Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: X-men #6
During big, important events, giving a drunk a voice can either lead to disaster or a damn good time. X-men is currently in in the middle of one of its biggest events to date. Marvel claims it’s an event 50 years in the making. Hipsters contend that it’s an event meant to spike sales of every X-book based on an arbitrary number. But I say fuck hipsters and their dumb tastes in hats. Battle of the Atom has had plenty of awesome moments to date and now the gaps are being filled like a fresh beer on a hot summer day. It’s sure to shock a number of characters and piss a lot of people off, almost like an awesome college prank. So I’ve got my beer in hand and I’m ready to review X-men #6, hoping that there will be plenty of pissed off X-men to entertain my drunken sensibilities.
For the moment, nobody knows that they should be pissed off. In fact, a lot of the younger X-men have no idea what the fuck is going on. Jubilee’s biggest concern right now is looking after Shogo and not throwing up at the sight of poopy diapers. She and the other young X-men see the two X-jets return, but on board Wolverine has a sneaking suspicion that he really ought to be pissed off about these so-called future X-men. Since he doesn’t have the luxury of having read All New X-men #17, he’s left to ask Rachel Grey to do a little psychic snooping. He hopes he’s wrong and won’t have to stab someone. Actually, scratch that. I think he’s full of shit. I bet he hopes he’s right because he hasn’t stabbed much of anything during this event and I’m sure his claws are getting itchy. Plus, it’s nice to see someone finally utilize Rachel Grey for more than just a pinch hitter psychic. She’s the daughter of Jean Grey and Cyclops for crying out loud. Let her kick some ass, damn it.
However, it turns out that Rachel won’t have to mind rape anyone to find out if these future X-men are assholes. Xavier ends up dropping a pretty telling hint when he gets exceedingly pissed after finding out that O5 Iceman and O5 Beast are MIA. And when he tries to mind-fuck Bling into telling him, that gives Wolverine all the reason he needs to start stabbing shit again. If Xavier is as powerful psychic as his grandfather, he damn well ought to know that or at least be coy about it. He essentially confirms every sinking feeling Wolverine had about the future X-men just by being a douche-bag.
Now Xavier may not have a lot of backstory, but he hasn’t dropped any clues that he’s a total dipshit. He really didn’t have a reason to lash out at Bling. He could have just stayed calm, kept up his nice-guy appearance, and got the X-men to help him find O5 Iceman and O5 Beast. They still could have been friends, sharing a beer and talking about how much the Jacksonville Jaguars suck this year. Instead, he just takes a huge shit on any trust that the X-men had in him and pissed Wolverine off, which is like punching a grizzly bear in the face and strangling its cub. Maybe I’m giving Xavier too much credit. Maybe he’s not as rational as his grandfather. It doesn’t make it any less stupid.
As if they needed any further confirmation, Rachel Grey tells Wolverine he was right to want to be pissed at these future X-men. But before he can start stabbing shit, another secret is revealed and another blank is filled in that promises to help drunks like me read this comic while not in a sober state of mind. It turns out there was an imposter in the ranks of the future X-men. Is suspected it might have been Xavier or Xorna/Jean. But it turns out that the imposter was Kate Pryde. She turned out to be a shape shifter. Not only that, she turned out to be a shape shifter with claws and while Wolverine is still too pissed to react properly, he gets stabbed.
Before Battle of the Atom even began, there was artwork and future covers depicting what looked like the unholy offspring of Wolverine and Mystique. Marvel didn’t try to be too coy about it, which may have been a good thing since this story has already overdone mysteries and twists to the point that even Dan Brown would roll his eyes. Well now this Mystique/Wolverine demon seed has shown up and also confirmed that he’s Wolverine’s son. It may not be shocking on the level of finding out that Andy Dick had a sex change, but it is still pretty damn satisfying.
Once X-men start stabbing each other, the friendly ruse starts to break down for the rest of the team. Xorna, who is still trying to play nice with O5 Cyclops and O5 Jean Grey, eventually just says, “Fuck it,” and uses her telepathy to knock them and any other X-men near them out cold. It’s a dick move, but it’s a strategically good dick move. The last thing she and the rest of the future X-men need are more pissed off teenagers to deal with. She and Old Ass Beast also surmise that if O5 Beast and O5 Iceman went to the future, then the real future X-men wouldn’t be far behind. And since Beast is an expert at dick moves, he goes to work taking over the Jean Grey Institute’s systems and restraining the X-men. Again, it’s a dick move, but a strategically good dick move.
For everyone who wasn’t on the receiving end of such a dick move, the battle is now on. The X-men battle the fake future X-men in what is one of the first major signs of action since the first issue of Battle of the Atom. It’s a bit subdued, but it still involves Rogue and Psylocke beating up Ice Hulk while vampire Jubilee finally flexes her vampire skills and attacks Xavier. For that, it’s still plenty awesome. It’s not meant to be an epic final battle or anything of the sort. It gives the impression that the phony future X-men got the jump on the X-men of the present. And like someone who just got hit with a dozen water balloons filled with piss water from a public toilet, they have to maintain whatever dignity they have left and fight back.
