Thursday, September 25, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Cyclops #5


We’ve all had to rely on assholes to help us every now and then. Sometimes we have to coordinate with a neighbor who steals our paper or an ex-girlfriend who doesn’t return our underwear. But we don’t always have the luxury of avoiding them, especially when clean underwear is at a premium. I imagine that’s a lot more common for a pirate and not just because they have to deal with dirty underwear. They don’t always have the luxury of making a lot of friends. Corsair is lucky in that he was able to make friends with a few kick-ass alien outlaws, one of which happened to be a sexy alien cat lady. But with him and O5 Cyclops stranded on an alien planet, he can no longer take comfort in the knowledge that he has a sexy alien cat-lady to support him. That hasn’t stopped him from being awesome, giving O5 Cyclops the kind of fatherly love that might have made him less an asshole later in life. But now in order to get off this alien planet, they’re going to have to rely on assholes that would prefer to deep fry their entrails and piss on their bones. Cyclops #5 promises to be the part where O5 Cyclops starts putting the advice of his badass pirate father to good use. Unlike most big tests 16-year-old boys have to take, this isn’t one they can cheat or rely on the internet to pass.

Having fixed the tracking beacon in the previous issue, it doesn’t take long for someone to pick up on it. And since O5 Cyclops and Corsair were unlucky enough to get stranded on an alien planet in the first place, it shouldn’t surprise them in the slightest that the first bounty hunter to pick up on it happens to be a real asshole. His name is Travis and he’s basically a cross between a Skrull and Chris Brown. He treats others like shit, especially an alien slave girl named Savva, because he couldn’t call himself a professional asshole if he didn’t. He and a few of his alien buddies are on the prowl for a big payday and another opportunity to be assholes. On an alien planet with a wrecked Baddoon ship, they probably think they just stumbled into a cottage of sick puppies.


They survey the scene that has been O5 Cyclops and Corsair’s home for the past couple of issues. As they do this, O5 Cyclops throws in some of the nice narration that has given this whole series a great voice since it began. He basically explains that his father’s plan for these guys is the kind of plan that Blackbeard himself would’ve loved. He wanted to kill these guys, take their ship, and probably give them the finger at some point along the way. O5 Cyclops, still being the boy scout that hasn’t been corrupted by the Phoenix Force or Emma Frost’s pussy, isn’t okay with that. He opts for a more humane approach and that involves being a bit more cunning.

That means turning the exotic alien animals that they’ve been dining on for the past few days against them. This ensures these ruthless hunters will be nice and pissed. That sounds like a shitty plan on paper, but this is still Cyclops. Even as a teenager, he does know a thing or two about strategy and he learned at an early age that even ruthless bounty hunters make lousy decisions when their pissed. This is exactly why the Hulk should never attempt to buy a used car.


After letting these guys trip over their asses and doing everything possible not to laugh, Corsair ambushes them and traps them in as humane a way a pirate ever could. It’s a satisfying moment because this is a guy whose first inclination is to stab bounty hunters no fewer than 15 times the moment he sees them. I’m guessing that’s just an instinct every wanted pirate develops at some point. Yet his son convinced him that this instinct, like the one that tells drunks they can dance, isn’t the best instinct to follow. It shows that while Corsair has done plenty to influence O5 Cyclops since this series began, O5 Cyclops is influencing him as well. It’s another beautiful example of the father/son dynamic that makes this series more fun than a box of porn and a cooler full of beer.


While Corsair is busy suppressing his pirate instincts, O5 Cyclops launches his part of the attack as well. This involves sneaking past Travis and his buddies while they’re doing some looting and sneaking onto his ship. Unfortunately, that ship is still being guarded by Savva, the girl Travis was treating like shit earlier. It seems like a perfect opportunity for O5 Cyclops to use the same charm that will one day earn him a place in Jean Grey and Emma Frost’s panties. So he attempts to confront her peacefully, trying to be as cute as possible. While this might work on telepaths, it doesn’t work on her. I suppose that’s another skill he’ll have to refine at some point. A good pirate, like a good X-man, must be able to seduce pretty girls into avoiding a fight, even if they’re alien.


Once O5 Cyclops’ charm fails, he puts all those sword-fighting skills his father has been teaching him to good use. It’s a very different kind of fight for O5 Cyclops, who so often relies on his fists or his optic blasts. It would be like Wolverine using a baseball bat instead of his claws or a katana. But it’s still plenty effective and O5 Cyclops looks like a real pirate in the process. It makes me think that this comic should’ve come with a warning saying that any woman who happens to be a telepath, has red hair, or was once a stripper at the Hellfire Club should carry an extra pair of panties. I’m pretty sure they’ll need them after seeing this.

