Wednesday, April 3, 2013

All New X-men #10 - Cliff-Hanging Awesome


All New X-men has given X-men fans so many things to enjoy and look forward to beyond just seeing Wolverine try to hide his boner around a teenage Jean Grey. Time travel may fuck with the laws of physics and the entire continuity of the Marvel universe, but there’s no denying it opens the door to some pretty awesome shit. And Brian Michael Bendis has been serving it up like cocaine at Charlie Sheen’s birthday party since this series began. He’s found ways to use the past to fuck with the future in a way you can jerk off to repeatedly and yet he’s only scratched the surface as to what kind of fucking this series is capable of.

I’ve made a big deal of how the O5 X-men have undergone some huge upheavals on a personal level. It has left O5 Angel mind-fucked and O5 Jean Grey incapable of understanding why some people don’t like having their thoughts read. But beyond the personal, there are larger issues that the O5 X-men have to deal with. The whole reason they agreed to come to the future was because they thought Cyclops and his revolutionary team were going to start a human/mutant war, shit all over Charles Xavier’s dream, and probably eat a live puppy in the process. At least, that’s how Beast framed it in a way that has about as much honesty as research on gay from the Catholic Church. And while they clashed with Cyclops’s team once early on in the series, they haven’t confronted him again and as we’ve seen in the pages of Uncanny X-men, he’s been a busy guy now that he can’t spend his afternoons boning Emma Frost.

And Cyclops isn’t the only one active. As we saw in previous issues, Mystique has hatched her own plans. And unlike Cyclops, she’s still getting laid regularly thanks to Sabretooth. Now I personally don’t know how any woman can bone Sabretooth and not vomit uncontrollably, Mystique is a special breed of woman with her own agenda. And she made sure the O5 X-men didn’t fuck with that agenda when she played on O5 Cyclops’s youthful idealism and his teenage hormones. It’s not quite clear how much she intends to exploit teenage boys, but she’s already begun making her moves. In the previous issue, she freed Lady Mastermind from a SHIELD prison cell. Armed with the ability to fuck with minds, anything she has planned (or any twisted sexual fantasy she cares to exercise) is that much easier.

Yet what makes all these larger issues all the more awesome is that Bendis has fit them together in a concise, seamless way usually reserved for quality boob jobs. Both Uncanny X-men #3 and All New X-men #9 ended in a glorious moment of convergence where Cyclops’s team, fresh of an equally glorious pwnage of the Avengers, arrived at the Jean Grey Institute. He intends to do some recruiting and the O5 X-men have another shot at the guy who Beast claims is responsible for a mutant genocide, the economy, and the cancellation of Firefly. It may still be a fraction of the awesome this series is capable of, but damn if it isn’t more juicy than a stack of Five Guys burgers.

But as juicy as these prospects may be, All New X-men #10 doesn’t dive right into the typical themes of Wolverine wanting to kill Cyclops and Beast being a hypocritical douche-bag. With the X-men occupied and the Avengers frozen in time, this presents the perfect opportunity for Mystique to exploit her new female teammate, but in a completely non-sexual way I’m afraid. After busting Lady Mastermind out of jail in the previous issue, she now has vivid illusions on her side to either terrify or enchant. Since she’s robbing a bank in North Carolina, she goes the terror route and even uses Wolverine and the O5 to do the terrorizing. It’s both practical and a massive fuck you to the X-men. That’s as epic a win as you can possibly get without putting crazy glue on your ex-girlfriend’s tampons.


Now we get to the juicy bits! As much as I love speculating on the twisted girl-on-girl fantasies Mystique and Lady Mastermind could have with their powers, we’ve got an overdue confrontation between Cyclops and the Jean Grey Institute. He’s greeted with as much warmth as an angry polar bear that just watched a drunk dry hump her cubs. They immediately get into another argument about how Cyclops should be in jail for murdering Charles Xavier, but Cyclops manages to silence Wolverine in a new way. Unfortunately, it’s not another optic blast because Odin knows we can’t get enough of those. It’s through a well-reasoned argument where he carefully points out that he would never murder the man who raised him if he was in a clear state of mind. To blame him for that murder would be like blaming a drunk for not being able to hit the head when he’s taking a piss. Your state of mind does matter and I think I can say that as someone who has soiled many a toilet seats.

