Thursday, August 1, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: X-men #3

I have two great passions in life, getting wasted, and comics. And when those passions converge, it's a truly beautiful thing. That's why I love gathering whatever illicit substances I can get my hands on and a fresh batch of comics to see what sort of beauty I can conjure. It's crude, it's incoherent, and at times it's downright fucked up. But I believe a certain level of truth emerges from the mind of every drunk and by that logic, I believe I can properly assess a comic. So with that in mind, the following intoxicated rants consist of my assessment of X-men #3. Your brain may say no, but your heart says yes so follow your heart and read on.

The battle against Arkea has taken many fucked up forms in a mere two issues, starting from the body of a baby and transferring to the body of Omega Sentinel, who happens to be a cute teenage girl. So yeah, it’s that fucked up. Now the X-women are going back to where this shit started in Budapest where in the first issue we found out that a meteor struck the area. So I guess it makes sense to start investigating here because freaky shit like this never happens on a beach in Maui. Also, John Sublime is still with them. He was the one that sought the X-women out for help in the first place because Arkea happens to be his pissed off sister with a billion year grudge. He hasn’t screwed them over yet, but that doesn’t mean that every X-woman won’t be on their guard or make sure their panties contain adamantium locks.

This doesn’t mean that Kitty Pryde is lucky for having been left behind. The last issue ended on a rather ominous cliffhanger when some of the other students at the Jean Grey Institute were sifting through the rubble and found a ticking clock. In comic that usually mean some shit is about to blow up. This time, however, it was something a little more subtle. Arkea had access to the whole Jean Grey Institute during the fight in the last issue so she opted to hijack the air vents and try to suffocate them. All I can say is that for a billion-year-old pissed off sister, she seriously does not appreciate the efficacy of blowing shit up.

It’s ineffective because Bling is able to break them free from the area with only the cost of another door. Since Arkea already blew up so much shit in the previous issue, I think that’s a hell of a bargain. But I guess Arkea learned at least something during her billion year pwnage. The phony bomb was just a prelude. Once Kitty and the students break free, she uses the Danger Room to form an army of drones. I admit that’s definitely a more effective means of causing destruction. And it definitely helps that the drones come in the form of a cute teenage girl. It’s a little creepy as well, but nothing that probably can’t be found in a Japanese novelty shop. It makes for some flashy action from some lesser known X-men characters and that’s always a plus. These young mutants have to get their X-men experience somewhere and it can’t just be from the Danger Room.

Since the systems at the Jean Grey Institute are still fucked up, the X-women’s best bet is to track Arkea to the source. This is where John Sublime proves to be more useful than the obligatory creepy guy in a group of women. He points out that the hospital where Jubilee found her baby was a hospital that he (or the poor schmuck he took over) funded for research in biotechnology. That essentially made it the juicy steak while Akrea was the hungry grizzly. It seems trivial, but it actually helps explain why Akrea crashed in fucking Budapest of all places and how she hijacked that baby. Those details may not seem like much, but they make comics a lot easier to read when you’re stoned and that means a lot to some people.

With this knowledge in mind, the Sublime and the X-women stake out the hospital and make their way inside. It already has that creepy abandoned feel, which is the theme of a great many horror movies and plenty of porno movies. So there’s definitely some tension. And probably because of that, Jubilee and the baby stay behind to monitor things from the outside. It’s an inglorious task, but it’s memorable in that it leads to an emotional scene with Jubilee and the baby. She literally just found this baby two issues ago and already she has become attached to it in a way that could make a standard made-for-TV movie on Lifetime. Keeping in mind that she’s still a fucking vampire, it’s a pretty powerful moment. And she does it while chewing gum, ensuring that this is still the Jubilee we know and love.

Back at the Jean Grey Institute, the situation isn’t quite as heartwarming. Kitty Pryde and a team of C-list X-men are attacking an army of Omega Sentinel rip-offs. Hellion, Bling, and Primal continue to shine while Kitty Pryde focuses on shutting down the system and praying to Odin that their insurance will cover the damages. I imagine that any insurance company stupid enough to ensure the X-men’s base of operations charges some fucked up premiums, but given the damage that Arkea does I think this is the one instance where we can’t fault insurance companies. It’s still flashy action and great to read while stoned.

