Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Guardians of the Galaxy #12

When I saw the Guardians of the Galaxy movie trailer, I had a lot of mixed thoughts. Most of them centered around, “Damn, I hope I can have sex with a green-skinned woman before I die.” But some of those thoughts involved questioning how five degenerate outlaws with itchy trigger fingers and a bad attitude can be guardians. That would be like hiring only alcoholics to run a rehab clinic. Yet they somehow manage to do the job of protecting the galaxy and they do it with an entertaining fuck-off attitude. And the more I thought about it, the more I see the logic in having them help the O5 X-men in the Trial of Jean Grey. It makes intuitive sense on some levels for the Shi’ar to put on trial someone guilty of a pretty fucked up crime, especially if there’s a potential to undo that crime. Only the outlaw degenerates would skip the part where they consult with a lawyer and say, “Fuck yes, we’re going to save a pretty girl from a bullshit trial!” And I fully support that. So with this trailer still fresh in my mind, I’m going to try and adopt that mentality as I review Guardians of the Galaxy #12. I just may require some extra whiskey.

And I might end up having to share that whiskey with O5 Cyclops because this issue begins with a quick refresher as to why seeing his father again is so overwhelming. It’s a scene that has played out in the comics many times before and in many issues, but never through the awesome artwork of Sara Pachelli. It shows a young Scott and Alex in a damaged plane with only one parachute. And their parents are doing what any loving parent would do by trying to save them at the cost of their own lives. Even though it’s a scene older than the Simpsons, it still strikes an emotional chord. Like the best scene in my favorite porno, it leaves me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. The boner is just a bonus.

O5 Cyclops emerges from this painful memory to see his father, who he assumed was dead as most logical people would after seeing him in an exploding plane, standing right in front of him. It leads to a nice emotional moment that is full of yet more hugs. I’m starting to think that the reason Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t go to comic book conventions anymore is because he got into trouble hugging too many people. Whatever the case, it makes for a nice reunion. Even though Cyclops and Corsair already had a reunion of sorts with his older self, this one still strikes a chord.

And it would strike that chord even better if the situation wasn’t somewhat fucked up. Now usually when I see an inconsistency in the flow of the story, I first assume I must have gotten blackout drunk or took too many bong hits. So I sober up and try to read over the story again. But this time, it didn’t matter whether I was sober or drunk. The flow of the plot was still fucked up. The previous issue ends with O5 Cyclops just hearing over the ship’s com links that Corsair is alive. Then this issue begins with him waking up and seeing Corsair actually on the ship. What the fuck happened? When the fuck did Corsair and the Starjammers come aboard? What about that Shi’ar vessel that was attacking them? What the fuck happened there?

That’s a lot of details to just gloss over. I’m pretty good at filling in the blanks, but not when I’m drunk. As far as I know, Corsair just waved his dick at the Shi’ar cruiser and it fled in terror. And O5 Cyclops happened to catch a glimpse of it, which caused him to pass out. I don’t want to say that’s the most likely scenario, but the lack of details here makes it equally likely. And that disrupts the flow of the story worse than a bad case of constipation and sleeping pills.

This doesn’t mean that other parts of the story don’t flow as well. Before the Shi’ar even abducted O5 Jean, they met with the King of Spartax and a few other alien representatives that have had experience dealing with Earth in a way that didn’t just involve anal probes. Gladiator himself told the king of their plans. And he was content to treat it the same way Congress treats the national debt and ignore it. But when he finds out that they actually went through with it, traveling to Earth and abducting O5 Jean after they all agreed that fucking with Earth was a bad idea, he gets pissed. Then he finds out his son, Starlord, is now involved. And that pisses him off even more because now he can’t be lazy like a good ruler. He has to get involved. If only he were George W. Bush, he might actually take pleasure in getting entangled with the complex affairs of others. I guess even asshole kings have their limits.

