Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #19

I’ve made my share of enemies over the years. Most of them involve ex-girlfriends, relatives and family of ex-girlfriends, and militant traffic cops that may or may not be conspiring against me with my ex-girlfriends. So I know the value of being able to stay a step ahead of those who would like to see me publicly crucified in Times Square. I’m not going to say it’s easy avoiding people and being on the run. I’ll just say that in an era where every dipshit with a phone thinks they’re a photographer, it’s getting increasingly difficult. So I can only imagine how difficult it is for Havok in Uncanny Avengers right now. He’s not just on the run from some pissed off father whose daughter now has handprints permanently affixed to her ass cheeks. He’s running from an entire fucking planet of mutants. The Earth is gone and Planet X is all that remains, courtesy of a massive Celestial conspiracy orchestrated by the Apocalypse Twins. Havok is trying to expose that conspiracy and fix the past. And somehow he managed to knock up Wasp in the process. He’s either really reckless or incredibly efficient. Now I have my share of criticisms of Havok. I still think he’s a douche, but any man who can manage to hook up with a beautiful woman while being a fugitive is okay in my book. That’s why I’m going to try and cut him some slack as I review Uncanny Avengers #19. I can’t guarantee that I’ll try very hard, but even a drunk is capable of making a concerted effort.

Effort or not, the circumstances are working against Havok in a major way. After destroying the Tachyon Dam in the previous issue, he has opened the door to undoing Earth’s destruction. And Eimin isn’t too keen on him undoing all her hard work and deceit. So she naturally uses more hard work and deceit to convince the X-Council to go after Havok. Who is the X-Council? It’s part X-men and part old fucks. It includes Magneto, Storm, Cable, Cyclops, Psylocke, and Jean Grey, who remarkably hasn’t gone Xorna on anyone. Guess separating her from all those annoying humans was therapeutic.

There is some good discussion here. Cyclops, Jean, Cable, and the rest of the Council don’t come off as total assholes and jump on the “Let’s kill Havok!” bandwagon. They’re reluctant because the idea that Havok may have a way to save the Earth does matter to them. Almost everyone is intrigued by the possibility, except for Magneto. He has just gotten too comfortable not having to deal with those pesky humans. While Planet X hasn’t turned Magneto into less of an asshole, it does show that the X-Council isn’t aware of what Eimin did to destroy the Earth in the first place. As far as they know, she’s just the one that saw it coming and worked with the Scarlet Witch to save the mutant race before it was too late. They have a lot of reasons to trust her is what I’m saying. If someone saved my house and all my beer and comics from a nuclear blast, I would gladly trust that person to operate on my balls.

Trust is a much bigger problem on Havok’s side. He’s stuck trusting Kang and a bunch of time displaced alternate characters that I wouldn’t trust to wash my car. But they all have something going for them. Their timelines got nullified by the Apocalypse Twins. They’re more than a little motivated to screw them over in ways that would give Rush Limbaugh a boner. But to do that, they can’t just go back in time in a Delorean and avoid boning their mother. They have to rip a page right out of Days of Futures Past and send their consciousness back. And Havok can’t do it alone either. He has to get the surviving members of the Unity Squad together and go back as a team. That way they all basically have a cheat guide with which to beat the Apocalypse Twins.

I’m normally not too fond of blatant rip-offs that aren’t porn parodies. I hope I’ve made that point abundantly clear on this blog with my hatred of Hope fucking Summers. But there are rare cases where I’m okay with certain plots and stories being recycled like a used beer bottle. Sometimes shit just works. In my experience new ideas just for the sake of new ideas is the first step towards some seriously dumb ideas. And when it comes to undoing the shit storm triggered by the Apocalypse Twins, there’s not much room for dumb ideas.