The rest of the X-men finally get a shot at flashy action as well. Like so many other horror movies/pornos that take place in old hospitals, they’re eventually confronted by an army of zombie-like patients that Arkea hijacked. They look as creepy as anyone would expect. Arkea also gives a little speech about how she is superior and mutants are just freaks as anyone would expect. I’m pretty sure other characters like Reverend Stryker, Mr. Sinister, and Bastion could sue her for plagiarism. I imagine they have shitty lawyers so they don’t bother. And probably for that very reason the rest of the X-women look more bored than threatened.

The battle that follows might not be all that flashy, but it’s still fairly satisfying. Akrea is not like Stryker, Sinister, or Bastion in that there’s no one person to punch. So the X-women have to fight their way through hoards of innocent and already sick people to get to her. They focus on fighting Omega Sentinel, who is pretty much an innocent victim in this whole deal. She might as well be that unlucky guy who got stuffed in the trunk of a car because the mob got bad directions on Google maps. The only concern is whether or not Omega Sentinel is really dead and Arkea is the only one they have to worry about hurting. It’s a legitimate concern that adds some drama that doesn’t involve a baby for once.

The battles on both ends eventually converge beautifully. Kitty Pryde manages to shut down the Jean Grey Institute’s systems to stop the Omega Sentinel Danger Room attack. And the X-women find out that Omega Sentinel is still alive in her body, making it somewhat more difficult for Psylocke to stab her with her psionic blades. That’s somewhat surprising given the shit she did in Uncanny X-Force. But it still leads to a nice dramatic moment when Omega Sentinel basically saves Psylocke the guilt and stabs herself to destroy, or at least subdue, Arkea.

It may not be the most satisfying way to end the conflict and it’s certainly not going to make readers shit themselves. But it works. It fits all the proper X-men themes of having compassion for teammates and having to deal with enemies that aren’t always as easy to destroy as killer robots. And the kind of convergence shown here really makes the comic feel refined, as if Marvel is actually paying attention to detail. And after bullshit like Avengers vs. X-men where I’m convinced someone mixed their meds with magic mushrooms, that’s very refreshing. I guess that means they got a better dealer or a worse one. I’m not sure which.

It’s a victory for the X-women and their first in this young series. I suppose there’s a benefit to getting the first time out of the way. There are a lot of dirty jokes I could make with that, but I think I’ve pissed off the Catholic Church enough on this blog. And to top it off, Jubilee gives her new baby a name, Shogo. It’s a lot less generic than George and a lot less ridiculous than North so I think it works. At least it will work until a politician uses it as an alias to tweet pictures of his dick. For now, Shogo can take comfort in that he’s now in a comic with five beautiful X-women. I’m pretty sure that’s a win for any man, boy, or infant.

Arkea may have been a bit generic, but she provided a nice inaugural bang for the first arc of X-men. She brought a new team of X-women together and brought Jubilee back into the mix. I’m still increasingly frustrated that Jubilee’s vampire powers haven’t been addressed in the slightest, but that may just be because I’m low on weed. X-men #3 demonstrated a solid story that was attentive to detail in a way that is easy to overlook. It won’t blow anyone’s mind, but it’ll make everyone’s collective dick hard enough to get the job done. X-men #3 gets an 8 out of 10. That makes this book of all X-women a winner and for once it wasn’t just because of boobs. Nuff said!


  1. I take it this issue is set before wolverine & the x-men 30?

    1. I don't know where the fuck it is set because Father Time in comic books is perpetually drunk. So I try not to think about it and assume Marvel stopped giving a shit a long time ago about trying to fit these stories into a time frame.


  2. Arkea seemed like a bigger threat. Like Cassandra Nova level threat and it took me awhile to connect that what Kitty was doing is what affected Omega Sentinel. The end of the issue just wasn't as clear as storyline up until that point. Especially with Psylocke needing Rachel's help. I was enjoying the series so far, and the "all female" cast is a cool gimmick because there are a LOT of teams with only men. Seemed a bit rushed, but maybe it's not over.

    1. I agree. Arkea was so intriguing through the first few issues. Then she just turned into a generic "You motherfuckers are inferior!" villain. And we already have enough of those. Still a nice ending to the first arc. I think it bodes well for the future of this series.