Thursday, September 26, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #12
When I started this blog, I had two options when it came to reviewing comics. I could either be serious, analytical, and critical. Or I could just get drunk and write down whatever fucked up thoughts come to mind. As with most endeavors in my life, I favored the option that gave me another reason to get drunk. I like to think that drunks offer a special kind of sincerity when they’re not picking fights with statues at three in the morning. I think that kind of sincerity is needed for certain comics, especially those that attempt to bridge the gap between two respective teams that get along about as well Israel and Iran. The X-men and Avengers haven’t exactly been sharing chocolates and blow since Uncanny Avengers began. Now they’re facing a nasty threat in the Apocalypse Twins and they have to stop trying to strangle each other long enough to stop it. So in my review of Uncanny Avengers #12, I try with my drunken sincerity to assess whether they succeed or fail in a way that’s awesome.
It’s going to be hard to be sincere when an issue starts off in a Nazi internment camp. That’s a bigger buzzkill than a pornstar puking in the middle of a scene. But in this case it tells an important part of the story for the Apocalypse Twins. As part of their fucked up upbringing, Kang made sure they got captured by the Red Skull, who has since used Charles Xavier’s powers to make mutants the main target for the Nazi’s next great genocide. Because one just is never enough for these people. It offers insight into the incredibly harsh world these two grew up in and the incredibly harsh parenting techniques that Kang employed. Sending kids to a Nazi internment is cruel on a level that would disgust even a Spartan.
Kang takes his douche-baggery to yet another level when he does absolutely jack shit when the Apocalypse Twins are caught by Ahab, who is akin to a Nazi rodeo clown who rounds up mutants trying to escape. But it isn’t enough to just shoot them or beat them with a stick as punishment. The Nazis never do cruelty halfway. So instead, Ahab has Uriel rip Eimin’s eyes out. Since she claimed to be the one that saw an opening and led Uriel to follow her, Eimin’s punishment is that she loses her eyes. It was already revealed earlier that she had no eyes, but finding out how she lost them makes it all the more disturbing yet all the more awesome.
With a childhood this fucked up, it almost seems merciful that all the Apocalypse Twins are trying to do is take every mutant off the planet so they can live peacefully in a space ark. They made this announcement in the previous issue to the whole world and there are even a few reactions from the other X-men teams since a stunt like this is sure to affect them. It certainly makes things awkward for Angel and Genesis, who are being kept in the dark despite their major role in the events that led up to this. It also gives some X-men another reason to hate Wanda Maximoff because only someone like her could be powerful enough to make shit like this work.
And it’s not an entirely invalid reason either. In the previous issue, the Scarlet Witch is in yet another shitty situation where she is being used by another manipulative asshole. But this time, no mind control is necessary. She is now willingly aiding the Apocalypse Twins, even after one of their horsemen, the Grim Reaper, has tormented Wonder Man. When she goes to meet up with him, she doesn’t even slap him in the face or kick him in the balls. He doesn’t even seem all that upset that Rogue snapped his neck the last time he attacked the Uncanny Avengers. Either he’s just that crazy or he’s one of those guys that doesn’t see a problem with a hot woman like Rogue being the one that kills him. I suspect it may be a little of both.
The Scarlett Witch then explains to Wonder Man just how fucked the mutant race is. She tells them all about how the Red Skull is going to use Xavier’s powers and those little tidbits about Arcangel blowing up an entire town and Wolverine running a secret kill squad to turn the world against mutants. She probably implies that Fox News will do most of the work. And the only way to save the mutant race from being on the Nazi shit list is to abandon the planet. It sounds crazy. Wonder Man is very keen on pointing that out. However, the alternative is trying to reason with a Nazi armed with Charles Xavier’s telepathy and some very inconvenient facts on his side. She thinks that is a losing battle and I honestly can’t say I blame her. In a world that despises minorities because they may or may not be taking jobs that nobody else wants to do, there’s not much room for reason.
But not everyone is as pessimistic as the Scarlett Witch. Wasp, Havok, and Captain America are still not willing to let a couple of deeply disturbed twins do a massive cut and paste for an entire race. So they go to work launching a covert attack on the Akkaba Society. Along the way they take out a few supporters of the Apocalypse Twins while revealing that some are just looking forward to the exodus from Earth for better chances at getting laid. Wasp also reveals that she tried some disturbing methods to spice her marriage up with Ant Man before it failed. I would have liked to know how disturbing those methods were and so would my penis, but it’s nice to see a little crude humor in a story that started in a Nazi internment camp.