Even though Avengers vs. X-men ended nearly six months ago, I think this issue is still relevant. Now Cyclops has flip-flopped more times than Mitt Romney in that period where he’s taken full responsibility for killing Charles Xavier and claimed it wasn’t him. The Marvel big-wigs have gone on record as saying the left it open to interpretation so that everyone can form their own opinion and the anti-Cyclops crowd has something to jerk off to besides the first half-hour of X3. But Cyclops here goes one further. He dares anyone who thinks he was in a clear state of mind to kill him on the spot. Whether they believe him or are just too intimidated by a guy who boned Emma Frost and Jean Grey, nobody (not even Wolverine) takes him up on his offer. I think that sends a powerful message and one that helps add some better context to Avengers vs. X-men, as well as some new perspective for the time displaced O5.


However, it doesn’t remain completely civil. Given Cyclops’s current reputation, how could it? But instead of Wolverine trying to gut him, it’s Karoka that decides to make Cyclops’s revolutionary team feel unwelcome. It’s a bit sudden and it ends with Cyclops’s team in Karoka’s gut. They don’t stay there, of course. Magik still has the power of Limbo, a few gifts from the Phoenix Force, and no soul to hold her back. So she roughs Karoka up while Wolverine tries to hide his boner. It may be a rather random attempt at more action, but fuck if it isn’t entertaining.


After cleaning themselves off from Karoka’s outburst, Cyclops makes his official pitch to the O5 and the students at the Jean Grey Institute. He tells them that he’s opening a new school and in horrible taste, he named it after Charles Xavier. It’s a dick move, but still a nice “fuck you” to the friends who have ditched him. He tells them he’s welcoming anyone who wishes to join, including the time-displaced X-men. He says that he will protect the Jean Grey Institute, but just learning their ABCs isn’t going to cut it. Mutants are going to have to learn how to fight because a sudden increase in the mutant population is going to freak a lot of people out. And when people are freaked out, they tend to act like assholes and some of those assholes have guns and killer robots. It is more militant than the Cyclops of yesteryear, but it makes sense even to a drunk. And yes, I did test that claim and the hangover was worth proving my point.


But even if Cyclops’s argument is perfectly reasonable, not everyone is convinced. This leads to what may be one of the most satisfying scenes in an X-men comic that doesn’t involve Emma Frost’s boobs or Psylocke’s ass. Cyclops confronts Beast, who has evolved into a truly epic douche from events stemming all the way back from Matt Fraction’s run. To his credit, he doesn’t point out that he’s being a total hypocrite for basically bitching about Cyclops’s tactics. He just points out that Xavier trained the X-men to fight. Why else would he have had a room called the freakin’ Danger Room in his mansion? I mean seriously, did Beast think that training was intended for fucking hippies?

But I digress. The point he makes is clear. Someone is going to have to be there and fight when scared, ignorant humans start shitting themselves over the new mutant population. Just sitting in a school, learning algebra, and pretending everything outside isn’t a utopia right out of a Capital One commercial won’t do shit. Someone has to be there and it’s either going to be Cyclops or someone worse. And the most satisfying part of all is that this argument made Beast shut the fuck up. It couldn’t have been more satisfying if Jesus appeared before the Pope and said, “You’re wrong about gays, condoms, and women. Now shut the fuck.” I still think Beast is a douche, but at least he didn’t make it worse.


And the pwnage doesn’t stop there because when you’ve humiliated the Avengers and Hank McCoy in the same day, you just have to go for broke. Cyclops gives everyone at the Jean Grey Institute time to think about his offer, but before he leaves he asks that his O5 counterpart request more details about how he ended up with the Phoenix Force. And this apparently reveals that Beast wasn’t entirely honest, as if that wasn’t the least surprising news since Kim Kardasian’s divorce. He didn’t tell O5 Cyclops or the O5 that Tony Stark was the one that broke the Phoenix Force. It’s not like Cyclops asked for it and apparently, his desire to make the world right with the Phoenix Force wasn’t much different than Beast’s desire to fuck with the time stream. And when a teenager points out your bullshit, then you know you’re full of shit.

