Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: X-men #12
Some days it really feels like the world is conspiring against me and it’s not just the days I wake up in my ex-girlfriend’s basement handcuffed to a radiator with a strange burn mark on my ass. Sometimes it just feels like I’ve got a shitty luck streak going. I hit every red light, my internet connection slows down, or the liquor store is out of my favorite brand of whiskey. It’s like karma is a fucking Bond villain and I’m a much less coordinated James Bond. I imagine the X-men get that same feeling much more often. But I also imagine that their sentiment is based more on actual fact and less on just drunken brooding. In Brian Wood’s all female X-men, they’ve been dealing with an enemy that has been conspiring against them in Arkea and she has been doing a damn good job of it. She has reconvened the Sisterhood and she makes staying ahead of the X-women look way too damn easy. She now has Selene on her side and Goblin Queen is about to join her. In many ways that makes her better than a Bond villain because it skips the part where some creepy old guy has a woman way too beautiful at his side. Since there are enough creepy old guys, I’m willing to give X-men #12 some extra points from the get-go. But given the lukewarm results of the previous few issues, I won’t be giving much.
The less-than-shocking end with Ana Cortes saying “fuck this” and stabbing herself didn’t make too many waves. And maybe that’s a good thing because it didn’t need to be more chaotic or fucked up than it already was. She stabs herself, Arkea shrugs it off, and then she brings her back to life. Yes, it is a dick move even by her standards. But I guess it really is just that hard to find good henchmen these days, especially ones that look so damn good in skin-tight outfits. The problem is that she has basically revealed that there are cracks in Arkea’s control. If one spoiled Paris Hilton wannabe can break her hold, then what hope does Akrea have of maintaining that hold? She really doesn’t do shit other than bring Lady Deathstrike back into the fold and if Lady Deathstrike turns on Akrea, she’s definitely going to put up more of a fight than a fucking Paris Hilton wannabe.
In the end she may not have to because bringing Ana Cortes/Lady Deathstrike back from the dead is basically just a warm-up. While it was only a cruel cock-tease in the previous issue, the boners can finally rise freely this time. It’s official now. Madelyne Pryor is back. Her resurrection isn’t shown. Hell, the only thing we see is her walking around in a towel and putting on a sexy new outfit that looks like a cross between a stripper and Hillary Clinton. Honestly, I’ll gladly take that over any fancy resurrection scene.
Just like Selene, Madelyne Pryor shows her appreciation for being brought back to the world of the living. It doesn’t look like she’ll pull the same stunt as Ana. Having been a disembodied spirit previously who probably got sick of watching Cyclops hump Emma Frost, I imagine she’ll gladly kiss Akrea for bringing her back. My penis badly wants this to happen, but it doesn’t sadly. Even so, this issue is already worth its price to see Madelyne Pryor alive in the flesh again and not as some bullshit disembodied spirit. Now every penis not attached to Cyclops can rejoice. The Goblin Queen is back and she’s got some pretty dangerous bitches as her allies.
Her resurrection comes at a critical time as well. For the past few issues, Arkea and the Sisterhood have stayed a step ahead of the all-female X-men. They even managed to rough them up on a few occasions. If Arkea was a Bond villain, this would usually be the part where James Bond waits for her to fuck up and/or seduce her sister/daughter/wife/confidante/etc. Sadly, there’s no need for seduction this time. The all-female X-men don’t need the cunning of James Bond. They just need the vast resources of the Jean Grey Institute and help from Arkea’s brother, John Sublime, who has many reasons to screw her over. I said they didn’t need the same cunning. I never said it would be that impressive.
It’s a somewhat bland method of putting the team in a position to confront the Sisterhood. They just track Akrea to a single location, revealing that Ana Cortes tipped them off at some point that isn’t made all that clear. It allows them to finally catch up to the Sisterhood before they can slip away again and launch their attack. Now this isn’t one of those occasions where the details are sorely lacking. They’re there, but they’re just undeveloped. Had I read this comic sober, I might have had a problem with that. But my penis is too excited about the prospect of an all-female battle and I usually defer to my penis in these instances.
The all-female X-men lead with their big gun, namely Monet. She actually has a lot of incentive to be the first one to throw a punch and not just because she has the strength a million teenage girls with bad PMS. In an earlier issue, the Enchantress really fucked her up and not in a way I could masturbate to either (although I tried). She actually almost killed Monet. Well Monet made sure she regretted not finishing the job because when she lands, she knocks the Enchantress into a fucking crater. It’s an effective strategy, taking out the Asgardian who could really fuck up the battle with her magic. But that’s only secondary for Monet. She doesn’t just badly injure the Enchantress. She adds a few generous taunts that would probably get her ejected from a football game unless she was named Terrell Owens. Now I’m not much of a Monet fan, but this scene made me love her and fear her. And that’s a win-win for any beautiful woman, hero or villain.
With their hot blond magic wilder down for the count, Arkea is in half-fuckton of trouble. She probably didn’t anticipate Ana screwing her over like this so now she has to get through the all-female X-men. And these are the same all-female X-men that beat her once before in an earlier arc. But during that arc, she didn’t have allies in Selene or Madelyne Pryor. So when Storm and Rachel Grey confront her while she’s trying to slip out, they generously help repay Arkea for bringing them back to life. This means Arkea fucks with Storm’s lightning while Madelyne Pryor mind-fucks Rachel. I’m sure it doesn’t soak her panties as much as it would if she were mind-fucking Cyclops, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying it. The battle itself isn’t really that epic or that flashy. But it’s Madelyne Pryror’s first real battle since Reagan was still President. It can’t exactly be Wrestlemania.
