Thursday, October 3, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: All New X-men Special #1

When it comes to reviewing comics, I only have a few rules. First and foremost, never miss an opportunity to learn a new skill to do while drunk. And second, treat every so-called “Special” issue the same way most people treat their neighbor’s unneutered pitbull. There’s no telling how friendly or hostile that pitbull could be so I make sure to guard my nuts and pay my insurance premiums. I don’t think I’m covered for crossover story that the guys at Marvel probably came up with on a bar bet, but I’m all for trying kinky new shit, whether it’s in a comic or a German brothel. So I’ll be keeping an open mind as I review All New X-men Special #1 in hopes that a story about the O5 X-men, Hulk, and Spider-Man is slightly less kinky than Russian transvestite with anger management issues.

There really isn’t anything kinky about a casual trip to New York City, even for a bunch of time-displaced teenagers. For some reason, the Jean Grey Institute staff thought it would be okay for the O5 to take an unsupervised trip into New York City because nothing ever bad happens to unsupervised teenagers in New York City. Wait, I might be thinking of a place called Fantasy Land instead because even a drunk like me can see why that’s a shitty idea. But they go anyways and standing in Time Square for them is like standing in a circus of monkeys strung out on cocaine.

Now this once again highlights some of the logical fails with respect to the age of the Original Five and the time from which they came. Granted, I can see them being freaked out by people talking so openly on their cell phones about their recent rectal exam, but Times Square has always been crowded and full of flashy shit. Unless they’re from the fucking 40s, they shouldn’t be that shell shocked. But given the fucked up way time works in the Marvel universe, it’s one of those things that is best solved by a few extra bong hits.

Since the O5 don’t have a bong on hand, they decide to split up and see how fucked New York City is on their own. Cyclops stays with Jean naturally because nobody ever wants to separate from a girl they’re trying to bone in New York City. Beast and Iceman take a trip to Central Park where Iceman sees his first glimmer of hope for the future in the form of beautiful women doing yoga in yoga pants. I don’t know if they have yoga pants in the time where the O5 come from, but I’m pretty sure he won’t want his memories of them erased. Similarly, Beast is drawn to a beautiful woman doing something that, at least for him, is as attractive as yoga pants. She’s reading poetry. She couldn’t be more attractive to him if she was sunbathing topless.

Now this is all perfectly adorable for Beast since he hasn’t grown up to be a total douche-bag just yet, but part of his inner monologue here reveals that he’s well on his way. In his monologue, he references the now infamous kiss between him and Jean in All New X-men #15. For whatever reason, they’ve basically shrugged that shit off. He must not have been that in love with her anyways because he swoons around this new woman as if she just offered him free blowjobs for life. And when she tells him she’s also a PHD student who specializes in time travel, he looks more smitten than a baby at a topless bar. Now maybe it’s just getting glossed over because Brian Michael Bendis isn’t writing this comic, but it still comes off as a real dick move. He sounds like one of those guys who falls in love with a different girl every other week like a walking penis with ADD. I’m all for him not being with Jean Grey, but this just fucked up in the sense of how poorly it fits into the events of All New X-men and how much of an asshole it makes Beast out to be.

While he may be a douche-bag, I don’t deny that Beast is still a hero and his penis is still clearly functional. Because when the opportunity comes along to impress this girl, he takes full advantage of it with the same enthusiasm as a crack head that just found Rick James’s hidden stash. A random thug just happened to think it was a good idea to snatch purses in broad daylight in the middle of a fucking park. Beast demonstrated nicely why that’s weapons grade stupidity by beating him up, hanging him from a tree, and retrieving the purses. Iceman even catches up with him, who was chasing the guy as well. But I guess it takes much more than a mugger to pull a teenage boy away from beautiful woman in yoga pants.

This act of heroism not only makes him somewhat less douchy, it excites the young woman to the point where her panties are so soaked that she invites him to meet her professor. For Beast, I imagine that’s the same as a woman offering to have a threeway with her equally hot twin sister. For Iceman, it’s probably pretty demoralizing to see Beast pick up a hot girl before he does. He even points out that they run the risk of fucking up time even more because so far he has conveniently left out the part where he’s a time-displaced X-man. But I suppose pussy is more vital than the integrity of the space time continuum so Iceman goes along with it. I honestly can’t say I blame Beast either. Even for a brilliant man like him, the penis overrules the brain.

Beast continues to make a great impression on this girl. It’s hard to tell, but I’m pretty sure the girl is prepared to jump his bone and use calculus as foreplay. But not before she introduces him to her professor, Dr. Jude. Beast says he even attended one of his classes. That may have just been his way of loosening the girl’s panties a bit more, but it may actually be true. Apparently, this guy taught shit on gamma radiation, which I imagine is a big fucking deal in a universe that has multiple hulks. Then he took an interest in time displacement. That’s both incredibly convincing and very relevant for Beast. They could probably have talked for hours about the effects of time travel or which episode of Dr. Who was the best. But sadly, he gets both cockblocked and mindblocked when they’re attacked by Dr. Octopus.

Now maybe a few years ago, this wouldn’t have been too big a deal to anyone except Beast’s penis and brain. But anyone who has been following recent events in the Spider-Man comics, may Odin have mercy on your soul if you do, understands why Dr. Octopus appearing is both a big fucking deal. He’s kind of supposed to be dead and he’s kind of supposed to be parading around in Spider-Man’s body. But since when has “kind of” ever stopped anything in the Marvel universe?