Speaking of asshole rulers, Gladiator is preparing for the trial the same way I imagine Ron Jeremy prepares for an orgy. He’s sparring with his fellow Imperial Guard, which I guess is the Shi’ar equivalent to foreplay or a warm-up. But Oracle, who had a chance to meet with the confused and traumatized teenage Jean Grey in the previous issue, confronts him. Prior her abduction, it was pointed out by more than one person that this version of Jean Grey didn’t commit the crimes that Dark Phoenix committed. He knows damn well that she was plucked from the past and shoved into this shitty future where she’s dead, her teenage crush killed Xavier, and a creepy Canadian keeps fantasizing about her naked. But he wants to put her on trial anyways, knowing damn well there could be consequences.

It’s nice to see that this little detail isn’t glossed over. Oracle seems to understands that whatever judgment and/or punishment they exact on O5 Jean, it’s going to fuck up the timeline. And after Age of Ultron, the timeline is more worn out than a Tijuana whore after a soccer match. He doesn’t know what kind of damage he’ll do and Oracle flatly points out that he knows this. But he’s doing it anyways. That’s like someone with lung cancer taking up smoking. It can only make everything worse. And like a second plate of bacon, that only makes the trial even juicer.

But that drama is still only building. The drama with O5 Cyclops and his father is already unfolding. Despite a welcoming hug, it’s still more awkward and overwhelming than showing up at the prom half naked wearing a Batman mask. Corsair tries to help O5 Cyclops catch up. He explains that he survived the plane crash, but his wife didn’t. Now he’s an ass-kicking space pirate on a team called the Starjammers. He has met up with the adult version of Cyclops and Havok. And for once, they don’t hate or resent each other. Then again, Corsair has been dead a while. He might not have gotten the memo about Cyclops killing Professor Xavier.

But as calm and collected as he is, O5 Cyclops just can’t deal with it. He’s a teenager that already saw the girl he loves get abducted by aliens. Now he’s seeing his father again, who is supposed to be dead. Most teenagers have problems dealing with gym class in high school. They don’t know how to deal with this shit.

O5 Cyclops decides he needs space and Corsair decides to give it to him. Everybody else, including O5 Iceman remarkably enough, decides not to make it worse by saying something stupid. The only one that does decide to follow him is X-23. She meets up with him in a secluded area. Usually when two teenagers meet in a secluded area, that means they’re about to engage in activity that makes Jesus cry. But this time, O5 Cyclops is just trying to pull his ass together from the many pieces it has been shattered. He hasn’t forgotten the mission. That’s one part of him that didn’t change with age. But X-23 offers him comfort in the form of yet another hug. I could make another joke about hugs here, but this is one that was extra sweet. So I’ll just take another shot of vodka and enjoy it.

This seems to continue the drama that began in the previous arc between O5 Cyclops and X-23. They both exchanged their some pretty passionate and awkward hugs. It set up some fresh teenage melodrama in a series that has already had plenty. But this time, it feels a bit more sincere. It both previous instances, X-23 was the one in an emotionally vulnerable state. Now it’s O5 Cyclops who is in that same state. It could be argued that X-23 is returning the favor. But her willingness to comfort him may be yet another sign that no matter how old he is, Cyclops’s penis is pretty damn powerful.

However, no penis that isn’t attached to lawyers employed by Bank of America is strong enough to get O5 Jean out of her current predicament. She’s still imprisoned, but it looks like she is going to get a public defender of sorts in Oracle. She read O5 Jean’s mind in the previous issue. She knows damn well that she hasn’t yet committed these crimes they’re going to try her for. So either out of guilt or compassion, two traits that are usually absent from lawyers, she gives her some legal advice. It’s not very good advice, but it isn’t bad advice either. She essentially tells O5 Jean that she’s going to hear and see some pretty awful shit. It’s going to disturb her, anger her, and make her want to jam a pencil in her eye. And if she truly is innocent, she’ll act innocent despite this. That’s like telling someone to act happy when someone else is shooting them in the leg and pissing into the wound.