I don’t mean to harp on Beast all the time on this blog, but he’s the one that keeps screwing himself with his bullshit. This is an issue that already began in the previous issue when O5 Angel called out Beast for telling them that a mutant genocide was imminent. The giant shell of bullshit that Beast has surrounded himself by is starting to crack because his whole arguments are now on par with Wolverine’s in that he just hates Cyclops and can’t imagine he could do anything noble anymore. If trying to fix the world with the Phoenix Force wasn’t noble enough, then Beast is out of excuses. He’s just being a douche.


While Beast and Wolverine let their egos and assholes heal, the events of the previous issue involving Mystique’s shenanigans once again catch up with them. Maria Hill arrives at the SHIELD prison where Lady Mastermind was once held and after calmly explaining to the guards that she’s not a shape-shifter, she takes in the damage they did. It may seem somewhat unnecessary, but it adds some additional connectivity to both the previous issue and the events earlier in this issue. It’s that level of cohesiveness that helps make good comics awesome. It made Uncanny X-Force awesome under Rick Remender. And Brian Michael Bendis is doing the same with All New X-men.


Maria Hill eventually calls the Jean Grey Institute staff, who were in the process of contemplating all the ways in which they want to murder Cyclops and which of their students will join Cyclops’s team. She informs them that Mystique is blowing shit up again and freeing dangerous prisoners. And since the Avengers are still frozen in a time bubble, she has limited options. But as far as the rest of the Jean Grey Institute staff is concerned, Mystique is MIA. However, Cyclops did encounter her and maybe stared at her tits a few issues ago. So they know she’s active and up to something that will probably require more shit blowing up.


But before they can deal with Mystique, they need to address Cyclops’s recruitment efforts. He re-appears with his team and is greeted immediately by his O5 counterpart. Even though O5 Cyclops is learning that Beast flat out lied to him to get the O5 to the future, he’s not buying his older self’s more militant approach. Mystique encouraged him to tell his older self to fuck off (or fuck himself in this case) and that’s what he does. It’s appropriate and saves us the trouble of having two Cyclops’s on one team.

However, O5 Cyclops isn’t the only one who has to make a decision here. The offer extended to every student in the Jean Grey Institute. So it’s not much of a surprise when the Stepford Cuckoos decide to join. Because between Magik and Emma Frost, Cyclops’s team just doesn’t have enough hot blondes. But what is a surprise is who also decides to join Cyclops’s team. And that person is…fuck, we don’t know! The comic ends before it is revealed. All we know is that it’s shocking enough to make Wolverine, Kitty, O5 Cyclops, and Storm look like they just saw their grandmother going down on a donkey. Who could it be? O5 Angel? O5 Beast? O5 Jean Grey?! We don’t know! It’s a fucking cliff-hanger. They may be annoying as hell most of the time, but in this case the impact it leaves is of the most awesome variety.


All I can say after reading this issue is that Brian Michael Bendis is one cruel motherfucker, but if he appeared before me right now I would still kiss him in a way that would make everyone at Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage vomit uncontrollably. I usually reserve that privilege for a select few and rarely when my blood alcohol content is no less than twice the legal limit. But making a comic this awesome and ending it in such a heart-stopping, ball-busting way simply raises the bar in ways that put a smile on my face that only multiple blowjobs from Mila Kunis could possibly match.

This was another issue that was light on action and heavy on drama, but after having thrown more action into the mix recently, Bendis is still able to maintain a perfect balance with the overall series. It was only a matter of time before Cyclops’s team confronted the Jean Grey Institute again. It was also only a matter of time before Beast’s bullshit caught up with him. There are any number of ways it could have gone, but Bendis chose the most awesome. Not only that, he didn’t allow the drama surrounding the presence of Cyclops’s revolutionary team to side-track him from ongoing developments with Mystique. Her activities and those of SHIELD continue the brewing conflict that our favorite shape-shifting sociopath set into motion when she flirted with a teenage Cyclops. Now with Lady Mastermind on her side, the potential for awesome and boners is that much greater.

