Thursday, April 25, 2013
Uncanny Avengers #7 - Inner and Outer Conflicts (of Awesome)
I've dedicated a good chunk of this blog to explaining why Rick Remender's run on Uncanny X-Force was the most awesome shit to come along in comics since Emma Frost's tits. Any series can have a handful of awesome comics in the same way the Cleveland Browns can have a handful of wins every year. It doesn't amount to jack shit in the long run. But for a series to sustain a consistent level of awesome for dozens of issues is akin to juggling torches while banging supermodels for days on end. It takes skill and Remender proved that he has both the skill and the necessary endowments to get it done. And yes, that was a dick joke.
For that reason, I could think of nobody more qualified to take on a series like Uncanny Avengers after the shit storm that was Avengers vs. X-men. But as well-endowed as Remender is, the series started off slow. It didn't help that Havok was a complete douche and the Avengers still pranced around like their shit didn't stink. But in recent issues, Remender has reminded readers of why he's more awesome than most of us can ever hope to be. We an stuff our pants with socks and sausages all we want. He'll still be the most qualified guy to write this series of Avengers and X-men trying to work together.
The past few issues have been better by getting back to the kind of character-centered subtlety that made Uncanny X-Force so awesome. Havok is trying to lead a team while making sure he has enough time to piss and moan about Cyclops. And behind the scenes, Kang the Conqueror is fucking with the space time continuum again by triggering a fight between Thor and Apocalypse in the past. It was as awesome as it sounded, but now his bullshit has led him to cross paths with the aftermath of the Dark Angel Saga, which is considered by myself and many to be the crown jewel of Remender's Uncanny X-Force run. At the end of that run, two new Apocalypse babies were sired in what may be the most disturbing sex act not depicted in 50 Shades of Grey. Now Kang has plans for them that even some abortion doctors would find disturbing, but the Apocalypse twins aren't about to let that horrific sex act that created them go to waste.
Whereas Uncanny Avengers #6 was basically one prolonged brawl, Uncanny Avengers #7 is more of a family affair. And by family affair, I mean a reunion with Apocalypse’s horsemen so they can summon a Celestial to ordain a new Apocalypse. It still sounds less chaotic than a family gathering with the Kardashians. The point of the gathering is for Genocide, who is currently the flaming skull horsemen of Death, to take on Apocalypse’s mantle. Since Archangel was defeated in the Dark Angel Saga in an epic story you should totally fucking read (or at the very least see my reviews of every issue), someone needs to be the ultimate nightmare to creationists everywhere. And when in doubt, go with the guy who has the flaming skull.
But like a gathering of Kardashians, it turns into a spectacle of the most fucked up kind when the Apocalypse twins show up. Even though they appeared to have only been born a couple issues ago, they’re already fully grown up and ready to exact to be Darwin’s prison bitch. Not only are they grown up, one of them is now armed with the enchanted axe that Thor used to defeat Apocalypse in the previous issue. It’s a nice bit of connectivity to the previous issue, but it’s a detail that is easily missed in the haze of awesome in the fight that follows.
It’s not very long or drawn out compared to the epic brawl we saw in the last issue. It basically amounts to the Apocalypse twins bitch-slapping the horsemen and actually wounding a Celestial. Now for those Marvel novices out there, the Celestials are basically gods minus the obsession with foreskins, sodomy, and shellfish. For anything to actually wound them is akin to kicking God in the nuts and spitting on his shoes. It’s a big fucking deal and one that is bound to make the universe shit itself.
Between brawls between demigods and space gods, it’s easy to forget that this series once dealt with some much more down-to-Earth issues, namely humans going ape-shit over new mutants emerging. Captain America placed Havok in charge of a new X-men/Avengers team to help deal with it while making it look good publicly. So far, it has been as successful as Paris Hilton’s singing career. First, the Red Skull dug up Xavier’s body and used the power of his brain to mind-fuck people. Then the Grim Reaper showed up at a press conference where Rogue ended up murdering his ass on live TV. If the Uncanny Avengers are supposed to be conveying a message of peace and tolerance, then Charles Xavier is probably shitting himself in his grave.
It took a few issues, but we finally get to see some of the aftermath. It’s as bad as you would expect anything that involved giving the media something to freak out about. Nick Fury (the black one) informs Havok and his team that in addition to the press conference being a disaster, violence against mutants is on the rise and the Red Skull is still on the loose. Not only that, the media is portraying the failed press event the same way Fox News portrays any story involving Muslims. If I were Havok, I would be more worried about Fox News than the Red Skull.
After this shit storm of bad news, Havok meets up with the rest of his team to tell them how fucked they are. And not surprisingly, they react in the exact opposite ways you would expect superheroes to react. They point fingers, bitch, and complain. This may sound petty, but Remender actually makes this scene work very well because it gives the team itself a very distinct feel. This ain’t the Avengers. A lot of these characters aren’t exactly friends. In fact, Rogue and the Scarlett Witch tried to kill each other earlier in the series. It may sound like the Jerry Springer of superhero teams, but damn if the tension and the bickering isn’t entertaining.
But one detail will make you miss the more rational debates from Jerry Springer. At one point Havok reveals that Rogue has been absolved of the murder of Grim Reaper, which she claims she didn’t intend to do. And while the team is upset that it happened, they basically just brush it off. Now anyone who read Avengers vs. X-men should be standing on a chair right now and screaming “HYPOCRISY!” Because it is. Rogue kills someone when she didn’t intend to on national fucking TV and she’s absolved. Cyclops kills Charles Xavier when he didn’t intend to while under the influence of a fucking cosmic force (that the Avengers thrust on him against his will mind you) and he’s a fucking criminal?! Even a brain dead monkey with a concussion would see the utter bullshit in that standard. It shows just how fucked up the Uncanny Avengers are in terms of their double, triple, and quintuple standards at times. I would be sickened by it, but I’ve grown so used to this hypocrisy that I’ll just gag on it and smoke a few joints to prevent myself from banging my head against the wall.
