Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #16

I don’t claim to speak for law-biding citizens or have an expertise in what constitutes common decency. I’m pretty sure that between booze, weed, and blow I’ve lowered my standards to the point where I’m the least qualified person in the world to discuss such issues. So maybe I have no credibility when it comes to justifying Cyclops’s revolution in Uncanny X-men. I know I’ve made no secret of how I think he’s right to give the middle finger to Wolverine, the Avengers, and authority in general. But I also understand that revolutionaries still have to be assholes on some levels. It’s just a matter of degree and for all the shit Cyclops has swam through over the years, he doesn’t stink nearly as much as some characters. And yes, I’m referring to Beast and Wolverine. But I do make an effort to be objective on this blog, even if I don’t make an effort to be sober. This review of Uncanny X-men #16 should reflect those efforts, but please don’t ask that I take a breathalyzer test.

The revolution is still unfolding and Magneto is taking some time to see for himself. To do this, he visits the same college campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan that Cyclops’s team visited a few issues back. Sure, they got attacked by a fucking Sentinel, but they made quite an impression. Some of the protesters are divided in that they still see the X-men as heroes and mutants as brothers. Others think they staged that shit and those people probably rub elbows with the same dipshits that think 9/11 was staged. So all in all, it should paint a pretty rosy picture. But Magneto doesn’t see it this way.

In fact, Magneto is pissed the fuck off by what he sees. It’s easy to forget that there was once a time when Magneto looked at humans the same way most people look at analog TVs. And when humans say they see mutants as brothers, he finds that insulting in the same way a creationist finds fossils in a museum insulting. So in his mind, he attacks them to give them a taste of what it feels like to be oppressed. He’s not wrong for doing so. These are a bunch of college students whose idea of the real world centers around exams, frat parties, and getting laid. It doesn’t actually happen. It’s a fantasy in the same way my relationship with Jessica Alba is a fantasy, but it shows more than anything that Magneto doesn’t care for this revolution.

As he muses over the ways to teach these over-privlidged college students who have yet to be screwed over by their loan debt a lesson, he catches up with Dazzler, who is still Mystique in disguise. They have a little chat about the Sentinel attack he encountered the last time they visited a college campus. Magneto basically tells her that SHIELD gives way too few fucks about this and he doesn’t appreciate that. Mutants seem to be so low on their priority list that they’re probably somewhere between securing hookers for politicians and protecting Tony Stark’s patents.

But the chat eventually shifts into a discussion about how Magneto used to approach the mutant issue. There’s no question that he’s much more subdued than he used to be. Hell, he was once a guy that ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body with a goddamn smile. But now his dream and Charles Xavier’s dream is pretty fucked, so much so that Dazzler/Mystique claims that the trauma may be what fucked up his powers. It’s actually not that unreasonable because it really isn’t clear what Magneto’s vision for mutants is anymore. He has just been following Cyclops all this time. Is that really all he wants? Unless he’s a hot telepathic woman, what’s the appeal?

The conversation starts to piss him off, but then Dazzler/Mystique mentions that there might be clues to the Sentinel attack on Madripoor. And yes, this is the same Madripoor that Mystique tried to buy from Hydra with a big fucking pile of money in the pages of All New X-men. Coincidence? Fuck no, but it gets even better. Apparently, Madripoor has become the new Utopia for mutants. Dazzler/Mystique calls it Genosha meets Las Vegas. So it’s a place where mutants dominate and hookers are freely available. Hell, that still qualifies as a vacation spot in my book. Plus, but it gives him an excuse to go to Madripoor and pick up a few hookers. And if he finds any connections with the Sentinel attacks, then that’s just bonus.