The sheer impact this issue left along with the continued cohesion that Bendis has forged between All New X-men and Uncanny X-men make any potential flaws utterly inconsequential. You can bitch and moan about how we didn’t get to see Emma Frost confront Jean Grey or that the attack by Mystique against the armored car was too basic. I would equate those criticisms with the same whining Glenn Beck does every time someone proposes more reasonable gun control laws.

The way this book is written and the way it plays out makes it seem as though both All New X-men and Uncanny X-men could be combined into one big book of awesome. Hell, if Marvel actually did that, I would run out of lube and paper towels on a weekly basis. Every moment and every word hit the right note in this book and speaking on behalf of both long-time X-men fans, comic book enthusiasts, and my fully erect penis I can safely say that this comic is a testament to the legacy of X-men.

All New X-men has raised the bar for X-men comics since it began and Brian Michael Bendis has been working that bar like an army of professional strippers. However, some issues are a cut above the rest, like the strippers who don’t opt for the cheapest boob job or the DJ who doesn’t play the shortest possible song for your lap dance. All New X-men #10 is right up there with the most overpriced stripper in Las Vegas. You might be frustrated by the ending, but you’ll still be satisfied as hell and begging for more of this comic (and maybe more strippers as well). All New X-men #10 gets a perfect 5 out of 5, a free lap dance, and several cases of imported Canadian whiskey. That’s how awesome it is and that’s why every self-respecting X-men fan should read it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on a massive drinking bender to help pass the time until the next issue comes out. I may black out. I may wake up in another time zone in the back ally of a gay bar with a dildo duct taped to my head, but if it means finding out what happens and getting more awesome comics like this then it’s worth it! Nuff said!

15 comments:

  1. Amazing issue! Two pages of DumbBeast being destroyed! It's clear cannon he is the same as/worse than Revolutionary Cyke now. Once again I want to hurt Iceman, was he texting during the fight with PFEmma and Cyke or something? They all saw (or knew he was doing it I guess?) Xavier buzzing around in Scott's head all but begging him to lose control and fuck him up. It's the same with Black Panther, he said he would keep Wakanda out of it but let the Avengers hang out/put Transonic in jail there, even though he said he had to put his country first, and now it's partially underwater.

    Jack who do you think will be leaving? I've been speculating wildly while avoiding spoiling myself and I'm torn between lil Angel and OG Beast.

    Angel is clearly the badass in the group I mean who dive bombs mechs with guns with just bird wings? I was prepared to hate him but the issue with him and nuAngel sold me. I'm not sure why Madame Hydra was missing her octopus hat though but whatever.

    Beast just heard how full of shit/jaded he has become and will probably want to GTFO. I don't think lil' J can leave without talking to Rachel (I wish) and Iceboy is Kitty's bitch.

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    1. It doesn't take much to make Beast more of a douche these days, but he keeps finding new ways. And this issue really showed it, which is why I think O5 Beast may be the one that leaves with Cyclops. I think O5 Angel is more likely, but given the sheer LIES that Beast told to the O5 I wouldn't blame O5 Beast from giving him the finger and throwing in with Cyclops.

      Jack

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  2. I've been waiting for you to review this and I'm so glad you acknowledge the cohesion with UX-M. It's creamy goodness for things to flow together. But I disagree with you. One can never harp enough on Beast's current train of thought. Also I know I keep saying this, but I love Cyke's redesign. I still don't get how he can see through his mask thing though.

    I'm going to play the guessing game to. My bet is on Jean. Out of the O5, with her being at the Xavier institute, she would have the most drama. Emma and Jean would absolutely be checking each other telepathically and everyone would be wondering if she's a double agent, if she's going to become a revolutionary, or has her own agenda to fix the future. I was hoping more of the other x-students would leave too, especially the ones that were on Phoenix Utopia when it got attacked by the Avengers.