Havok is understandably reluctant to trust a bunch of dimensionally displaced assholes with his consciousness. That’s like trusting a hobo in Rio to do open heart surgery. Even his daughter, Katie Summers, is smart enough to know it’s a shitty idea. Kang even seems to show a little sympathy. It is a tough position, potentially sacrificing his daughter to save the billions of lives that were snuffed out on Earth. It’s an emotional moment that has the potential to make for a very emotional decision. Then Kang remembers that he’s an asshole and makes that decision for Havok.

In a dick move that’s right up there with getting the Earth destroyed, Kang takes Katie from Havok and disappears with her. He doesn’t give him any say in the matter. Havok has to trust these assholes with his consciousness and once the Earth is saved, he’ll return his daughter. I know I throw the term “dick move” around on this blog as much as any dick joke. But this really takes it to another level. It’s not enough that Kang is responsible for raising the Apocalypse Twins and turning them into the kind of assholes that blow up a fucking planet. He has to fuck with Havok’s daughter. He’s officially entered Brett Ratner territory in terms of being an asshole.

Havok is understandably pissed, especially at Thor for teaming up with this asshole. But at least now he’s motivated. He’s now like a pit bull that smells a steak hanging from a female pitbull’s ass. And his first task in unfucking the future is to rescue the Unity Team, which includes Sunfire and Wolverine. And boy does it suck to be these two. Since they know way too much about Eimin’s bullshit, she has kept them imprisoned and immobile. She even has Wolverine constantly being set on fire, probably just for shits and giggles. She even has Banshee and Daken guarding them. It presents more than a daunting challenge. It’s also somewhat of a plot hole.

Let me restate the situation in case anyone missed it. Wolverine and Sunfire survived the destruction of Earth. Eimin said that every mutant was saved that day. And she has kept them in a state of suspended animation and unending torment ever since without the X-Council knowing? I know Cyclops doesn’t like Wolverine that much, but he likes him enough to get drunk with him. He sure as hell wouldn’t appreciate Eimin doing this to him. And Storm has slept with the guy. She sure as hell wouldn’t appreciate it, even if Eimin is the savior of the mutant race. So how the hell has Eimin kept this from the X-Council all this time? Keep in mind, it contains two powerful telepaths in Jean Grey and Psylocke. I’m not saying she can’t keep a secret, but this is something that I imagine had to have crossed their minds at some point.

Eimin seems to understand this on some levels. She even reveals her plans to kill the X-Council won’t bother her about this issue. Not only that, she intends to frame Kang for their deaths so that she can essentially solidify her power on Planet X to a level that has never been achieved outside Donald Trump’s wet dreams. She even makes a very relevant observation when Daken points out that the mutants might not be too happy with seeing their X-men champions murdered. In a speech that would make Apocalypse himself gush with pride, she tells him that these mutants are like humans in that they’ll believe what makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside rather than question it. It’s the primary foundation for every major religion and doomsday cult. It’s a dick move. But as the Pope himself can attest, it fucking works.

Havok goes to work trying to fuck up Eimin’s plans in the worst possible way and I can’t help but root for him. I know. I’m shocked and a little uncomfortable. But I’ve dealt with worse discomfort. I’ve sat through traffic court on a vacation. His first step is to take a team and free Wasp, who got captured in the previous issue. She’s part of the Unity Team as well so that means she has to have her consciousness sent back as well. It promises to be a dangerous mission. And this isn’t wholly wrong. It just happens in a way that for Havok probably feels like multiple kicks to the balls.

Wasp unexpectedly arrives at their pace, alive and in one piece. So just like that, their first mission is accomplished, right? Fuck no. She’s a human on a planet of mutants. That means she’s either bait or a zoo exhibit. And Cyclops, Magneto, and the X-Council are the ones doing the fishing and it fucking works. With Psylocke controlling Wasp, she leads them right to Havok and his team. They’re still under Eimin’s deception so they don’t know they’re being fucked over as well. They just know Havok is about to fuck up their peaceful mutant utopia.

