Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #35
I don’t care how many brain cells I kill with weed and Loony Toons reruns. Every time I read a comic book, a beautifully chaotic clusterfuck erupts in my brain. Sometimes it’s like an orgy of supermodels in a pool of chocolate. Other times it’s like having a million coat-hangers disemboweling an entire population of puppies. And for reasons known only to my therapist and my weed dealer, I turn that clusterfuck into a review. What follows is a review of Wolverine and the X-men #35. If anyone has a problem with clusterfucks, now might be a good time to go back to watching the Disney Channel.
Wolverine and the X-men #35 begins in the same way most bar fights begin when they take place after two in the morning, meaning there’s no real build-up or spark that triggers it. The X-men and the forces of the Hellfire Academy just start fighting as if their favorite football team just lost the Superbowl. Wolverine leads the charge while some of the Hellions try to show that they’ve become competent sociopaths. I imagine this would count as extra credit by Hellfire standards, but extra credit doesn’t mean shit if it’s still an F. To be fair, the X-men came armed with a much better army of living islands so the Hellions shouldn’t be too sad. I’m sure Mystique would just castrate them partially.
It’s a classic X-men brawl that just happens to involve demonic forces and giant mutant islands. It has the charming appeal of an extreme game show, like American Gladiators if everyone was given infinite amounts of crystal meth and LSD. It’s also classic in the sense that Toad is getting his ass kicked. Hell, he’s been getting his ass kicked since the 60s, but this time he’s getting beat up by Paige, a woman he’s in love with. Only Toad could make that seem as though it isn’t an extra kick in the balls. He has been desperately trying to get her to snap the fuck out of it while getting more fucked up than Rocky Balboa after six rounds with Clubber Lane. Yet like Rocky in the final round, he succeeds. It’s not clear how he does so. It looks like he just had to rip off whatever fucked up face the Hellfire Academy gave her and now she doesn’t remember a damn thing. It’s like blacking out, minus the hangover. So I guess Paige should consider herself lucky.
Kade Kilgore is the last person who deserves to be that lucky. He’s still only the second most ridiculous concept Marvel has introduced since Hope fucking Summers. Yet in the last issue, it looked like his luck had run out when his own fellow Hellfire Club buddies turned their guns on him. It looked like this juvenile punk was going to get what he deserved, but I guess Marvel isn’t quite bold enough to shoot a kid in the back, even if he’s a prepubescent sociopath. Kade once again makes his own luck, activating some bullshit protocols that nullify their weapon. Yes, he’s still an annoying little shit, but I can’t accuse him of not being prepared.
He’s still the lucky one because the rest of the Hellfire Academy is failing faster than the Syrian government. They’re being overpowered by giant mutant islands and a bunch of angry X-men. With that kind of firepower, Kid Omega and Idie shouldn’t have that much to contribute. However, they were the ones that set the stage for this conflict. It’s only fitting that they fight together to rub sulfuric acid in the wound that the rest of the X-men are inflicting. However, it just wouldn’t be Wolverine and the X-men if a few new details weren’t added to fuck things up even more.
I’m sober enough to remember how pissed I was when Marvel just randomly hooked up O5 Beast and O5 Jean Grey in the pages of All New X-men. They showed little interest in one another and when they were thrown together in the span of an issue, it was more confusing and infuriating than Johnny Depp’s last three movies. Now in the midst of this epic battle, Kid Omega and Idie find some time to swap a little spit and establish a brand new relationship for X-men fans to write smut fanfiction about. I looked at this the same way I look at midget porn. It’s strange and a little disturbing, yet I can’t look away. However, it’s not quite as disgusting as what was done with Jean and Beast. Maybe it’s because I think Kid Omega is a cocky little shit who is a few bad days from being like Kade, but I needed a few extra shots of whiskey after seeing this.
Having a pretty new girlfriend is usually a great confidence-builder, but confidence doesn’t go very far with assholes like Kade. After making quick work of his fellow Hellfire buddies, he gets Philistine, one of his mystical staff members, to put up some magical barrier. It’s a dick move on par with hiding behind a wall of baby kittens, but that’s the kind of shit that puts hair on Kade’s balls. It effectively traps Idie, Kid Omega, Toad, and Paige so the X-men can’t rescue them. It also turns this already epic battle into a hostage situation. He’s basically taking a page right out of the Die Hard movies. If shit starts to go wrong, take a hostage and hope John McClane runs out of bullets. It’s more effective than it sounds. He throws in a few more elaborate traps he built into the school for good measure because unlike Die Hard villains, Kade isn’t a cheap bastard.
At this point, pretty much everyone in the Hellfire Academy realizes Kade gives less than a nanoliter of batshit about them and they start bailing on him. And since the X-men are now distracted by a fresh hostage situation, that allows many to escape. This includes Mystique and Sabretooth, who somehow hijacked a boat that they probably had sex on more than once. They ride by and pick up the unlucky students, who should probably now consider themselves expelled. Starblood also decides it’s time to cut his losses and steals a spaceship while taking Broo with him. So Mystique and Sabretooth stole a boat. Starblood stole a spaceship. I think it’s clear which one has more expensive tastes. It’s hard to really give a shit about either at this point, but at the very least it ensures that some of them will turn up again. And since Mystique is amongst that crowd, that’s great news for my penis.
