Monday, April 21, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: X-men #13
In all my experience with comic books, alcohol, and life in general, I've learned time and again that the best intentions are the easiest to fuck up. Think about the guy who invented ski masks. I'm sure he was just a nice guy who wanted to find a better way for people to keep their heads warm in the winter. Did he honestly believe that thieves and muggers wouldn't use it to commit crimes and become the bad guys in every cop movie ever made? I doubt it, but that wasn't his intention. The X-men, and every superhero team for that matter, usually has noble intentions. Even the anti-heroes aren't complete assholes with their intentions. But I wouldn't put Jubilee in the category of an anti-hero. She's too lovable and fun. But earlier in the latest adjectiveless X-men series, she willingly adopted an infant baby who Arkea used to try and wipe out all life on the planet. It's an act that should make her a hero among the pro-life crowd. Sure, she's a vampire and a fun-loving teenager, two things that I'm sure piss off that same crowd. But there's no denying her noble intentions. They haven't screwed her over yet, but that's what's supposed to happen in X-men #13. I almost dread seeing how something so noble can become so shitty. But like major accident involving a Hummer and a truck full of dildos, I can't look away.
Also like accidents involving Hummers, this comic sets the tone by introducing the kind of asshole who would willingly crash into a truck full of cancer medicine. He has no name and he looks like he belongs on a sex offender's list. But he's not just some random guy. He's a random guy who happens to be one of those prisoners that's so dangerous that he has to be transferred from undisclosed locations by armed soldiers and drugged. They must have shitty drug dealers because this same random guy shows that he can beat the shit out of trained soldiers and make it look easy. So he's also the dangerous kind of random guy who probably drives multiple Hummers. But what makes him relevant to this story is that he's Shogo's father. And for reasons I can only assume have to do with not paying child support, he wants to get his kid back.
This random guy is choosing a shitty time to attack the Jean Grey Institute. They just got done beating Arkea and the Sisterhood of Mutants. That makes them considerably more tough than a bunch of soldiers. On top of that, they're all badass women. So they can kill most random guys and look damn sexy while doing it.
Monet is no exception. She recently joined the team and showed that she can kick a fair amount of ass. Yet being the obsessive perfectionist usually reserved for an honor student at a Korean Prep School, she keeps on training and she uses Rockslide as a punching bag. That's right, she considers rocks punching bags. She has to use something tough because the Sisterhood of Mutants are still out there. Arkea may be dead, but Selene and the Goblin Queen are still out there. That means she needs to be prepared to hit hard and break shit. I want to feel sorry for Rockslide, but getting beat up by a beautiful woman isn't the worst thing in the world. Hell, it's one of the ways I hope to die.
There's no question that the X-women are going to be well-trained for any asshole that thinks they can bust into the Jean Grey Institute and take Jubilee's adopted kid. However, the Arkea battle also revealed a bit of a schism in the leadership of the X-women. It's nowhere near as hostile as the schism with Wolverine and Cyclops, but it is a concern.
The divide comes from Rachel and Storm. In order to beat Arkea, they had to let Selene and the Goblin Queen go. Rachel had a problem with that and it's not unreasonable. Sure, they beat Arkea. But that's like killing Hitler, but letting Mussolini go. It was a tough decision and it has the team questioning Storm's leadership. And Storm doesn't like that. She's not hardheaded and stubborn like Cyclops, willing to just suck it up and move forward. Then again, she doesn't have Cyclops's Galactus-sized balls. Psylocke encourages her to take charge and stop being so reserved about her leadership style. It's not bad advice. And if Storm is lucky, maybe she can also make Maria Hill want to bone her.
But it's not all bitterness and division with the X-women. With Arkea gone, Jubilee is basically out of danger and free to rebuild her life as a teen vampire mother of an infant. I sure hope Stephanie Meyer isn't reading this because that might give her some ideas. In previous issues, she already went through the process of officially adopting Shogo. Beast is even nice enough to take a break from being a massive furry douche who fucks up the timeline and gives him a checkup. Shogo is declared perfectly healthy. Jubilee still isn't sure about her role with the X-men at this point. But she's getting free health care, a free room, and all the food Doop can cook. Most single mothers would agree that's a pretty sweet deal.
If only Rachel Grey could share Jubilee's upbeat mood. I honestly wish Rachel Grey could share something because she has basically been an afterthought since she came back from space with Havok and Polaris. She didn't really do dick in Avengers vs. X-men. She has had only a few awkward moments with the O5 X-men. And for some fucked up reason, there was this romantic sub-plot between her and John Sublime that was so subtle that it might as well have been a ninja. For someone of her history and heritage, that's just fucking wrong. But I digress.
