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!

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