Thursday, June 5, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Amazing X-men #8
There are some things in this world that are inherently frustrating. Waiting in line at the DMV, being pulled over by a traffic cop, and getting technical support from Verizon quickly come to mind. It’s our innate understanding that this shit is frustrating that helps us get through it. Trying to avoid that is like shoveling sand against the tide or trying to make a horse’s ass into an air freshener. It cannot be done. In the Marvel Universe, I imagine that dealing with Wolverine’s “Fuck it, I’m going to lone wolf this” attitude is equivalent of dealing with 10 visits to the DMV. Yet that’s exactly what Storm and the rest of the Jean Grey Institute have to deal with. They all must have the patience of a saint, minus the stamp of approval from the Vatican. But usually when Wolverine does lone wolf it, he has a damn good reason for doing so. In Amazing X-men #8, that makes things more frustrating for the Jean Grey Institute and more awesome for us.
Now in order to Wolverine to carry out his lone wolf act, he needs a reason. Granted, it usually doesn’t take much. It can be something as simple as a Sentinel attacking a whiskey distillery or a pretty redhead in trouble. It’s like me needing a reason to drink. It doesn’t take much. But somehow, that reason involves a rather disturbing flashback to a meat packing factory. It’s not terribly original. Two men get in an argument over anything from a football game to the last episode of Game of Thrones, one accidentally kills the other, and the killer stuffs the body into a meat grinder. Don’t know if this is supposed to be one of PETA’s subliminal messages. If they’re trying to get me to stop eating Canadian bacon, they’re failing miserably. It’s really not clear what’s going on here, but I’m going to assume it’s connected because it made me hungry for bacon.
The meat packing mishap might end up being the reason Wolverine is lone wolfing this, but there’s already a much more immediate reason. And surprise, it involves a pretty redhead. But for once, this doesn’t involve Jean Grey or some shitty rip-off character that looks like her. It actually involves someone from Wolverine’s past who actually doesn’t want to kill him, Vindicator. She’s the pretty face of Alpha Flight and Department H. The fact that she has red hair is just a bonus for Wolverine and his penis. That’s more than enough reason for Wolverine to put down the whiskey, stop banging Storm, and come to her aid.
Unfortunately for his penis, Vindicator isn’t looking to just cock-tease him…not directly, I assume. She called him because her husband, Guardian, has gone missing for two days. And who better to help her find him than a guy who probably wants to bone her? And no, I didn’t write that with a straight face. Not saying it makes sense, but Wolverine’s rocky history with Department H adds some tension to the situation that doesn’t involve wet panties. It’s something we haven’t seen from Wolverine in quite a while. Since he’s going to be dead in a few months, why not revisit it?
Unlike nearly every X-men movie ever made, Wolverine isn’t the sole focus of the conflict here. Back at the Jean Grey Institute, Storm is looking for him. Apparently, Wolverine doesn’t know that it’s impolite to go lone-wolfing without telling the woman who currently lets him touch her boobs. While she’s looking for answers, the Jean Grey Institute gets an unexpected visitor and for once it’s not a time traveler or a killer robot. It’s Colossus. He happily greets Nightcrawler, who he thought was dead. It leads to a hilarious discussion about how often characters die and come back in the X-men, one that I’m surprised doesn’t happen more often. That doesn’t make it any less a great moment.
As nice as this moment is, it’s also a bit random. Colossus, who spent most of his time recently banging Domino during Cable and X-Force, has been MIA for a while. Now he just shows up at the steps of the Jean Grey Institute all happy and well-adjusted? Never mind that he was a member of the Phoenix Five and pretty much every former member of the Phoenix Five who isn’t king of an underwater kingdom is a wanted criminal. He just shows up and it’s like he never left. Not saying that’s an egregious oversight, but it’s one of those details that needs a little refinement.
Neither Colossus nor Nightcrawler are the primary focus here anyways. The main message here is that Storm is pissed that Wolverine has run off again. Her primary goal is to find out where he is, shove a tornado up his ass, and force him to pleasure her for no less than three consecutive days at a spa in Monte Carlo as payment. She doesn’t get her answer until she finds Iceman, who reveals he went to Canada. This only pisses off Storm even more because she rightly points out that Wolverine never goes to Canada without something going horribly wrong. Iceman still has a sense of humor about it, claiming that Wolverine threatened to do horrible, unspeakable things if he told anyone. Coming from a guy that murdered his own son, I can forgive Iceman for not telling Storm. Doesn’t mean Wolverine shouldn’t book those tickets to Monte Carlo either.