Their mission is pretty basic. They need to destroy the special barrier that the Apocalypse Twins have set up to keep anyone from the future from traveling back in time to stop them, most notably Kang. It’s like putting a restraining order on alcoholic father looking to borrow money and enforcing it with deadly ninjas. It still relies on trusting Immortus, but at this point they would probably trust a Nigerian prince if they believed he could help them stop the Apocalypse Twins.
The biggest (and loudest) obstacle in their way is Banshee, who is now a horseman of Apocalypse. Given how he died back in Deadly Genesis, I think he has every reason to be pissed off. He even goes out of his way to berate Captain America for having Irish immigrant parents who changed their name just to be accepted. I’m not sure if that’s an effective way to berate someone. I think Banshee would have just been better off by pointing out how he missed the era of free love and available weed in the 60s. He still makes up for it by screeching into his ears. It gives Havok a chance to a slightly less bigger douche while flirting with Wasp in the process. For a guy who has been about as likable as rectal wart lately, this is overdue. That and I think Wasp really needs to get laid.
I think the Scarlet Witch needs to get laid too, but for very different reasons. She and Wonder Man continue their discussion on the ark that is supposed to contain all mutants for the foreseeable future. It’s a very emotional conversation and not just because these two have a history of helping each other get laid. The Scarlet Witch laments at how she was responsible for nearly wiping out the entire mutant race and forcing mutants to abandon Xavier’s dream. She also laments at how she wasn’t strong enough to resist Dr. Doom’s influence. Now she has to use her powers to fuck with reality again to get every mutant off the planet. Wonder Man tries to convince her that there’s another way, but the Scarlet Witch is just not in a position to be that optimistic anymore. She’s Magneto’s daughter and she’s a mass murderer. Who could blame her for not being optimistic.
In the end she convinces Wonder Man to help her carry out one more big reality-warping spell to bring all mutants to the ark. She even cock-teases him, using his feelings for her to make him promise that he’ll help her. And when a pretty woman that he has seen naked makes that kind of request, he’s powerless to stop it. I don’t blame Wonder Man for agreeing, but at the same time I find the Scarlet Witch’s wining to be really annoying. She flat out takes responsibility for all the bullshit she caused when she went crazy with M-Day, yet she’s still a fucking Avengers while they’re trying to throw Cyclops in jail. I know I’ve done enough drunken rants on this topic to fill several blogs, but it’s worth bringing up again because this sort of shit is getting old. Either it’s a bullshit double standard or it isn’t. And the longer it goes unaddressed, the more shitty it smells.
But I digress and for once it’s not because of a potent strain of weed. The Apocalypse Twins basically stacked the deck against the Scarlett Witch and Wonder Man because they revealed they already know their final decision. Not only is Wonder Man going to keep his promise, he apparently ends up earning a permanent place inside Wanda Maximoff’s panties. It means that he’ll come out a winner and so will the Apocalypse Twins. Yet what makes it a powerful moment is that it still doesn’t seem like the kind of sinister dick move manipulation that the Red Skull employed. The Apocalypse Twins seem to really believe that this will protect the mutant race. Even though the rest of the Uncanny Avengers are trying to stop them, it’s not a typical good vs. evil battle like it was with the Red Skull. It makes the conflict tense in a new way, as if trying to decide between two equally attractive hookers. It’s a tough decision, but one that most don’t mind making.
Whichever side ends up victorious, the Apocalypse Twins make sure Kang is the one with the sorest asshole in the end. With their own future seemingly sealed, they appear before Kang in the future where they troll him in ways that can’t be found outside an internet message board dedicated to One Direction. They basically tell him that they’re not just going to torment him. They’re going to erase his sadistic ass from all of history. Considering that this is the same guy who let them come of age in a Nazi internment camp, it’s not nearly the worst act of vengeance they could choose for him. Hell, it’s pretty damn tame. Kang is still pissed, but so far he’s the biggest asshole in this arc so he can be just as pissed as the Red Skull for all I care. That helps make the ending of this issue all the more satisfying.
The biggest strength of Uncanny Avengers is its epic scale. It has become about more than just a very dysfunctional superhero team comprised of X-men and Avengers. This is a series where the X-men and Avengers actually need to work together to take on big threats like Kang and the Apocalypse Twins. And more than that, these threats don’t just involve the Red Skull taking Hitler cos-playing to an excessive extreme. There is a true dilemma here for the mutant race and nobody comes off as too big a douche, except for Kang. Reading this comic sober made me feel genuinely torn about who I should be rooting for, but for some reason that just made the epic struggle throughout Uncanny Avengers #12 so awesome. I give this issue a 9 out of 10. So many awesome forces are converging in this story. It couldn’t be more epic without Rogue and Wasp showing her tits. That may be too much to ask for, but this is one of those stories that doesn’t need the power of tits to be awesome. Nuff said!