Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #36
I don’t pretend to be completely objective in my reviews. I’m sure if I was sober when I wrote them they might be a little more balanced, but who gives a shit about being balanced in the era of Facebook, Twitter, and Fox News? My reviews are meant to appeal to those seeking the assessment of someone whose thoughts are more twisted than bulimic Russian gymnast. I also don’t pretend that the thought of two beautiful women engaging in the psychic equivalent of a street fight doesn’t give me a boner. So please try to keep that in mind as I review Wolverine and the X-men #36. I fully expect my penis to share a good portion of the criticism over the course of this review and while my brain may not always agree, I’ve only got enough blood to use one at a time as I assess the midway point of X-men Battle of the Atom.
I suppose a penis works the same way as a psychic mind in the sense that multi-tasking is damn near impossible. O5 Jean, Xorna, and Emma Frost can’t do battle and keep the rest of the X-men paralyzed at the same time. That’s probably akin to doing a crossword puzzle while trying to stop a hungry wolf with a taste for testicles. It makes for a somewhat awkward moment between O5 Cyclops and his older self where they now have to watch this psychic battle, but to them it just looks like these women are having a contest to see who can look the most constipated. At least the older Cyclops is smart enough to uncover that Xorna is actually Jean, but not the Jean Grey he married. He reveals that she’s just O5 Jean if she never went back to the past. How he figured that out while even Rachel, her own daughter, and Wolverine, the guy obsessed with boning her, couldn’t is downright fucked up. But it’s a fitting kind of fucked up.
Not being psychically paralyzed also has another important benefit. It frees them up to take on the present and future X-men, who arrive on Utopia in time to take yet another stab at convincing them to hand over O5 Cyclops and Jean. It’s like trying to teach evolution to Pat Robertson at this point. And it only ends up with Wolverine and Cyclops giving each other the same dirty look they gave during Schism. That’s not a bad thing since Schism was so fucking awesome, but like masturbation while standing in line at the DMV, it’s hardly the time or the place.
O5 Cyclops effectively cuts off the argument before it could erupt again by blasting Wolverine. And also like masturbation, that shit hasn’t gotten old yet. So after all the running and awkward moments that led to him and O5 Jean seeing each other get dressed, he’s finally pissed enough to fight back. I suppose seeing boobs will do that to any teenage boy. It’ll only make them more determined fight for an opportunity at preserving the memory of those boobs.
But this isn’t the battle my penis has been waiting all week for. The big draw of this issue is Jean Grey vs. Emma Frost Round 2, a battle between two sexy psychics who hate each other’s guts and need little reason to rip out each other’s eyes and frame them. It has all the makings of the most epic psychic battle in the history of the mind. Unfortunately, it’s not even as epic as the last Vin Diesel movie. Now maybe I had unreasonable expectations because unlike the first round, Emma’s powers are broken. She has the Stepford Cuckoos at her side, but they’re just three teenage girls in sexy school girls outfits. Unless Xorna/Jean is a perverted anime fan, that’s not going to be enough to pwn a woman capable of wielding the Phoenix Force.
Xorna really doesn’t seem to break a sweat in taking Emma Frost down in ways that will have hot blonds everywhere mourn like the closure of their favorite hair solon. That’s not to say the battle doesn’t have some revealing moments. While Emma looks more humiliated than a girl who had her first period in the middle of a dance recital, Xorna hints that her anger over being only Cyclops’s second greatest love is pointless. She also hints that if her younger self doesn’t go back, some really shitty things will happen to both her and Cyclops. Not many details are given, which is another part of what made this battle so underwhelming. I get that the future is fucked up, but without details there’s only so much my penis can do with it.
It’s part of a much bigger problem that becomes way too apparent in this issue, even for a drunk. The future X-men are just way too fucking vague on what why the future is so fucked. Even Kitty Pryde and Rachel Grey, who did a total 180 after being all for sending the O5 X-men back to the past, find that distressing as they’re basically barred from participating in the battle. That doesn’t stop Rachel from calling out Kate Pryde, who she knew in the Days of Futures Past timeline, about how their approach makes less sense than the Dark Knight Rises. She basically went from someone who fought in a world where all mutants were fucked to ganging up on a couple of teenage mutants. That’s like Ghandi going from a hunger strike to kicking dirt in the face of a kid on the beach. Yet still, we don’t get any details that make it less fucked up.
To their credit, the present and future X-men do their best to avoid coming off as every bully in every Karate Kid movie ever made. O5 Cyclops and his older self fight together against the present and future X-men. It makes for a pretty awkward moment between both teams, so much so that Beast actually laments on what a dick move it was to bring the O5 to the present in the first place. Since it’s a little late to wipe away the shit he’s done, he still comes off as a total douche. It still makes for a fitting moment where O5 Cyclops and his older self work together, but not before O5 Cyclops reminds him that he still hates what he has become and will do everything he can to not be him when he grows up. It’s fitting, yet awkward in a very appropriate way.
