Thursday, September 5, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: All New X-men #16
Whenever I read an awesome comic, I get drunk and celebrate. Whenever I read a shitty comic, I get drunk and pass out. So I guess it's a win-win. And like watching hobo dance for loose change in his underwear, I channel my drunkenness into reviewing comics. It can either enhance the experience or piss me the fuck off. All New X-men has done a lot of both lately. Now it is tying into X-men Battle of the Atom and it can either have the effect of a really bad shot of heroin or an awesome bong hit. What is it going to be? Well that's what I determine for All New X-men #16 in the following drunken rant. So hold your nose and strap on your rubber boots because here comes the shit storm.
And this storm is so shitty that the stench has spread to multiple teams of X-men. Cyclops’s Uncanny team made a dramatic, albeit destructive, appearance in Battle of the Atom #1. But they’re focused less on how close the timeline came to being more broke than MC Hammer and more on the looming Sentinel threat. This is not the first or even the second time the Sentinels have fucked with them since the Marvel NOW! relaunch and they would like to know who is behind sending these killer robots that seem to give even less a shit about the timeline as Beast. At least Triage, who saved the timeline when he healed O5 Cyclops, takes a moment to reflect on how close they came to being utterly fucked. It leads to a nice moment with Cyclops, who seems to shake off nearly being erased from existence the way most people shake off a hangnail. He’s either really badass or stopped giving a shit about timelines after seeing all the flaws and paradoxes in the Terminator movies.
But the X-men at the Jean Grey Institute don’t have the luxury of shrugging off yet time-destroying paradox. That’s because at the end of Battle of the Atom, yet another team of time traveling X-men traveled to the past to inform them that they need to send the O5 back now and stop wasting time trying to reason with teenagers. They’ll probably save themselves a lot of frustration while preserving the integrity of the timeline. It’s a win-win, unless you’re a teenager. Immature teenagers will only be satisfied when they are free of all authority and consequences for their dumb ass decisions. In other words, they’re never satisfied.
As for who these future X-men are, they aren’t all business. They consist of an older Kitty Pryde, a hulk-like Iceman, a female version of Xorn, a more fucked up version of Beast, an older version of Molly Hayes from the Runways, and Deadpool. Because even big events need a comic relief that’s crazier than a brain tumor in Kim Jong Un’s head. It also includes Charles Xavier’s grandson, who is just named Xavier. I guess they don’t get too creative in the future. But that doesn’t stop the X-men from hearing them out. They essentially reinforce what they were going to do in the last issue, which is send the O5 X-men back to the past. It seems redundant, but I guess risking more time travel is the only way to deal with teenagers at this point.
Everyone seems to be on the same page. The Jean Grey Institute staff and the future X-men are as friendly as a bunch of squirrels in a nut factory. They’re basically the backup they need to drag the O5 X-men kicking and screaming back to the past. Some don’t seem to be all that concerned though. O5 Iceman and O5 Beast seem more interested in learning how their older selves became so fucked up more than being thrown back into the past. But just when it seems as though they’re going to all sit down and eat smores together, Wolverine finds a way to fuck shit up yet again.
Nobody will ever need to argue that Wolverine is a loose cannon in a way akin to letting a pyromaniac work in a fireworks factory. He’ll always find a way to fuck up a situation and he seems to do just that, popping his claws and attacking the future X-men. Ice Hulk effectively subdues him in a way that could only have been more effective if he were a hot redheaded woman. But what happens here isn’t just another case of Wolverine being too sober for his own good. He claims he didn’t attack. Someone made him. Now that sounds an awful lot like an angry toddler blaming someone else for throwing their sippy cup across the room and hitting the babysitter in the nuts, but in a house of telepaths that’s actually a valid excuse. And it’s at this point they notice that O5 Jean Grey and O5 Cyclops are gone. They were among those most against being sent back to the past and like typical teenagers, they don’t let shit like the integrity of the space time continuum get in their way.
But how the fuck did this happen? Did they just slip away like a couple of high school girls at a frat party after the cops showed up? Well to answer that question, the story jumps back into the past a whole two minutes to reveal that there was some other crazy shit going on behind the scene. While the present X-men and the future X-men were all hugs and kisses, O5 Jean Grey tried to convince O5 Beast to slip away with her. But he refuses, opting instead to linger and try to understand the situation rather than trust the instincts of an unstable young psychic. That sounds logical, but for a guy who claimed to be in love with her recently, he’s pretty damn dismissive. I don’t care how smart the man is, when a pretty girl asks to run away with him and he refuses, he’s a fucking dipshit and his dick will never forgive him.
Since she has no hopes of pulling her new love interest’s head out of his ass, O5 Jean turns to the guy she claimed vehemently to no longer be in love with. And she doesn’t need to do much of anything to convince O5 Cyclops to run away with her. I imagine it isn’t just because he doesn’t like the idea of going back to the past where he knows he’ll just end up becoming the asshole that kills Charles Xavier. This is a girl he was still writing tortured love letters to this girl an issue ago. He’s smarter than Beast in that when Jean Grey suspects that something is seriously fucked up about this situation, then it’s usually a good idea to trust her. Even if she hates his guts for what he becomes, O5 Cyclops still trusts her and he willingly follows her while she mind-fucks the others into fighting while they escape.
