Thursday, June 19, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #5
I think it’s safe to say at this point that most people are sick of time travel stories in X-men. Between X-men: Days of Futures Past and X-men: Battle of the Atom, it feels as though I’ve been having time paradoxes and apocalyptic futures shoved up my ass like I’m a drug mule. And unless I’m paying a doctor or a skilled hooker, I’m not looking to have anything else shoved up my ass. The story in Wolverine and the X-men doesn’t involve the kind of overt time travel gimmicks as Days of Futures Past, but it does involve preventing yet another shitty future. The Phoenix Corporation’s whole mission has been to get Kid Omega ready to handle that oversized cosmic parrot so he can kick Apocalypse’s ass in the future. And Faithful John, the only one from the Phoenix Corporation that hasn’t been completely forgettable, is looking to get a head start. I get it that we all have to look for the future, but there’s only so many Terminator style warnings that make me just want to say, “Fuck it, I’m joining Skynet.” I’m still willing to see this story through in Wolverine and the X-men #5, but I think I’m not alone when I say we need to give the timeline and apocalyptic futures a fucking break.
The future is currently the least of the concerns for the students at the Jean Grey Institute. While they should be used to their school being blown up or attacked by now, they’re not quite as used to having someone like Faithful John pit them against one another. That was one of the more brilliant tactics that the Sinisters and the Graydon Creeds of the world probably wish they thought of first. Some like Hellion already didn’t trust Genesis not to give into his apocalyptic instincts, leading to some awkward clashes with his classmates. I’m sure they wish they could go back to the awkwardness teens usually reserve for the gym showers. But the damage has been done. Faithful John got them to do the fighting for him and now he’s closing in on Genesis. That, my friends, is called working smart and not hard. That’s what separates the slackers from the slackers with money.
With nobody else in his way, Faithful John prepares to confront Genesis and do to him what the fathers of many teenage girls only wish they could do to Justin Bieber. The only one standing in his way, ironically, is the guy who once shot a Kid Apocalypse in the head. There’s actually some nice homages to the Dark Angel Saga, which helps set the tone for Fantomex to make his stand against Faithful John. While I generally don’t care for Fantomex or anything he does with his pants on, I’m still conflicted on who to root for. Fantomex, despite being a massive douche, has gone out of his way to try to turn Apocalypse into less of an asshole. Faithful John would undo all that shit and probably make it worse. So he’s going to fight to protect him. That’s all well and good, but I still can’t forget that this is the same guy who shot a kid in the head. Even I can’t kill that many brain cells.
While that fight is heating up, the battle against Eden Younge and Wolverine has effectively cooled down. Younge successfully subdued Wolverine in the previous issue. Now he’s ready to wave his dick in his face, boasting how he’s going to be vindicated that Apocalypse must die and the Phoenix Force must survive. And being the Phoenix Corporation, they’re banking on the Phoenix Force to give them the TV rights and the inevitable movie deal. Wolverine isn’t really doing a good job of explaining why this plan is more fucked up than the marketing plan for New Coke. Winning arguments without his claws just isn’t his strong suit.
For Cyclops, however, he can win arguments with both his words and his penis (or both in instances that involve pretty telepaths). He shows up with Kid Omega to stop Younge, courtesy of a bamf. But it wouldn’t be enough to just blast or mindfuck this guy into admitting his full of shit. Kid Omega has to do a little telepathic trick and utilize a chalkboard in ways that Glenn Beck only wished he could to make his case. And what he says actually turns to the tables on Younge because using the fucked up logic of the timeline, he claims that it’s only logical that Apocalypse isn’t the real problem. It’s the Phoenix Force. Now considering that future Kid Omega has already showed up from the future in full control of the Phoenix, this is pretty fucked up in and of itself. But I’ve given up trying to follow the logic of time travel so I’m just going to take a bong hit and assume this means something that’ll be later clarified.
There is much less ambiguity in the battle between Fantomex and Faithful John. This time he doesn’t get any of the students to fight for him. He takes on Fantomex himself. I’m guessing he’s not going to take chances against a guy who has a history of shooting kids in the head. That alone makes him less of a douche-bag than Fantomex, but Fantomex makes up for it with some nice inner monologue. He reflects on the choices he has made, which he admits are pretty shitty. And he identifies himself as Genesis’s father. It’s a rare show of humility from a man who usually goes out of his way shit all over the concept. It doesn’t make him less a douche, but it does make him sympathetic in a way that’s way overdue.