So with more than enough incentive, Magneto travels to Madripoor dressed like a gay Sean Connery. He arrives to see that Dazzler/Mystique was telling the truth. There are a lot of mutants running around the streets of Madripoor right next to the hookers, drug dealers, and criminals. It’s probably not the best setting for a new generation of mutants, but at least they won’t have to worry about drinking ages and the DEA. Magneto starts investigating and like all good investigations, it starts in a bar. And in Madripoor, that usually means it ends in a bar fight. After only taking a few shots of vodka, he starts asking about who is in charge. He might as well have told everyone he took a piss in all their drinks because that doesn’t pan out well.

A bar fight breaks out and suddenly I have flashbacks of my 21st birthday. Good times. But the bar fights at my party didn’t involve drunks hopped up on Mutant Growth Hormone. Because it’s not just mutants that are setting up shop in Madripoor, humans looking to act like mutants have shown up and started shooting up. It’s not quite as pathetic as middle class white kids going to rap concerts in the inner city, but it does make for a much more interesting bar fight.

However, Magneto still kicks their asses. Even with broken powers, he’s more than equipped to rough up a few mutant wannabes. Now he has even more questions. He wants to know who is in charge and where they’re getting their MGH. Through some creative manipulations of a knife and a gun, he gets someone to shit his pants and tell him that they get it from the same place. It’s probably the most productive bar fights in the history of bar fights. For Magneto, it’s very satisfying because it has been too long since he kicked ass on his own. Plus, he’s the only one who can make the gay Sean Connery outfit look badass.

The results of the bar fight takes him to Hydra Tower where is greeted by the All New Brotherhood, which consists of Blob (who somehow got his powers back), Sabretooth, and Silver Samurai. They all welcome him with open arms. They probably even offered him a line of blow off-panel, which I guess is the Madripoor equivalent of a handshake. Then Dazzler joins the party, which is confusing for Magneto at first. Then she reveals that she is Mystique, which effectively answers plenty of questions. Now I imagine he’s confused. That or they gave him some really shitty blow when he showed up.

This time they have an entirely new conversation. And for once, Mystique actually sounds reasonable and friendly. She explains how she used her connections and that giant pile of money she gained in All New X-men to secure Madripoor. She then turned it into what she believes has been their goal all along, which is to create a homeland where mutants can just be mutants. It’s actually not an unreasonable endeavor. And for Mystique, that’s saying a lot given all the way her character has been fucked up lately. She even allows MGH to flourish because it helps pay for all this shit. Here on Madripoor, mutants don’t have to be part of the X-men’s fight or part of some mutant domination plot. They can just be themselves. It’s like a college campus where there are no classes and nobody has to pay tuition.

On the surface, it really does sound pretty nice. And for once, it doesn’t have any hidden plots that center around tormenting Wolverine. There’s no dream this time. Mutants aren’t out to conquer the world or just live in peace. Mystique’s only vision for Madripoor is to make a place where they can just live. Granted, they have to live in a place famous for smuggling, drugs, and prostitution. Then again, that might just be a bonus. It still beats the hell out of downtown Detroit.

But Magneto doesn’t see it as being so nice. And when Mystique extends an invitation for Magneto to join them on Madripoor, he’s downright pissed off. It pisses him off in the same way seeing those college kids call mutants their brothers pissed him off. He talks about the vision Charles Xavier had for mutants and the vision he had for mutants. But what Mystique doesn’t even qualify as a fucking vision. There’s no direction here. It’s basically just mutants should live, do jack shit, and not give a damn about the world around them. It embodies the Tea Party’s worst fear about welfare in that it will encourage an entire generation to be lazy and apathetic.

So Magneto responds by taking control of Silver Samurai and using that to stab Mystique. Then he goes off, taking out Sabretooth and Blob. They’re all understandably shocked and probably a little confused. But Magneto doesn’t give them time to get too pissed off. It’s a short battle that shows Magneto at his full wrath, something we haven’t seen in a long time and something that was more overdue than Guns n’ Roses’ last album. He even fucks up Hydra Tower. Why? Because he’s fucking Magneto, that’s why.

