Saturday, March 29, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #18

In the real world, conspiracy theories are as likely to be true as miracle cure for weight loss. Some people just can't accept the fact that the world is just way more boring than it is in their fantasies. These are the same people who watch Oliver Stone movies and think they're documentaries. They're probably the same people that watch porn and think the women don't fake their orgasms. That's part of why the unfolding story in Uncanny Avengers is so compelling and no, I'm not referring to fake orgasms. The Apocalypse Twins hatched a conspiracy to destroy the whole planet and transport every mutant to a new world without them knowing the truth. In the end they succeeded. Only Havok and Wasp know the truth. Every other mutant is probably content to accept that the human race just got tired of attacks by Thanos and cosmic birds and decided to off itself. Well now that conspiracy is set to unravel in Uncanny Avengers #18 with the arrival of Planet X. I just hope those same conspiracy buffs don't find some shitty way to link this story with the JFK assassination.

But the format of this story is not like a shitty Oliver Stone movie that takes way too many liberties with history. In addition, anyone who read the previous arc doesn't need Kevin Costner to go on some long-winded bullshit speech about grassy knolls and secret CIA operations. The conspiracy that led to Planet X is already well established. But most of the mutant population doesn't know this. They only know that a Celestial destroyed Earth and wiped its ass with the entrails. The official explanation is that Thor's balls just got bigger than his hammer and he got too drunk one night and picked a fight with the wrong Celestial. As a result, the entire fucking Earth got destroyed and all humans died with it.

Now all the mutants live in a comfortable, cozy utopia known as Planet X. There are no Sentinels hunting them down, no governments threatening to throw them into concentration camps, and no Fox News. It's practically paradise and it once again comes courtesy of the Scarlet Witch and her incredibly overpowered skills. I imagine most mutants are okay with not having to deal with us crazy humans anymore. But Havok, who knows how the Apocalypse Twins gave the finger to the Earth, the Celestials, and everything in between, is trying to undo it. Now years into the future as Planet X is now akin to a shitty Disney ride about the world of tomorrow, he's on the run for not embracing a world without humans. In addition, he's got some nice inner monologue as he's running through the crowds and none of them involve, "Bitch, get out of my way!" I guess he never walked through downtown Baltimore in the middle of a snowstorm. It doesn't reveal much. It just reveals he has a daughter and he's telling her how much he wants to undo the shit storm that the Apocalypse Twins unleashed. But first, he has to escape the likes of Blob, Pyro, and an old school Brotherhood of Mutants line-up. Except they call themselves X-Force. And they don't explain how the fuck Blob got his powers back either. Maybe he just went on a strict pig, steak, and cheesecake diet. Anyone who can go on that diet and not die of a heart attack has to be a mutant.

Yet despite his exceedingly unhealthy physique, Havok manages to evade Blob. He then blatantly rips off Star Wars Episode II by leaping out of a window and into a sea of flying cars. But I guess if he's going to rip off any Star Wars movie, it might as well be from one of the shitty prequels. It helps that Havok is a bit more sympathetic than Anakin Skywalker. Sure, he's been a bit of a douche over the course of Uncanny Avengers. But he's no Dearth Vadar. He keeps talking about his daughter and how being a hero in this instance means destroying this utopian world.

Now that may sound like a dick move and on some levels it is. If I were a little more drunk, I might actually root against him. But I'm only on my third shot of tequila so I can see why this does technically count as heroic. Havok knows, unlike every other mutant on Planet X, that this sweet little deal came at the expense of an elaborate practical joke that ended in mass genocide. The human race did nothing to deserve the bullshit judgment of the Celestials. It was all the Apocalypse Twins. And as nice as Planet X looks, it just isn't worth the death of 7 billion people. Maybe if it cost only Wyoming, South Dakota, and Afghanistan it might be worth it. But not 7 billion people.

