Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wolverine and the X-men #26 - Not-So-Flashy Flashbacks
I often reference how much I hated high school on this blog. And let me just say in a semi-sober mind that I'm not exaggerating when I say how much it sucked. In many ways it is the primary source of my drinking problem, my maturity problem, and my ex-girlfriend problem. One of my biggest fantasies that don't involve Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johanssen, and Femke Jennsen in thongs covered in baby oil is going back to my old high school and punching every one of my old teachers in the jaw (including the dead ones). It wasn't just that they sucked at their jobs and made it a point to emotionally damage vulnerable teenagers. They just didn't go out of their way to teach me and my fellow peers the life skills we needed to survive in the real world. As a result, I had to learn those skills from comic books, violent video games, reality TV, and drinking. And people still wonder why I'm so fucked up?
That's why I'm often jealous of the students at the Jean Grey Institute in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men. Like all teenagers, they still find an excuse to bitch and moan about their lessons. But at least their lessons have some real-world applications. Most people may never need to destroy a giant mutant-hunting robot, but that is the kind of skill that translates into various other abilities. I mean can you imagine how awesome that would look on a resume? You could say "Really? Harvard Business School? Well I learned how to kill a motherfucking killer robot and survive in the motherfucking Savage Land!" That alone should get you a six-figure salary and a blowjob from the hot secretary.
Wolverine and the X-men #25 was dedicated to Wolverine showing a group of inexperienced and obscenely immature teenagers how to survive in a shitty situation in the Savage Land. It made for both a fun story and a means of putting my own schooling to shame. It was fun because the students, which included Shark Girl, Eye-boy, Kid Omega, and Idie, fared about as well as Forest Gump at a physics lecture. It was also fun because Wolverine, even after he realized he may have fucked up his lesson plan, hit an unforeseen snag when a relic from his past (and the Wolverine Origins series that you should totally fucking read), Dog Logan, decided to show up again and fuck him up. While his reason for doing so at a time like this makes about as much sense as giving a meth head a job at a pharmacy, it still made for a fun story. And the lessons learned will be way more useful than fucking algebra, that's for sure.
The story continues in Wolverine and the X-men #26 with a quick history lesson for all those who didn't read Wolverine Origins. Wait...did I say quick? Fuck, I mean to say a needlessly long string of flashbacks. They don't just focus on Dog Logan's hatred for Wolverine. It goes much further than that. It shows Dog Logan as this unfortunate little boy with an asshole father who drank heavily and beat him if he looked at him cross-eyed, yet somehow still found a way to convince women to bone him. If this is supposed to earn Dog any sympathy, it fails miserably. It's basically the most generic and basic daddy issues you could give a boy. There's no need for a full blown flashback to make that point.
But this is what we're treated to for a good chunk of the first issue. We don't get to see any of the students struggling in the jungle or Kid Omega being a complete douche. Instead, we see Dog Logan telling his side of the story in Wolverine Origins. If you read that book, you don't get anything you don't already know. Dog Logan's asshole father somehow seduced Wolverine's mother and knocked her up. This led to young Wolverine popping his claws at a young age when kids are still getting used to erections. This led him to kill Dog's asshole father and a whole bunch of other people. Yet somehow Cyclops end up in jail for killing Charles Xavier? Sorry, I know I'm belaboring that issue, but I think it's worth bringing up.
I also think it's worth belaboring that these flashbacks really don't tell us anything new. All they do is give more back story to Dog and it's not the least bit compelling. He's a scoundrel with an asshole father who blames all his problems on Wolverine. You couldn't get much more basic if the shit was printed on a piece of used toilet paper. I'm not saying it isn't well-done in the sense that it fits Dog's history into Wolverine's past, but it was way too drawn out. If given the choice between learning more about Dog Logan and seeing Kid Omega get mauled by a dinosaur, I definitely go with Kid Omega.
By the time the story finally reaches the present time, the battle that ended the previous issue finally begins. And if you still give a damn at this point, it's still as bloody and violent as you would want it to be. Dog came prepared for this battle, armed with what looks like a smaller version of Thor's hammer that you might see a cos-player use. However, this shit isn't made out of aluminum foil and PVC pipe. It's made out of a special material meant to damage adamantium. Where did he get that shit? Well that's not ignored. He claims he got it in the future, which isn't as fucked up as it sounds since he got a visit from his future self in the previous issue. But that's not all he brought and I'm not just talking about futuristic sex bots that I'm sure are available in every Wal-Mart.
During the battle as Dog roughs up Wolverine, he mentions how it's easy to buy shit in the future when people pay top dollar for mutants. That hints that the future for mutants is pretty fucked. That or the future children of the Kardashians are so fucked up they can only be entertained by hunting mutants. I'm guessing it could be a mix of both. Whatever the case, it allows him to buy a few more goodies like poison that actually fucks up guys with a healing factor and three little balls that probably came from Chuck Norris's scrotum that put Wolverine in a world of pain. It's not quite as satisfying as seeing Wolverine blast Cyclops. But it's right up there.
