Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Amazing X-men #1
Whenever a beloved character is killed off, fans are more pissed off than Rush Limbauh fans at a Jay-Z concert. Whenever a beloved character comes back from the dead, fans are more excited and emotional than a woman about to give birth. I'm one of those guys who becomes an angry drunk whenever a good character is killed off. I don't think all the lawsuits have been settled after all the angry drinking I did seeing the first three X-men movies. But when Marvel announced that they were bringing Nightcrawler back in Jason Aaron's new series, Amazing X-men, I think I asked every bartender within a five mile radius to marry me. That's how overjoyed I am. So as I review Amazing X-men #1, I'll try not to get too emotional. But I won't make any promises either.
It starts off with some painful emotional reminders that help me recall a time when Hope fucking Summers was still somewhat likable and Ted Cruz wasn’t in the news every fucking day. We get a quick and dirty recap of Nightcrawler’s life and how he died. It hardly conveys everything that made him so lovably awesome, but it effectively gets the point across. Then after it goes dark, we find out that Nightcrawler was awesome enough to go to whatever Marvel’s version of Heaven is. It’s no Tijuana strip club. In fact, it looks like someone at Marvel has seen Avatar way too many times. But it’s a beautiful scene where Nightcrawler reflects how he lived and died. Yet he still feels like he has unfinished business because he’s just that awesome. He can be given paradise after living a heroic life and still feel like he needs to do more. That sort of thing both brings a tear to my eye and makes me want to hug him in a way I usually reserve for really expensive hookers.
Everything seemed to come to a fitting end for Nightcrawler. He concedes that this is where he was supposed to end up. He did all the right things, ignoring assholes like Pat Robertson and having undying faith in people and God. He’s basically a big blue middle finger to the Christian Right and he rightly deserves to be in heaven for that. However, he’s not yet ready to sit back and enjoy paradise with an infinite glass of whiskey. He’s fucking Nightcrawler and he’s not done being awesome.
He gets his chance when the edges of Heaven are attacked by Pirates of the Caribbean cos-players and not the sexy kind either. They claim to be seeking souls. Instead, they get a nice dose of Nightcrawler’s fists. He even steals a couple of their swords, which brought me to tears again because it has been so long since I’ve seen Nightcrawler’s swash-buckling Jack Sparrow side. It has that special touch that can’t be seen in any other fight scene that doesn’t involve Nightcrawler. It was so refreshing that it makes me want to stand up and yell, “Suck it, Pixie!” And just like that, I feel more tears.
Nightcrawler clearly enjoys a good fight, but he’s also curious. Who in their unholy minds would be stupid enough to try and invade fucking Heaven of all places? Was Las Vegas or Miami too hot for them this time of year? Nightcrawler is just as curious and threatens some equally unholy action to these butt-ugly thugs if he doesn’t tell them. But the answer ends up finding him and Chuck Austin fans, all three of them, can rejoice because it’s Azazel.
That’s right, the asshole trying to invade Heaven is Nightcrawler’s father and Chuck Austin’s most infamous contribution to the X-men mythos. Sure, he was badass in the X-men First Class movie, but he’s been MIA in the X-men comics for a reason. He’s a douche and a very poorly developed douche at that. But he doesn’t need to be that developed in this story. He just says he wants to burn Heaven to the ground and offers his son a chance at fighting by his side. Nightcawler naturally tells him to piss off and they start fighting in another epic battle that would have been an awesome family feud on Jerry Springer, albeit with more teleporting. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
While this battle between Heaven and Hell is unfolding, the Jean Grey Institute is dealing with issues that don’t involve divine reckoning. Once again, the school has been completely rebuilt after the future Brotherhood fucked it up in X-men Battle of the Atom. I’m not sure how they do this or what kind of insurance they have, but it must be reserved for CEOs and Congressmen. Even with a rebuilt school, however, they’re still short a teacher. Kitty Pryde has left and they need someone to take their place. And that someone is Angelica Jones, aka Firestar.
