Thursday, July 25, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #33
When I need to deal with the long list of issues my therapist bitches about, I grab some whiskey and a comic book and deal to my heart’s content. My liver may hate it and so does my landlord, but I’m willing to give both of them the finger for the sake of entertaining and informing the wonderful readers of this blog. What follows is my twisted coping skills combined with a full review of Wolverine and the X-men #33. It's a book that may give me nightmares about how much high school sucked before I found a good weed dealer, but it’s also a book that’s in the middle of a big arc involving the Hellfire Academy and Mystique in a sexy teacher's uniform. Read on if you've got your booze and lube ready.
While I would argue that Mystique in a sexy teacher’s uniform is the biggest appeal, seeing Kid Omega get the shit beat out of him is a close second. He spent much of the previous issue as a prisoner that served as a prime example to the other students how certain forms of douche-baggery would be rewarded and how other forms of douche-baggery would be punished. He took it in a way that would have made Rocky Balboa proud, but he’s still a douche. He still needed Toad to step in and save his miserable ass from Sauron and a version of Mojo with tits. While Toad is to X-men what Scott Norwood is to Buffalo Bills fans, he does at least show some semblance of balls. He’s still a janitor, but he’s a janitor who can kick ass. He won’t co-star in any Jason Stathem movies, but he will break Kid Omega free.
Kid Omega represents the kind of self-centered douche-baggery that the Hellfire Academy discourages. But Idie, who also ditched the Jean Grey Institute, nicely narrates the kind of douche-baggery that the Hellfire Academy fully supports. This whole issue has her narrating and it’s done in a way that is insightful and compelling.
She basically explains to the reader that the Hellfire Academy teaches them to love themselves, hate everyone else, and take anything they want if it makes them feel good. It’s basically everything that every major religion opposes. And she actually demonstrates it with her fellow classmates by killing random Hellfire guards for Kade Kilgore’s amusement. It’s a gritty scene, but one that offers a painful reminder that Idie has already killed. It was what triggered the Schism between Cyclops and Wolverine (that and them debating about which one Jean Grey would want to bone). Now she isn’t as bothered by killing. And this is a fucking 14-year-old girl. It’s hard not to feel for her and that’s the biggest strength of her story.
It’s hard to feel quite as intrigued for Toad and Kid Omega for reasons I’ve already covered. While they do manage to escape, it’s one of those things that’s easy to shrug off. If they had gotten the shit kicked out of them, I doubt many readers would lose sleep over it. After they make their escape, they go after Idie. They then run into Dog Logan along the way who does…absolutely jack shit.
I may be easily confused when I’ve smoked one too many joints and I may have as much affection for Dog Logan as I have for venomous spiders, but this was just fucked up. Dog Logan just walks away, saying they’re even now. I don’t even know what the fuck that is supposed to imply. I know Dog Logan’s introduction to the Hellfire Academy happened recently in this same series, but his story was so boring that I think I just got stoned and watched reruns of X-men Evolution. If there is an explanation, it’s not a very good one. And if Dog Logan never shows up in this series again, I doubt a single fuck would be given.
The main star of this comic is Idie. She’s the one that’s worth giving a shit about and she’s the one that is easy to grow fond of after what she has endured recently. And she has more than her share of admirers, one of them being Kade Kilgore himself. After having distinguished herself as being more than capable to horribly maim people with a pussy boner, he now invites her to do so as the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. He even has the distinct Black Queen lingerie ready and fitted for her. Now I’m not sure if it’s more creepy that Kade Kilgore had that lingerie ready for her or that he’s a 14-year-old boy with enough money and power exercise all sorts of perverse pre-pubescent fantasies. But the whole concept of the Hellfire brats is fucked up to begin with and for that reason, it’s hard not to genuinely worry that Idie is getting in over her head.
Kid Omega and Toad are already way past that point, but unlike Idie you just can’t give as many shits about them. While Dog Logan may have let them go for no fucking reason, the rest of the Hellions aren’t quite as generous. They just got done maiming Hellfire guards for Kade Kilgore’s amusement. Their bloodlust boner is still hard and who better to take it out on then someone who was a douche-bag before he ended up at the Hellfire Academy?
To make matters worse, Paige is among them and Toad has been romantically involved with her in recent times. Well involved might be too loaded a term because it really was never thoroughly explored just what the fuck was going on between these two. Given what Toad can do with his tongue, that’s probably for the best. But if this was supposed to create any sort of emotional upheaval in the same way the Idie plot has done, it failed miserably. It basically amounts to Toad getting soft on a woman who was very pissed off at him while Kid Omega does the heavy lifting and takes a few punches to the face. So I guess it’s only partially satisfying in that respect.
