Monday, January 27, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: X-men #9
I don’t pretend to have too ambitious an agenda. All the weed and booze make setting an agenda akin to juggling knives while trying to pleasure my girlfriend. But I’ve seen and experienced enough agendas to know that on some levels, it always comes back to trying to screw someone over. Some are more vindictive than others. Some are just crazier than others. I’m not sure how crazy Lady Deathstrike is in the pages of Brian Wood’s adjectiveless X-men. The X-men have really fucked her up in the past, making it so she had to do some body jumping, Doc Ock style to keep living. So her desire to screw over the X-men isn’t really an agenda as much as it is a normal reflex. But that agenda is still somewhat ambiguous. I’m hoping it becomes clearer with X-men #9 because in my experience, beautiful women with an agenda are those special stories that terrify and arouse me at the same time. It’s awkward, but still pretty awesome.
I still can’t say that watching the X-women play the part of CSI investigators does much for my penis. But it does continue the story that began with Lady Deathstrike. Now in the body of a wealthy Latina woman named Anna Cortez who looks surprisingly similar to Rosario Dawson, she has the body and the resources to fuck with the X-men again. Since she already attacked them, Rachel Grey decides to interrogate John Sublime again. Because for some reason she thinks he fits into this shit somehow. It’s not completely unreasonable given his history, but what is unreasonable is the strangely implied innuendo between them.
Now I’m not talking about the kind of innuendo that is similar to how most pornos begin. I’m talking about the kind that’s more overt than even the shittiest romantic comedies. There haven’t been a lot of hints dropped or even any real chemistry, yet there seems to be a working assumption that John Sublime has somehow won a place in Rachel Grey’s panties. I don’t know if I got blackout drunk and missed a couple issues, but this makes no fucking sense and doesn’t contribute a damn thing to the story. All it does is put Sublime in a position to realize that his deranged sister, Akrea, is back. And I think there were easier ways to do that shit than imply he makes Rachel all tingly in certain places.
Unlike any innuendo between Rachael and Sublime, the re-appearance of Arkea is a big fucking deal. The last time the X-women dealt with her, they almost resorted to killing Omega Sentinel. Between her and Lady Deathstrike, the X-women are in need of backup and Sabra brings help. And for once, that help actually has a penis. But angry feminazis need not worry. He’s not there to solve all their problems. Monet is still the heavy hitter in this arc. First, they find out the last place Arkea fucked up has already been razed and will likely be turned into a Starbucks. Next, they find out that Lady Deathstrike has just entered Dubai, a place full of high end shopping, obscenely expensive real estate, and blatant labor exploitation. It’s basically the perfect place for an over-privileged foreigner with a homicidal woman possessing her body.
Armed with this wealth and a blatant disregard for controlled spending, Lady Deathstrike set up a lab called the Body Shoppe in Dubai. It’s basically a place where disembodied minds and tweak their new bodies to their heart’s content and do it in a place with warm weather and pristine beaches. She brings Typhoid Mary and Enchantress, who they recruited in the previous issue, with her. She also has a fragment of the Arkea meteorite, which she also retrieved from the previous issue. It may seem like overkill, recruiting both Enchantress and Arkea, but there can be no such thing for Lady Deathstrike. This is a woman who fucked up her own body just so she could fuck with her enemies. She’s willing to go the extra mile or hundred if need be.
That doesn’t make the decision to use Arkea any less questionable. As soon as she gives the meteorite to Reiko, her assistant, Arkea makes herself right at home in a new host. It’s not even a struggle. She just jumps aboard and is basically the same deranged, disembodied hunk of pond scum that was introduced in the first arc. It’s as inane and unexciting as it sounds. It would have been nice to show a little variety. It’s as if Arkea doesn’t even remember how the X-women fucked her up in the previous arc. She’s just enjoying a new body. She doesn’t even try to play nice with the Sisterhood and starts fucking with all the fancy gadgets that Lady Deathstrike bought with some rich Latina woman’s money.
While it has been enjoyable seeing the Sisterhood expand their ranks, Arkea essentially does a lot of the same shit that happened earlier. And it’s not like she was a great villain to begin with. All she did was crash on Earth and feel the sudden urge to wipe out all life as if it were a mild rectal itch. She has none of the depth and history that Lady Deathstrike or Typhoid Mary have. There isn’t even an effort to build that kind of history. It’s disappointing that she now is joining a cast of much more developed characters. I think I’ve seen enough of Arkea at this point to determine that she’s not a very interesting character and my penis agrees with me for once.
