in everything like a Kardashian back stage at the NBA All-Star game. It sucks in all the slaves and innocent people that Dazzler and her team were trying to liberate. They try in vain to save them, but Xavier-in-a-Jar has to be a dick again and just teleports them to another part of the dimensional rift. It leaves them trapped while all those innocent people are poised to suffer at the hands of whatever power was trying to get through. We don't find out what it is. We only find out that it ties into the X-Terminators event. It's not a twist like the end of the previous issue, but it sets the stage for a big event and that's just as awesome!

Remember what I said about Dazzler having to have one last shitty day? Well, I should have added one little caveat. Shitty days often come in bunches so even if you're the last leg of a mission, you can't expect any shit storm to end in just one day. It's like the heavens get constipated and have to dump their load at some point. You just gotta be ready for it and after reading this issue, I get the sense that Dazzler and her team weren't ready in the slightest. That's not necessarily a bad thing because it ended up putting them in a position to play a major role in X-Terminator. It also helped finish what they only thought they finished in the previous issue. They killed more evil Xaviers, but it would be too easy for them to just go back and have Dazzler swap more spit with black Cyclops.

Xtreme X-men #12 was solid in that it continued the theme of taking Dazzler's team to exotic locations. Maybe being slaves in Ancient Egypt isn't the most exotic place they could have gone, especially considering how they visited the old West and encountered a My Little Pony Charles Xavier at one point. But it seemed fitting when you consider a Nazi and an evil wizard are involved. Hell, it might end up being the plot of the next Indiana Jones movie if Spielberg and George Lucas directed it while on crack. However, the action was still somewhat lacking and the epic feeling that we've seen with plenty of other Xtreme X-men battles just wasn't there. It was like only watching the third quarter of a football game. The most exciting possibilities were somewhat lost in between.

With Xtreme X-men ending and Greg Pak moving on to write Batman/Superman for DC Comics, I understand that the next few issues will be as precious as Natalie Portman's breast milk. It hasn't been an easy journey for Dazzler, going from just another big-boobed blond in a comic book to being a big-boob blond that can kick ass and lead an army of slaves against an evil wizard and a Nazi. Greg Pak has flexed that twisted imagination of his throughout this journey of hers and on behalf of everyone who has ever taken a hallucinogen, I thank him for it. But this issue still left me wanting more. I know it's going to be resolved during X-Terminators, but at the same time I weep at the realization I may not read another X-men comic where a hot blond kills a Nazi for a long time. I give Xtreme X-men #12 a 3 out of 5. I guess with a name like Xtreme, this series can only go out as part of a crossover event. It doesn't involve a Nazi, but it does involve more alternate universe mischief and a version of Jean Grey that hasn't been laid in a while. In that sense, I have high hopes for the end of Xtreme X-men and the future of the X-books! Nuff said!