Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Wolverine and the X-men #29 - Future Possibilities of Awesome
I treat time travel stories in comics the same way I treat the spiciness of hot sauce. A little mixed in adds an extra bit of kick to a story. A little more and it’s good, but still uncomfortable. But too much and you’re left gagging over the sink and shitting uncontrollably late into the night. Marvel has never shied away from fucking with the space time continuum in the same way Ozzy Osborne never shies away from free booze and a line of blow. They’ve been doing a damn good job of it in All New X-men and the ongoing Age of Ultron event. But between these two major stories and the upcoming X-men event, Battle of the Atom, I’m starting to think that Father Time’s asshole can’t take much more.
I would need several blogs just to list the various alternate realities, apocalyptic and otherwise, that Marvel has conjured over the years. Some are so bizarre and fucked up that they had to be the product of insomnia, brain damage, or excessive drug use. Conversely, some are so awesome that they deserve to be tattooed between Pamela Anderson’s breasts. Marvel has been rather liberal in how they allow these new realities to emerge, but in an era when every movie is a remake or based on a book I can’t fault them for doing shit they know will get fans to fork over their hard earned cash. The folks at Marvel have to eat and pay their pot dealer too.
Wolverine and the X-men has always had the future in mind to a point. Wolverine founded the school to teach a new generation of mutants in a school named after the woman he never got to bang. What started as a massive “fuck you” to Cyclops has become a thriving institution for mutants. However, it hasn’t always made for great stories. The previous Savage Land arc only gave me night terrors of my high school gym class while also reminding me that nobody gives a shit about Wolverine’s asshole brother. While the series itself is still a fun, vibrant part of the X-men universe, it is coming off a lousy arc and is in serious need of fresh life.
So what is Marvel’s solution? Time travel into the future! That’s what Wolverine and the X-men #29 does in a way that actually leaves Father Time’s asshole intact. Doc Brown sits this one out as it begins with a simple speech from Wolverine to the students of the Jean Grey Institute. Now I’m trying to imagine Wolverine giving a speech without cringing because this is a guy who is used to stabbing shit and trying to bone married women. Giving a speech to students that won’t make them tremble like seeing Christopher Walken read 50 Shades of Grey is hard to believe. But there is a reason behind this speech. He admits that he has no idea what the fuck he’s doing, but he’s doing it because it’s something that has to be done. That and it pisses off Cyclops. I’m sure that part is implied.
But before this feeble effort at public speaking began, Wolverine led his staff on a mission. Apparently, he’s not as sick of Dog Logan as some of the readers because after the shit in the Savage Land, he tries to hunt him down. They eventually track him to a small cabin in the Rocky Mountains where he has (and this should surprise no one) time travel gear. Dog is nowhere to be found, but Wolverine is still pissed. They don’t find any clues except some old metal box. But it’s one of those fancy boxes that can’t be opened. Wolverine’s claws don’t work. Beast’s fancy gadgets don’t work. Nothing works. Why does this matter? Unless it contains Dog Logan’s porno stash, I don’t see how it could.
Back in the near future, Wolverine finishes his speech. He even gets a little sappy on his students, saying the X-men are his family and he wants to protect his family at all costs. Never mind that he often runs off with the Avengers and goes on all sorts of solo adventures. Like the cheating Republican Congressman who claims to love his family while banging the shit out of his mistress, he says he wants to protect them. So to help preserve the future and past of the Jean Grey Institute, he organizes a little time capsule for the students to compile. It contains random shit including Kid Omega’s “Cyclops Was Right” shirt. While I’m still trying to get my hands on that shirt, it’s an unusual and somewhat redundant gesture when you think about it. The institute already has time-displaced X-men. A time capsule just sounds like dipping hot peppers in tobacco sauce. It’s not going to change the effect of jack shit.
This leads directly into yet another potential future for the X-men when they already have a fuckton of them. But for once, this future isn’t a dystopian future. Let me write that again so that readers know I’m not as stoned as they think I am. This future is NOT a dystopian future. Instead, it’s a future where the Jean Grey Institute is still intact. Mutants are still alive and not being hunted for target practice like baby seals in Sarah Palin’s back yard. I think this is worth emphasizing because most of the time when time travel is involved, the future is fucked. That’s what we got with Days of Futures Past. That’s what we’re getting right now with Age of Ultron. Yet this is not the case. So already I’m having to take a few extra bong hits to wrap my head around it, but I will say it’s a nice change of pace.
We get some insight into this new school. Somehow, there’s a Professor Xorn (or it could be another Magneto in disguise) making announcement about the training schedule at the institute. There’s a wide range of mutants crowding the institute grounds, some of which look like the kind of shit you see on a good LSD trip and others that just look like regular kids that probably have fucked up powers. There are even a few hints of the X-men having knocked up their teammates. There’s a Carmen Drake, Warren Worthington IV, Charlene Xavier, Rose Logan, and Summer Grey. Okay, so they’re not all that creative. But it does show that some of the X-men do manage to survive pregnancy and changing diapers.
And amidst this seemingly non-dystopian future, an old gray-haired Wolverine digs up the time capsule that we just saw get buried. Why does he have gray hair when he’s never been shown to age? I have no fucking clue and that’s probably one of those details Marvel is content to overlook. For a while Wolverine just muses about how he doesn’t remember burying this capsule, which is kind of the point while reiterating that he had no fucking idea what he was doing. There’s really nothing that we haven’t seen before, but for reasons that really aren’t that clear it inspires him to act on an impulse. So I guess the future doesn’t change him that much.