Conversely, O5 Jean is now all alone in her battle against Xorna/Jean. With Emma Frost now out of the picture, she’s the only one who can stop herself. Again, it’s awkward yet fitting. And since O5 Jean’s powers aren’t broken, she fares much better against Xorna. Even though Xorna is supposed to be a more experienced psychic, she’s going up against a version of herself that is being fueled by teenage melodrama and raging hormones. It’s like the Hulk battling She-Hulk when she’s on her period. It’s an ugly battle. It’s still not as epic as it could be, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying.
With so many battles going on, it’s easy to forget that O5 Iceman and O5 Beast are still part of the story. They were basically left behind to watch TV and change Shogo’s diapers while the others went after O5 Cyclops and O5 Jean Grey. Yet even they seem suspicious of the future X-men. That or watching too much reality TV has destroyed their hope for the future anyways. They finally get in on the action when Magik, who went MIA abruptly in the previous issue, shows up to take them to the future. Magik had already visited the future in the very first scene of Battle of the Atom. She’s in a position to know how full of shit the future X-men may be. So rather than relying on a Google search, she offers to take the two of them to the future. O5 Iceman even makes a subtle Back to the Future 2 reference, which helps alleviate any sentiment some may have about there being way too much time travel in the X-men comics.
While it’s nice to see some dangling plots from the previous issue get addressed, the biggest moment in this issue comes from the psychic battle between O5 Jean and Xorna. It ends up being way bigger than the battle between Jean and Emma, which may or may not disappoint some. I know my penis is disappointed, but in terms of the story this battle leads to a major turning point. So far, O5 Jean has been pretty damn stubborn about not going back to the past. She’s not going to be convinced that she should go back unless she sees a damn good reason. Well in battling Xorna, she gets that reason and changes her mind faster than Mitt Romney during an election year.
In the course of the psychic battle, O5 Jean chides her older self in trying to determine what made her such a bitch. Xorna refuses to reveal the details, saying it’s not safe for a teenage girl. I could probably say the same thing about giving a teenage girl her ex-boyfriend’s Facebook password. But that doesn’t stop O5 Jean from forcibly prying the information out of her mind. And when she sees it, it’s so fucking terrifying that she can’t get to the past fast enough. Again, there are no details whatsoever. How bad could it have been? Did she have sex change at some point? Do all mutants become slaves on a reality show run by Donald Trump? There’s no fucking hint whatsoever at what it may be and it’s pretty fucking annoying.
Whatever she saw, it was enough for O5 Jean to end the battle and convince O5 Cyclops that it was time to go back to the past. And since he saw her tits, he’s going to do whatever she says. She even stops Deadpool when he’s in the middle of giving a speech about how fucked the future is. But once again, there’s another hint that the future X-men may be bullshitting their past selves. It’s still hard to get too excited when there are no details whatsoever on the extent of how fucked or unfucked this future is. For all we know, it’s just bad because Ted Cruz became President. There’s really nothing to go on.
When this comic was first solicited, it hinted that there would be a major twist at the end. Well, it has been a while since I saw the Sixth Sense, but I still remember what a big twist in a story feels like and I didn’t get that feeling here. All I saw was O5 Iceman and Beast follow Magik into the future where they meet yet another team of future X-men. And for some reason, they have a bunch of sentinels on their side and the Jean Grey Institute is still intact. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t constitute an apocalyptic future. I’m also pretty sure this is further proof that the future X-men are bullshitting their past selves. I’m just not sure if this qualifies as a twist I should get excited about. Maybe it’s just the disappointment my penis is still feeling, but I didn’t feel all that surprised by this ending. I just felt confused and that’s not a good feeling after multiple bong hits.
This issue offers a harsh reminder of why it’s not always a good idea to read comics while stoned. It’s easy enough to get confused by the smell of the ink and how it smells like Doritos. It’s much harder to understand where the bullshit ends and the lies begin. This issue was heavy on action, much more so than previous issues. That made my penis happy to some extent, albeit not as much as I had hoped. But the deceptive undertones made me interpret this comic the same way a dog interprets a fake hot dog. I get that someone is lying and someone is trying to screw the O5 X-men over. I’m just not sure why I should be as shocked as a kid that just discovered internet porn. Wolverine and the X-men #36 keeps the plot moving forward. For that, I give it a 6 out of 10. It just does so in a way that leaves way too much to the imagination and for an imagination like mine that turns my ex-girlfriend’s old sex toys into bongs, that’s downright dangerous. Nuff said!