Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: All New X-men #28
Are assholes born or made? Such a question has plagued mankind since the first caveman drunkenly stumbled into his neighbors cave and took a shit on his front lawn. Sometimes people have problems that go beyond simply being an inherent asshole. Sometimes they grow up around assholes, are conditioned to be assholes, and are even rewarded for being assholes. Most of these people are related to either Donald Trump or anyone on the cast of Duck Dynasty. But what about Charles Xavier’s grandson (or son, as has been hinted at)? Since X-men: Battle of the Atom, he has proven to be an omega level asshole while his grandfather was only an occasional asshole. Granted, this kid had Mystique for a mother. That alone is a solid foundation on which to build his assholery. But Nightcrawler and Rogue both prove that this is not an excuse. Now he and the rest of the future Brotherhood of Mutants are leading an attack on the New Xavier School. What he hopes to accomplish other than refine his exceedingly shitty coping strategies. I’m not expecting to find a valid excuse for this kind of douche baggery in All New X-men #28, but it would be nice to see this age-old question about assholes explored a little.
For Hank McCoy, that question has already been answered on multiple occasions. He wasn’t born an asshole. He just became one when he decided to be a whiney, petty bitch who lived only to find new ways of criticizing Cyclops. In X-men: Battle of the Atom, we learned he found a way to become an even bigger asshole without Cyclops. After President Dazzler was killed, he went batshit and joined the future Brotherhood of mutants. It made some sense, especially to anyone that had been following Beast’s bullshit since the Matt Fraction run. Well in a flash-forward/flashback, it becomes slightly more fucked up. By Beast standards, slightly is an incredibly relative term.
He still lost his fucking mind after Dazzler was killed. And like his younger counterpart a few issues ago, he now spends most of his time doodling on a chalkboard. But instead of doodling dicks like a healthy fucked up mind, he keeps trying to understand just how badly he fucked up the timeline. Needless to say, it only fucked him up even more. This is like a guy who just had a frontal lobotomy taking a bad hit of acid. It’s the worst kind of therapy, but it’s a bit of an inconsistency since he was the one that whined how humans would never accept mutants in X-men: Battle of the Atom.
He eventually gets an even worse kind of therapy when Xavier Jr. and Raze arrive. They point out that Beast has been inflicting additional brain damage on himself due to his failure to send the O5 X-men back to the past. And he still keeps concussing himself when he finds out that Raze and Xavier Jr. are both related, having come from the sinister fountain that is Mystique’s snatch. Eventually, Xavier Jr. has to give him a little psychic nudge that does the job of a decade of therapy and a cocktail of psycho-active drugs. And he didn’t even overcharge for it. He’s still an asshole, but not on the same level as some doctors and drug companies. Beast is relieved, but he still claims there’s no way to fix the future that he did such a great job of fucking up. Xavier says otherwise and it doesn’t involve a fucking chalkboard.
It’s a nice scene that shows the seeds of the future Brotherhood being planted. However, it does add a few fucked up details to the mix. The most notable is Xavier Jr. basically changing his mind about Xavier Sr. being his grandfather. Now for reasons that are more arbitrary than the enforcement of tax laws, Xavier Sr. is now his father. Seriously, what the fuck difference does it make whether he’s Xavier’s son or grandson? That just means Mystique boned either Xavier or Legion or some other kid Xavier ditched. This switch doesn’t change much, but it adds another plot hole to a narrative that already has way too fucking many.
The details are much less ambiguous in the present. Xavier Jr. has unleashed a psychic attack on the New Xavier School. He has mind-fucked the Cuckoos, who in turn mind-fuck everyone else. It’s basically a big mind-fuck circle jerk, but nowhere near as fun or disturbing. It’s somewhat crude in that it basically relegates pretty much every character to being crippled with a mind-numbing migraine. That doesn’t make it any less effective. In fact, it shows that the future Brotherhood learned from their past mistakes. They didn’t try to go against the whole team. They singled out the ones they knew they could mind-fuck and took them off the table.
