I know I don’t come off as much of a romantic. My ex-girlfriends, my therapists, and most of my former pets will say that the most romantic I’ll ever get occurs around a bottle of Jack Daniels and a plate of bacon. But I do consider myself a romantic at heart. I enjoy that warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I see a good love story develop, be it in comics, real life, or a porno. It’s true, porn can be romantic if done correctly (and with the proper application of lube). But a good, well-developed love story is like a perfectly tender steak. It’s delicious as hell, but difficult to cook.
There have been many relationships developed in comics that have been epic
love stories, but there have been many more that are built solely on the shaky
foundation of WTF. I’ve gone on many drunken rants on numerous relationships on
this blog from Cyclops/Emma and Jean/Wolverine to Superman/Wonder Woman and Wolverine/Storm.
I don’t doubt that my rants are about as romantic as a prostate exam at times,
but I feel there is merit when I say that most comic book relationships are
hit-or-miss with far more misses. If it were a baseball player, they would be
selling insurance in Alaska by now.
That said, Brian Michael Bendis has a solid track record when it comes to
developing relationships. He has shown a rare talent to take established
relationships like Peter/Mary Jane and novel relationships like Peter/Kitty
Pryde and make them feel epic. This skill has translated nicely into All-New
X-men with the way he has handled relationships like O5 Cyclops/O5 Jean Grey.
However, he has had his share of misses, as
anyone who read All-New X-men #15 can attest. And for a time, it looked
like he was going to take another shot with
O5 Cyclops and X-23 in All-New X-men #20. That didn’t pan out because O5
Cyclops felt that spending more time with his badass space pirate father was
more important than hooking up with some hot teenage girl. I’m not sure which
should take priority so I’m going to call that a push. But now Bendis is
looking to try again, this time with O5 Angel and X-23.
Now when it comes to comic book romances, I’m of the opinion that they can
all be made to work if done right. Some are just way harder than others. There
really aren’t many universes where a relationship between Wolverine and Lady
Deathstrike doesn’t end in a blood-soaked disaster. But O5 Angel and X-23 is
one of those ideas that can either overdose on WTF or trigger a massive
onslaught of boners. On the surface, it’s not that outrageous. It’s the circumstances
that have the WTF. And in an unlettered preview released by CBR, we get our
first glimpse of just how far Bendis plans to take this. From the looks of it,
he’s going to piss off every abstinence advocate in the state of Texas.
• Past, present and future collide as
the Future Brotherhood exacts their final judgment on the All-New X-Men.
• Plus, Angel takes control!
So in the span of 10 issues, X-23 goes from swapping spit with O5 Cyclops on
the cover to swapping spit with O5 Angel. Granted, she never actually kissed O5
Cyclops. All they really did was hug. They never hit up a club, went on a date,
or tried to cop a feel. They really didn’t get a chance because O5 Cyclops left
before that could happen. But with O5 Angel, X-23 is jumping at the chance.
They’re actually going out and doing the kinds of things that make televangelists
cry. On the surface, this isn’t all that fucked up. They’re teenagers for
crying out loud. It’s the characterization that will probably piss a lot of
Not long ago, X-23 was pretty fucked up and pretty traumatized. Now, after
she recently got finished stabbing Xavier Jr. in the back, she’s hooking up
with some guy she barely knows. For most teenage girls, that’s not too crazy.
Hell, that’s the opposite of crazy. But X-23 isn’t normal. She does not have
Taylor Swift’s history of going from guy to guy. Now she’s not just clubbing
with a guy, acting way more normal than she really is. She’s getting cozy with
someone who really has no fucking clue how to relate to her.
This is my main issue. Unlike O5 Cyclops, O5 Angel really doesn’t have much
in common with X-23. He’s rich as fuck, never lost anyone, and doesn’t know
much about hardship. Not only that, he’s been a total fucking pussy at times in
this series. He’s the one that tried to go back to the past when he was
outvoted. X-23 is one of the most badass characters in Marvel who doesn’t pack
a big ass gun. Now she’s hooking up with this guy? It would be like Axel Rose
hooking up with Carrie Underwood.
That’s not to say it can’t work. I think it’s kind of cute how things pan
out. X-23 isn’t completely OOC. She gets into a fight at a club and rips a guy’s
nipple ring off. That sounds like the kind of shit she does every Thursday
night. But how romantic does it really get here? This is one of those
developments that could either become what Peter/Kitty Pryde was in Ultimate or
it could just be a brief fling like Wolverine seems to have with Domino every once
in a while. It could go any number of ways and I’m sure X-23 fans will find
some reason to be really pissed about it, not that I blame them either. But I’m
willing to just grab a joint and a bottle of whiskey, kick back, and take a
wait-and-see approach before I deem this new romance worthy of jerking off to.