This shit is happening at the same time Kade Kilgore is tempting Idie. He knows about it as well and Idie apparently takes him up on his offer. She actually puts on that ridiculously revealing Black Queen outfit that no woman would wear outside Comic Con or my masturbation fantasies. She even talks about finalizing the deal by killing Broo, who was already overprotective of her for reasons that probably had to do with Brood mating rituals. But this is where Idie finally reveals that the Hellfire Academy failed in its mission to turn her into a sociopath.
It happens when Kade Kilgore foolishly reveals that he was the one that shot Broo in the head. He’s a teenage boy. I don’t expect him to think before he talks, especially in front of a girl wearing a Black Queen outfit. This is what reveals Idie’s plan all along. She willingly joined the Hellfire Academy, embracing their concept of being a total dick along the way, just so she could find out who shot Broo. Now take for a moment to consider how she managed to maintain her cover and not be completely corrupted by the likes of Mystique, Sabretooth, Sauron, and the Hellfire Club. This is a fucking 14-year-old girl and she went through all of this, just to get back at the asshole who shot her friend. It’s not logical. Again, she’s a fucking 14-year-old girl. But it’s some pretty amazing shit and it’s hard not to cheer for her in ways nobody would ever cheer for Kid Omega.
As all this is transpiring at the Hellfire Academy, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the Jean Grey Institute staff has been trying to find them since the arc began. They spent most of the previous issue failing miserably. Then Wolverine managed to track down Lord Deathstrike with the help of the bamfs and whiskey (because most problems can be solved by whiskey). So for much of this issue he’s been battling Lord Deathstrike, trying to get him to reveal the location of the Hellfire Academy. In addition, Rachel, Beast, and Storm enlist help from Karoka, who happens to be one of Dr. Frankensteins old pets. This aspect of the story was nicely explored in the last issue, but this issue it comes off as a little flat. It’s fun seeing Wolverine fight Lord Deathstrike and all, but it just feels way too convenient that they had Karoka as a lead all along and didn’t fucking realize it. And since they’re not hormonal teenagers, they have no excuse.
The battles at the Hellfire Academy remain the most compelling aspect of the story. Having revealed her plan, Idie goes about putting it into action while Kid Omega and Toad continue to get their asses kicked. Kade Kilgore is surprised at first, but he quickly recovers and becomes only mildly disappointed that he won’t have a cute girl to be his Black Queen anymore. He tries shooting Idie after she attacks him. But he seems to forget that the Hellfire Academy trained her to give less than a fuck about maiming people so she continues to battle him. And at one point, she even has him at her mercy.
This leads to a moment that feels like the culmination of all the emotional upheaval that Idie has been experiencing throughout this series. Despite her narrations that clearly say that she has been taught to fight without mercy, she decides to spare Kade Kilgore. That means after going to a school intent on turning her into a young Dr. Doom, she doesn’t give in. I’m tempted to say, suck it, Captain America! But that wouldn’t be appropriate. The scene isn’t as detailed as it could have been, but the message is clear. Idie may be a killer, but she’s not a douche-bag. And that sets her apart from her peers and the rest of the X-men for that matter.
So rather than stick around and torture Kade Kilgore, Idie leaves him to ponder the feeling of being beat up by a girl and catches up with Kid Omega. He immediately thinks he’s in love with her, but that may just be a direct result of her wearing the Black Queen outfit. I’m pretty sure if a girl walked up to me wearing that while I was getting my ass kicked, I would probably ask her to marry me. So they leave Kade behind. It’s not clear if Paige kills Toad, but I don’t think anyone really gives a shit about that at this point. The end of this issue tempts us with the utter destruction of the Hellfire Academy. Idie and Kid Omega already get the ball rolling. Now the X-men are on their way with Karoka. I think it’s just about time for the Hellfire brats to start crying for their mommies.
I usually have mixed feelings about people who go to elaborate lengths to get back at someone. It’s one thing for an ex-girlfriend to just sell all your shit on Craigslist. It's quite another for her to seduce your boss, get him to marry her, kill him, take over the business, and then use that power to make your life a living hell. But the extent Idie goes to in order to get revenge on the Hellfire brats for shooting Broo is nothing short of admirable. Sure, she had to channel her inner sociopath and entertain the horemonal attractions of a pre-pubescent boy, but it got the job done. And by telling the story from her point of view, Wolverine and the X-men #33 is very compelling. Watching Kid Omega and Toad get the shit beat out of them isn't quite as compelling, but it’s still more fun than a joint and truck of illegal fireworks. That's my final verdict for Wolverine and the X-men #33 and if you don't like it, feel free to spend a day or two with one of my ex-girlfriends. But don't expect to leave with your balls intact. Nuff said!