And while this whole shit storm with Magneto is unfolding, Cyclops and the rest of his team have no fucking clue what’s going on. They just know that he’s gone and from the looks of it, he’s not coming back. And why should he? Magneto clearly doesn’t care for the impact that Cyclops’s revolution is having. He also doesn’t care for Mystique’s lazier approach on Madripoor. There’s nobody else to step up and be the kind of asshole that a real revolutionary needs to be. Cyclops can only be that asshole to an extent. Magneto will have to be the one to take it a step further and this issue succeeds at proving he’s the perfect guy for the job.

This issue is the Magneto story that I’ve been impatiently waiting for. I honestly never thought I would see two states legalize pot before I saw Magneto become a villain again, but I just got back from a trip to Colorado so I really don’t care. Now Magneto has impolitely reminded everyone that like Charles Xavier, he too had a dream. And what Mystique, Cyclops, and Wolverine are doing for the mutant race is taking a big steaming shit on that dream. He has finally come to the conclusion that this new generation of mutants needs a new leader and a new vision. He may not have Cyclops’s penis, but he has the balls to step up and be that leader. And I couldn’t be more satisfied with his new mindset without a bottle of whiskey and a hooker. Uncanny X-men #16 gets a 9 out of 10. So fuck the revolution, fuck misguided college kids, and fuck the Schism. Magneto is ready to do his own thing. I’m getting a case of beer and a bucket of popcorn because it’s sure to be a beautiful thing. Nuff said!


  1. A very good story, and it's good to see Magneto becoming that 'well intentioned extremist' once again that has always been so central to his character. As a plus, maybe we can finally stop hearing people whine about Mags kneeling to Cyke despite having zero understanding of the panels in questions (pet peeve of mine, the whining about that).

    He showed up at his whim, dismissed the old leadership, and planted the seeds to eventually secure his place close to the very top with a grandiose, attention grabbing gesture. The guy displayed more arrogance FROM HIS KNEES than most villains not named Doom can manage when they have the entire world on theirs.

    But despite that, the world has changed and Magneto isn't the type to remain a follower for very long. He only managed it for as long as he did because of the terrible position mutants were in as a whole.


  2. This issue is awesome. Loved it.
    Magneto = badass. ^-^

  3. And once again, I'm not seeing the "Magneto == Villain" everyone keeps going on and on about with this. I see him becoming more conflicted, and definitely taking back his Anti-Hero status. But the whole point of this was that he needs to find his place in the world again, to figure out for himself who he is and why he does what he does. Mags has always been a heavy-handed kinda guy, but *nothing* from this issue, except the opening day-dream, in any way indicates "HE'S EVIL AGAIN!!!!"

    1. Couldn't say any better than that imo

      Im not buying it either. Why go back to being a villain after telling/advising Cyke not to go down that path? He has big plans but it will not involve him being the psychotic murderer he once was.

    2. I think Magneto saving Cyclops from himself is his endgame. I understand Cyclops is trying to protect his mutant kind, but if he screws up and goes misguided, he could become the next Magneto.

  4. This was an excellent issue and a great way to generate momentum towards Mags solo. Bendis did a great job showing the immediate flaws to Mystique's plan and how much it really bothered Magneto. By going postal was totally appropriate and now has me loving what the future has in store for mutantkind.

    Now if he can do that to SHIELD than imma be in mutant heaven

  5. Madripoor, the new mutant mecca, lol, yeah right. The turnover for control of Madripoor is quite often, nice try Mystique, let's see how long this lasts. Oh and did I miss something, did Lady Mastermind quit the new brotherhood?

    1. Lady Mastermind got caught and Mystique left her there several issue back. Same issue where Bobby snowballs Thor.


  6. Oh good I though magneto was leaving xmen and going v illain again. Well that's not the case. Good.

  7. Mystiques plan was lame shes doing what others did with avalon utopia asteroid m