Despite Akrea’s bland backstory, she does bring something to the table for Lady Deathstrike and her team. She tries to befriend Arkea and asks that she help enhance them. She’s not referring to boob jobs and lip injections either. They found out in the previous issue that they’re still woefully unequipped to take on the X-men. And Arkea has plenty of incentive to fuck with the X-men so why not help each other? They’re both disembodied women looking to fuck with the non-disembodied men and women who made them disembodied in the first place. It makes perfect sense from a motivational standpoint, but practically speaking, it would take more than a few bong hits. The Sisterhood don’t even know Arkea that well and they’re willing to trust her with their bodies? There are porn stars auditioning for jobs at unlicensed modeling agencies with more common sense than that.
They don’t get a chance to become sorority sisters though. The X-women have already been tracking Lady Deathstrike’s new persona and they’ve traced her to the fancy Dubai building. That gives Monet a non-moving target, which she gets to in record time. She then makes herself at home the same way Led Zeppelin made themselves at home in hotel rooms after a few rounds of hard liquor. She hits them hard and does plenty of property damage. She’s supposed to be perfect at everything so that naturally extends to wrecking expensive real estate run by their enemies. But wrecking the place doesn’t get the job done. Arkea is still able to do some enhancements and it’s not nearly as messy as Weapon X either.
The first one to benefit is Enchantress, who was basically a neutered dog. Odin stripped her of her powers and her ability to keep cock-teasing Thor. She naturally didn’t like that and jumped at the chance to get her powers back with the Sisterhood. And Akrea is able to deliver in a way that is poorly explained, but nicely demonstrated. Since Monet is such a powerhouse, who better than an Asgardian to take her down a peg? It makes sense even if it isn’t well-developed.
As Enchantress keeps Monet occupied, Akrea and Lady Deathstrike try to hatch a new plan. It involves finding more angry superpowered women to join their ranks. Arkea, having already spent some quality time in the Jean Grey Institute’s systems, has more than her share of information on who would love to blow up the school. Armed with that information, she uses some of the hardware that Lady Deathstrike has acquired to make use of that information. It makes sense in the same way it makes sense to befriend an ex-boyfriend’s best friend. It makes for a special kind of pwnage.
At the same time, the X-women just happen to realize that Akrea is probably allying herself with their enemies. It makes for a somewhat choppy narrative. John Sublime is still trembling at the danger his sister can cause and basically warns the X-women about how dangerous she is, just as he did in the first arc. Again, it’s basically the same fucking plot with Arkea. There’s nothing new or interesting about her. She just happens to surround herself with other characters who are already interesting. And that’s basically the same as a cheat code in a video game.
So the rest of the X-women decide to go after the Sisterhood in full force. At the same time, Monet is getting her ass kicked by the Enchantress. She’s a fucking goddess for a reason and not just because she has a rack worthy of one. Since Arkea managed to get around Odin’s little trick, Enchantress is able to beat Monet. On paper, a battle between Monet and Enchantress should be the kind of thing that makes my penis smile in a very special way. But when put into practice, it’s horribly unepic. There’s nothing memorable about it, even when read sober. It’s also poorly detailed. It’s not clear of Enchantress flat out snaps Monet’s neck or if she just renders her unconscious. It’s one of those scenes that forces too many assumptions and for anyone reading this issue after a few shots of tequila, that’s more confusing enough to trigger a bar fight.
It also makes for a decidedly unexciting end the issue. With Monet now down for the count and the X-women still on their way, there’s not much else to show. Arkea continues to rally more of the X-men’s enemies and that includes some old discarded Sentinels. Because it’s not like Sentinels were used in a major plot in another book like Wolverine and the X-men or a big event like X-men Battle of the Atom. Oh wait, that’s probably a bad example. But that’s basically what is used here and it’s as exciting as it sounds. It’s like the opposite to an ending of an episode of Breaking Bad. There’s nothing about it that generates intrigue about the next issue. That doesn’t mean the next issue won’t be awesome, but nobody is going to be biting off their fingers in anticipation.
This story left me with mixed feelings and not just in my penis. This issue moved things forward, but in a way that was about as exciting as watching Glenn Beck find a new way to make himself look foolish. It’s entertaining, but brings nothing new to the table. The Sisterhood is continuing to expand and Akrea is back causing trouble. But beyond that, the story isn’t going to soak anyone’s panties. And this strange sub-plot with Rachel and John Sublime just makes no fucking sense. I’m not against at least one of the X-women on this all-female team having issues involving a guy, but John fucking Sublime? It would have made more sense if it involved Edward fucking Cullen. But that was still a minor sub-plot. This series and this arc has plenty going for it. There just wasn’t much progression in this issue. I give X-men #9 a 5 out of 10. There are so many ways a story about a team of evil women can entertain and titillate. Only a few of those ways have been realized so far, but my penis and I are hopeful that more will follow. Nuff said!