Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #13
When I see two drunks start arguing over football, women, or politics I know that it's going to end with someone getting the shit beat out of them. And if I'm not involved, I usually use that opportunity to grab another cold beer, kick back, and enjoy the show. I've witnessed plenty of epic bar brawls, some of which would make for awesome pay-per-view, so long as some people can get over the blood and puke that often ensues. The ongoing battle that's unfolding in X-men Battle of the Atom, isn't quite as visceral and involves much less vomit, but it's still pretty awesome. That fight began in X-men #6. Now it promises to continue in Uncanny X-men #13. What follows is a drunk's perspective on this fight so grab another cold beer because it's going to be a hell of a brawl.
With Cyclops leading a team of present and future X-men, they should be in good shape. Having to attack a school for mutants that has been taken over by psychotic phony X-men? Hell, that’s just Tuesday for Cyclops. He’s understandably reluctant to take on fellow mutants, but the future X-men make it clear that this is one case where he needs to make an exception. He seems willing to do so until he figures out that he has already been outsmarted by the phony X-men and not in a way that is very clear at first. This was another one of those scenes that I had to read a couple of times to understand what happened, which is a bitch after more than two bong hits. It’s clear that the phony X-men have the drop on them when heavy shit starts getting thrown at them. It’s just not clear how until the scene is re-read with a sober mind.
At the end of X-men #6, Psylocke met up with Jubilee, Bling, and Sentinel X, who happens to be a fully grown Shogo. They apparently get Jubilee and Bling to safety since they’ve had enough phony X-men for one day. But it turns out that Psylocke wasn’t there to help them. Like Chaz Bono at a public rest room, she wasn’t what she seemed. She was actually Raze, the demonic offspring of Wolverine and Mystique. She apparently took O5 Iceman and O5 Beast before Cyclops could even come up with his plan. This alone would be cunning enough, but it’s one of those awesome things that happens off-panel. Like Emma Frost showering, the readers have to use their imagination and that’s not easy for those who don’t read comics sober.
I try to understand the difficulty of only having so many pages to work with, but this is one of those scenes that felt like a badly edited porno where it’s obvious that at some point they had to stop shooting because they needed more lube or the guy needed an extra dose of Viagra. There isn’t even a panel showing Raze knocking O5 Beast upside the head and given what a douche Beast has been in all his past and future forms lately, I think it’s a crime that we have been deprived of that. The only thing that is made clear is Raze tricked the real X-men into letting him take O5 Iceman and O5 Beast. Now they have the entire O5 X-men and are ready to send them back. All Xavier has to do at this point is play defense and hope they fare better than the Jasonville Jaguars did against the Denver Broncos.
At least the battle that follows is pretty fucking epic. A fully adult Wiccan saves the present and future X-men from being crushed by Ice Hulk. Then a Phoenix powered Kid Omega takes him on while Cyclops tries to lead a team into the Jean Grey Institute. And since Ice Hulk has already been revealed to be as soulless as a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, it’s not too upsetting to see Kid Omega blow him the fuck up. Unlike the scale of the battle in the previous issue, the stakes here are a lot higher and the need for greater firepower is much more apparent. And for the first time, one of the phony X-men falls. That marks a big shift in the battle and the first sign that the phony X-men are about to get screwed over worse than anyone living on food stamps for the past few weeks.
Despite the greater firepower, there is still plenty of room for more personal battles. Future Colossus and Magik were separated during the first attack by Ice Hulk. So they opt to try and meet up with Cyclops’s team through another route. Future Molly and Deadpool decide it’s better that they go fuck themselves and attack them. It’s brutal. It’s visceral. Hell, it’s almost sexual, but that may just be the cocaine talking. And it ends with both Deadpool and Molly getting killed, one by demon and one by getting a giant fucking sword through the gut. Again, like a Phoenix powered Kid Omega blowing Ice Hulk to bits, it’s very satisfying and still maybe a little sexual.
There’s still the confusing matter of Magik being so friendly with her brother when she’s supposed to be an exceedingly indifferent demon seed whose panties get wet when she fucks with her brother’s inherent morality. Again, this may be a case where the Dormammu battle changed some of that, but it’s too damn unclear. For all I know, Magik was just on her period when she tricked Colossus into becoming the new Juggernaut. Some clarity would be nice, but seeing them work together to maim the phony X-men more than makes up for it.
The phony X-men seem to be on the ropes and Cyclops still has most of his team following close behind. Anyone in their way should be in the process of shitting themselves. However, phony Xavier has already revealed that he’s capable of remaining remarkably calm when he’s in the process of pissing off his enemies. He may not have the same firepower as Ice Hulk or Deadpool, but he’s got a powerful mind. And like a guy with a big dick, he can’t resist showing it off by mind-fucking Karoka into devouring the X-men and holding them in his mouth until their mission is complete. It’s a dick move, but an effective move. They should just be thankful he didn’t have Karoka take a shit on them.