In chasing down Havok, Blob reveals he probably went to a school in Texas that teaches creationism because he flat out fails a simple physics lesson when he jumps out after Havok. He probably thought just landing on Havok's squishy bones and flesh would cushion his fall. That or praying would turn off gravity. He probably didn't think that Wasp would show up and catch Havok before he became a nasty stain on Blob's ass. Even a douche like Havok doesn't deserve such a terrible fate. But in saving him, we also find out that Wasp is the last human alive. And of all the sexy mutants she could have hooked up with, she chose Havok. I don't claim to understand why women hook up with certain guys so I'll just assume alcohol is involved to some extent. I'll also assume that Havok at least inherited some of the power of Cyclops's penis. Wasp isn't Jean Grey or Emma Frost, but she's right up there on my list of female Avengers I want to see naked. So I'll give Havok points for that.

There's not much time for romance or even a mid-air quickie. In wake of Blob's failed physics test, Magneto shows up and he makes clear he's a man who didn't get his education from Pat Robertson. He's a bit older. He's sporting a Mel Gibson style beard now as well. Yet he doesn't look anywhere near as crazy. Rather than go on some anti-Semitic rant, Magneto shows his powers aren't broken anymore by whipping up a little metal storm. So that makes two instances where mutants affected by M-Day and Avengers vs. X-men somehow shrug off their side-effects. I know that's only a minor detail, but again I haven't had enough shots of tequila to make me overlook such details. It's not too jarring, but if a drunk like me notices then the sober crowd out there will probably notice as well.

The details may be lacking, but there are only so many details necessary for a chase scene. That's basically what this is. Instead of guns, this involves mutant powers and that's what makes it 10 times more awesome. At least they don't have to reload off-screen like they do in every Mission Impossible movie. With help from Wasp, Havok shows that his powers sure as hell aren't broken. He unleashes a nasty blast that probably gives Magneto one of those "I'm too old for this shit" moments. He even manages to get Toad caught in the crossfire. I guess that means that even on a mutant utopia, Toad is still a pussy.

Havok and Wasp buy time, but Blob is still not willing to let explosions or gravity stand in his way. I'm guessing this guy really hated physics class in school. I see why Bill Nye is so worried about shitty education now. But Blob has already proven to be more inept than a drunk storm trooper so it's really no contest now. Wasp goes to take him on while Havok tries to finish what she couldn't in the previous issue, which was to destroy the temporal dam that kept them from using any Back to the Future gimmicks to undo the Apocalypse Twins' handiwork. I imagine something like this would have been really handy for Age of Ultron, but hindsight is like a sobriety test. It only shows how fucked we are when it's too late.

Wasp is able to make quick work of Blob and even throw in a few fat jokes. Hell, I'm surprised she resisted for this long. But Havok ends up having to confront Magneto. And not surprisingly, he's not too keen on the idea of undoing this mutant utopia that his daughter died to create. I also imagine he's not too fond of having to deal with us annoying humans again. I can't say I blame him. One episode of Duck Dynasty is all it takes for a guy like him to be okay with mass planetary genocide. But Magneto shows that he still doesn't know the full story. He still buys into the whole "Thor fucked everyone over in a drunken stupor" story. Granted, that story is probably more believable than any of the shit involving the Apocalypse Twins, but Havok isn't buying it.

While it still amounts to a glorified chase scene, there is at least a touch of drama added into this struggle. It's hard to root against Havok or Magneto in this instance. Havok wants to undo a cruel, genocidal trick. Magneto wants to preserve this mutant utopia while making sure he never has to go back to a world of bigotry, prejudice, and reality TV. It's basically a "do the right thing" vs. "shit happens so let's make the most of it" type deal. I'm sure plenty of people would love to go back in time and kill Hitler. But that would mean we would have no awesome World War II video games and where would the world be without those?

That's another debate though. And there's not much debate here. Havok just shoots Magneto in the face and escapes. So the drama is somewhat muted. At least it highlights the inescapable fact that some people are perfectly fine with a world built on a foundation that includes mass genocide. But it doesn't stay completely muted. In blasting Magneto, Havok gets tossed around like a crack pipe at a Rick Jame concert. And while Magneto gets roughed up like a hooker at said Rick James concert, he manages to capture Wasp. That effectively ends the chase because now it's not necessary. Now Havok has a reason to come to him. This is why guys like Blob probably cheated off of guys like Magneto in high school. He works smarter and not harder. Hell, that's the old mantra of Enron and since there's no SEC in Planet X, I imagine it's not frowned upon.

