Saturday, April 19, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #3

As any self-respecting drunk will admit, there are many things done wasted that are never done sober. Some acts are just so stupid that it requires hindering the function of certain areas of the brain to carry out. What sober mind would ever smear themselves in chocolate sauce, break into a sorority house, and ask if any of the girls is in the mood for an oversized candy bar? I’m not saying it’s a terrible idea. I’m just saying it’s easier to see how things will backfire when sober. It takes an astonishing level of weapons grade stupidity for someone in a sober mind to do something as crazy as lure a pissed off Wolverine and Storm into a trap. That’s like inviting a pyromaniac into a fireworks factory. But that’s exactly what the Phoenix Corporation did in the pages of Wolverine and the X-men when they abducted Kid Omega. Now in Wolverine and the X-men #3, they have to give Storm and Wolverine a reason not to horribly maim them. And they don’t have the luxury of blaming alcohol. In other words, it sucks to be them.

And the list of reasons to give the Phoenix Corporation the Enron treatment only keeps growing. The Odin wannabe who attacked Wolverine and Storm in the previous issue keeps on mind-fucking them. For some reason, this involves having he recall an essay that Genesis presented about differences. I guess it’s intended to provide context about the difference between individuals of a species. But it fails miserably. Spread some white out on it and nothing is lost. It really adds nothing to the story or the drama. I doubt it even succeeds at pissing off storm. But what does piss her off is reminding her that she’s claustrophobic. So perhaps the old man could have skipped a step. I can’t remember I ever found some kid reading a science essay engaging that didn’t involve sex ed.

Once Storm is sufficiently pissed off, she shakes off the telepathic mind-fucking in the same way most people shake off hangnails. It’s a beautiful thing and Wolverine even acknowledges it with a little monologue. I’m pretty sure he has a raging boner too, but he wouldn’t be the only one. She hits him hard with some lightning and makes it clear that she doesn’t appreciate being mind-fucked and she appreciates it even less when some creepy old guy threatens her students, which is why I’m pretty sure the Vatican has never paid a visit to the Jean Grey Institute. I agree with Wolverine that watching Storm unleash her badassery is a beautiful thing. It’s just really hard to hide a boner.

The old man wisely figures out that he has very little chance against a pissed off Storm. He already revealed his plan. He needs to take down Genesis to prevent a future where a clash between him and a Phoenix-powered Kid Omega turns the planet into burnt toast. So he goes back to playing on easy mode, mind-fucking some of the bamfs that tagged along to lend support. He has them transport him back to the Jean Grey Institute where he would then have to face an army of teenage mutants. That’s still better than facing a pissed off Storm, but not by much.

But the mind-fucking doesn’t end there. Not by a longshot. The Phoenix Corporation abducted Kid Omega and the only way to really get through to him is either through mind-fucking or beautiful naked women. I guess the Phoenix Corporation doesn’t have enough beautiful naked women so the CEO, Eden Young, goes with the mind-fucking route. I still say that’s almost as foolish as pissing off Storm and Wolverine, but Entron and Worldcom have already shown that successful corporations don’t have to be smart. They just have to be brazen.

The inside of Kid Omega’s mind is one part planetarium and two parts Steven King. Kid Omega acts like his usual teenage self with his typical teenage arrogance, not taking Young or the Phoenix Corporation very seriously. Then Young leads him through his mind, showing him mental doors that he claims nobody ever dares open. However, not much is behind those doors. There’s no mental pictures of Janet Reno in a thong or Chris Farley getting a prostate exam. For some reason seeing Kid Omega give Wolverine a haircut is terrifying. I honestly don’t know why this is part of Kid Omega’s psyche. With hair like his, how could the barber be that terrifying? It’s just as confusing and ineffective as Genesis’s essay.

The only one who seems to be accomplishing anything and working with equal parts bravado and cunning is the old man. Having decided to quit before Storm could shove a tornado up his ass, he appears at the Jean Grey Institute where all he has opposing him is Doop, a living island, and a bunch of inexperienced teenagers who know more about Facebook than they do about combat. It’s a short yet satisfying fight. Doop doesn’t do much, as is his nature. And Karoka only provides a welcome bit of muscle to what has been a mostly psychic battle. But in the end, the old man still wins out and he does it without plagerizing Magneto, Dr. Doom, or Sinister. He’s kind of becoming awesome is what I’m saying here and I usually don’t say that about creepy old guys that aren’t named George Carlin.