The battle that follows is visceral, even if it isn’t quite as epic compared to other battles in this series. The bar gets raised pretty fucking high when some of those battles involve Celestials. There’s some nice firepower exchanged by Storm, 2099 Doom, and an asshole version of Psylocke that looks like my old algebra teacher. But the biggest fight is naturally between Cyclops and Havok.

Now this battle had the potential to be the same bullshit that has plagued every Havok/Cyclops battle since Avengers vs. X-men. Havok bitches and moans about Cyclops being a tyrant while Cyclops bitches and moans about Havok’s bitching. It could have easily been another case where Cyclops is made into a villain to cover for Havok’s bitching. But that isn’t necessarily the case here. It’s still there to some extent, but only for those who forget that Cyclops doesn’t know the truth about Eimin’s bullshit. He also doesn’t know that Eimin is planning to murder his ass and everyone else he cares about. That’s why rooting for Havok this time doesn’t make me want to throw up. I can save that shit for hangovers where it belongs.

But Cyclops vs. Havok Round 239 doesn’t go by fast enough for Magneto’s tastes. While Cyclops clearly holds back in fighting his brother, Magneto isn’t so sympathetic and not just because he’s not fond of going back to a time where he has to deal with bigoted humans again. The whole reason Planet X exists and thrives is because of the sacrifice that the Scarlet Witch made. Havok is looking to undo that and while Magneto may be a shitty father, he’s more than willing to defend her sacrifice. That means ripping Havok away from his battle with Cyclops and preparing to murder his ass right and be done with it. While I do root for Havok, I also sympathize with Magneto to some extent. Then I remember that I’m sympathizing with a guy who probably piss on the ashes of Earth and is okay with full blown murder. So that sympathy is more short-lived than Patton Oswald’s stint on Agents of SHIELD.

All the while, Eimin is watching this and probably resisting the urge to masturbate to it. The X-Council is basically doing their work for her and has no idea that she’s preparing to murder their ass. Even I have to admit that’s a pretty good plan, even if it is full with multiple dick moves. That doesn’t make it any less refreshing when Thor, Iron Man, an Abomination/Deathlok hybrid, and a version of Spider-Man with a kickass costume bust in before she can break out her vibrator. Few characters in the Marvel universe are more deserving of an ass-kicking than Eimin at this point. So seeing Thor stand over her, looking ready to hammer her head through her ass, just gives me wonderful feelings in my pants.

The biggest accomplishment of this comic is that it put a plan in place to undo the Apocalypse Twins’ bullshit. Sure, it blatantly ripped off Days of Futures Past. But if this story was going to rip off anything, it might as well rip off the second greatest X-men story of all time. The second biggest accomplishment of this comic is that it made me root for Havok without also making me want to throw up. And it isn’t just because now he has to save his daughter. Now he also has to save Cyclops, Storm, and everyone else on the X-Council from being murdered by Eimin. And the X-Council doesn’t know just how fucked they are. That makes Havok’s struggle sympathetic, but he’s still a douche. It’s not enough to overlook some of the larger plot holes. But I’ve seen bigger holes in Kristen Stewart’s acting. And these are holes that can be fixed easily in future issues. That’s why I give Uncanny Avengers #19 an 8 out of 10. Make no mistake. Eimin is basically becoming a sun-burned Apocalypse with boobs. Nice boobs can make people overlook many flaws, but not in this case. Putting boobs on an Apocalypse wannabe only demeans the sanctity of boobs. Nuff said!


  1. I really hope Banshee returns from the dead and joins the team. And I swear to God, if Remender kills the kid... -Shane

  2. Any reason Beast went back to the feline form? Because I really do wish it would stick. Yeah, I know, I am in the miniscule minority, but I felt Morrison and Quitely were really onto something changing up Beast's form. They used the Beast design aesthetic from the black and white French classic movie La Belle et la Bete as a basic template for their New X-Men Beast. Oh, well.