With so much chasing mixed with explosions and fat jokes, the substance for the story thus far has been pretty light. Hell, it doesn't need to be that elaborate. Havok and Wasp are just trying to travel to the past so they can undo the shit that the Apocalypse Twins unleashed. They spend most of this issue trying to keep their asses intact with Havok's inner monologue providing most of the depth. But I imagine many unsober minds like myself probably overlook that monologue at times and focus on the pretty explosions and the pretty women in skin tight outfits. That means a little extra substance goes a long way.

A good chunk of Havok's monologue was addressed to his daughter. Well after escaping Magneto, he manages to catch up with his daughter, Katie. She basically lives a very Anne Frank existence, hiding with Beast who Havok is hoping can send him into the past. He fucked Father Time in the ass before when he brought the O5 to the future. I imagine he's okay with doing it again. But adding Havok's daughter to the mix adds in a bit more urgency. It's a tender moment in an issue that involves old men getting shot in the face and fat guys getting their asses kicked by Sir Isaac Newton's laws of gravitation. However, this tender moment is also somewhat muted because it's built on a relationship between Havok and Wasp that really isn't all that epic. Hell, these two only flirted a bit in past issues. They're not Marvel's new power couple. Their love isn't nowhere near the epic love story that made Stephanie Meyer filthy fucking rich. It's basically just put together for the sake of adding more drama. It works in this context. It's just not going to get anybody's heart racing like the sight of a baby playing with a kitten.

But drama and epic love stories aren't going to fix this shit storm that the Apocalypse Twins kicked up. The whole reason why they're working so damn hard to destroy the temporal dam is because their buddy, Immortus, has gathered an A-team of future Marvel heroes to travel back in time and kick a little Apocalypse ass. Well that might sound good on paper, but then again I'm sure making Battlefield Earth into a movie sounded like a good idea at some point as well. While they managed to destroy the dam this time, the help they get doesn't come from Immortus. It comes from fucking Kang the Conqueror. Havok might have been better off trying to get help from Magneto, but he's somewhat past that point. Kang was the one that took the Apocalypse Twins in the first place and turned them into fucked up little tyrants. Who else is in a better position to unfuck them in the worst possible way? Plus, he has Thor, 2099 Doom, and a whole host of future Marvel characters backing him up. Even on a world dominated by mutants with Magneto acting as its protector, that makes for a much fairer fight.

This issue is part Fast and the Furious, part Back to the Future, and part Mission Impossible. With a combination like that, it sounds like it has way too much potential not to be awesome. And don't get me wrong. It is awesome. It's the kind of comic that's easy to read while drunk, stoned, or strung out on these weird green pills I got from this guy in a hoodie outside a gay bar. What keeps it from turning this potential into liquid awesome that could be injected like a fresh batch of heroin is that is there's not as much substance to match the style. It's like heroin that has been cut with chalk instead of baking soda or sugar. I don't mind it being cut. Drug dealers need to make their money too. It just needs to be cut in the right way. And while this issue did mix in some nice moments of drama and heart, it didn't do so in a way that will get anybody's panties wet. I give Uncanny Avengers #18 a 7 out of 10. But for those whose panties are soaked by the thought of extended chase scenes and fat guys getting roughed up, that score might be higher. Then again, style over substance that involves shit blowing up and fat guys getting humbled sounds downright American in some respects. So I guess only those who are true patriots or from Texas will get downright horny from this. Nuff said!


  1. God that second to last page... My feels! I loved that Remender remembered that wasp and mags hooked up in secret wars. -Shane

  2. This kind of reminded me of the Wolverine and the X-Men TV series when it comes to Genosha and the fact that not all mutants lived the good life and some were put through hard labor which the upper part knew nothing about except Magneto, since there might be a chance that not all mutants believe the lie and are perhaps gotten rid of by Eimin who was willing to sacrifice her own brother.

    This perfect world may have an ugly side to support it's existence, a steep price which isn't seen which perhaps means that someone else is paying the price to add to the number of how many lives were sacrifice on earth to create it.

  3. This has had a good start. There are shades of HOUSE OF M, which IMO was probably one of the best-written, dramatic and impactful stories in the X-Men pantheon. Will keep an eye on the story to see where it goes to...