The fight between Psylocke and Typhoid Mary is slightly more epic and by that I mean lopsided. The battle began with Psylocke taunting Typhoid Mary psychically. This made her look more vulnerable than a wounded bunny in a den of hungry wolves. Then when Psylocke actually attacks, Typhoid Mary might as well be an anorexic cheerleader in a sumo wrestling match. It’s still a more detailed battle, filled with the kind of action that could only be more awesome if they did it in their underwear covered in bacon grease. Typhoid Mary does put up somewhat of a fight, but Psylocke overmatches her in way too many ways. She even reminds her that as soon as they beat Arkea, then she goes back to being just another obscure redhead with multiple personalities. And now that Jean Grey is back in the X-books, she has no chance.
For a while, it looks like the battle with Arkea will be more balanced. She is packing a lot more firepower than Typhoid Mary. However, any advantage she might have had against Storm and Rachel quickly disappears the moment a pissed off Monet catches up with her. And since the body Arkea is inhabiting isn’t exactly the Hulk, she’s also overmatched. She tries pointing out that she’s a fucking plague who has infested most of the planet. Then the all-female X-men team point out that they still have John Sublime on their side, who may or may not have a boner for Rachel Grey, and he has been all too eager to help them screw her over. So they have already neutralized her little infestation. Psylocke and Omega Sentinel even catch up, making sure she has nowhere to fucking run.
But what about the Black Queen and the Goblin Queen? Why aren’t they coming to her aid? Well this is where it doesn’t really take much cunning. It only takes a little mild diplomacy, namely the kind that gives George W. Bush and Dick Cheney migraines. Storm basically makes a deal with them. They’ll allow them to walk away and won’t bother them if they just let them fuck up Arkea. Seeing as how Arkea was looking to control them and that already lead Ana Cortes to stab herself, it’s not an unreasonable move. Since they both just came back to the world of the living, I imagine they’ll want to visit a few spas before they risk getting killed by the X-men and/or ex-husbands again. So they ditch Arkea just as Ana did, minus the stabbing. Hell, they come out as the only winners in this battle because they got resurrected and didn’t have to do a damn thing to repay it. They basically skipped the part where they had to become mindless zombies and like hitting a jackpot in Las Vegas, it’s best to quit while they’re ahead before they blow too much of their winnings on booze and hookers.
With no more Sisterhood to back her up, Arkea is defeated in an exceedingly inglorious way. Monet uses a special gun that John Sublime helped them make. It destroys Arkea, but doesn’t kill the host. So everybody else wins while Arkea loses. There are no hard decisions to make like the first time and there’s not much drama. It makes for a somewhat muted end. The only thing that does add some sense of drama is Omega Sentinel’s announcement that she’s not going back to the Jean Grey Institute. She would rather run off with Gabriel and probably reenact scenes from 50 Shades of Grey on a beach in Tahiti. None of the other X-women blame her. At least one of them should end up with a handsome man who isn’t as creepy as John Sublime. It might as well be Omega Sentinel, the first girl that Arkea screwed over.
While her departure isn’t all that heartfelt, it is fitting. Omega Sentinel was a major player in Arkea’s first attack. She also hasn’t really done much to distinguish herself in this book or any of the other X-books. She’s basically a D-list character trying to find an opening where there is none. With Monet back in the fold and the X-books crowded with kick-ass women, she might as well take a vacation. I’m sure the others will envy her. At least she won’t have to be involved when Selene and Madelyne Pryror come back around to make them regret being so diplomatic. She doesn’t need to be Vladimir Putin to know how that shit is going to turn out.
The ending to the Arkea battle wasn’t too spectacular, but it was satisfying. The same can’t be said for the other plot that has been convoluting the story for the past few issues. For whatever reason, a story about a bunch of C-list X-men fighting a bunch of rusted Sentinels is seen as a story worth telling. I can see that being a side-plot to a single issue, but this shit has already lasted three issues and I smoke way too much weed to pay that kind of attention. There’s nothing all that interesting here. Jubilee survives a surprise attack. Kid Omega shows up to flaunt his shit like Ron Jeremy in a locker room. The Sentinels just crumble in the most predictable manner possible.
The only real substance here is some poorly developed lesbian side-plot and not of the sexy kind. Roxy has been trying to cop a feel from Mercury the past few issues. It resulted with Mercury punching Roxy in the face. I’m sure if Roxy had balls, those would have been kicked as well. But not much comes of that. They just agree to get along. They don’t even try to make out. It’s by far the worst lesbian love story since Rosanne’s stint on The View. There’s no suspense and really no connection with the Arkea plot. It’s so forgettable that after a few bong hits, it might as well have never happened.
Once again, this issue was divided into two separate plots. One plot was awesome and the other was more forgettable than Dennis Rodman’s acting career. But this time, the plot that was awesome took up most of the issue while the plot that sucked was cleaned up like a crusted over scab. While I wouldn’t have minded if the whole rusted Sentinel battle was replaced by a single panel of Jubilee filing her nails and spitting on the wreckage, I do think there’s something to be said about a shitty plot actually being seen through to the end. A drunk like me would have just taken a “let’s not and say we did approach” before getting another case of whiskey. That way if I pass out drunk, I have an excuse. Well there were no excuses made for this issue. It bit the bullet and finished the story. And at least one of those endings was pretty damn satisfying and not just because it left the door open for Selene and Madelyne Pryor to run around in black lingerie. The story with Monet, Arkea, and Lady Deathstrike effectively ended. It wasn’t terribly epic, but it worked. I give X-men #12 a 7 out of 10. In the future, pitting Jubilee and a team of C-list X-men against an army of rusted Sentinels need not cut into an actual story. Just make it a Danger Room simulation or one of Wolverine’s hangover cures, and it works just as well. Nuff said!