Tactically speaking, that means less time dealing with snowballs from O5 Iceman and more time dealing with O5 Jean Grey, who was the one that kicked their asses last time. And unlike last time, he doesn’t trust just one person to handle her either. With help from Xorna and the Cuckoos, he has plenty of telepathic muscle to take her own. Despite her recent power upgrade, it’s worth remembering that O5 Jean is still a fucking teenager. It’s one thing to go up against a brute like Gladiator, but a skilled psychic like Xavier Jr. is bit trickier. It’s like going from playing chess against Forest Gump to playing against Reed Richards.
Despite these perfectly logical tactics, things still get really fucked up when O5 Jean asks Xavier Jr. why he’s so intent on tormenting them in the first place. That’s one of the other major plot holes from X-men: Battle of the Atom that wasn’t sufficiently explained. It was partially addressed in the revelation about President Dazzler’s assassination, but hasn’t really been expanded on since then. Given what has been revealed about Xavier Jr., it would be nice to know why he’s so pissed off. But the reason he gives is no better than the reason rednecks give for hating President Obama. He just hates them.
Seriously, that’s the extent of his justification. He does try to explain himself. He claims that the X-men have made a mockery of Xavier’s legacy. The first thing I asked when I said this was “How the fuck did they make a mockery of it, asshole?” Granted, this earned me a look from some people in the comic book store, but it’s a legitimate question. He says moved into his house, took his money, and kept going along like nothing happened. Well of course they did, asshole! Xavier trained them to keep fighting after he was gone. They kept trying to follow his dream. Sure, they fucked up the timeline, but that was all Hank McCoy. If that bothered him, he should take it up with Hank McCoy. He would have my full support. His whole rant explained nothing other than what a petty asshole he was. And if I want to read about a character like that, I’ll buy one of Donald Trump’s books.
Xavier Jr.’s assholery doesn’t stop there either, as overwhelming as that seems at this point. Flash-forward/flashback to the future again and another complication is added to a plot that was already way too fucking complicated to begin with. Xavier Jr. is in the process of plotting the first attack he unleashed in X-men: Battle of the Atom. He concludes that they don’t have a chance against the X-men in the present. Between Kid Omega wielding the Phoenix Force and Colossus wielding the Soul Sword, they would have a better chance at making Ann Colter likable. So logically, they need to go into the past Terminator style. It’s a perfectly reasonable, albeit needlessly elaborate tactic. But this is not where it gets fucked up.
When Xavier Jr. pitches this plan to the rest of the future Brotherhood, some are against it. Beast even says it’s a bad idea and even laments at how he lost his fucking mind and ditched his friends. Well it’s a little late to undo his long rap sheet of douche baggery, but Xavier Jr. isn’t having it. Despite what anyone else on the team thinks, he mind-fucks them into going along with it. This doesn’t just completely change the circumstances of X-men: Battle of the Atom. It even contradicts some of the moments it had. Beast was the one that lamented how humans would never accept mutants. Was he being mind-fucked then? Was everyone in the X-men being mind-fucked? It’s like the events of X-men: Battle of the Atom are now like the first half-hour of Inception. For a story that already has a fuckton of plot holes, that’s not necessary.
Again, things are much less complicated in the present. Xavier Jr. continues mind-fucking the rest of the X-men. Raze even takes an opportunity to get really creepy about it and gives one of the Cuckoos the Catholic Priest eye. But he doesn’t get to do anything that the Pope would have to cover up. Xavier Jr. and his Brotherhood manage to catch up with Cyclops, who has been protecting O5 Jean despite being in the middle of a psychic battle. He even tries to mind-fuck him as well by forcing him to blast O5 Jean with his optic blasts. I’ll bet if he succeeds, everyone in the X-men would still call him a murderer and not Xavier Jr. because that’s how the justice system works in the Marvel Universe apparently. But I digress.
Cyclops doesn’t succeed in giving everyone another reason to hate him. Emma Frost, of all people, stops him and saves O5 Jean Grey. I need to say that again just to make sure it’s understood. Emma Frost saved Jean Grey. Just typing those words makes me feel strange. This is a woman who goes out of her way to taint the memory of Jean Grey in the same way most would go out of their way for a free beer. Yet since the O5 X-men came to the present, she hasn’t been overtly hostile towards O5 Jean. That’s another plot hole that hasn’t been addressed and there hasn’t really been a chance to, but the possibilities are way more interesting than any bullshit excuse from Xavier Jr.