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    1. Hope the review was worth the wait, my friend! It sure was worth the hangover! And I've heard a number of people argue that Jean might be the one that leaves, but I don't think that will be the case. Unless Marvel decides to have Jean play on both teams, I think it'll be either O5 Beast or O5 Angel. Besides, Jean being on two teams would just be too awesome and Marvel is incapable of that much awesome.

      Jack

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  3. I think the O5 member that's leaving is Jean. In order for Wolverine and the others to react like that, it has to be her. Storm mentioned sending someone under cover and I think Jean is going because since she couldn't read any of their minds, she'll talk to them and get her answers that way. She knows Scott won't hurt her because she saw her future wedding invitation and knows he has feelings for her. She'll go, they'll talk, she'll get a better understanding for what present Scott is doing and end up back at the school. Regardless of whomever goes from the O5, its temporary, I think.

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    1. Wolverine and Storm always seem to react no matter what Cyclops does. They hate him for reasons that are shitty and they damn well know it. While I would LOVE to see Jean join Cyclops's revolutionary team, I just don't think marvel will be that awesome.

      Jack

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  4. Facebook gal here,

    You says Beast is a hypocritical douche-bag? Well so is Scott. He wants a get-out-of-jail-free card for killing Xavier because of the Phoenix yet he has stated outright he blames Wanda for M-Day. The problem is she wasn't in her right mind either. In fact, while Scott was basically jumped hyped up on a type of meth known to warp the fabric of reality, she was not only suffering from a genuine mental breakdown but was also possessed at the time. So, the next time he comes a-callin with his I'm-Not-To-Blame attitude, Logan should just call him out on this point.

    And, for the record, Marvel is wrong to suggest being in an altered state of mind excuses crime. Actually, saying I was too drunk or stoned to know what I was doing may be grounds for leinency but it is NOT going to get you aquitted. That requires "not guilty by reason of insanity" which means you were too insane to know what you were doing was a crime or wrong. Since Scott had argued against Emma's call to wipe out humanity, he clearly does not meet the standard. So, while he might be spared the death penalty, he would still be looking at 25 to life. (Wanda, however, with her history of mental illness, would almost certainly be aquitted, interestingly enough.)

    Hell, if Marvel wants us to buy Scott's line of BS, they might as well ask to free those high school football players who raped the 16 year old while all of them were drinking because everyone was drunk! But Marvel is filled with writers too stupid to realize the 50 State Crap violated the 13th and 14th Amendment as well as the 1965 Civil Rights act, so they would probably just look at you blankly if you pointed out this flaw in their logic. (Although I fully intent to do this at Nashville's Comic Con in October. I even have a copy of the Constitution with lots of places marked to explain why they need to get back to writing allegories for racism, sexism and prejudice against gays and stop the tea-billy "Government is bad" nonsense they've been spewing since Onslaught.)

    Don't get me wrong. I do NOT think Beast is innocent here. Expecting teenagers to fight a battle which really belongs to him is morally bankrupt. But Scott (and Logan as well) needs to realize the first step in ending the fear of mutants is to stop acting frightening as mutants. Dressing like Trojan Man and advocating revolution is NOT the way to go about anything.

    If gays have left Stonewall, dressed in funny costumes, armed themselves and nipped around attacking Tom Cruise and John Travolta without regard to who gets caught in the crossfire, you would not have seen all those red equal signs on Facebook last week. Familarity breeds an end to fear. Screw fighting. Mutants need to be teachers, bus drivers, cops, bakery owners, nurses, hairdressers, etc. Once everyone says "hey, I know a mutant and he's an okay guy" the battle will be won. It is high time Scott realized that. Which is why I am hoping to see Legion knock Summers on his butt. If there is anyone who could say "you have no right to use the name Charles Xavier" it is David CHARLES Haller, son of Xavier.

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    1. I wouldn't expect any change in the way the government views mutants. The writers use it the major focus of the entire narrative. So they use the government to express the views of the human population towards mutants. That is why you see police officers detaining teenagers without cause for resurrecting a dead girl or stopping time. I wouldn't say the government is outright evil but as of late, yes it has been looking that way. It's what make these books so interesting to read because it parallels past injustices but keeps it unique because these people aren't just a separate species, one of them could potentially destroy the world. So the government justifies its treatment of mutants as a necessary precaution.

