Friday, September 19, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #24
Few things unite people more than being stuck in a situation where they’re all equally fucked. It’s remarkable how quickly petty differences disappear when everybody is facing the same shit storm. It’s only when that shit storm finally reaches them that they realize it stinks for everyone, no matter what the color of their skin is or who they want to bone. When I look at the Uncanny Avengers, I see a team that could never have found a way to get along if they hadn’t had a common enemy to battle in the Red Skull or the Apocalypse Twins. They proved early on that there’s a damn good reason why the X-men and Avengers didn’t mingle all that much and it’s not just because Tony Stark can’t be trusted around mutant women like Emma Frost.
They function so differently and deal with such different struggles. In wake of Kang’s recent attack, they’ve had to come together in ways they never would have been able to do through team-building exercises and softball games. Now that the Red Skull is set to unleash some old school Nazi style shit storms, they can’t afford to be petty again. I’m sure that’s not going to stop them though. Uncanny Avengers #24 throws a new wave of shit in their direction and I’m as about as confident as I am in their ability to handle it as I am in Comcast’s customer support.
Almost as annoying as Comcast’s customer service is Havok’s bitching and moaning. It has been a major factor, and at times a major detriment, to Uncanny Avengers since it began. But at least this time he has a good reason to brood. He lost his daughter. He got his face fucked up. And he gets a rather nasty reminder when he’s doing something as simple as going to the grocery store. Given all the advanced alien technology the Avengers have, I would have thought they had something that would unfuck his face. I guess they just reserve that for real Avengers and not mutants. Fucking racists.
Havok ends up getting even more reasons to brood because after a woman and her kid get all awkward and uncomfortable at seeing his face, he gets attacked in an alley by one of the S-men. It’s not much of a clash really. There’s little action and given his current state, I can’t take any perverse satisfaction in him getting beat. I guess that shows some progress in that I feel sorry for Havok, but it still severely hinders any possible excitement from this scene, which might as well be cut and pasted from the last two Taken movies.
Things are a bit more pleasant with Wolverine, Rogue, and the Scarlet Witch. Now I never thought I would use the word “pleasant” in the same sentence that has both Rogue and the Scarlet Witch after how they clashed early in in Uncanny Avengers. I guess it shows just how much they’ve progress as well. That or the presence of beer helps to keep things calm. I’m going to say it’s a little of both, but give more credit to the beer.
This conversation also helps establish that this is taking place after Wolverine has lost his healing factor. Uncanny Avengers is unfashionably late to the party in that respect. He’s been without his healing for a long time now Uncanny Avengers couldn’t really use that because it had such a long ass arc. Late or not, Wolverine does make some very important points. He basically admits he’s no longer fit to carry out Xavier’s legacy. He’s a guy who murdered his own son. He’s not exactly an inspiration of peace and understanding. Someone else needs to pick up the slack and why not two beautiful women? Who can wage war and hatred against two beautiful women? Besides, Rush Limbaugh that is. The first step in that process, of course, is to kill the Red Skull.
It leads to another nice moment between Rogue and Wolverine that doesn’t feel overdue for once. Wolverine takes a moment to comfort Rogue after having lost control of her powers again. He does this before he runs off, presumably to take part in all the shit he got himself into after he lost this healing. Unlike many of the other emotional moments in Uncanny Avengers, this one feels genuine. It harkens back to the kinds of emotions Rogue often dealt with when she was sassier, sexier, and not afraid to show off her ass. It almost made me miss the 90s. Then I remembered that the 90s also had no internet porn or Netflix and I quickly got over it.
Rogue is definitely in a vulnerable place now. She’s lost control of her powers, can’t touch, and has to rely on the Scarlet freakin’ Witch to fix her. And she has to go through all of this without the guidance of Charles Xavier. It’s not a pleasant place to be in. Naturally, the Red Skull and the S-men are eager to make it worse. So after Wolverine leaves and Rogue starts remembering all the ways Xavier helped her, the S-men show up to ruin her day even more.
Again, there’s no action here. There’s no clash or struggle. They just show up and the fight is over. I get that the S-men are getting the jump on them, but that doesn’t mean they have to go down after one fucking punch. Even a drunk gets a swing in after someone breaks a beer bottle over their head. It only serves to make the story choppy and dull. Besides, I think someone like Rogue is more capable than a typical drunk.