Now Firestar hasn’t been a major player with the X-men since her New Mutant days and most fans only know her for her role in that shitty Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon. But she is a mutant and she is experienced. That qualifies her to be a teacher at the Jean Grey Institute. And when she arrives, she’s like a priest at a drag show. But in a strange way, her arrival at the Jean Grey Institute offers a nice little insight into the current dynamics at the Jean Grey Institute. We see some playful staff interactions like Wolverine and Storm joking about a quickie in between classes and Warbird trying to bone Iceman now that he’s not with Kitty Pryde anymore. It’s not just a reminder of those quirks that Jason Aaron established so beautifully early on in Wolverine and the X-men. It’s a wildly entertaining reminder that has that distinct humor that makes this book feel so much fun. And for a book that has religious undertones, that’s saying something.
After stumbling around like a blindfolded stripper on heels, Firestar eventually finds Beast. In addition to being a total douche who loves to fuck with the timeline every now and then, he’s also a huge coffee addict. So when the bamfs steal his coffee maker, he treats it in the same way a woman on her period treats a man who just replaced her tampons with snickers bars. So before Firestar can even teach her first class, Beast ropes her into helping him track down the bamfs and his precious coffee pot. He even has a name for it. He calls it Eleanor. It sounds like the name a man would give a bottle of lube back during World War II, but in finding his coffee pot, he also finds out something about the bamfs that further complicates Firestar’s first day on the job.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that since Wolverine and the X-men began, the bamfs have been a constant presence. However, there hasn’t been a hint or clue of any kind as to what they are and where the fuck they came from. All I know about them is that they steal Wolverine’s whiskey. But this issue finally offers some insight. Apparently, the bamfs have been infesting the school since it opened. And somehow they managed to steal enough coffee pots to construct some strange machine. So they’re both cute and they can built awesome shit. That’s it. I want one for my next pet.
So once again, the Jean Grey Institute goes on lockdown while the staff investigates. Firestar tags along because if she’s going to be teaching at this school, she’s going to have to learn that they go on lockdown almost as often as they catch students sleeping in class. She even gets a chance to flirt with Iceman, which pisses Warbird off since she apparently wants to bone him too. But the main issue at hand is what the fuck this machine is and how they’re going to deal with it. They can only surmise that the bamfs have been working on this for a while and that it’s a gateway of sorts. Beyond that, it just looks like an oversized lava lamp.
Then they find out it does a lot more than glow. When the bamfs turn it on, an army of Azazel’s red bamfs come pouring through. It’s like being attacked by evil puppies and I imagine these things don’t have the same taste for whiskey, hence they must die. It’s a chaotic scene that catches them all by surprise. It would have been easy to just have them claw at each other like a bunch of hungry cats in a tuna factory. Instead, the red bamfs drag the X-men into the portal and they all disappear in a puff of sulfur. Either that or I farted. I’m not sure if my brain is playing tricks on me again, but it was still more fun than a bunch of drunk monkies in a panty factory.
The first ones to wake up are Wolverine and Northstar. They wake up in what looks like an enchanted forest. There are so many gay jokes I could make here, especially with Norstar being involved, that I’ll just leave them to Robin Willimas in his next stand-up special. But they figure out that they’ve been teleported somehow and that they can’t get in touch with the rest of the team. That wouldn’t be too distressing if it weren’t happening in such a peaceful setting. The problem is that peaceful setting is shot to shit when a full blown pirate ship shows up, declaring war on Heaven, and hinting to Wolverine that Nightcrawler is still alive. He’s understandably shocked and my dick is understandably hard. There’s really not much else that can be said about how awesome it is without getting Emma Frost’s tits involved.
The last time I got this emotional while laughing so hard, I watched The Notebook after smoking nine joints. I expected this issue to make me feel emotional with the return of Nightcrawler, but I didn’t expect to be so thoroughly entertained that I laughed in ways I haven’t laughed since George Carlin was still alive. This issue didn’t just bring Nightcrawler back into the fold. It re-established all the wondrous quirks within the Jean Grey Institute staff that had been cast aside in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men in favor of stories about fucking Dog Logan. Amazing X-men #1 is an upgrade to say the very least. It didn’t just finally solve the mystery of the bamfs, bring Nightcrawler back, and show Firestar joining the Jean Grey Institute. It did it in a way that was entertaining, emotional, and fucking hilarious. I couldn’t find a single flaw in this issue. Therefore, I give Amazing X-men #1 a perfect 10 out of 10. Nightcrawler is back and he’s taking on some serious daddy issues with an honest-to-God smile on his face. Excuse me, I just teared up again. Nuff said!