Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Scanned Thoughts: Amazing X-men #2
I'm convinced that if aliens landed on Earth tomorrow, they would think that our concepts of religion would be fucking hilarious. Some people believe God is some big, all-powerful guy with a white beard and a robe. Some believe it's a man with the head of an elephant and six arms. I think it's clear from that variation which culture had better weed. If Marvel and DC comics were transported back in time and translated into the language of our ancestors, they would probably be offended and pissed off to find out that some of their cherished deities had become nothing more than pretty-faced superheroes played by the Chris Hemswroths of the world. But unless they're the kind of zealots stupid enough to give money to One Million Moms every time a gay character shows up in a comic, they might get a kick out of how some of these books tell stories about the theology surrounding Heaven, Hell, and everything in between. Amazing X-men #1 did an awesome job of beginning that story. Now as I review Amazing X-men #2, I'll try to ignore how much bitching One Million Moms will do and enjoy this twist in theological awesome.
The only ones who deserve to complain in this instance are Storm, Iceman, and Firestar. They were just minding their own business, helping Beast figure out just what the fuck the bamfs were building with McGuiver style ingenuity. Then in what has to be the second biggest dick move by the bamfs behind stealing Wolverine’s whiskey, they get the X-men sucked into a portal and they pop up in Hell. And no, I’m not talking about middle of the Sahara type Hell or downtown Detroit Hell. I’m talking about the actual Hell in the Marvel universe.
And why not? In the first issue, we got a brief glimpse of the Marvel version of Heaven. Hell is basically what Ted Cruz thinks it is, minus the demonic legions of President Obama. And Storm, Iceman, and Firestar are understandably uncomfortable. Iceman and Firestar are ready to shit themselves, but Storm never passes up an opportunity to fight. She’s just that awesome because boning Wolverine just isn’t enough. But much to their surprise, the demons don’t fight them at first. They instead focus on a big ass pirate ship sailing down a river of blood. Demons may be evil, but they have priorities and big ass pirate ships trump three shell shocked X-men.
But that doesn’t stop the X-men from participating in the battle. It doesn’t even bother them that being in Hell has fucked up their powers. Well maybe it bothers Iceman because he whines about it like Greenpeace at a convention for offshore oil drillers. And to be fair, this was supposed to be Firestar’s first day on the job and she’s already in Hell. So I think she’s entitled to whine a little. But Storm doesn’t fucking whine, even when she has no powers. She just grabs the nearest heavy object and uses it to beat the shit out of any demon that looks at her cross-eyed. It’s the kind of bravado that’ll give any man a boner and any feminazi a pussy boner.
While this battle is unfolding, there’s also some narration through each scene. It’s in blue text so unless I took an extra hit of LSD, I would be able to conclude that this narration is from Nightcrawler. And he doesn’t just describe the shit that’s going on. There’s really no need to describe Storm beating the shit out of a demon. Like taking a shit on Rush Limbaugh’s front lawn, it speaks for itself. Instead, the focus is on his fondness for these characters and why they’re awesome. It shows that Nightcrawler, despite being dead, has the same fondness for his friends and that just makes him more awesome.
As the battle in bloody rivers of Hell is unfolding, there’s another clash going on atop the big ass pirate ship that seems to be attracting all the attention. Wolverine and Northstar saw it when they first showed up. And apparently Northstar always dreamed of beating up evil pirates when he wasn’t dreaming of Ricky Martin’s ass. So he takes to the air and starts kicking ass as well. I can already hear One Million Moms whining about a gay man being able to be that awesome. He was even hoping to channel his Peter Pan fanboy and fight a pirate with a hook for a hand. The demons of Hell don’t have that, but they do have an evil-looking captain named Captain Jack, no relation. He’s basically a glorified Spawn cos-player and couldn’t give three tenths of a shit about Peter Pan.
Since Wolverine can’t fly and doesn’t have the same enthusiasm for beating up demon pirates, he stays behind and fights off the demons harassing him on the ground. He even takes the time to save the nice angel/nun that Kurt was talking to in the previous issue. She’s grateful, but not enough to show him her tits. He’s in Heaven, not New Orleans. He’s also understandably confused. He knows he’s somewhat he’s not supposed to be. The man did kill his own son after all. But he’s more interested in learning about Kurt. He doesn’t get a chance though because some of the evil red bamfs show up and capture him. A guy like him who kills his son and lusts for married women just can’t expect to catch a break in the afterlife.
The red bamfs then teleport him onto the ship, which proves to be as stupid as bringing Chris Christy into a hot dog factory. Wolverine cuts his way out of the net and joins Northstar in beating up demon pirates. He even takes some time to attack Captain Jack, again no relation. In the process Captain Jack drops another hint that Wolverine might get to see Nightcrawler again. That’s enough to make him look slightly less pissed off for one moment, which is a moment too long because Captain Jack manages to subdue Wolverine to the point where he has to walk the plank. And for once, that’s not a gay joke.