That’s not to say that all the excuses and explanations that Xavier Jr. gives are bullshit. Most of them are, but there is one explanation that doesn’t make me feel like killing more brain cells. One of the lingering issues from X-men: Battle of the Atom was why the fuck they chose that particular point in time. Well they chose it because if they tried to go back any further, like the night their parents got drunk and conceived them, they might erase their own existence and they would rather not do that. Again, that makes some pretty good sense. They also don’t want to go back to before AvX because Xavier Jr. is good, but he’s not Phoenix Force good. So that’s why they chose the moment they did.
It’s vague in some areas, but it makes enough sense that I don’t get pissed off breaking it down for bullshit reasons. I’m not a creationist. Not only does it explain why they chose that moment, it also explains how they’re still alive. Raze, who survived X-men: Battle of the Atom and had access to some pretty advanced tech in X-men: No More Humans, sent a message back into the future that warned them their attack would fail. Granted, this creates a big fucking time paradox, but there are so many of those in the Marvel universe already that it’s not worth getting frustrated about it. This is probably the best explanation we’re going to get so I’m not going to complain too much. I’ve got enough to complain about and after the last X-men movie, I’m not going to add to it more than I need to.
Back in the present, which has far less time paradoxes for the time being, the battle against the future Brotherhood still seems pretty lopsided. Emma Frost is now taking on Deadpool and Xorna while Xavier Jr. focuses on O5 Jean Grey. So not only does she save O5 Jean, she’s now fighting to protect her. Again, that’s a point worth reinforcing because this is still Emma Frost we’re talking about here. The only thing more distinct than her tits is her hatred of Jean Grey so this is pretty remarkable shit here.
It still seems lopsided because O5 Jean appears overmatched. However, Xavier Jr. apparently didn’t get the memo about The Trial of Jean Grey and O5 Jean’s power upgrade. If he did, he would have known that just adding a little telepathic muscle against her wasn’t going to get the job done. He also would have known that O5 Jean has had enough time to learn a few new tricks with these powers when she’s not getting all hormonal around a fully grown, fully sexy Cyclops. So while Xavier Jr. was feeding her that bullshit reason for hating the X-men, she was hard at work tricking him so that he would be screwed over in a way that would need more than just a wheelchair.
How did O5 Jean plan on screwing Xavier Jr. over? There are plenty of ways she could have gone about it, but in my experience the best way to be horribly vindictive is to team up with someone who has just as many reasons to be vindictive. Who might O5 Jean know that is that vindictive? How about X-23? A few issues ago, Raze was kind enough to stab her before the Brotherhood launched their attack. Like O5 Jean, X-23 is a pissed off teenager, except she’s a pissed off teenager with metal claws. So despite less-than-satisfying explanations about the plot holes in X-men: Battle of the Atom, we still set Xavier Jr. up to get maimed in a way that would give Jeffery Dahlmer a boner. And let’s face it, the asshole has done more than enough to deserve it.
In this day and age, we have an entire generation of kids who get trophies just for trying. They don’t have to win or accomplish jack shit. They just try and they get a trophy. I think that’s bullshit because it has conditioned too many people to be okay with merely trying and not succeeding. This issue tries and tries pretty hard to explain how Xavier Jr. and the future Brotherhood are still alive, why they want to destroy the X-men, and why they chose the moment they did to go back to the past. These are some of the major details that were never explained in X-men: Battle of the Atom. And while some of the explanations here were acceptable, some were either incomplete or bullshit. Too much of it came off as petty, as just some sort of bullshit vendetta that Xavier Jr. had that required him to mind-fuck his team. It really fucks with some of the events that unfolded in X-men: Battle of the Atom and the whole premise. The action was still intense, albeit focused on only a few characters. That’s okay because it help set Xavier Jr. up to have his ass carved up and served like fried chicken at John Goodman’s house. While I want to appreciate the effort, I don’t give bullshit trophies that aren’t earned. All New X-men #28 gets a 6 out of 10. It does a few good things, but not in the areas that count. It’s like a lap dance with no tits. The potential is still there, but unlike a blowjob, effort alone isn’t going to get the job done. Nuff said!