      I also don't see how you can rationalize Wanda's behavior and not Cyclops. Wanda sought out the life force of her own free will (from DOOM no less). Sure she was desperate at the time but she choose to do it. Cyclops was desperate not just for himself, but his people and had it thrust on him by a clown with no real experience with the PF. And clearly they weren't in their right minds, Emma all but killed Hawkeye before realizing what she had done and healing him. One of the last Uncanny issues under Gillen shows Dark Cyclops becoming omnipotent at the same time he is fighting the Avengers and destroying everything, so yes, it is completely different than being intoxicated. There is no precedent in the MU for this kind of case so I doubt he will even face legal ramifications seeing as the MU US really doesn't even treat mutants as people. Also the laws in the MU can be bent to suit the writers.

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    2. Facebook gal,

      Vince, I wasn't rationalizing Wanda's behavior and not Scott's. What I did was point out Scott was being a hypocrite. I also pointed out that there is a difference, legally speaking, in being in an altered frame of mind and being insane. Also, yeah Wanda sought out Doom (high on the stupity factor) but Scott sought out the Phoenix, a creature who has always meant death and destruction on a cosmic scale. So that is also high on the stupidity factor, possibly even higher. (Doom is no where near Phoenix in power, after all, no matter what he might think in his more arrogrant moments.)

      Personally, I'd like to kill Scott and Wanda for good and bring back Jean, since Jean is neither an extremist nor a bowl of jello. (I still think Magneto should demand a paternity test with the twins. Neither of them are worth all that much.) The X-Men need a telepath with morals again, instead of one who wears a corset in all manner of weather.

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    3. Scott did not seek Phoenix ,the phoenix sought hope and hope wanted to reject it then Tony broke it and it thrust itself on P5.
      Wanda sought the life force of her own free will as Vince said.Also your analogy of the football players does not fit what happened to Scott but it completely fits with what Wanda did as in she sought life force.Wanda and Scott were both possessed but how they got possessed was different.

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    4. Always great to hear from you, Facebook gal! I agree with your little rant about the Phoenix Five. Being in an intoxicated state of mind does affect your actions, especially if someone is influencing you. Like if I'm in a bar and I'm pissed faced drunk, am I fully responsible for beating the shit out of a guy who actually picked a fight with me? The law does have something called involuntary manslaughter and for the shit the Phoenix Five dealt with, I don't think any court would be able to say they were in a coherent state of mind. If Wolverine can drown his own fucking son and get away with it, why can't the Phoenix Five get away with fighting the Avengers?

      Jack

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  5. Jean... I mean who else would shock Logan to the core like that?

    Oh wait, I forgot about Evan...

    Jean or Evan. Can't wait. And thank you for your review.

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    1. It's not going to be Evan and it would just be way too awesome if it were Jean. Marvel just can't be that awesome with the memory of Avengers vs. X-men still fresh in everyone's mind.

      Jack

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  6. I don't think Scott is a hypocrite for accusing Wanda of all the shit she did back then on M-Day, I think it's Wanda's fault for playing with the Chaos Magic, hell, Dr. Strange pointed that she was playing with dangerous things. If she was possessed it was because of her own fault, and on the case of Cyclops he was with the Phoenix Force because of Tony fucking Stark. So that's my point, and by the way, Beast is a big pain in the ass, I'm hating McCoy since Matt Fraction's run on Uncanny X-Men Vol.1.

    And for the member of the O5 X-Men that's leaving Wolverine's school, I think it's Jean, seeing the reactions of all, and most of all Wolverine.

    Nice review!

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    1. I agree. It is Wanda's fucking fault and if she can get off by blaming Dr. Doom, why can't the Phoenix Five get off by blaming the Phoenix? To do otherwise would be pure hypocrisy and we save that sort of shit for politicians and CEOs. Not superheroes.

      Jack

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