Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: All New X-men #17
Some people like their comic book reviews to be insightful, clever, and critical. Others like them to be vulgar, deranged, and full of poop jokes. Only one of these styles can be done while drunk so that’s what I provide on this blog. X-men Battle of the Atom has given me plenty of reasons to get drunk for all the right reasons, as if there are ever any wrong reasons. Having passed the halfway point, a solid foundation for awesome has been built. But the next part of the X-men’s 50th anniversary event promises to test that foundation by exposing more lies and revealing yet another team of future X-men. I’m pretty sure at this point even Dr. Who wouldn’t be able to keep up with all these future teams. So as I review All New X-men #17, bear with me as I try to make sense of these new complications in the plot while not in a completely sober mind.
The first step in making sense of these complications is to make sense of this fucked up future that O5 Beast and Iceman traveled to at the end of the previous issue. Just how fucked is this future and how full of shit were those other future X-men? Well for registered Republicans and anyone who ever voted for Rick Perry, the future is downright apocalyptic because Dazzler ends up running for President of the United States. For some reason, a hot blond former pop star who then took a job with SHIELD sounds like a perfectly viable candidate in an era of American Idol and Honey Boo Boo. But what makes it more confusing at first is that Beast, Xorna/Jean, and the other future X-men are united in this effort. I look at this and it hardly seems like an Apocalyptic future where some of the X-men branch off and become evil. Then again, for all I know Simon Cowell is Vice President and that would be right up there with nuclear war.
As this story of the future unfolds, everything seems all bacon and whiskey. They even have the support of the Avengers and SHIELD. Hell, it looks like the very opposite of an apocalyptic future. There are no Sentinels hunting mutants. There are no internment camps where mutants are used as target practice. And in a sign that would indicate the public got sick of the shitty candidates that Republicans and Democrats kept trotting out, Dazzler actually wins the Presidency. I can only imagine how fucked her opponent must have been. He could argue policy and pander all he wanted, but Dazzler is a hot blond mutant pop star that can shoot shiny things out of her hands. For the next generation of voters, that’s all it takes. It’s enough to make even the most hardened stoner weep.
On the surface, it sounds like a more bullshit premise than Adam Sandler’s last three movies. And maybe it would have been 10 years ago, but I’m still sober enough to remember the impact of Barack Obama’s election. It may have pissed old white racists off, but it marked a huge turning point in minority relations for America. Despite with the birthers constantly bitch about, an American minority became President and that marked a huge turning point in history. Since X-men have been a metaphor for minorities since their inception, this feels both appropriate and relevant. In the future a mutant becoming President would be a huge moment in history and one that would be a high point for mutants and the X-men.
For that very reason, this same moment could also be the moment where fate gives the X-men the ultimate “fuck you.” Because just when it seems the future is decidedly not apocalyptic, Dazzler gets killed right in the middle of her acceptance speech. If it sounds familiar, it damn well better to all seasoned X-men fans. It’s basically ripped off from Days of Futures Past, also known as the second greatest X-men story of all time. In that story, an assassination ensured that mutants were fucked on an apocalyptic scale. This story is similar and a lot more rushed, but it still has the right impact. It perfectly articulates the clear turning point where the future became too fucked up for some X-men so they needed to fuck up the past to solve it. Again, it is a Days of Futures Past rip-off, but I suppose if Marvel is going to plagiarize their own shit, they might as well use one of the most awesome X-men stories of all time.
However, I imagine that Chris Claremont was painfully sober when he determined who would fire the shot that fucked the future for all mutant kind. In this fucked up future, it isn’t a rogue Sentinel or a pissed off mutant that kills Dazzler in the moment of ultimate triumph for an oppressed minority. It’s fucking dragons and demons. Because they have always had a hard-on for screwing mutants over haven’t they? Well, the short answer to that is “fuck no!” The long answer begins with a definitive, “What the fuck?”
Now I’ve got nothing against dragons and demons. I’ve met plenty on my numerous LSD trips and I’m pretty sure I made one of them the godfather to my future children. But this is another instance where Battle of the Atom has moments that hit hard with emotional resonance, but are light on details. These creatures are clearly menacing and have no problem slaughtering mutants in large crowds. But there’s not even a hint as to who sent them or why. For I know, they just hated disco that much. It’s the same problem the previous issue had. I’m sure if I was sober I would understand it better, but I’m not so I’m still fucking confused.
