Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: X-men Battle of the Atom #1
What happens when a big comic book event comes along and a drunk takes the time to review it in between hangovers? Well it leads to some interesting night terrors and twisted tastes in hookers, but it also leads to blogs like this. I take it upon myself to offer a drunk's perspective on comics because let's face it. Sober people are boring as fuck. All their stories end with them with their pants still on. Well my pants are already off and my dick is already hard for an X-men event 50 years in the making. What follows is my drunken review of X-men Battle of the Atom #1. Enjoy it now because my liver isn't going to last another 50 years.
In the post Age of Ultron era, taking a glimpse at the future is on par with trying to smuggle drugs out of Gary Busey’s house. Nothing good can come of it and Marvel is finally trying to stop making time travel the comic book equivalent of a cheat code in a video game. But Magik is still a teenage girl that is heavily influenced by the demons that Pat Roberson only thinks exists in homosexuals. She still hasn’t learned the difference between rules, laws of physics, suggestions, and dares. Because of that, she takes a peak into the future and sees that for all their efforts, they’re stuck with yet another apocalyptic scenario. Given how many the X-men have had over the years, I don’t know why she or anyone would be shocked. But it at least offers a glimpse of the future X-men that are destined to fuck shit up in the past. I guess teenagers don’t have a monopoly on giving rules the finger.
The present is fucked up enough. Aside from O5 Iceman trying to start a food fight, they pick up on a new mutant signature. It gives the O5 their first opportunity to help a newly emerging mutant in the future. To this point they have just been trying to get over being so shell shocked about how fucked up their future was, but they’re still X-men. When a fellow mutant is in danger, they must be there and Kitty Pryde knows this. I guess she figured it couldn’t hurt to help them exercise their X-men skills in the most basic.
But the reason they’re going after this mutant isn’t just to give the O5 some badly needed refinement in their superhero skills. New mutants have been popping up in the X-men comics left and right. So why is this one special? Well this happens to be a ridiculously powerful mutant that has the ability to summon demons like Magik. And since Magik is about as well-adjusted a mutant as Miley Cyrus is right now, that’s not a good thing.
Kitty Pryde leads the O5 to Phoenix, Arizona where they confront this overpowered mutant. And as it just so happens, this demon-loving mutant is just like Magik in that she happens to be a fucked up teenage girl. O5 Jean Grey does a quick scan to project just how fucked up she is. Yet for some reason, Iceman is still smitten with her. Having been a teenage boy myself at one point, I can sympathize with being drawn to a hot young demon-loving girl. But I’m now old enough to remember that it didn’t take much to give me a boner back then. It’s still nice to see that O5 Iceman can still be lovably reckless.
But beyond O5 Iceman’s infatuation, Jean’s projection offers a nice understanding of this woman. In the span of a single page she reveals that she has a fucked up home life that consists of everything Bill O’Riley bitches about. She also has a rebellious streak and a criminal record. She’s basically the kind of girl my teenage self would desperately try to bone. It does more than give the character a personality. It shows an attention to detail that helps make Brian Michael Bendis such a great writer. After how shitty the last issue of All New X-men was, it’s refreshing to see he can still be more thorough than Matt Fraction or Chuck Austin ever was. Plus, it’s another pretty girl in the X-men comics. And Odin knows we can never have enough of those.
But what should have been a simple after school special for a disturbed teenage girl turns into yet another classic conflict for the X-men. As they’re trying to subdue said disturbed girl, a bunch of Sentinels attack. This sounds random, but given the events of recent X-men comics it actually fits nicely. A new Sentinel program has been active since Uncanny X-men #1 and so far nobody seems to know who the fuck is behind it. I personally think the new North Korean dictator who was sick of playing with toy robots that didn’t blow shit up, but it’s nice to see Bendis working in an ongoing conflict into this event. Does it matter that it’s a conflict that is as old as the X-books itself? Fuck no, if anything it’s perfectly fitting.
The arrival of the sentinels puts the O5 X-men in a different conflict and one they’re not so good at. Not long ago in All New X-men, they couldn’t stop tripping over their own asses in a simple Sentinel program in the Danger Room. And while they do somewhat better this time around, that doesn’t stop O5 Cyclops from making a foolish yet insanely heroic decision. The Sentinels may be programmed to kill mutants, but they never seem to give too many fucks when innocent people get caught in the crossfire. And while the rest of the team take the pussy approach by holding onto Kitty Pryde for her intangibility powers, O5 Cyclops runs out into the line of fire to save two innocent people. He gets roughed up in the process, but that’s part of what he does. He’s fucking Cyclops and he’s more than just the guy who got drunk on Phoenix Force and killed Charles Xavier. He’s still a fucking hero and O5 Jean’s concern shows that this still gets her panties wet.
O5 Cyclops was hurt, but not badly. He remained in the crossfire of the Sentinels where he stared them down the same way I imagine Ivan Drago stares down the dealer at a poker table. And before they can shoot him again to finish the job, they get some help in the form of Cyclops’s revolutionary team. Again, this isn’t as random as it sounds. The previous issue of Uncanny X-men had Cyclops’s team confronting yet another sneak attack by a Sentinel. They’re just as pissed at whoever is behind it and is looking for some answers. So when a bunch of Sentinels show up around a new mutant, they’re going to fucking notice.