O5 Jean’s case is not very strong. So that means the X-men, the Starjammers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy need to find a way to balance the odds. Because if they don’t, the Shi’ar will continue to cheat the system like tobacco lobbyists still wished they could. But when they arrive at the Shi’ar homeworld, they find that they’re chances of getting a good seat for this trial are about as good as getting reasonably priced tickets to next year’s Superbowl. The whole Shi’ar seems to understand that this trial is a big fucking deal and they’ve put enough ships around their homeworld to make even Thanos’s nuts hurt. So they’re going to need a plan. We don’t know what that plan will be, but Starlord does imply that he has something crazy in mind. When dealing with an unfair and fucked up justice system, crazy is sometimes the only sane solution.

As they’re preparing to exercise their inner crazy, the trial officially begins. Gladiator makes sure he skips the C-Span bullshit as well. He’s as harsh in his rhetoric as an asshole gym teacher who hasn’t had his morning coffee yet. He reveals to O5 Jean the extent of her crimes, which includes a nice little video of the star she blew up as Dark Phoenix. He also makes it a point to note how many millions of Shi’ar died as a result of her cosmic hissy fit. Yet she has the balls to bitch at Cyclops for killing one person? But I digress.

This doesn’t just set the tone for the trial. It shoves the crimes Dark Phoenix committed right in O5 Jean’s face. Even though she knew about what happened from the memories she gleaned earlier in the series, she has never had to confront them, let alone be held accountable for them. She reacts in a way that shows she didn’t take Oracles advice as well as she probably should have. But she’s a teenager. Following the whims of the authorities just isn’t in her nature. It’s a powerful moment and one that adds to the growing list of ways that O5 Jean is fucked. And while I may have a bad experience with the justice system, I’m finding a lot of reasons to enjoy this.

The galactic version of the O. J. Simpson trial has officially begun and the Guardians and X-men only got to see the part involving the Ford Bronco. This issue may have lacked transitions in a few areas, but it more than made up for it with rich drama and building tension. There wasn’t much action. But after the Star Wars style battle in the previous issue, that’s okay. Like most trials involving celebrities, the nature of the case is complicated. It’s not as simple as determining whether Lindsey Lohan violated her probation again. This is the Shi’ar trying to exact justice on a time-displaced teenager. That’s pretty fucked up for anyone outside of North Korea. And the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have a big fucking obstacle in their way if they want to save her. Some parts of the plot still stalled, but overall it was a satisfying issue. I give Guardians of the Galaxy #12 a 7 out of 10. So with no lawyers or bloggers present, this trial is sure to be as unfair and unbalanced as a typical segment of Fox News. Someone will have to exact a little justice at some point. I just hope Rocket Raccoon’s guns and Gamora’s rack are part of that justice. Nuff said!


  1. Couldn't agree more with you.
    With only two more issues to go, I can't wait to see how it goes.

  2. I feel bad for little Jean esp that last page of her.

  3. I more excited about Cyclops and X-23. Bendis is capable of anything

  4. I'm predicting a nervous breakdown for poor Jean. Only so much a poor teenager can take.

    1. Maybe she will finally learn, not to blame people for things they haven' done yet.

    2. Maybe, but that might just make too much sense for a teenage girl..

    3. It just hit me. They will probably do something similar, to the upcoming X-men movie, by sending someone back and changing things as we know them...

  5. Jean Gray, prepare for judgement.

    It took this long for her to be held on trial, how long before Cyclops and his gang gets the cold shoulder?

  6. Cyclops got out in what a day and a half while Jean is still dead.

  7. Director and co-writer James Gunn brings a giddiness and a wondrous, endless sense of why-the-hell-not? possibility that's reminiscent of Star Wars.

  8. These meager pleasures are swallowed up in all the frantic action and overblown CG sequences.

  9. Director and co-writer James Gunn brings a giddiness and a wondrous, endless sense of why-the-hell-not? possibility that's reminiscent of Star Wars.