It’s not terribly creepy inside Kid Omega’s mind, which I have a hard time believing. Eden Young takes him into a few more doors that lead him to a Temple of Doom type setting where he basically gives Kid Omega a quick lecture on the Phoenix. But like Genesis’s essay, it doesn’t really contribute much. He says nothing that can’t also be found on Wikipedia. The Phoenix is a primordial cosmic force. It was there at the very beginning of creation. It seeks out those capable of wielding its flame. Blah fucking blah. Kid Omega takes it about as seriously John Goodman takes his health. I still think Young would have been better off resorting to beautiful naked women. Kid Omega is a fucking kid for crying out loud. Does he really think that these boring lectures are going to be that effective? He strikes me as the kind of guy who might think abstinence only sex education is a good idea.

The only point Eden Young is trying to make here is that Kid Omega is the next vessel for the Phoenix. But Kid Omega already knows this. He saw his older self from the future for crying out loud. He doesn’t need a fucking lecture to remind him. Even teenagers aren’t that absent-minded. Then Eden Young claims that the teachers at the Jean Grey Institute are holding him back. He thinks he can somehow take his Phoenix potential and help him realize it. Still, Kid Omega isn’t buying it. At this point, the pitch could be tattooed on the back of Emma Stone’s ass and he still wouldn’t give a shit. It gives the impression that the Phoenix Corporation just wasted their time and over half the issue.

That’s why it’s such a relief to see Wolverine and Storm put a stop to the mind-fucking and take their frustrations out on Eden Young. He might as well have been talking to a brick wall. At least a brick wall doesn’t have the annoying attitude of someone like Kid Omega. They’re both ready to put a stop to his shit. He didn’t just abduct one of their students. He took a big shit on Jean Grey’s name. That’s a big no-no for the X-men. It gives the impression that the Phoenix Corporation risked an awful lot by pissing off the X-men and getting jack shit in return. If they really thought they could convince a renegade teenager like Kid Omega to join their little club, then they’re even worse than Enron.

That doesn’t mean it’s a completely uneven fight. It just starts out that way. Once again, Storm and Wolverine get mind-fucked. But this time, it’s not from Eden Young. It comes from Kid Omega. It’s very unclear why or how. Young claims that he just opened more doors in his mind that reveals the terrible shit he’s going to have to do in the future with Apocalypse. But the battle doesn’t stay even for long. Kid Omega is easy to piss off as well. And the quickest way to piss of a teenager is to try to force them on a particular fate. Any failed catholic school girl is proof of this. He doesn’t just turn on Eden Young. He reveals that the man isn’t all that young and good looking either. He’s a creepy old guy running a corporation that has a bunch of cult-like minions. Maybe he should’ve stuck to Scientology.

The old man from earlier still proves himself to be the most effective fighter of the bunch. After he subdues Karoka, he pays his respects to the grave of Jean Grey like any skilled psychic ought to. He even reveals his name as Faithful John Break-Sky, which I’m now thinking of naming my penis. Faithful John gives the impression that he’s on a mission and that he knows both Jean Grey and the students. Since Wolverine: Days of Futures Past (with the X-men as guest stars) is coming out in a few weeks, he could certainly be a time traveler. And he’s by far the most likable time traveler to come along since Marty McFly. This still doesn’t stop the students of the Jean Grey Institute to confront him, led by Idie. For a guy who just took on Storm and Wolverine as warm up, it’s not a fair fight. But again, the man isn’t Freddy Kruger. He’s on a different kind of mission and that mission doesn’t involve tormenting kids and laughing in the most annoyingly sadistic way possible.

Once again, the battle turns into a mind-fuck. Unlike Eden Young’s failed efforts, Faithful John finds a better way to get the job done. But enough about my penis. The old man shows Idie and all the students the dark future that he’s trying to prevent. This includes revealing to Genesis the apocalyptic asshole that he’s destined to become. While I know it’s a dick move to try and lay out a teenager’s future, this is one instance where a little foresight is probably a good idea. I still don’t think it’ll be all that effective. These are still teenagers. But it has a much more potent impact than anything the rest of the Phoenix Corporation has done. If nothing else, it should cement Faithful John as employee of the year.

I think it says a lot about this book when Faithful John Break-Sky is the most interesting character in the issue. That’s not to say that others don’t contribute. But he’s really the driving force of the story. The Phoenix Corporation reminds me too much of a Mitt Romney speech. It has a lot of words, but says jack shit. They don’t end up doing that much with Kid Omega. He’s still destined to become the Phoenix. Why the fuck did the Phoenix Corporation have to make a big deal about it? All they did was piss off Wolverine and Storm while mind-fucking Kid Omega. Maybe there will be a payoff, but the impact is painfully light. I can only give Wolverine and the X-men #3 a 6 out of 10. The success of future issues are now entirely contingent by how much Faithful John is involved. He’s the only one that seems to be doing anything remotely interesting. And when a pissed off Wolverine and Storm cease to be interesting, that’s cause for concern. Nuff said!

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