But one of the most satisfying parts of the fight involve Rachel Grey battling Xavier. Like I said earlier, Rachel Grey has been utilized as much as a condom at a Catholic orgy. She’s supposed to be a pretty powerful psychic and she finally gets a chance to show that in her battle against Xavier. It’s not quite as flashy as the battle between O5 Jean Grey and Xorna a few issues ago, but it still has the feel of a tough struggle between two powerful psychics. And for that, it’s pretty damn awesome.
Even though Rachel is able to beat Xavier, she isn’t powerful enough to overcome a simple punch to the head from Molly. Yeah, I forgot about her too. I guess even powerful psychics can’t always be aware of who sneaks up behind them. Wait, then are they really that powerful? Fuck, that was a cheap shot. But that’s not the only one. Wolverine’s future son takes his share of cheap shots too over his wounded father. In case anyone hasn’t been keeping up with the events in the Wolverine comics, he lost his healing factor. So getting stabbed is no longer something he can shrug off like a hangnail or a stubbed toe. It’s the first time outside the Wolverine comics that the loss of his healing factor has been explored. It seems a bit random, but since this is supposed to be the biggest event in X-men comics right now it would be even more fucked up if it wasn’t mentioned.
Not every battle is full of cheap shots and dick moves. There’s also room for battles that are just entertaining, like watching two women in bikinis mud wrestle. Deadpool isn’t as fun to look at as two women in bikinis, but he comes off as the kind of guy who does as he’s fighting Psylocke. Only he would be crazy enough to profess his love for a woman that’s trying to kill him. Actually, maybe he wouldn’t be the only one. I can think of more than a few guys who would probably find it hot when a woman is trying to kill them. It adds a nice touch of humor to a battle that is only in the process of becoming epic. And it never hurts to have something to laugh about during a classic superhero brawl.
While the present X-men put up a good fight, it doesn’t change that they didn’t find out the fake future X-men were full of shit until it was too late. They had the element of surprise. They were the ones armed with the piss-filled water balloons. And the X-men are the ones still smelling like piss. So it makes sense that they would gain the upper hand. Old Ass Beast successfully takes over the Jean Grey Institute while also making sure O5 Cyclops, Jean, and Angel don’t try anything more foolish than their teenage impulses would allow. They effectively lock the whole building down, ensuring nobody can come to aid the X-men, which may just be a creative way of keeping some characters out of the conflict. It’s yet another dick move, but one that happens to be strategically brilliant.
It also happens to be necessary because shortly after gaining control of the Jean Grey Institute, the real X-men arrive with Cyclops and his revolutionary team following close behind. And unlike the other X-men, they’re not looking to be caught off guard. They’re like the ones who don’t get hit with those piss-filled water balloons. Cyclops, ever the strategist, doesn’t attempt to go in like a drunk George W. Bush. He understands better than most that the Jean Grey Institute is pretty fucking secure. And if they’re going to take on the phony X-men, they need strategy.
Part of that strategy involves reconnaissance, which Sentinel X decides to take on. Who is Sentinel X? He’s one of the future X-men who had next to no lines in the previous issue. But when he finds some of the other X-men who managed to retreat, he reveals that he’s actually a fully grown Shogo. It turns out having a vampire for a mother doesn’t lead someone into becoming a total asshole. It makes for a nice moment between Jubilee and her adopted son. It also adds some nice drama to an issue that has been pretty heavy on action.
While this moment is nice, it makes for a somewhat abrupt ending. The issue basically ends with Psylocke saying they’re all fucked. Like the man who discovered that mixing cocaine and tequila was a bad idea, it’s pretty damn obvious. There’s nothing too striking about this ending. It essentially ends in the middle of a battle that is still going on and about to escalate. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A fight that spans two issues is usually pretty damn epic in and of itself. It may not turn any heads or shock anyone to their core, but it’s still satisfying and like a fresh Five Guys burger, it leaves me hungry for more.
I went into this issue hoping that the X-men would be exceedingly pissed off about being deceived. And unlike every movie Brett Ratner has ever made, I was not disappointed. The lies were exposed like Brittney Spears’s snatch outside an LA nightclub in this issue. There was action, drama, and parenting tips. And even though the battle wasn’t too explosive and the revelation was somewhat predictable, it still felt epic. It promises to get even more epic in the next issue when Cyclops’s team drops in. It’s like a party where six hot supermodels with two kegs of beer and a brick of cocaine are about to show up. That’s the kind of party an event this big ought to be and unlike the parties I go to, this one might not end with someone throwing up in the dishwasher or taking a shit in the kitchen sink. That’s why I give the party in X-men #6 an 8 out of 10. Like going into a Tijuana whore house only partially drunk, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I’ve got my tequila handy and I’m officially ready for a kickass party 50 years in the making. Nuff said!