It would have been much more satisfying if we didn't end up getting more flashbacks. I get that Jason Aaron is trying to fill in the blanks with Dog, who has been MIA in Wolverine's life for so long that not having an explanation would be too fucked up even for him. But still, way too much time is wasted on giving a refresher course on Dog Logan's background. If it was a class, it was a class you either come to piss faced drunk or skipped altogether. We're just reminded that Dog Logan became your typical wild man once his father was killed. Then while he's getting pissed faced drunk, some unlucky schmuck mentions that he crossed paths with a young Wolverine who has become a full blown wolf man. That gives Dog Logan all the excuse he needs to start a bar fight and find his wayward little brother.
More needless flashbacks go by. And this could all be ink dedicated to showing Kid Omega getting mauled by a dinosaur or vice versa. It's pretty frustrating at this point, but in the end it does lead to an important detail about Dog Logan's life that explains how he ended up in a position to kick Wolverine's ass in the first place. After he won the bar fight and fucked all the wives, daughters, and sisters of the men he beat, he made his way to a mine where he was told Wolverine was hiding. It could have become another sibling brawl the likes of which we only wished we saw with the Kardashians. But this one actually has something better and something that won't make you lose faith in the human race.
That mine Dog found contained something called Time Diamonds. They're exactly what they sound in that they're diamonds that help him travel through time. That's how he was able to find all those exotic weapons he used to wound Wolverine. You get the sense that with all the ways the space time continuum has been fucked in the Marvel universe it actually makes sense that it would shit out something like this. How Dog managed to traverse being thrown around through time could have made for a great series in and of itself, but instead we get pages of fucking flashbacks.
But once the flashbacks are finally over, we get back to the fighting. Overall, it's a fight that Wolverine is losing and for once he can't blame Cyclops (although he probably will find a way to do so at some point). While the battle is pretty well-done, the finer details aren't all there. Neither of these guys are all that articulate, but all Dog does is whine about how much he hates Wolverine and how much he wants him to suffer. Fuck, he could have been swapped with Sabretooth at this point and it wouldn't have made a difference. Even though Jason Aaron went to great lengths to tell Dog's story, it still ends up feeling less compelling than the bar brawl we saw earlier.
At the very least, the ends offers a telling hint of just how effective Wolverine's lesson plan for the students ends up being. Dog reveals to Wolverine that he's a shitty teacher in that the students he teaches end up getting maimed in the future. It's more than just typical trash talk in that it reinforces the point that Wolverine isn't a teacher. His job is to stab shit and fuck hot women. When he's out of both, he shouldn't be the one starting a school. And to prove just how much he sucks at his job, Dog is prepared to use his time diamonds to bring in more crazy threats for the students he brought to the Savage Land...which, by the way, we still don't see. After wasting so much ink on flashbacks, we're just left to wonder how Dog will make the students wish they were taking a calculus exam. I don't know about most other readers, but I still would prefer seeing Kid Omega fighting dinosaurs.
I don't claim to have the greatest attention span in the world. The only time I'll ever need medications for ADHD is if I have to take a test that determines whether or not I'll get to bone Heather Graham. But I do lose interest in shit when it ditches anything resembling a coherent plot and redirect my energy towards something more productive like how to jerk off blindfolded or how to make a bong out of a used cell phone. Wolverine and the X-men #25 did such a great job of establishing a fun, enjoyable story that involved a bunch of immature teenagers trying to survive in a jungle while Wolverine confronted one of his many issues not related to his drinking. This issue had plenty to work with in terms of continuing that story and it essentially ditched half of it.
I enjoyed Wolverine Origins. I enjoyed how Marvel developed the backstory they finally gave Wolverine after years of keeping his life a mystery. I understand that there are plenty of readers who didn't care for it and plenty more that never even read it. But that really isn't a reason to waste precious ink essentially retelling the story in the pages of this issue. Dog Logan hates Wolverine and has daddy issues that would make Sigmund Freud cum in his pants. We get it. We don't need to essentially negate the need to read Wolverine Origins to know why. We just need to know that he fucks up Wolverine's lesson plan. In that sense Dog Logan succeeds, but in terms of the overall story it done at the cost of the larger story.
We didn't get to see anything develop with the students. And once again, we didn't get to see jack shit about what happened back at the Jean Grey Institute. Kitty and Iceman's date might as well have been ten years ago and that kiss from Wolverine and Storm might as well have been a druken make-out session with your sister because it's basically being ignored. And for what? A reminder that Dog Logan is an asshole who wants to torment Wolverine? If there weren't already a million of those characters running around in Marvel comics, it might be compelling. But even if it was, it wasn't worth taking a whole issue to focus on one assholes burning need for vengeance. We get enough of that shit already.
There were still some enjoyable elements from Wolverine and the X-men #26. It was still an action-packed book. And I'm still glad that Marvel dug into the history of Wolverine and brought out a character like Dog to work into a new plot. But too many flashbacks and the all too common I-blame-you-for-fucking-my-life-up rhetoric made this comic way too bland. I can only give Wolverine and the X-men #26 a 2 out of 5. Another man from Wolverine's past wants to kill him. This just in, the sky is still blue, the grass is still green, and boobs are still awesome. Do we really need another reminder? Nuff said!