Once they slip away, they board the X-jet and fly off before the present and future X-men can unfuck their minds. While on the jet, there’s another nice moment between O5 Cyclops and O5 Jean that attempts to make some sense of what could easily be construed as a couple of teenagers just giving the finger to authority. O5 Jean Grey reveals that she couldn’t read the minds of any of the future X-men and she’s convinced that they have something to hide. She’s not wrong either and I don’t usually say that about messed up teenage girls. She claims that they wouldn’t hide their minds unless they had something important to hide. And given all the disturbing revelations she has uncovered since discovering her telepathy, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that the future X-men aren’t as honest as they seem.
In addition to potentially disturbing secrets, they also remind themselves that the future fucked them over the most. If they go back to the past and Xavier wipes their minds, Jean Grey still ends up dead and Cyclops still ends up a murderer. Beast, Iceman, and Angel all survive in some form, albeit a more fucked up form. But they don’t have nearly as much to complain about. They’re intent on staying in the future and fixing this shit, even if it means fucking up the past. It’s reckless, yet admirable, which is the best compliment you can give to immature teenagers.
The present and future X-men certainly don’t take kindly to being mind-fucked while the timeline is at stake. So after they’re done cursing every teenager that ever lived, they team up in an effort to hunt down O5 Cyclops and O5 Jean Grey and drag them kicking and screaming back to the past. But that doesn’t mean they’re still on the same page. Wolverine finds out that they were guarding their thoughts and he knows better than most that’s a great way to spook an immature telepath. Even Rachel Grey steps in, who has been utilized about as much as a stick of deodorant on a hippie commune, and makes it clear that she doesn’t like people guarding their thoughts either when they barge in and start making demands. She especially doesn’t like it when someone comes in dressed up as the asshole that killed her mother, leading to a very heated showdown between her and Xorna. It leads to a revelation that had my jaw hit the floor and my dick hit the ceiling.
Xorna removes her mask and reveals that she’s not Magneto in disguise after getting a sex change. She’s actually Jean Grey. You read that right. It’s another Jean fucking Grey. She’s not a teenager either. She’s her beautiful adult self. I’m sure Wolverine almost jazzed in his pants on the spot. It’s a revelation that shocks the present X-men to such a degree that they don’t say or do shit when she just shows them a little love and reminds them that they need to send the O5 back to the past. Not many characters can have that kind of impact on a single page of a comic, but Jean Grey certainly does and it definitely raises the stake of this event.
I like to think I usually have a feel for these shocking twists. Ever since I saw the Sixth Sense and started smoking this new strain of weed, I’m usually pretty good at being too shocked. But this revelation shook me in a way I haven’t felt since the day I discovered internet porn. An adult Jean Grey is alive again and in the present. That is the only way X-men Battle of the Atom could possibly be more awesome. Now granted, this may be another ruse. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that O5 Jean Grey mentioned telepaths AND shape-shifters earlier in the issue. She might have picked up on what “Xorna” was hiding and given how Mystique has been known to take the form of people just to fuck with her enemies, it’s not impossible that this could be one of those times. But for now, it’s a revelation that caught me completely off guard. Had I not kept duct tape nearby (sometimes it’s the only way to repair a broken bong), I would jumped up to my roof and danced naked in celebration. Thankfully for the neighbors’ kids, that didn’t happen.
With an adult Jean Grey now in the present, O5 Cyclops and O5 Jean have much more working against them. They quickly ditch the X-jet the first chance they get, knowing that it can probably be tracked like a rent-a-car taken over the border to Tijuana. By the time some hapless jogger passes by with his dog, they’re already out of sight. So if the present and future X-men want to find them, they’re going to have to be smart about it. Once a couple of teenagers are on the run, it’s never long before shit starts going horribly wrong. Usually it ends with someone getting arrested, beat up, or knocked up. I imagine that with the entire timeline at stake, it’s going to get a lot messier.
Any drunk knows that whenever they utter the words “oh fuck” they have either drank too much or sobered up too quickly. More often than not, that ends up with blood on the face or shit in the pants. When comics have an “oh fuck” moment, it’s either really awesome or downright disgusting. This time, it was awesome. All New X-men #16 played with perceptions, thoughts, and the space time continuum. Then it slipped in a roofie at the end that made readers feel like they woke up in a Las Vegas high roller suite with two naked supermodels in bed. Yes, this comic is that awesome. It has action, drama, and Deadpool being crazy. You can’t get much better than that without including naked pictures of Scarlett Johannsen. I give All New X-men #16 a perfect 10 out of 10. Battle of the Atom has hit the ground sprinting. Only eight more parts to go to see if it either crashes like Avengers vs. X-men or induces multiple orgasms like DC’s Trinity War. Nuff said!