But first, Wolverine still has a pretty redhead to help and pretty redheads have priority with him. They arrive in a Forrest, Canada, a town that has basically been turned into a set for the Walking Dead. It’s night and everyone in the town has mysteriously vanished. That means they’ve either been turned to zombies, have been eaten by zombies, or are in the process of being devoured by said zombies. And yes, I have been binge watching The Walking Dead on Netflix. I’m kind of in a zombie mood today.
Since zombies have never been enough to dissuade Wolverine, he uses his nose to track Guardian. This is another area where things get a bit disorganized. It goes from the present to the past a little too quickly, but so quickly that it’s necessary to sober up. It helps avoid scenes that just have Wolverine sniffing around like a dog in a bacon factory. So there is a valid reason for the setup. It just isn’t as organized as it could be.
Organized or not, it doesn’t take long for Wolverine’s nose to lead them to the right place. They end up in a random building where they find scattered remains, most likely the kind of shit that zombies or zombie-like creatures don’t digest. Then by following the scents, Wolverine is able to surmise that Guardian wasn’t attacked, eaten, and shat out by zombies. He was attacked by a fucking Wendigo, which is basically a werewolf mixed with a vampire. I’ll give Twilight fans a moment to stop squealing. It’s a creature Wolverine has actually battled before in his more classic adventures. Now he’s facing it again while helping a pretty redhead. If nothing else, this is only going to make me miss Wolverine even more when Marvel kills him off.
Needless to say, Vindicator is deeply concerned for Gladiator. She immediately follows Wolverine’s instructions to fly away and get Alpha Flight for backup while he calls the X-men. The first one she calls is Puck, who happens to be busy banging a beautiful woman named Talisman. Naturally, he has her leave a message. There are just some things a man cannot interrupt. He’s understandably reluctant at first, but Talisman encourages him to call back because she’s naked and men listen to naked women.
Puck probably isn’t going to call her back fast enough, especially with a naked woman present. As Vindicator is flying and trying to get away, she’s attacked by one of the Wendigos. Apparently, she has never seen a horror movie. The pretty girl is always the first target. At least Vindicator wasn’t attacked while she was taking a shower or skinny dipping in the lake. This is yet more proof that superheroes don’t watch enough slasher movies. They’re the closest thing they’ve got to strategy guides.
While Wolverine is trying to catch up with Vindicator, a much greater threat has picked up on his presence. Storm enlisted Rachel Grey’s help back at the Jean Grey Institute to find him. Being the least busy Grey, she manages to succeed just in time to find out he’s in big fucking trouble and not because his girlfriend is mad at him. That’s reason enough for Storm to gather the X-men and take a quick field trip to Canada. Once again, she has proven that Wolverine is incapable of visiting Canada without kicking up a shit storm. He just can’t be like normal people who visit Canada for the whiskey, the snow, and cheap boner pills.
Like Puck and the rest of Alpha Flight, Storm and the X-men aren’t going to get there fast enough. Wolverine eventually does catch up with Vindicator. But instead of getting the Jason Vorhees treatment, she gets turned into yet another Wendigo. And it turns out there have been more than a few people who have been on the business end of the Wendigo’s wrath. Now normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal for Wolverine. Fighting through an army of blood-thirsty monsters is probably his idea of a fun Thursday night. But now that he’s without his healing factor, it’s not as much fun. This should make him think twice about lone-wolfing a trip to Canada, but it probably still won’t work. Might as well enjoy his fuck-up one last time before his coming death.
Once again, Wolverine has taken a trip to Canada and it has turned into a total clusterfuck involving monsters and pretty redheads. Why can’t Wolverine just ever be content going to Canada for the imported whiskey and bacon? This issue is alike a case study in the frustrations the rest of the X-men have to deal with when Wolverine decides to lone wolf it. Storm, who has the added bonus of sleeping with the guy, is probably extra frustrated. But that only helps reinforce the theme of this story because in the end, Storm was vindicated. Wolverine cannot go to Canada without getting himself killed. Now the rest of the X-men have to get involved and so does Alpha Flight. Let me say that again. The X-men and Alpha Flight are set to team up. I couldn’t properly describe the extent of this potential awesome without referring to Jessica Alba’s ass. It was a nice setup, but still a little disorganized at times. However, it wasn’t so disorganized that it’s necessary to read this book sober. I give Amazing X-men #8 an 8 out of 10. It has plenty of drama and great character moments. It also has a great touch of humor, something that mixes nicely with big scary mythical monsters. It’s like bacon dipped in bourbon. It’s not the most common combination, but it’s still awesome. Nuff said!