It doesn’t take any convincing whatsoever to convince Kitty Pryde to team up with Cyclops’s revolution team. There isn’t even any bitterness between O5 Angel and the rest of his teammates, who he ditched in favor of Cyclops’s team in the pages of All New X-men. This is somewhat glaring given how Kitty Pryde was among those telling Cyclops he needs to get his ass back to jail for the murder of Charles Xavier. And I imagine that the O5 would not be too fond of O5 Angel for ditching them. But I guess when giant robots are blowing shit up, those personal vendettas have to be set aside. I suppose there are less appropriate situations where this would apply.
Regardless of how pissed everyone is at future Cyclops, they work together in a beautifully crafted battle against the Sentinels that combines past and present X-men alike. Given how many killer robots the X-men have faced over the years and how many different teams they’ve had, it’s a pretty awesome sight. It feels so appropriate for the X-men’s bit 50th birthday. The two teams are able to work together and essentially scrap the Sentinels. That overpowered mutant from earlier was even so impressed that she just threw her hands up and surrendered. She figures that if demons and killer robots aren’t going to stop the X-men, she might as well be throwing water balloons filled with Pepsi at them because she’s not going to do jack shit.
It all seems to be going so well. Then shit goes very wrong yet again. One of the Sentinel heads becomes active and gets off one lucky shot that hits O5 Cyclops point blank. This time, he doesn’t just get injured. It looks like he’s fucking killed. I guess that means it saved Wolverine the trouble, who entertained the idea of killing his sorry ass more than once. But that doesn’t mean he can swoop in and start banging Jean Grey just yet because with O5 Cyclops mortally wounded, that essentially triggers the exact shit that everyone was so worried about when the O5 decided to stay.
The events that follow are a testament to Frank Cho’s artwork and not just because he draws every woman with awesome tits (although that doesn’t hurt). O5 Cyclops is apparently dead. As a result, his future self disappears. And the timeline seems to be having a seizure. It’s a very powerful moment that represents the sum of all fears for the X-men, second only to Jean Grey hooking up with Beast. But they manage to prevent the timeline from completely unraveling Back to the Future style when Triage, one of Cyclops’s new mutants, puts his healing powers to work and saves his life and probably the space time continuum.
It even leads to a nice moment where O5 Jean Grey actually shows some concern for O5 Cyclops. This is a lot of concern for someone she claimed she wasn’t in love with recently. That’s another thing about this comic that makes it even more awesome. There’s none of the bullshit between Jean and Beast that emerged in All New X-men. I usually don’t like it when writers ignore major details. But this is one detail I’m content to overlook in the same way I’m content to overlook the advice I get from AA meetings.
This event ends up being more traumatic for the X-men than watching home movies with Jeffery Dahlmer. Cyclops and his team leave as quickly as they can. Even though they almost fuck up the timeline, they probably understand that nobody has changed their minds about wanting to throw them in jail. They’re also probably just as traumatized and would agree completely to send the O5 back to the past. Even some of the O5 agree. Only Cyclops and Jean don’t agree because they know if they go back, their future is fucked. And they don’t want that. Kitty Pryde rightly points out that is pretty damn selfish, but then again she isn’t the one that ended up dead multiple times and she didn’t end up murdering Charles Xavier. But since they’re the adults, they feel they’re inclined to make the decision for the O5. And for teenagers, they might as well have decided that they’re not allowed to watch internet porn. It’s a losing argument.
But before any of the O5 can channel some teenage melodrama, the time cube that Beast used to rip the O5 from the past becomes active on its own. And from it, another group of time traveling visitors arrive. They’re the same future X-men that Magik saw earlier and they are there to agree with the adults in the room. The O5 X-men must be sent back to the past and they’re not looking no for an answer. So now both the future and the present are conspiring against the O5 X-men. It’s like a house party in high school getting raided by the police, the DEA, and the CIA. It’s a clusterfuck of epic proportions and yet I never get the impression that it’s enough to change O5 Cyclops and O5 Jean Grey’s mind because Teenagers are just that fucking stubborn.
A good way to measure the awesome of a comic is to either measure how fast it gets your heart racing or how hard a boner (or pussy boner if you’re a girl) ends up getting. After reading X-men Battle of the Atom #1, my heart and my dick were in perfect harmony. And that doesn’t usually happen outside the VIP room of a German brothel. This was an issue where the past, present, and future of the X-men collided in a way that made me actually feel like Father Time was about to slip me the date rape drug. It left me feeling so excited that I thought I had just used up my secret stash of blow, but it’s still there last I checked. So I guess the only logical conclusion was that X-men Battle of the Atom #1 is just that awesome. I give it a perfect 10 out of 10. If it were a woman, she would be so perfect that I would circumcise myself with a chainsaw to see her naked. Nuff said!