With the present and future X-men now stymied worse than a compact car on Interstate 405 during rush hour, Xavier and the rest of the phony X-men are ready to send the O5 X-men back to the past. Raze returns to Beast’s lab with O5 Iceman and O5 Beast. And so long as Karoka doesn’t swallow like Jenna Jameson, the rest of the X-men aren’t in a position to stop them. They don’t seem to give too many fucks that some of their teammates are fucking dead, which I guess further reinforces the notion that these phony X-men are all assholes. They remain intent on sending the O5 X-men back to the past.
Yet still, they don’t give much of a reason. It’s still not clear in the slightest how sending the O5 X-men back to the past will fix their problems or screw the real X-men over more than they already have. There is one interesting moment where Xorna/Jean looks at her younger self and wonders is if they ever stood a chance. I don’t know what the fuck that means, but it gives the impression that they just are giving up and whatever good the O5 did by staying in the future wasn’t worth it. Again, it would be nice to have some clarity, but it’s still being left to perverse minds like mine and that’s never a good idea.
Magik makes one last attempt to stop the phony X-men, teleporting into Beast’s lab in an effort to stop them. She quickly gets her ass kicked by Xorna, who does offer a tantalizing hint of her future by saying she’ll end up killing herself. She tries to get her ahead of the curve and urges her to do it while Karoka continues to struggle holding in the rest of the X-men. It seems like a minor inconvenience for the phony X-men and yet another way for them to tease future events. But like a constipated elephant that just gorged on laxatives, the shit eventually starts flowing freely.
It starts with the X-men escaping Karoka, blasting through his head in a way that looks only half as painful as my last hangover. Then when Xavier tries to get control over him, Colossus shows up and fucking guts him with a giant sword. Again, it’s a very satisfying sight, seeing yet another version of Charles Xavier get cut down when he’s being an asshole. And I bet nobody is going to try and throw Colossus in jail for that shit, further adding to the post-AvX hypocrisy. But I guess the Marvel universe has a clause about killing versions of Xavier that happen to be evil douche-bags.
With the clock now ticking and the phony X-men running out of ways to fuck with the present, they finally flip the switch to send the O5 X-men back to the past. It seems like there’s nothing that could stop them at this point. However, at the last second there seems to be a glitch. Like the Windows Vista beta, it failed on them at the worst possible moment. But Beast goes to great lengths to prove it’s not broken. He even sends Raze back disguised as O5 Cyclops to prove that it is working. This seems to be important because it helps him surmise that for some reason, the O5 have created some sort of time paradox by staying in the future and now can’t be sent back.
This kind of paradox is the kind of shit that I dreaded in addition to Marvel trying to One More Day established relationships like Cyclops and Jean Grey. Now it seems Marvel is attempting another version of the Clone Saga, trying to have their cake and eat it too by creating an entirely new iteration of the Original Five X-men. In the same way Marvel wanted a married and a single Spider-Man, they seem to want a version of the X-men unhindered by 50 years of continuity. That’s also usually code for Marvel saying, “We want to fuck with these characters in some incredibly fucked up ways that we couldn’t do before so we’re going to fuck with the timeline to facilitate said fucking.” That means they could make O5 Jean a lesbian, O5 Iceman gay, and O5 Beast a transvestite. Now maybe there’s a less devious explanation and maybe the O5 can’t go back for something practical, like their memories have to be wiped before they go back. But if this is a case where Marvel is just trying to find another way to do the Clone Saga without pissing people off, it can only end in disaster.
If there is a less fucked up explanation to why the O5 X-men can’t go back, Beast doesn’t have time to figure it out. After gutting another Xavier, Cyclops and his team finally reach the lab. They may be later than Congress acting on a budget, but they’re officially out of places to run and firepower to use. And now that they can’t send the O5 X-men back to the past, it’s safe to say they’re as screwed every former Enron shareholder. With two full issues left to go in Battle of the Atom, there is plenty of time and plenty of ways to fuck with them. I hope it’s as satisfying as seeing another douche-bag Xavier getting stabbed by a giant sword.
This issue left me more divided than Hugh Hefner when he’s deciding which hot blond he’s going to bang for the night. I really enjoyed seeing the phony X-men get their asses kicked. They haven’t been around long enough for any fan clubs to form so I doubt there will be anyone too upset to see someone like Xavier and future Molly get gutted by a giant sword. But this bullshit about time paradoxes preventing the O5 X-men from going back to the past is both too convenient and potentially a formula for utter bullshit. There might be some way of reasonably explaining this shit without it turning into Marvel’s latest attempt to make a Clone Saga that doesn’t suck. But until that explanation comes, I can only give Uncanny X-men #13 a 6 out of 10. The Marvel universe needs more clones, be they time displaced or not, as much as I need another DUI. It’s already clear that the O5 X-men are here to stay. I would just prefer they stay for reasons that aren’t bullshit. Nuff said!