Thursday, May 30, 2013
Wolverine and the X-men #30 - Rivaled Awesome
In my experience, rivalries are good for only one thing and that’s giving people an excuse to dress like hobo clown and act like assholes. Whether it’s school, sports, or superheroes rivalries bring out the biggest, shittiest asshole in everybody. Some rivalries drive a story and an entire franchise. The Green Bay Packers have the Chicago Bears. The New York Yankees have the Boston Red Sox. Superman has Lex Luthor. Wolverine has Sabretooth. It can make for great stories and great drama, but at the end of the day one side will always come off as a douche-bag.
It could be argued that the rivalry between Sabretooth and Wolverine is a big part of what has made X-men awesome. Over the years they’ve fought, maimed, and even killed each other (at least until that shit was retconned). No matter what the circumstance, they’re always at each other’s throats. It’s gotten to the point where Marvel has struggled to find new reasons to have them want to kill each other. Well in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men, they manage to scrape together another reason and wouldn’t you know it? A hot redheaded woman is in the middle of it all.
Since the latter part of Rick Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force, Sabretooth and Mystique have been bumping uglies in ways that would even give Matt Lauer a boner. And when they’re not swapping body fluids in ways that makes One Million Moms cry themselves to sleep, they’re plotting new ways to torment Wolverine. They already lubed his ass up by screwing with the Original Five mutants in All New X-men. Now in Wolverine and the X-men, they’re teaming up with the Hellfire brats to put together their own little school. But this isn’t a school that will teach kids quality academics, self-control, and tolerance. This is more like the school that will teach students how to hate, torture, and slack off. In other words it’s basically underfunded middle school in Baltimore.
After getting a glimpse of the future, Wolverine has to know on some level that his rivalry is going to fuck with him in the present. I don’t know how that bullshit lock box he opened in the previous issue is supposed to help, but the new Hellfire school is already making a move. It recruited the innocent yet possible future Glenn Beck supporter Idie. It promises to be the first of many kicks in the balls for Wolverine.
True to his nature, Wolverine reacts as he always does when someone undermines the sanctity of his students and his balls. He lashes out in multiple levels of pissed off. He teams up with Rachel Grey, who to this point has been basically a background character who hasn't so much as mentioned the fact that her time displaced mother is at the school, to pay the Hellfire kids a visit. But anyone who knows anything about how cunning kids can be shouldn't be surprised when they find out the kids aren't there. Rachel even calmly explains to him that even kids are stupid enough to confront him when he's got a rage boner. That doesn't stop Wolverine from threatening them over a camera while the kids presumably laugh and go back to drinking from their sippy cups. Now that they have established a new rival school, complete with one of Wolverine's former students, they can safely lay claim to a significant portion of Wolverine's balls.
But enough about Wolverine's balls. There are still other pressing issues surrounding Idie's departure that have yet to be addressed. The whole reason why Idie has gone all emo is because Broo got shot in the head because of her. Now Broo is back to being a mindless, blood-thirsty Brood. He's basically like Farah Abrams if she thought that eating people would extend her 15 minutes of post-sex tape fame. In order to treat Broo's condition, Beast cashed in a favor from his current fuck buddy, Abigail Brand. She actually agreed to let Dr. Xanto Starblood, a sociopath alien version of the Crocodile Hunter, examine Broo in hopes of treating him. All I can say to that is Beast's penis must be very powerful if he can get Brand to agree to this shit.
Unfortunately, Beast's penis may not be as powerful as Cyclops's. Starblood makes clear that he has plenty of experience with the Brood, dissecting them and probably jerking off while they devour entire species. He basically says that Broo's current condition is perfectly healthy. In fact, his previous condition was the anomaly. By repairing his damaged brain after being shot in the head, he has basically been healed in the way faith healers only wish they could. It's both a grim diagnosis and a subtle "fuck you" that undermines Beast's balls.
That's a bit too many ball references for now so we'll now focus on the other ramifications of Idie's departure. Storm and Kitty Pryde are now seriously questioning their credentials as teachers after seeing her leave. So now they're trying to piece together where they went horribly wrong and do so with way more effort than my teachers ever did when they found out that one of their students fucked up. It isn't just distressing that she ditched them for the Hellfire Club. It's that the Hellfire Club was actually able to recruit her. That's like a player for the New York Yankees being a scout for the Boston Red Sox and secretly luring players away while drawing dicks on the team photos. It leads them to only one conclusion. They have a traitor in their midst. I would also conclude that they take time to explain what the Hellfire Club does to cute girls, using pictures of Emma Frost and Selene as a prime example, but that might have been too much.
And the staff isn't the only one curious about who the traitor may be. Kid Omega, who has long had a fetish for getting involved with shit that annoys the X-men, had been evesdropping over the entire conversation. He's clearly not content with trying (and failing) to bone O5 Jean Grey. He needs to find out what happened to Idie and why she left. I don't know if it's because he's trying to bone her too or if he just wants to show up the rest of the X-men. Or he may just be bored. Kid Omega is one of those characters that doesn't need a reason other than "fuck you." So whatever that reason may be, he hunts down some answers and in this case one of the bamfs has them.
It turns out that the bamfs are also easily bored and incredibly nosy. One of them happened to be hiding in the background when Idie tied Broo up to the Jean Grey statue out front before leaving. But in doing so it revealed more than what we saw in the previous issue. It turns out that Idie didn't just leave because being in the X-men was bad for her soul or that the excessive Catholic guilt had finally driven her crazy. She knows it was the Hellfire Club that shot Broo. Now she wants to infiltrate them and fucking kill their miserable asses. For a teenage girl who has otherwise been shown to be a meek version of Michelle Bachmann, that is pretty damn badass.