Is it a clichéd pirate battle? Hell yes. But is it still awesome, hell yes times two. And all the while, Nightcrawler is still narrating the battle. It adds an extra bit of drama to the struggle so that it doesn’t feel too much like a Pirates of the Caribbean rip-off. That’s something that often gets lost in any epic battle involving demons and pirates. It’s easy to keep it as basic as a glorified bar battle. While that makes the story easy to follow while stoned, it does so at the expense of depth. And Amazing X-men has managed to add a great deal of depth in a mere two issues. For anyone with too many dead brain cells, that makes the story awesome in an extra special way.
It only becomes more special as Storm continues beating the shit out of demons. And keep in mind, she’s doing this without her powers and not bitching about it. That alone puts her above at least 70 percent of most people and 99 percent of politicians. But there’s only so much she can do with a ball of mace and balls worthy of a goddess if that’s not too inappropriate a term. Like Wolverine, she gets captured by the red bamfs as well and one of Captain Jack’s crewmates, Captain Kid, takes a liking to her. And by liking I mean the same way Michael Vick takes a liking to dogs. Storm can’t fight her way out, which means that pussy boner that feminazis probably had earlier is long gone. But given how she handled herself, I don’t think Storm has more than proven the power of the almighty uterus.
This effectively leaves Iceman and Firestar behind to fend for themselves. They don’t have even a fraction of Storm’s badassery so the odds are stacked against them to say the least. So Iceman decides to cheat a little and uses his power to actually freeze Hell. And the Chicago Cubs didn’t even have to win the World Series for it to happen. I want to say that’s badass, but he and Firestar still come off as shell shocked and confused. At least in Iceman’s case, freezing Hell tires him out, as it probably should. That or he just went overboard trying to convince Firestar to bone him. She now has to carry his frozen ass through a frozen hell to figure out what’s going on. Again, this is a woman who was just supposed to be starting at the Jean Grey Institute. Now she’s traversing a frozen Hell. Who can honestly say they’ve had a worst first day of work?
Back with Captain Jack, Wolverine is still about the walk the plank in a non-gay way. But as he’s trying to fight back, he hears a familiar voice in his head that says they’re trying to help him. And for once, it’s not the actual Jack Daniels, although that probably would have been much more awesome. It’s Professor Charles Xavier himself. Yes, he’s dead. And yes, his body was desecrated by the Red Skull in ways that would disgust even a necrophiliac. But he did enough awesome shit in his life to warrant a trip to Heaven and he urges Wolverine to do two things: first, he must not fall and second, he must find Nightcrawler. It doesn’t take him long to fail at the first task.
Xavier’s appearance is a nice touch, especially given the grim circumstances he’s endured lately. The man was killed by a Phoenix-crazed Cyclops and desecrated by the Red Skull. It has been way too long since he got to do something that didn’t involve him becoming more of an asshole or being screwed over. Even though he had to fucking die in order to have that moment, it feels like a fitting development in this story. Now if only he would kindly point out that bickering with Cyclops was a shitty idea.
With all this action going on, it’s not easy to forget that Nightcrawler didn’t participate in any of it. This series started with him and is built around him. Yet he didn’t show up until the very end and it wasn’t even clear what the fuck he was doing other than narrating. He has a couple of bamfs with him and he has his sights on one of the pirate ships. But if he has a plan, it’s not clear what the fuck it is or how awesome it might be. We waited so damn long to see him kick ass again. The first issue offered a nice appetizer, but like a fat kid at an ice cream factory I want more. This issue made it clear that there is still more ice cream to be had, but I’ll have to wait again. I just hope I have enough weed and eggnog to pass the time.
This issue was good, but the utter lack of Nightcrawler until the very end was distressing. Granted, he basically narrated the whole story in a way that Morgan Freeman himself couldn’t have done. It’s still very clear that he is the driving force behind this story and he’ll play a major role in the battle against Azazel. But everyone else got a chance to kick some demon pirate ass but him and I feel like that’s even less fair than the electoral college. That doesn’t make the ass-kicking that the rest of the X-men did any less awesome. Hell actually froze over without Tom Cruise winning an Oscar and Storm beat up a bunch of demons without her powers. Even Charles Xavier made a cameo that would have made Stan Lee proud. That’s a lot of awesome to help compensate and I feel like Amazing X-men #2 compensated enough to earn it a 9 out of 10. This story is the kind of Heaven and Hell battle that would give Pat Robertson a boner, at least until someone pointed out that Northstar was gay. After spending so much time fighting each other, it’s nice to see them fight demons that are much more deserving. And unlike the Vatican, they don’t even demand any tithing. That makes the X-men way more holy than any saint or religious zealot will ever be. Nuff said!