Rachel is still a recluse, basically hanging out in the darkest hole of the Jean Grey Institute that isn't related to Beast's ass. She doesn't do much other than add a little closure to the Arkea story, showing how John Sublime left. And this time, there was no romantic subplot. John Sublime just left on a bitter note, becoming an asshole again and Rachel Grey gave him the proverbial finger. If only she could do that more often. The X-men can never have enough badass redheads.
The X-women all have their share of issues. They're all still recovering from the Arkea battle. However, they have no fucking clue that someone is coming for Shogo. And given how Arkea only partially succeeded in attacking the Jean Grey Institute, what are the odds that this new asshole will do any better?
Well he does get their attention in the most graphic way possible. During a seemingly innocent game of mutant baseball, Primal is shot. There's no sound of a gunshot. There's no warning. And none of the omega level telepaths pick it up. Primal just hits the ground wounded. Either the shooter is really fucking good or they're on the kinds of drugs that Barry Bonds would kill for. While I have a soft spot for Primal and I consider this a dick move, it does send the necessary message.
Naturally, Primal gets rushed to the infirmary and the Jean Grey Institute goes into lock down, which seems to happen at least twice a week. Makes me wonder if they ever even bother with fire drills. But Beast and the institute staff are able to save him. They even find out that the shot wasn't meant to kill Primal at all. It was just supposed to wound him. Like I said, it sent the right message. I guess sending a horse head just wasn't enough.
But Primal isn't the only target. Late at night with the Jean Grey Institute still presumably on lockdown, Roxy comes out for a little stroll. I don't know why a teenage girl is out walking the halls late at night. I gave up trying to understand teenage girls in high school when I found out that one had a picture of Mark Whalberg lodged in her vagina. But Roxy is just out walking until she gets a quick drink. Then she collapses faster than an ex-Mormon doing their first bong hit. It's not as bloody as what happened to Primal, but it sends another powerful message. It's really not clear what that message is or how this shit is happening, but it clearly shows that this is one resourceful motherfucker.
The only one who gets a clear message in the end is Jubilee. She comes in her room, rocking out to her iPod like any teenage mother would, minus the regret and self-esteem issues. Then she gets a scary message on her phone from Shogo's father. This time the message is pretty fucking clear. He wants Shogo back or he'll kill everyone in the Jean Grey Institute. And after what he has shown with Primal and Roxy, he's already proven he's capable of doing just that. The nature of this guy's power isn't clear. It's a bit overly subtle, sort of like some of the other details in recent issues of X-(Wo)men. But it's not terribly ambiguous this time. Nobody needs to use their imagination to know what the threat is. To me, that means I don't have to be sober to enjoy it and that's a big win for me.
It would have been fine to end the comic here, even if it was short. But for reasons that I can only attribute to excessive cocaine use, recent issues of X-men have been truncated to make room for these other side-stories that don't do jack shit for the main plot. In the previous issues, it involved a battle against a bunch of rusted Sentinels. It was essentially like watching a fight between Optimus Prime and a Roomba. It wasn't all that compelling. All it did was give a few C and D-list characters some face time.
Well that must have not been enough because now we're getting another side-plot with a bunch of D-listers that include Hellion, Rockslide, Broo, and Anole. They haven't contributed shit to this story and they give the impression that one of their classmates getting shot is no big deal. That shows they have shitty school pride and they're shitty friends as well. So instead of fighting a Sentinel, they choose to do the second most generic thing that X-men do and that's play around in the Danger room. It's as exciting as it sounds.
They just load some random program they found. It happened to be a program that involves fighting a medieval army, most likely ripped from a Sid Meier game. They try to fight the incoming army. The action is predicable and standard. Then Psylocke shows up. She might not actually be there. She might be part of the simulation or a failsafe. It really doesn't matter because it generates about as much intrigue as cat shitting in the desert. So once again, more material that could be used to make the awesome main plot even more awesome is pissed away.
I honestly don't understand the format of this book. This series was billed as a book about at team of female X-men kicking ass and not constantly bitching about men. Isn't that appealing enough? Were the feminazis out there really that hostile? Like the previous issue, this issue had two stories. One was awesome and compelling while the other was unnecessary and shitty. Do we really need to see some of the dipshit students at the Jean Grey Institute fool around in the Danger Room? If someone at Marvel wants to tell a story about these C-list characters, then make another New Mutants or Young X-men series. Don't have it cut into an issue that had such an awesome setup. I want to see what happens with Shogo's deadbeat dad, damn it. But instead, I see some dumb ass teenagers looking for ways to get in trouble. If I want that, I'll go to a frat party. X-men #13 gets a 7 out of 10. I would love to give it a much higher score, but I don't like great stories being cut off almost as much as I don't like having my beer cut off. I can go out and buy more beer. But I can't buy the next part of the story for a fucking month. Nuff said!