For whatever reason (of which he has many), Doc Ock is pissed the fuck off. He proves to be a bit tougher than a typical purse snatcher so Cyclops and Jean join the battle. Since Cyclops clearly wasn’t making any headway at making her hate him any less, he might as well take it on someone who deserves it. The battle that follows is a fun, classic clash in the streets of New York City. Doc Ock may not be one of the X-men’s regular villains, but he’s menacing enough to put up a good fight. These are still the Original Five X-men. That means they’re not very experienced as some recent issues of All New X-men have shown so it’s a more balanced fight than it sounds.

That fight quickly becomes unbalanced when the Superior (also known as Douche-Bag) Spider-Man shows up. He’s probably even more confused and pissed off than the O5. For one, he clearly doesn’t know that the O5 are time displaced, thinking they’re failed clones. And for Spider-Man, clones are always bad news. While everyone seems very confused, Doc Ock is still pissed and apparently radiating a fuckton of gamma as well. He doesn’t say much or try to explain himself. He just says he shouldn’t be here and seems to think that Dr. Jude can help him. Since that isn’t reason enough not to kick his ass, neither Spider-Man nor the O5 listen.

And since being superior and being a douche-bag seem to go hand-in-hand, Spider-Man quickly takes charge and bosses the O5 around to the point where do successfully subdue Doc Ock. He still belittles them for not being able to execute some of his more complex plans. That’s like Stephen Hawking belittling a bunch of ninth graders for not being able to do quantum physics. But like I said before, being superior and being a douche aren’t mutually exclusive for him. This is why I feel Spider-Man comics have lost so much of their charm.

In need of answers, they take the beaten Doc Ock back to Dr. Jude where Spider-Man has to be exceedingly coy about why he’s so certain that this can’t be the real Doc Ock. It makes me wonder why O5 Jean Grey hasn’t picked up on his thoughts. I imagine they’re pretty damn conflicted and she hasn’t exactly been shy about pointing that shit out. She made quite a big deal about it when she sensed the Scarlett Witch’s private thoughts in All New X-men and last I checked Spider-Man isn’t known for his psychic shields. But I guess it would just piss Dan Slott off too much of Spider-Man’s secret was exposed in a book titled All New X-men Special #1.

So if he’s not a clone, Dr. Jude comes to the conclusion that this Doc Ock is from the past. At first, Spider-Man scoffs at such a notion in the most douchey way possible. He even goes on a rant at how time displaced people are akin to child stars that don’t become fucked up in adulthood. This leads to a beautifully awkward moment where the O5 X-men point out that they are essentially the Neil Patrick Harris exception to that rule. But of course the Superior Spider-Man doesn’t admit he’s wrong. That might actually be a non-dick move and he just can’t have that and still be superior.

Awkward moments aside, there’s still the matter of a Doc Ock radiating a fuckton of gamma radiation. Since that’s not something Spider-Man can afford to be an asshole about, he decides to make a call to one of the Avengers buddies that he hasn’t pissed off yet. In the Marvel universe, the Hulk might as well have trademarked gamma radiation because anything involving gamma somehow gets him involved. So with a call to Hulk, the stage is set for him to join in this fucked up crossover. Yet given the circumstances, it’s fucked up in the best possible way.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when this series was announced other than a story about the O5 X-men finding out that most Marvel heroes grow up to be douche-bags. But in addition to reinforcing the notion that yoga pants on beautiful women are among the greatest invention since candied bacon, this story was as enjoyable as a drunk monkey in a banana factory. For once, Beast didn’t come off as a total douche-bag and it’s been way too fucking long since I could say that with a straight face. And building the story around the effects of time travel seemed more appropriate than a bullshit factory next to the Capitol. It’s a different kind of crossover, but one that offers a more light-hearted kind of fun. It’s like a squirt gun fight where the squirt guns aren’t loaded with piss and hot sauce. It’s just innocent fun. I give All New X-men Special #1 a 9 out of 10. Now that I’m finished reviewing this comic, I believe I have a yoga class to catch. Nuff said!


  1. I enjoyed this, logical leaps in proper time and all that. Marvel just tends to twist things to make whatever story they want to tell work. Here the 05 are from a more innocent time; in X-Men Season 1 Jean had an iPhone. Oh well.

    I'm also thinking this issue is foreshadowing a Jean and Hank "breakup" that probably won't be that big a deal. Beast is finding out perhaps he wasn't as interested in Jean romantically as he thought he was which I think is fair. Until recently for him she was the only cute girl in a house full of teenage guys. Now that the world has blown wide open he may find other pastures to plow. And while Jean swears up and down she doesn't love Scott, particularly knowing how their future together turns out, recent BotA issues show she may not be able to resist regardless.

    Looking forward to the rest of this mini-arc.

    1. I think Tom Brevoort has said outright that X-men Season One is not canon. It's basically like DC's Earth One books. Don't get me wrong. I fucking love that book and seeing Jean on an iPhone was pretty awesome. But it doesn't apply here or make the shit surrounding the time difference any less egregious.

      And I hope you're right about the situation with Jean and Hank. This does clearly take place before Battle of the Atom, before Jean saw Cyclops without his shirt on and got her panties all moist. Having Beast this smitten with a woman who clearly is nothing like Jean Grey seems to indicate he was just infatuated with her like most boys are when there's only one pretty girl in their midst. Hope that means this relationship built on a bullshit premise is killed like liver cells at an Ozzy Osborne concert.


    2. Oh I'm pretty sure Season One isn't actual canon. I just pretend it is because it's easy enough to do and doesn't really invalidate any of the older stuff even though it often works better than the older stuff. Same with the First Class series.