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!