That’s not to say the lack of action leads to nothing of value. As soon as Rogue gets knocked out, she starts having crazy dreams of herself back home in Mississippi before she started running around in skin-tight outfits. It should be a nice, pleasant place before she wakes up in whatever hell the Red Skull has created for her. But then the brainless corpse of Charles Xavier shows up. I know he’s supposed to be dead. I know Marvel has made it clear that Charles Xavier is dead, but only in the sense that Bill Clinton made clear that he didn’t bone an intern. Xavier’s mind is still somewhat present and he’s able to use what’s left of it to warn Rogue what the Red Skull is up to. He also reminds her that she still has Wonder Man inside her in a completely non-sexual way. The Red Skull probably isn’t prepared for that shit and she better use that to her advantage because Nazis like him don’t offer much. It’s still a disturbing conversation, talking to a brainless Xavier. I imagine it’s still less disturbing than a conversation with Glenn Beck.
When Rogue wakes up, she’s chained to the wall with Havok and the Scarlet Witch within the Red Skull’s mutant concentration camp. Even with a warning from the astral ghost of Charles Xavier, I imagine that’s pretty disturbing. It’s never pleasant to wake up chained to anything that isn’t within Megan Fox’s bedroom. For that reason, Rogue doesn’t hesitate to take Xavier’s advice. With Wonder Man’s strength, she busts out and frees her friends. Right now, that strength is the only advantage they have. They’re in a concentration camp on Genosha run by the Red Skull, who has the telepathic power of Charles Xavier. In that sense, it really isn’t much of an advantage.
A Nazi concentration camp is as unpleasant as they would expect. Anyone who read Magneto #8 isn’t going to be too surprised, but they’ll still be pretty sickened. There’s really no joke or comment I can say about a Nazi concentration camp. It’s as dark as can be without an Oscar winning movie being involved.
Speaking of Magneto #8, there’s also another nice act of convergence that isn’t overdue like so many have been. As Havok, Rogue, and the Scarlet Witch are making their way through the camp, they find Magneto, who was captured at the end of that issue. It’s not the smoothest convergence, but it’s still satisfying because it also shows Magneto telling Mzee, an oversized Ninja Turtle knock-off, to fuck off. It also gives them someone else with plenty of power and motivation to take down the Red Skull. Since I’ve already pointed out that Rogue’s Wonder Man strength is hardly enough, I think this makes them a little less fucked. They’re still fucked overall, but not as much as before.
Freeing Magneto had all the makings of a powerful moment. However, that moment falls painfully flat. Here Magneto is, in a concentration camp and reunited with one of his daughters, and nothing really comes of it. It’s the exact opposite of the moment Rogue shared with Wolverine. Now I don’t blame them for focusing on the Red Skull, but there’s no effort to really make this a family conflict. Magneto just gets pissed when they talk about escaping and summoning the Avengers. Magneto, not one to leave anyone stuck in a concentration camp, has a problem with that for obvious reasons. It has all the conditions to be a tense, emotional moment. But it doesn’t turn out that way. It only makes the story feel more choppy, which is not good for anyone who mixes comics with weed.
It gets a little more concise when the Red Skull shows up while they’re bickering. I imagine he didn’t even need telepathy to sense it. Again, someone gets the jump on them and no action comes of it. That limits the potential for awesome in many ways. At the same time, the fact that this issue is billed as a prelude limits it as well. It’s supposed to be a precursor to the AXIS crossover, which means it’s pretty much a given they’re not going to beat the Red Skull. I know that would be a given in most stories, but this just makes it feel too predictable. When even a stoner can predict how the story is going to play out, it severely limits the excitement. Nobody’s panties are getting soaked after reading this.
I found it oddly refreshing to see how the events of this issue converged with events that unfolded in Magneto’s solo series. It’s the kind of convergence that, like a nude scene in a movie with Megan Fox, is as rare as it is beautiful. Other parts of convergence, like Wolverine losing his healing, were way overdue. But when it doesn’t involve a woman’s period, I’m okay with this sort of thing being late. The overall flow of the story was still choppy and flat, but not so much that it’s impossible to enjoy, even with a sober mind. That’s why I give Uncanny Avengers #24 a 6 out of 10. I know they’re not going to beat the Red Skull before AXIS kicks in. I know Havok is still going to find a way to fuck this up. But if it’s a story that leads to Rogue kicking ass or Magneto torturing a Nazi, I’ll gladly jump aboard the AXIS train and right that motherfucker to the end. Nuff said!