He then travels up to a space station being manned by Eye Boy, who is actually Eye Man now but Wolverine refuses to call him anything else. In the previous arc we saw Eye Boy finally grow half a testicle and show that he’s not a pussy. Well in the future he apparently puts all those extra eyes of his to good use by being a monitor of sorts for the X-men. It’s a fitting job for someone like him, but it does mean dealing with assholes like Wolverine.
After paying him a visit, Wolverine demands to use the time travel gear locked in the vault at the station. Eye Boy says no fucking way and some of the robot guards, called Arcangels, decide to agree with him. Wolverine, once again showing that age hasn’t changed his violent inclinations, decides to rip them to shreds and Eye Boy reluctantly helps him. It’s a nice bit of action, but it’s a little overly basic. Wolverine says he wants to send a message to the past. Apparently, he’s barred from ever time traveling himself (Age of Ultron gives a pretty good reason why), but he still can’t resist fucking with the time stream.
Wolverine then gives another speech that is hard to imagine him saying out loud without cringing. He talks about how so much shit happened to the students over the years and questions whether it was worth it. He even mentions some future events (and Jean of course) and is intent on warning himself. Given how everything turned out, I’m not sure why the fuck he would risk it all for just a message. But he does so anyways. He sends a message back into the past in the form of a little capsule with a note and key inside. He ends up burying it right where Wolverine attempted to bury the time capsule. I don’t know if that counts as irony, but I guess clarity is a luxury that most time travel stories can’t afford.
In addition, Wolverine isn’t the only one looking to fuck up the future. And if you were like me in that the previous arc made you never want to see Dog Logan again, prepare to be disappointed. Because after running away from Wolverine like a pussy, he met up with the folks at the Hellfire Club (who are still fucking kids mind you) and decided to join them. While he would probably fit right in with him, the utter lack of respect his character has garnered makes it difficult to give a fuck.
As for what was in that unbreakable box, it wasn’t exactly Ozzy Osborne’s drug stash. It was just a couple of toy boats that Wolverine and Dog Logan played with as kids. That’s it. There was no ominous future tech or any clear message that might have actually had an impact. It’s just a couple of old toys. Of all the shit Wolverine sends to his past self, that’s it? No winning lotto numbers? No Superbowl picks? No locks of Jean Grey’s hair? I think that warrants plenty of WTFs, but I’m not even sure it matters if you still don’t give a shit about Dog Logan.
But Dog isn’t the only one that joins the Hellfire Club. Someone who a number of readers might actually give a shit about decides to join as well. Idie, the lovably innocent young girl who may or may not be right-wing Christian bigot, decides to set Broo free and join the Hellfire Club. She still thinks she’s a monster and won’t let anyone convince her otherwise. I want to say she’s taking the whole Catholic guilt thing way too far, but it’s hard not to feel bad for her. She still thinks she’s a monster and still has to live with the fact that she follows the same religion as Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann.
In the end Father Time’s asshole is still left slight sore, but compared to what he’s endured lately with Age of Ultron and All New X-men I doubt he’ll notice. I’m not really sure what to make of an issue like this. It’s not an arc or a one-shot. It’s sort of like an epilogue to the previous arc and a prelude to the next arc. Maybe it’s just the weed talking, but I’m a bit confused. Never-the-less, it was a fun issue that stood on its own without getting too convoluted. And for a time travel story, that’s saying something.
For once, this glimpse into the future didn’t involve a full blown apocalypse. There was no dystopia where giant robots, alien overlords, or mutated insects ruled the planet. This time the future was actually somewhat appealing. The world was intact. Mutants were still alive, thriving, and not rotting in concentration camps. There were even hints that some of the X-men survived long enough to have some kids. While the issue was somewhat coy with who managed to get freaky and live long enough to see it through, it was still a pretty appealing future that was more intact than anything Marvel has shown lately.
But as appealing as the future may have been, I’m still not sure what the fuck the point was of burying the time capsule or the shit in that box. I was hoping that we had seen the last of Dog Logan after the previous arc. We really did not need to see that asshole again. His entire character still amounts to “I hate Wolverine and will do anything to fuck him up.” Even Sabretooth is more intelligible than him. At least Sabretooth can say that he knocked up Mystique. Him joining the Hellfire kids, who are also more intelligible, doesn’t come off as that appealing. It just means we have to deal with Dog Logan’s sorry ass again.
I don’t want to discount this issue solely on the basis of a character I don’t like. I still find Dog Logan more appealing than Hope fucking Summers. This issue did have some nice elements that we haven’t seen in a time travel story in quite a while. I’m guessing that this is one of those futures that is just one of the many possible futures. I doubt Marvel will ever revisit it because like that bitchy masseuse with the nice rack who is never satisfied with the tip you give her, they refuse to give a happy ending. We don’t know just how happy this future is, but it’s left wide open for interpretation and given the twisted minds of comic book fans these days I’m sure fans will come up with any number of fucked up ideas.
I admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to another time travel story in a Marvel comic, even if it was just a one-shot. This issue wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It had some nice moments and some nice little teasers. But the prospect of more Dog Logan and the Hellfire kids made it hard to be excited about, even with the aid of magic mushrooms and tequila. It doesn’t take away from some of the more emotional moments like Wolverine’s speech or his musings about the future. So I give Wolverine and the X-men #29 a 3 out of 5. So what does the future hold now? Well, at least they have one future where they aren’t completely screwed over. But there is one thing I am sure of. In the future, people still won’t give a shit about Dog Logan. Nuff said!