Fast forward even farther into the future and we’re finally back at the point where Wolverine and the X-men #36 ended. At least now there’s some understanding of why these future X-men may not be the assholes, with the exception of Kid Omega, who is now packing Phoenix power. At first, they give Magik and O5 Beast and Iceman the same speech the others gave them. They should go back to the past before they fuck up the timeline more than they already have. At this point, that argument is like the Pope telling teenage boys not to jerk off. It carries no weight anymore.
There’s also another confusing moment here in that Colossus actually embraces Magik as if she didn’t fuck him over worse than the IRS fucked Wesley Snipes. Now I know I’ve killed a lot of brain cells over the past few years, but I still have enough to remember that Magik basically spit in Colossus’s face after Avengers vs. X-men when she revealed that she could have freed him from Cytorak the whole damn time. She just chose not to and her reasons basically amounted to a sisterly “fuck you.” They haven’t even interacted since that moment. Now they’re embracing each other? Maybe it’s different given Magik’s recent encounter with Dormmamu, but it still comes off as even more ridiculous than the premise of a mutant becoming President. Magik also mentioned that she gave Colossus the soul sword. That in and of itself sounded like it could fuck a lot of things up, but it’s basically glossed over so the rest of the team can keep whining about the O5 fucking up the timeline.
But some moment aren’t as casually glossed over because O5 Beast and O5 Iceman share my curiosity as to why the other future X-men turned into assholes. Well, the flashback about Dazzler getting killed just as she was about to usher in a new era for human/mutant relations offered a telling clue. Another flashback adds a few extra layers that show very clearly when the future X-men became divided. And in the least surprising revelation I’ve seen since my last drug test, Henry fucking McCoy is at the center of it.
As if there weren’t enough reasons to despise Beast at a sub-atomic level, he’s the one that basically gives up like a pussy in wake of Dazzler’s assassination. While some X-men like Colossus try to encourage him to keep fighting, Beast just sits there like a kid who just dropped his candy bar down a sewer and laments how humans will always hate mutants. This is actually another nice parallel in that it reflects Beast’s earlier bitching in the first issue of All New X-men. And that scene was taken right from the pages of a much earlier issue of Uncanny X-men during the Lee/Kirby era. It effectively reinforces the notion that Beast is the whiney little bitch of the O5 and he’s willing to say, “Fuck Charles Xavier’s dream.” If there’s a way this guy could be an even bigger douche, I’ll need better drugs to come up with it.
Now because of Beast’s bullshit, the timeline is being fucked with again. This effectively confirms for O5 Beast and O5 Iceman that the X-men that everyone seemed so eager to trust are lying trough their asses. It’s still not clear what they hope to accomplish by sending the O5 back to the past, if that’s even what they’re going to do. But it is clear that they need to be stopped before they succeed in whatever shit they’re trying to pull. The challenge is convincing these other future X-men to help them.
Naturally, they’re reluctant. Hell, they actually start fighting each other in their disagreement on the merits of increasing the damage done to Father Time’s already mangled asshole. They only reinforce the theme that the timeline shouldn’t be fucked with by anyone other than Dr. Who. In the process some of the personalities of these future X-men come out. They don’t exactly reveal their life story, but that’s to be expected. There’s only so much they can reveal when the merits of time travel are being debated. And since teenagers in the future haven’t stopped being stubborn, they probably figure that there’s no use fighting it.
Once the future X-men make their decision, the story re-converges with the events that transpired in Wolverine and the X-men #36. Magik and the future X-men appear before Cyclops’s revolutionary team just as they’re leaving. As far as they’re concerned, they lost worse than any team that has played the Denver Broncos this season. Cyclops was prepared to help his past self and O5 Jean. Then she just changed her mind and now he’s left to face even more belittling from Magneto and Emma Frost. Now a new group of X-men show up and unlike the others, they’re not liars. This means that Cyclops might get another chance to both meet his past self and piss off Beast. As far as I'm concerned, this has all the elements of an epic win in the making.
This issue had a lot of parallels that were presented in a way that didn’t feel like total rip-offs. So I think Chris Claremont can be a little less pissed. But most importantly, this issue established that the X-men trying to convince the O5 to go back to the past are the assholes here. They’re the ones that just said, “Fuck it, humans are always going to try and kill us.” The details are still somewhat lacking, but at least it’s more definitive. It doesn’t move the story forward that much. At most, it proved that a hot blond will always wield the most power in the long run. It also adds to the epic scale of Battle of the Atom in that it adds yet another X-men team to the mix. And like an orgy at the Playboy Mansion, the more the better. All New X-men #17 gets a 7 out of 10. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see how pissed the O5 and the rest of the X-men are going to be when they find out how much their future selves fucked with them. Given the sadistic shit my future self probably wants to do to me, I wouldn’t blame them. Nuff said!