This leaves Kade Kilgore on his own. But seriously, who the fuck has any sympathy for this kid at this point that isn’t Jerry Sandusky? He may have a magical slave on his hand and a bunch of trapped students, but he’s also surrounded by X-men on an island. The odds are not in his favor in the same way the odds a comeback are not in Ryan Leaf’s favor. There’s never really any doubt that Kade is going to get his ass kicked and probably thrown into a prison cell next to Sandusky. Nobody would feel bad for him in the slightest.
However, that’s not what screws him over. Before he can make his escape, the prepubescent White Queen, Wilhelmina, does something that would make Emma Frost proud and betrays her Black Queen. She doesn’t just stab him in the back both literally and figuratively. She convinces Philistine to escape with her, leaving Kade behind. Now I’m not sure what a girl her age could do to convince Philistine to obey her, but I’m pretty sure it would get him his own special on To Catch a Predator.
Kade’s whole world is going to shit along with the rest of the Hellfire Academy. It goes so horribly wrong that Kade actually asks for a hug. It shows he’s still a kid, albeit a sociopath. But then Kid Omega punches him instead, which shows that he’s still a douche. So I guess it’s as fitting an end to the battle as anyone could hope for. And for good measure, Philistine is instructed to blow the whole damn island up because when a pretty little girl gives an order, creepy men obey it. Will there ever be a conflict in X-men where the villains don’t have a backup plan that involves blowing the place up? I doubt it. It comes off as bland, but I guess that’s to be expected from a bunch of inexperienced sociopaths.
But Kade isn’t completely without allies. While he and his associates wait to either blow the fuck up or get fucked up by the X-men, Dog Logan gives me yet another reason to hate his guts and escapes with Kade. How he does so is pretty fucked. He just grabs him and jumps through the Philistine’s mirror. This seems cheap because why the fuck would that thing still be intact? It’s one of those details that makes too little sense, even in a story about homicidal kids running their own school. While I may tolerate some pretty crazy shit and intoxicating substances, I have a very low tolerance for bullshit. It also means Dog and Kade are still alive after this arc, which is disappointing. Naturally, all the X-men escape with help from the bamfs. But it isn’t as satisfying as it should have been. It’s like only half a line of blow. It just doesn’t get the job done.
There are still some loose ends to tie up and thankfully, they aren’t glossed over as they so often are in certain comics. And yes, I’m referring to Avengers vs. X-men again. Broo, who kickstarted this conflict when he got himself shot in the head, finally snaps out of his bloodlust and hijacks Starblood’s ship. He even crashes it for him so he can meet up with the rest of the X-men. So he’s now perfectly healthy, but the girl he had a crush on is now with a raging douche like Kid Omega. I smell another teen movie starring Hillary Duff!
And in spite of his stated intent to close the Jean Grey Institute a few issues ago, Wolverine unsurprisingly has a change of heart. I doubt anyone really thought he would go through with it, but this is one other issue that was glossed over. It could have made for some nice drama where Wolverine and the Jean Grey Institute staff contemplate whether they’re actually doing right by these students. Instead, it’s just shrugged off as if it were bar tab for Donald Trump. It’s another disappointing moment. It’s even more disappointing that they allow the two other Hellfire Club brats that didn’t escape with Kade to join the school. That’s like inviting an on-duty cop to a cocaine orgy. It’s fucking stupid and nothing good can possibly come of it.
While the action in this issue was pretty awesome, the resolution is a bit weak. However, it does have one special bonus that makes it worth its weight in candied bacon. As some who follow Jason Aaron on Twitter already know, Nightcrawler is scheduled to return to the land of the living soon. Once again, the revolving door that is death in comics is giving back another beloved character. And at the conclusion of this arc, a cloaked figure meets up with the bamfs that have been helping out in the Jean Grey Institute since the beginning. The identity of that cloaked figure is about as mysterious as Ricky Martin’s sexuality, but it’s still an awesome way to cap off an event. I’ve missed Nightcrawler and after enduring stories with Dog Logan and the Hellfire brats, I’m ready for him to return.
I guess I was hoping for too much when I wanted to see this story end with the Hellfire Brats being thrown into a meat grinder and turned into hot dogs for the next Oakland Raiders game. The Hellfire Saga may be over, but the Marvel universe is still stuck with the Hellfire Brats. While that may be disappointing, the ending itself was sufficiently satisfying. I won’t say it was as a lap dance from Jessica Alba, but it is definitely one of the most enjoyable arcs to date in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men. I give Wolverine and the X-men #35 a 7 out of 10. The distinct mix of serious conflict and cartoonish insanity give this series a perfect blend of Breaking Bad and the Simpsons. It has heart, deviant youths, and wannabe criminal masterminds. It couldn’t be more fun without taking place in pool of shaved cats. Nuff said!