It’s a very well-designed clash, but one O5 Cyclops keeps trying to end. He urges Savva to surrender, but she repeatedly refuses. She says she’ll either kill him or he’ll kill her. O5 Cyclops still has a problem with that so he does the third best thing, after attempting to reason with her and attempting to charm her. He finally uses his optic blasts, but only to open up one of the holding cells on the sip. He then traps her in the most merciful way possible. He couldn’t have been more merciful without offering a back massage, but Savva warns him that the rest of his plan will wind up killing them anyways. It sounds like a really lousy bluff from someone at a poker table, but since she’s a cute alien girl and he’s a teenage boy, he foolishly listens.


Outside the ship, another epic swordfight erupts. This time Corsair gets in on the action, showing that he’s not quite as merciful as his son. He still avoids the burning urge to kill these bounty hunters and spit on their corpses, but that doesn’t keep him from being a little rougher. It’s demonstrates nicely that while Corsair might not be a mutant, he’s still a badass pirate. And this time he was able to beat these bounty hunters without his sexy alien cat girlfriend providing support. That alone should earn him bonus points.


For a moment, it looks like the plan has succeeded. Corsair and O5 Cyclops took out all the bounty hunters without killing them and now they have a ship to get them off this planet. It’s a plan that worked so well that, like the fine print of an Apple user agreement, it can’t possibly pan out. Sadly, this is exactly what happens. Before Corsair can even enjoy his triumph, O5 Cyclops emerges from the ship with Savva as her prisoner. She orders that he surrender and Corsair is understandably pissed.

They spent days stranded on an alien planet learning to swordfight and he couldn’t subdue a cute girl? Any father would be disappointed, but O5 Cyclops hints that he has a plan. So Corsair decides to table the spanking and go along with it. If anyone else other than Cyclops, even a time-displaced version of him, asked him to do something like this, Corsair would have immediately gone back to following his basic pirate instincts. But he knows as well as the X-men that Cyclops has a plan and it usually works, even when the Avengers turn against him.


But why the hell did O5 Cyclops surrender to her anyways? Did she promise to let him touch her boobs or something? That might be acceptable to some, but there’s another explanation that’s a bit less crude. She and Travis are part of this race where they take an oath to not eat until they capture a bounty. It sounds like an extreme form of fasting that would probably make for a good hippie protest, but not a good tactic for a bounty hunter. And since Savva is their slave, she can’t eat either and she would’ve died even if O5 Cyclops let her and the others live. They’re just that dedicated. They’re basically the opposite of congressmen.

While Savva does keep her oath, she also keeps another that she made to O5 Cyclops. That involved letting him and Corsair out of their cells just as they’ve finished gorging like hungry wolf in a bacon factory. Since she’s big on keeping oaths, O5 Cyclops makes sure it works out for all of them. He blasts them with his optic blasts. Corsair throws a few punches. And since they were all probably close to a food coma anyways, it wasn’t a fair fight in the slightest. Yet it still felt satisfying, primarily because cute girls coming to the rescue never gets old.


Later on, all the bounty hunters are in their cells and Corsair now has control of a ship. So their plan worked, albeit indirectly and with a few complications. But now they’re back on track and can continue this father/son road-trip throughout the galaxy. Naturally, O5 Cyclops asks Savva to join them since it looks like tagging along with Travis is like being Chris Brown’s punching bag. But she refuses. Again, she’s big on keeping her oaths. It’s tough for a teenager to understand, but Corsair tells him that everybody finds out at some point how valuable someone’s promise is. Later on in life, it’s right up there with experience in blowjobs in terms of importance.


So anyone who was complaining about there being too many Andy Griffith moments for the past few issues can finally stop their bitching with this one. This issue was no alien fishing trip. It was O5 Cyclops’ first opportunity to be a badass pirate while still retaining his boy scout hero persona. And if this were a final exam, he would’ve passed with flying colors and guys like me would’ve been cheating off him. He and Corsair didn’t just escape the alien planet. He did it without killing anybody and keeping a cute alien girl from being harmed. That’s like hitting for the cycle in the World Series for a teenager. It was Cyclops without the all the dark undertones that have plagued his character for over a decade. It helps remind X-men fans why Cyclops is awesome in the first place. This issue definitely got that message across, continuing with the theme of making O5 Cyclops one of the most lovable characters in Marvel not named Kamala Khan. Cyclops #5 gets a 9 out of 10. So far this series had great father/son moments, solid action, and a few cute alien girls. Anybody who finds a reason to complain about it at this point is just being an asshole. Nuff said!

5 comments:

  1. Bittersweet. A great issue, but also Rucka's last. Here's to hoping the next writer can be as good, or at least come close.

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    1. Yeah, it's a shame he can't stay on longer. I hope at some point he gets another X-men book. I'd LOVE for him to take over Uncanny X-men once Bendis is done, whenever that may be. But that might be asking for too much.

      Jack

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