The hypocrisy is plenty disgusting and so is the tension throughout the team. But not everyone is at each other’s throats. Remender does take time to remind readers that some of these characters actually do care about each other. This leads to a nice moment between the Scarlett Witch and Wonder Man. These two do have a history, but it doesn’t involve them swapping various body fluids. But Wonder man makes it clear that he would like that to be a possibility. I mean who wouldn’t want to bone someone that could warp reality just because she had a bad hair day? But the Scarlett Witch, having already made it clear she prefers her men to be machines and/or battery operated, pushes him off. It’s a nice moment that helps make these characters feel a bit more relatable while also making you feel bad for Wonder Man’s penis.
And Wonder Man and Scarlett Witch aren’t the only one looking to bump uglies. Wasp makes it clear to Havok that she wants to jump his bone as he’s showing her his plans to improve human/mutant relations by starting a mutant-themed hipster clothing label. No, I’m not making that up. He’s really expecting that to help. It’s not the most fucked up PR stunt ever conjured, but it’s right up there. But I guess the main takeaway from this scene is that Havok makes it clear he’s not interested in getting his dick wet at a time when human/mutant tensions are poised to blow up at a moments notice. And wouldn’t you know it? Shit starts blowing up before Wasp can charm her way into his pants. And once again, someone is cock-blocked. It makes me wonder if anyone will ever get laid on this team.
The shit that starts going horribly wrong in this instance doesn’t involve the Red Skull. It involves an incoming Celestial ship, courtesy of the Apocalypse twins. Abigail Brand of SWORD had Captain America and Sunfire as soon as it showed up. But unlike most alien ships they deal with, it didn’t just start shooting or demand that it send an army of young Sigorney Weavers as breeding slaves. It just rammed right into SWORD’s orbiting base, forcing everyone to evacuate. Sunfire, however, stayed behind. Why would he do that? It’s not immediately clear, but given his history with Apocalypse it’s not entirely unreasonable that he would want to just stay and give the finger to his evolution-loving ass before it rams him.
The fancy dildo-shaped SWORD base shatters under the weight of the Celestial ship in a beautiful spectacle that probably would have looked much better if John Cassaday had drawn it. But knowing that would probably mean delaying this issue an ungodly number of months, it may be for the better. It creates yet another global mutant-related crisis that the Uncanny Avengers must resolve. We get some narration on the spectacle as it transpires, which has been one of the more unique aspects of Uncanny Avengers in recent times. But this time, however, it’s somewhat trivial and bland. It really isn’t necessary either. You could just watch the giant space station crash and burn and the message is pretty damn clear.
Even if the narration is unnecessary, this moment offers yet another strong connection between this issue and the previous Apocalypse vs. Thor brawl. When Captain America informs the team that Apocalypse or something like it is on the ship and just killed a Celestial with an enchanted axe, Thor’s asshole clenches in ways befitting of a demigod. As I mentioned earlier, that is the same axe he used to battle Apocalypse in the previous issue and now it’s being used to fuck up a Celestial. Thor knows he done fucked up in his efforts to prove his dick was bigger than Apocalypse’s. Now it’s come back to bite him in a way that effectively ties his story into what Remender is developing with the Apocalypse twins and like his run on Uncanny X-Force, those connections are like the icing on the tits of a Las Vegas stripper.
There are a lot of conflicting forces working within the pages of Uncanny Avengers. Perhaps that’s by design. The Avengers and the X-men have never coordinated like this before. They’ve never had to deal with the aftermath of shit like Avengers vs. X-men before either. It shouldn’t be all hookers and blow. They shouldn’t be carrying themselves like the fucking Superfriends at this point. And Rick Remender seems to understand that, which helps make this issue all the more awesome.
In many ways this issue feels like it should have taken place immediately after Uncanny Avengers #5. While seeing Apocalypse fight Thor was fun and all, this issue actually addressed the shit storm that Uncanny Avengers #5 kicked up. It was light on action in that it basically highlighted a lot of bickering within the team while the heavy action was taking place between the Apocalypse Twins and the Celestials. Perhaps that’s for the best because that action alone is enough for one comic. And unless your Michael Bay, seeing the team struggle to come together in the midst of all this bitterness and finger-pointing should be plenty satisfying, provided it doesn’t remind you too much of your last family reunion.
I still take issue with some of the blatant fucking hypocrisy demonstrated by Havok and the Avengers. Cyclops murders Charles Xavier while under the influence of a cosmic force in front of the Avengers and now he’s a fucking criminal. Yet Rogue murders some schmuck attacking them on live fucking TV and she gets a fucking pardon? I’m sorry, but that’s not a double standard. That’s a standard that could only work in the mind of a schizophrenic or a member of Congress. It’s total bullshit and comes off as Remender and Marvel just trying to write around how fucking retarded their treatment of Cyclops is at the moment.
I’ll take another bong hit and just add that some of the dramatic elements were still compelling. The Scarlett Witch almost got laid. Havok almost got laid. SWORD is getting screwed over in the worst possible way. There’s plenty to like about it is what I’m saying. The lack of John Cassaday’s art doesn’t help and neither the inconsistent dialog/narration. But Rick Remender has done a great job of setting up these characters and making this team come off as the Oakland Raiders of comics. For that, I give Uncanny Avengers #7 a 4 out of 5. SWORD is falling to pieces. Demigods are learning a harsh lesson about picking fights. And while parts of the team hate each other, other parts want to bone each other. If this were a reality show, you actually might be able to watch it without throwing up. Nuff said!