For a while, the battle between Faithful John and Fantomex is evenly matched. I’m still a bit torn on who to root for. That or the weed hasn’t kicked in. At one point, Fantomex manages to cut off one of his arms, which happens to be cybernetic because I guess the editors get nauseous at the sight of blood. It probably stings like hell, but Faithful John keeps on fighting. At one point, Fantomex has a chance to put a bullet between his eyes the same way he did with Apocalypse. But like a shitty Die Hard sequel, he happens to run out of bullets. Still beats the bullshit bulletproof vest gimmick that the Back to the Future movies always used. Faithful John uses that as a chance to gain the upper hand. With no bullets and only his douche-baggery at his disposal, Fantomex is pretty outmatched.
That’s when he gets some help from the students. Apparently, they’ve all agreed that Faithful John is a bigger asshole for turning them against one another so he could go kill Genesis. They probably acknowledge it was still pretty damn smart and something they should probably learn from if they ever want to not get screwed over when buying a used car, but they decide to protect their classmate. That involves using the powers of the newest student to the Jean Grey Institute, who they call Nature Girl. Not only is she adorable enough to be in her own Disney movie, she can summon nature and turn them on her enemies. This means Faithful John gets swarmed by a bunch of pissed off birds while Eye-Boy shoots him point blank. Then Idie finishes him off, showing that she’s still the most adorable badass at the school. It’s pretty decent teamwork for a bunch of teenagers. They probably won’t get that kind of experience outside a Mighty Ducks movie.
Faithful John is down for the count and Eden Younge is now Kid Omega’s psychic prison bitch. To prove his point, and hopefully clear up some of the confusing shit from his chaulkboard lecture, he has a bamf teleport him and Younge to the Jean Grey Institute where they hop into Beast’s time machine. That’s right, this whole story that is built on fucked up futures is going to be resolved by more fucking time travel. Excuse me while I cook up a fresh shot of heroin.
Now Kid Omega might end up getting his point across. Cyclops expresses faith in Kid Omega that Wolverine clearly doesn’t have. Now I might actually side with Wolverine on this one because trusting a teenager with a history of being a total douche and mindfucking people to his will doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of trust. Then again, the future has already established Kid Omega’s connection to the Phoenix Force. If nothing else, he’ll prove his point to Eden Younge just to rub it in his face. In the meantime, Cyclops gets to enjoy the worship and adulation of the Phoenix Corporation. Being a former bearer of the Phoenix, they treat him like the Pope, minus the scandals. There are so many fucked up things he could do in that position. Hopefully, they don’t involve cover ups and money laundering.
For Faithful John, he’s still focused on the present. Unfortunately, the present is almost as painful as the future. He’s not just down for the count. He’s basically a wounded duck walking in front of a pack of hungry bear. And one of those hungry bears is Storm, who can rein an unholy amount of lightning up his ass. Keep in mind, the man just lost an arm as well and the students are no longer fighting each other for him. He’s in a pretty bad position. Most people would throw their hands up, claim they were drunk, and claim they’re part of the Benghazi conspiracy. Again, Faithful John isn’t just badass. He’s works smart and not hard. That means getting help from another source, namely all the monsters Fantomex has stored in The World. And I’m pretty sure he’s not going to need to mindfuck them to get them to attack Fantomex. With tactics like that, Faithful John should be the new icon of slackers everywhere. Seth Rogan will have to abdicate I guess.
My headache regarding the prospect of more time travel has more or less faded at this point. I would be content to just wait and see how all these monsters are going to try and maim Fantomex. But then my head starts pounding again because when Wolverine returns to the Jean Grey Institute, he sees that Idie is getting ready to jump into the time stream as well. She claims one of the bamfs wanted to show him this. And despite Wolverine’s urging not to make me any sicker of Back to the Future style gimmicks, she jumps in. My head is now hurting again and I’m all out of blow. Not a good way to end a comic.
Reading this issue didn’t make me any less sick of these time travel stories. In fact, the prospect of even more time travel makes me want to punch Marty McFly and Dr. Brown in the balls. That said, the overall structure of the story was still solid. There were some great character moments with Kid Omega, Wolverine, and Cyclops. I could still do without Fantomex, but Faithful John continues to do a great job stealing the show. The whole idea of a clash between the Phoenix and Apocalypse still has a lot of appeal, but it feels like the Phoenix Corporation is doing a shitty job marketing the fight. That makes it hard to maintain my boner, but I’m not going to completely discount this story just because I’m sick of time travel. I’ll still give Wolverine and the X-men #5 a 6 out 10. I want to be more generous because my penis badly wants to see a battle between Apocalypse and the Phoenix, but my stomach can only accommodate it so much. All I can really say to that is, “Fuck you, McFly!”