This revelation also helps make Idie a lot more compelling than she came off in the previous issue. Ever since she joined the Jean Grey Institute after Schism, she's basically been a whiney little religious nut insisting that she and all mutants are monsters. But here she's finally showing some grit that teenage girls usually don't show unless boy bands are involved. She already killed once in the pages of Schism. She's willing to do it again with the assholes that shot Broo. I still say it makes her less psychotic than One Direction fans.
This seals the deal for Kid Omega. He now is intent on going to the Hellfire Academy to find Idie. However, he must have been too loud with his thoughts because the rest of the X-men pick up on them. It would have been easier if they just picked up on his masturbation fantasies involving O5 Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde. This leads them to conclude that he's the traitor and in their defense, that makes way too much sense to scoff at. Kid Omega tries to explain that he wants to help Idie, but for someone who has a history of waving his dick in the faces of authority he doesn't exactly have much credibility.
Back with Beast and Starblood, the prognosis isn't good. Beast refuses to accept Starblood's assessment of Broo's condition while Starblood uses that sentiment to belittle him. I normally would label this a dick move, but given what a dick Beast has been lately I'll give him a mulligan. And he's not just content with fucking over Beast either. Starblood apparently has had a plan to fuck them all over and he did so with help from the Hellfire Club.
While Beast is trying to keep Broo from maiming him, an unexpected guest teleports into SWORD's station. He calls himself the Philistine, which sounds like some hipster rock band from Portland, but he's packing heavy hellfire heat and uses it to transport Starblood away from SWORD and even takes Broo with him as an added "fuck you." It's a bit random and a bit overly convenient, but I'm willing to assume that the Hellfire Kids were just waiting for the moment where Beast's balls would be most pained. And I think they definitely captured that moment perfectly here.
As Starblood makes his escape along with a good chunk of Beast's ego, Kid Omega has to make his escape as well. Regardless of whether or not he's actually innocent to some degree is a moot point now. Instead of trying to plead his case and actually coordinate with the X-men, he grabs one of the bamfs and teleports away. You want to feel some level of sympathy for the kid, but this is Kid Omega. He probably could have stuck around and earned the trust of the other X-men to help Idie. But he's a teenager with an ego almost as big as his porn collection. He's not going to think things through, nor should he when he's that much of a pick.
With no other choice except to go undercover at the Hellfire Academy, Kid Omega meets up with the same guy who helped get Idie to the Hellfire Club, ie the real fucking traitor. And who could it be? It's Toad. Yeah, it's as shocking as it sounds. I mean why shouldn't the guy that Wolverine has turned into a glorified janitor and treated like shit over the years betray the X-men? To be fair, he almost always sided against the X-men. But if he's going to betray the team, he also needs help from a pretty girl along with Starblood. So that is now the crowd that Kid Omega is joining. Even if he is going to try and help Idie, I have little doubt that an asshole like him will fit right in.
If the last issue was billed as a prelude to a prelude, then this issue is the official prelude. If that doesn't sound confusing, then you need better weed or you need to ease off the shrooms. The pace of Wolverine and the X-men has been all over the place since the end of Avengers vs. X-men. At times it basically steps off the trail to focus on something aside from who wants to blow up the Jean Grey Institute this month. Well this issue basically got the series back on that familiar trail, setting the stage for a new arc featuring the Hellfire Club. But this time it doesn't just involve a bunch of homicidal little kids. It involves some threats that are actually intimidating and familiar.
Just being back on track and not throwing more Dog Logan in our faces made this issue awesome. It also threw in a few surprises that may not blow your brains into the next time zone, but it will raise a few eyebrows in a good and non-pornographic way. Idie comes out of this issue as not being the emo religious zealot that the Catholic Church preys upon (also in a non-pornographic way for once). She's actually looking to bitch slap the assholes who deceived her and shot Broo. For a cute little girl like her, that's pretty awesome. It proves once again that even cute girls can have the kind of rage that will turn your colon inside out. But Toad's betrayal was a bit less surprising. He was the fucking janitor that everyone treated like shit. It would have been more surprising if he didn't jump at the chance to fuck with the X-men when the Hellfire kids showed up.
But as nice as it was to get this series back on track, it still suffers from the same host of problems that have plagued this series in recent times. Jason Aaron introduces a lot of interesting side-plots. However, he has an uncanny habit of ditching them the same way Bernie Madoff ditched SEC inquiries. What happened to the romantic sub-plot with Storm and Wolverine? What happened to the contents of that box from the past issue? What happened to future Wolverine's intent to warn his past self? Was all that shit just fodder or does Marvel have access to way more potent weed? I'm guessing it's a combination of the two.
For some, these lost side-plots may not bother anyone. In fact, I'm sure some may think I'm being petty with how Aaron isn't addressing these plots. And maybe I am petty in some respects, but when discerning between awesome comics and comics that are just good enough to read while taking a shit, I have a duty to the fine readers to this blog. With that, I give Wolverine and the X-men #30 a score of 3.5 out of 5. At least, it starts to move the series forward in a meaningful way. But it does so while still tripping over the same pot holes. I'm okay with that for now, but anyone who has done a sobriety test on uneven pavement knows that it's just a matter of time before you fall flat on your face. Hopefully, that doesn't happen with Wolverine and the X-men. Nuff said!